The Core Principles Of BNL In Action

I don’t know why I do this to myself, but I decided to mention to a co-worker and fellow bike rider that I patched a flat tire the night before.  But I didn’t stop there, I went on to mention that it was the 5th patch on that same tube (I even showed him a picture of the proudly warn piece of rubber).  His response to me and the three other people in the conversation: “BNL is probably worth more than anyone in this office, and he won’t spend 5 bucks on a new tube.” (Of course, he didn’t call me BNL…)

OK, I lied.  I do know why I put myself in these positions.  It’s because I’m not ashamed of saving money or lessening the amount of crap I send to landfills.  Maybe it’s because of my increased confidence and support I’ve felt from the minor success/support of this website, or maybe it’s because I’m proud of my new outlook on life – but either way, I’m no longer burdened with hiding who I am or the actions I take.  Not specifically proud, but more importantly, not ashamed.

In this specific case, I decided to defend myself and my decision to patch flats using my Core Principles of the Brave New Life. I started with the Core Principle #3, Frugality, Sustainability, and Self-Sufficiency.  I started with frugality:


Me: Why would I spend money on a new tube when I can patch it myself in under 20 minutes?

Him: Dude, tubes are like $5.

Me: But a patch is about 10% of that. And like I said, I can do it in under 20 minutes and most of that time is removing and reinserting the tube itself, something I’d still have to do with the new tube.

Him: I can run over to Walmart and pick you up 5 tubes, then you’ll have them on hand.

Me: OK.  But I bet I can patch 5 tubes faster than you can drive to Walmart, pick out the tubes, wait in the checkout line, and drive back.  And besides, I’m patching a very high quality tube compared to the $5 tube you speak of.

Him: Whatever, man.


Clearly this was going nowhere.  Judging by his response of “whatever,” I may have won the debate but still I hadn’t convinced him. I could have then directed the argument towards the joys of self-sufficiency, but I knew my audience and I knew this factor held no value to him.  Hell, I’m surprised he hadn’t just told me to buy a whole new bike to solve my problem.  So next I pressed on ahead with the sustainability argument:


Me: Besides,  patching a tube means one less tube in the landfill and one less tube being manufactured in some pollution ridden factory in China.

Him: It’s 1 small piece of rubber!

Me: Well, technically now it would be 5.  But hey, if you don’t care about the quality of the water your kids drink, or the air they breathe, then I’ll do what I can to protect them.


We’re friends, so I knew he wouldn’t take this as me saying he’s a bad dad.  In fact he’s a great and loving dad of 2-year old twins, which then led me to my final argument.. Core Principle #4, Nurture Your Relationships.


Me: But seriously, man.  My kids have a blast helping me patch a tire.  They get to help me remove the tire and take out the tube.  Then we have some fun pumping it up and listening for the air escaping from the hole.  Usually it’s tough to pinpoint, so they get to run upstairs and fill the bathtub a few inches so we can submerge the tube, pump air into the tire, and search for the bubbles.  Usually we spend 10-15 minutes up there just messing around, with the two kids taking turns with one of them working the pump and the other finding the bubbles and pinpointing the hole. Eventually I have to drag them away so we can finish the job.  They love it.

Him: OK, I get it. I was just messing with you man…

Me: Plus, they’re learning to be more self-sufficient (I had to add that in), and how to solve problems.  Everybody wins!


At this, he relented.  And this time, it wasn’t a “whatever,” he actually seemed like he would patch a tire with his kids the next time he got a flat.  I like winning arguments as much as the next guy, but the real victory here was that I secretly spread the values I live by while having a little fun along the way.

I think there are two ways to live a brave new life. The first is to hide your differences, do what you can to fit in, and just pass the test.  There’s nothing wrong with this. The second is to dare to be different, challenge the unchallenged, and be proud of who you are and the way you choose to live your life.  This is the way I’ve chosen to do it.

13 Responses to The Core Principles Of BNL In Action

  1. mike crosby says:

    I always think that I’ve been somewhat frugal my whole life.

    But after reading blogs like your’s, MMM and ERE, I’ve learned a lot in the last few years. At first I thought ERE was a bit nuts, which later turned into a deep respect.

    So not only am I learning about frugality, I’ve been implementing it too. It truly has been eye opening and fun, and I’m not at all ashamed. In one day I was complimented twice on my tshirt and I told them it was bought at Goodwill.

    I’ve enjoyed reading the PF blogs and this is not just some passing fancy, but a huge life changing experience.

    • John says:

      I am the exact same Mike! I am very very bored at my high income electrical engineeing job, that any 8th grader could do if it wasn’t for some calculus calculations (written 40 years ago) that everything implements, and that piece of paper requirement.
      So since my job is only 10% real work and 90% downtime, and since i have free internet access to blogs. I have read every ERE, MMM, and BNL article posted over the last year or so. I have altered my lifestyles and followed their guidance in my own ways. I became free of student loans, then paid off the new car, then saved an ERE 6 months worth of expenses emergency fund, then researched various investments and positions for dividend income, as well as creating android apps, hosting my own websites, creating DIY fun projects that i could later sell when it’s not so cool anymore to show off to my friends, and gaining and appreciating True Freedom, by trading money for Time while challenging myself to the boundries of deprivation without sacrificing my friends and families “Oh he is Crazy!” opinions.

      It is a tough road to lead in, but worth it when you blast away into Financial Independence, and everyone is in shock and thinks you won the lottery over night. Once people have to much money, they become slaves to gaining more by wasting more of their free time in trying to manage way too many active investments; so be careful in that aspect!

  2. Poor Student says:

    I know how hard it can be to convince others, and even about such a small thing like patching a tire. The Core Principles really help.

    I have tried convincing some students in person by explaining things, like the possibility of early retirement, or investing money instead of spending money. It hasn’t worked yet so now I am waiting and leading by example. In five years I am going to be making a lot of dividend income, in ten years even more so. That is when I will be able to explain and help others when they ask me why I am able to ask for time off work, or why I don’t spend much on nights out.

    Right now people can’t wrap their head around it. So I just have to practice what I preach until people will believe in what I am telling them.

  3. This is an interesting debate, whether to try and share what you’ve learned with others who aren’t on the same path, or just smile and nod and let them do what they are doing. If it’s someone who has blown me off in the past, I’ll just leave them be, but if it’s someone new or who seems interested, I’ll give it a shot.

  4. Daisy says:

    Awesome. I like that you took the time to explain to him the benefits of just patching it yourself. As you pointed out, there are a lot of benefits! Way more than just buying the tube.

  5. Frugal Stoic says:

    Bravo, your frugality and commitment to your choices are commendable!

  6. John says:

    At least you didn’t bring up using cloth diapers to an American Female, Oh Lord! Interesting how millions of Russians and rest of the world, still use Cloth Diapers because it saves them $1800/ year.

    It is very hard to show others glimpses of the Light, and the better world beyond! It’s like seeing the beautiful Sky for the first time from the Cave, once you are willing to listen and walk forward in small moves from the cave.

  7. TrekMan says:

    While I respect your choice, I think the opportunity costs support buying a new tube. For me the 20 minutes spent patching a bike tube takes away from other areas that I could potentially save money. For example, if I spend a lot of energy changing a tire that may short change my time for batch cooking, gardening, laundry – (drying by line is time consuming), lawn work. I’m also taking some evening courses at the community college in accounting. In my life patching the tube would be much less productive than getting a new one next time I was out.

    Additionally, the tire has been patched five times already. That means that all of the rubber in the tube is weak and you’ll have to patch it more and more frequently. It may be really inconvenient to have a flat out on the road.

    • Fair enough, I can understand your reasoning and it does make sense for your situation. In my case, patching a tube is a fun activity for my two little kids, so it’s functional for me and playtime for my kids. Anytime I can merge these two things, I take advantage of that. :)

      By the way… You were right about the rubber being weak. After a few days I got another hole (not a hard flat, but clearly a leak), so I sucked it up and got a new tube from nashbar.

  8. Mike says:

    I’m impressed that you have core principles. So few do or, if they do, they can’t articulate them. Very cool.

  9. extrema-expat says:

    5 flats? Are you in a high spike area? I bike around tons of prickly burrs. But I paid a bit extra to have Slime-Tubes. Had 10-20 flats once, but they all repaired itself on the trail. Didn’t even have to re-pump because so few air escaped.

    Downside: Slime-Tubes makes your tires heavy and adds rolling resistance.

    • Well, a lot of it was my fault. 2 of the punctures came at the same time, when I went mountain biking and forgot my pump. My tires were low, but I went out anyways and when I slammed my wheel into a rock the tube appeared to have jammed into the wheel and I got some snake bite slits.

      I also use the slime tubes on my hybrid that I use for commuting to work. Over a year now without a single flat.

  10. Brian says:

    I actually share your love of patching bike tires. I agree with all the reasons you have, but my main reason is that I just enjoy the process of fixing it. I like to think of ways to improve it each time and make it perfect.

    I learned from a few people to line the pressure label on the tire with the stem of the tube, so it is easy to see when you fill, and also as a placeholder for where to locate the spot of the tire that might have glass, etc.

    I usually get 3 or 4 patches before I throw in a new tube. But throwing in a new tube is half the fun.

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