What price passion?

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My neighbor Mike has a $12,000 bicycle that is hand crafted from carbon fiber and weighs a mere 14 pounds. Next year the company is announcing a huge breakthrough; a 13 pound version for another $2K. My neighbor also rides 4500 miles a year on this bike and, as you can guess, is very involved in cycling and all that comes with it. His hi-fi consists of an iPod and a pair of crappy loudspeakers in a dock.

I own a $200 bicycle that is mass produced and weighs upwards of 30 pounds. Next year my bike company will have a new color scheme to attract more buyers and probably charge the same, maybe less. I ride perhaps 50 miles a year and, as you can guess, am not very involved in cycling; even being so bold as to wear just any old shorts, a T-shirt and street shoes. My hi-fi consists of a $27,000 pair of loudspeakers for starters and just gets more expensive from there.

I smiled yesterday when Mike asked me why in the world anyone would pay more than a few hundred bucks for a stereo system.

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Paul McGowan

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