Cost of the Upgrade

A few months ago I attended Eastern Creek California Superbike day 3 cornering training. At the end I got talking to the day 4 coach , who gave me some valuable feedback. “Your bike is a really good one, hang on to it, resist the temptation to upgrade. You’re riding a road bike on the track day, but your riding skill now demands some changes… you need to commit to upgrading this bike to a track bike.”

The short work list included: taking off the stands, the pillion seat and foot pegs (extra weight); getting a racing seat (to get more of a wedge to push against); gorilla grip for the underside of the tank (to push my knee against when hanging off); new tyres with track compound (stickier) and tyre warmers (hit the first lap hot and don’t loose valuable time); and replacing the chain and cogs (too worn for track conditions).

Aside from the bike itself, there were also other things that needed changing: new leathers (mine don’t fit across the shoulder and gut) and a new helmet (mine is more of a cruiser helmet). Because you cannot ride a track bike on the road anymore, it needs to be trailered. This created adjustments to our box trailer: front wheel inserts and tie down anchors, a ramp and jerry can holders.

Nearly everything we do costs more than we intended – usually about twice as much. The “simple” upgrade to broadband or ADSL2 never goes smoothly. The upgrade to a Virtual machine (VM) hosting, or a new iPhone, or moving to a new location all take twice as much as you think. Which makes us… reticent. We hold back. We are afraid. But then the other side of the equation kicks in as well… nothing ventured, nothing gains. No risk, no return.

Jesus Christ gave his followers a really good piece of advice. He said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Wonít you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you.” (Luke 14:18,29 NIV) A tower can be any venture at all. This parable has become the English phrase “Count the cost”. Everything we do in life involves some tangible risk, and many things will not reward you without payment, cost or pain first. Child birth, building a house, starting a business, relationships, investment, spiritual life. It all requires cost and that cost must be counted in advance.

So I find myself asking all the usual questions… can we afford this? Is it right to spend money on a hobby? Am I really committed to track day racing? Even when the answer is yes to all that… I must face the time and relational cost of the upgrade… and learn some skills I do not naturally have (like welding). I think this is an analogy for life.