Editor’s Note: “Over a Beer” is a regular opinion column written by Greg Heil. While Greg is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com, the opinions expressed in this commentary are his alone and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Singletracks.com.
…and DEFINITELY don’t ask me to share it for you!
One of the latest trends in our over-entitled, I-deserve-to-be-handed-everything-on-a-silver-platter society, of which my generation seems to be the worst perpetrators, is the advent of the GoFundMe.
Now before I go further, I do need to mention that there are plenty of instances where I think GoFundMe campaigns are totally warranted. For instance, your child has an extremely rare heart condition and needs an extremely expensive, experimental procedure that insurance won’t cover–yeah, a GoFundMe is probably your best shot. You’re running a non-profit that helps rescue animals from kill shelters and puts them in loving homes–sure, GoFundMe all the way. In fact, I’ve donated to several GoFundMes myself–this site can be a great tool for safely collecting funds for a worthy cause.
I am not talking about any of those worthy causes in this post. Instead, I am talking about the un-worthy ones. The ones where your stereotypical Millennials (or at least, what the media at large would make you believe we’re like) hold out their hands, tell you a sob story, and ask you to fill their hands with cash. These GoFundMes are created for all sorts of inappropriate situations… including buying a mountain bike.
I wish I was making this up… but I’m not. We routinely get people emailing us asking Singletracks to share their GoFundMe, or worse, contribute to it… or even worse, send them a free bike because, you know, we have a warehouse of old test bikes just sitting around, gathering dust.
Here’s how the plea generally goes:
“_____ horrible thing happened to me. (Choose from list: bike was stolen, lost job, personal injury, I’m broke.) I know that if I just had a bike, I could do _____ amazing thing with it. (Choose from list: Become a professional racer, make amazing movies that everyone will love, explore trails and share my experiences with the world.) Please give me money so I can accomplish _____ amazing thing and change the world!”
Let me just clear the air, right here and right now: I will never give you money if you send me this plea. And I will definitely not share you self-entitled hand out-seeking GoFundMe with the rest of the world.
And here’s why.
Probably the #1 most common “amazing thing” that these GoFundMe starters think they will do with their brand-new bike is become a pro-level racer. Oh really, so not owning a mountain bike the only thing standing between you and being the fastest rider in the pack? The naiveté–or rather, arrogant pride–that all that stands between a non-rider and a pro is an expensive bike is staggering and honestly, insulting to all of the riders who’ve tried to be fast and realized that they just aren’t, and especially to all of the truly world-class mountain bikers who’ve worked so incredibly hard to reach the top of those podiums.
Sorry to break it to you, GoFundMe wannabe: those pro-level athletes are riding expensive bikes because they’re incredibly gifted, incredibly talented, and have a work ethic that less than 1% of 1% of the population has… and obviously a work ethic that is totally foreign to you, oh fellow Millennial.
So instead of asking for a handout, asking for the Internetz to give you $ for a mountain bike (more like $$,$$$), how about you take a cue out of the pro athlete’s book and develop a work ethic. You know, how about you get a job and buy yourself that mountain bike… just like the rest of us?
When we make that suggestion via email, a common retort is, “Oh, I have a job, I’m just too broke to afford a bike.”
Well, then how about you get a second job? Wow, what a revolutionary idea: that someone can hold two jobs at the same time!
Above and beyond the takeaway found in the title, the moral of the story is this: if you’re considering starting a GoFundMe to finance your next mountain bike purchase, you need to:
- First, realize that a mountain bike is an indulgence, a luxury–it’s not necessary for daily life and survival.
- Accept the responsibility for the cost of the bike yourself.
- Realize that if you already own a mountain bike, there’s nothing wrong with your bike.
- Adjust your expectations by considering a budget-level hardtail or full-suspension mountain bike.
You don’t need a GoFundMe to get yourself out on the trail on a mountain bike, you just need a little tenacity.