Every cyclists should read this article LETTER FROM RWANDA
A team of young cyclists tries to outrun the past.
From the New Yorker, bringing in some perspective.
I like that we have a thread like this, about the costs of the sport. I am from a 3rd world country (Thailand) where buying a Tarmac SL3 S-works costs about the same as 8 months worth of house mortgage. While I have the luxury of live and study in the UK now, I still treat the value of money the same from where I am from. For a £1 you can get 3 meals worth of delicious food. I want fully decked out Venge I really do, but I'd rather save up money enough to propose my gf and have a wedding, because it costs about the same..... It's all about perspective and how much you put value on the things you do. My friend moans when I tell her I buy a £500 mechanical watch, while she spent more on handbags which I wouldn't dream to . Value of things are very personal.
Road cycling is a sport that has high entry cost there's no way around it, especially for us. Of course this comes with any kind of sports rely heavily on equipment, you know unlike tennis where you can get the best racket the pro uses for £150, a high-end £60 tennis shoes and perhaps a polo and shorts, paying a bit of court fees and you can have a blast for hours. Thailand has a rather unremarkable road-racing national team. We don't get official support, nor that many sponsors because to have all the team car and support staff is a luxury that the country rather spend the same amount of money pushing 2-3 other sports on international level that have a better shot at getting goldies at the olympic or Asean game. Part of the unpopularity might of course due to lack of cycling history and tradition in the far east. The cost of the equipments does have real impact in some area that you might not think possible for soem nations.. but it does.
Like every countries, the best bike kits aren't found in the pro team and training, but in the amateur peoloton, sunday warrior. People who can pay, will pay for what make them happy, and believe me they pay as much as you guys, or more.
It's a bit sad however, to see new comers to the sport chase the latest and greatest gears without knowing WHY they need it. Because it's Red, it's better than Rival. Ceramic bearing is a pain to service, not to mention they don't last as long as the standard ones, yet people don't care about that, they care it's Red, so will save up and pay for it.