Image by Copenhagen Cycle Chic
You'll be glad to know things have improved since my last post; no more mush muscles, although they’re certainly not what they were. By end of summer, I should be back to normal, I hope.
Now, more on commuting by bike to save $ and the world!
Why commute by bike
I'm including this topic in the blog because it's a great way to save money. But the benefits of biking to work don't stop there—it's great exercise, especially for those of us who spend most of our day at a desk in front of a computer, and you get to be out in the sun and fresh air, skip getting stuck in traffic, and avoid crowded trains and/or buses.
Plus, TAiMH advocates environmental conservation, and biking is a wonderful way to decrease your eco-footprint. You're not consuming natural resources in the form of gasoline and oil, and not creating poisonous, ozone-depleting gases via car exhaust. Also, to be sure not to pollute your work environment (and possibly lose some friends): Bring a change of clothes and a washcloth to use once you arrive.
How Much Will I Save?
It'll differ for everyone, but here's my case:
Since public transport would be my only method of transportation if I didn't bike, I'll check my savings against that. A monthly pass (the cheapest option for a daily train rider) here in Boston costs about $60. That's $720/year.
Biking costs me zero day-to-day, but let's figure in start-up costs and maintenance. Maintenance includes replacement tubes (let's say $10/year, though the place where I bought my bike mails them to me for free) and periodic tune-ups. I usually do my own semi-yearly tune-ups, but if I'm feeling lazy, a little flirting with the repair guy at the local bike shop gets me a free professional tune-up. Don't judge me. You know you do it too. Maintenance total: $10/yr.
Initial costs include the price of my bike ($250) + accessories ($98; see the table below). I didn't acquire all those accessories before I started biking, but let's pretend I did. Initial costs total: $348.
Now, there are still nasty, stormy days when I'll take the train, but if it's just a light rain, I'll ride it. That's what fenders are for. But let's say the odd train ride will cost me $122/year; that's allowing for 3 bad weather days/month (2 train rides daily at $1.70/ride).
Assuming these costs, the first-year savings of commuting by bike comes to around $240. But for every year thereafter, you'd save about $585, since the bike and accessories have already paid themselves off.
But let's get back to me; that's most important, right? These calculations assume you can ride year-round, which I currently cannot (but I will soon!). Right now, I only bike about 7 months out of the year, which means I didn't save anything the first year, but the two years since then, I've saved $340/year over public transport only. Since I'm also helping the environment (and my figure), that's totally worth it to me.
Keep in mind that if you're switching from driving a car to riding your bike, you're going to be saving a hell of a lot more, especially if you get rid of your car completely. Just make sure you've got a back-up plan for bad weather days.
(These are the ones I use; they'll vary somewhat person-to-person)
|U-lock and cable||$30|
|travel pump||$5 used|
|basket||$0 (made it myself from a milk crate and some zip ties)|
|water bottle, cheap waterproof jacket||$0 (got these free at my first Bike Friday 2 yrs ago)|
|reflective ankle ties, personal lights||$0 (got these free at Bike Friday last year)|
Have you made the switch to biking? Planning to? Leave a comment and tell us why.
Update: Thanks to Financial Highway for including this post in the Money Hacks Carnival Playoff Edition