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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-05-01, 07:26 PM   #1
A F Baker
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For those who are interested, I found out that you ALSO may be able to save a bit of money from your auto insurance company by letting them know that you cycle to work everyday. I was informed by my insurance company today that I can save $7.80 per YEAR because I cycle half the total commuting distance every day. The money I'm saving is only pocket change, but it is enough to get the attention of the guys at my office who live within 2 miles of work, but yet still remain dependent on their car.
Has anyone else found out that you can save more than just gas money from commuting to work by doing the same thing I've done? Let me know if your insurance company is willing to save you more money that I'm saving.
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Old 03-06-01, 02:06 AM   #2
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Yeah, I saved a fortune in never buying a car at all. How much do those things cost these days anyway?

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Old 03-06-01, 11:51 AM   #3
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Chris L. has a point. I never needed that second car (my wife has one). Bicycles, with a little ingenuity, can substitute for cars more and more often. Some people use large panniers and go grocery shopping on their bikes. And think of how you are not using anything up (not really), like gas, oil, rubber, engines, clean air, forests (covered with asphalt--you use the road, but you don't wear it out like cars do), metal and plastic, etc. This is true frugality. And cars are subsidized in many transparent ways. A good bike can outlast a good car (or several good cars). How much does Jenny Craig cost? How about triple-bypass heart surgery? And what price can you put on pure pleasure in a world that finds every way it can to force people to pay for just about everything?

I like the way you think, A. F. Baker.
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Old 03-06-01, 09:46 PM   #4
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Using a bike to do my work commute made it possible for us to remain a one car family for years. When we broke down and got the second car, it was as a convenience, not a necessity. The savings over keeping even a beater on the road is huge.

I don't know if it's the same in other states, or with other companies, but when I inquired about liability insurance, I was informed it was based solely on my average weekly mileage commuting to and from work, and non-work-related mileage was not included. So bicycle commuting even a day or two a week will reduce your insurance.
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Old 03-07-01, 05:51 PM   #5
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saving myself the boringness and stress of driving is the best reason to bike commute. almost feels like it's just too damn much fun for an office worker to have, especially this week - with the amazing 60 degree temps in seattle!

but on the money side, i've definitely noticed savings in terms of both gas and car maintence. nowadays i fill 'er up *less than once a month* - wow - plus i've never gotten speeding ticket for descending too fast on the bike.

however :cough cough: some of that savings has gone back into upgrading the bike, and other cycling-related goodies...
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Old 03-07-01, 10:30 PM   #6
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Yeah, "too much fun". Hey, I love it. I don't care if no one else knows it.

So my life took a sudden drastic turn into the unexpected when I started biking to work. But it's a whole new world. So many things have changed, it's hard to recognize what's happened to me.

One thing, I'm glad there are so many others (like on this forum) that I can talk to, or read their opinions, etc. So many times, whether at work or elsewhere, I have so much I could say but, hey, who would listen? You gotta be there to understand it. So this site is a breath of fresh air.

Keep on bikin', who knows what great things lie ahead!
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Old 03-08-01, 02:08 AM   #7
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I think one of the factors which influnced me most when I started commuting to work is the whole philosophy of it. When I used to commute by car - I didn't give a toss about it all - I never joined a "car forum" - all I did was step into the car, drive to work, and pay the bills at the end of the month.
Now I am much more aware of the "way" I commute, biking to work is not a matter of 'getting on to your bike and ride' - it is a way of life - you find the best ways reducing 'wastefulness', it terms of money, energy, pollution etc.. and this has also influenced the other aspects of my life as well.

keep biking

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Old 03-08-01, 07:06 AM   #8
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I will never buy a car, my wifey keeps bugging me to buy a car, instead of the three bike that i already have, i told here the only time i will buy a car if i can afford to buy a "hummer", and i cannot afford one, so its still bike for me, which really keep me in shape!!!!
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Old 03-08-01, 09:12 AM   #9
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Pete you're right about this forum, that's what I like as well, is the common ground everyone has here. In Manitoba we have just two classifications of insurance (other than vehicles actually used for business) pleasure and all purpose. The cheaper category is pleasure if you don't drive to work more than 4 times per month to a maximum of 1000km per year, so you can drive occasionally without affecting your standing. The saving varies but for a more expensive vehicle it can be as much as $200.00 per year.
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Old 03-08-01, 09:50 AM   #10
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This may not be a money saver (then again...), but since Claude mentioned a "philosophy" and a "way of life", I would add that I am now very aware of what my body is telling me. I eat more sensibly and take better care of myself, generally. This might keep the doctor away. (I would never join a "car forum", either.)

$200 annually? Wow, Aerobat.
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Old 03-08-01, 12:17 PM   #11
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I, like Claude, never thought about how I drove to work before. I just jumped in the car and arrived at work (often late!). Now that I'm commuting by cycle, I have an excel spreadsheet dedicated to how many miles I've put into commuting, how long it takes, and as soon as I've got enough information I'll be able to calculate how many calories I've burned per week based on which route home I take. It is as Pete pointed out an entire new world for me...and I'm saving money. The only increase in spending for me right now is in deodorant .

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Old 03-08-01, 02:36 PM   #12
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I use my spreadsheet to show my wife how much money I save by bicycle commuting and convince her how all the bike stuff I buy is really a bargain.
Example "I know I already have a bicycle computer, but this one has a CADENCE counter, not to mention two odometers so I can swap it to my other...uh, never mind."
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Old 03-10-01, 02:38 PM   #13
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It is funny that like other members I also find it difficult to convince my wife of the benefits of bikes. I read somewhere that over 3/4 of cyclists (all categories: commuting, racing, etc) are men. I wonder why.

Anyway, I (relunctantly) got myself a decent bike recently and when I think about it it is probably less than the cost of a yearly car insurance. Bikes are dead cheap even including the cost of occasional bike goodies or even the more seldom cost of the occasional taxi ride or even renting a car for a week-end every few months. The only problem I have is that my wife is not keen on driving through traffic so it is kind of hard to get to places together (on a bike).
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Old 03-10-01, 03:06 PM   #14
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Hi,

http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/advocacy/autocost.htm

The above link provides a estimate of the cost of car ownership. I did some internet search and most people seems to estimate average cost at about $4-5K per year (which having never owned one, I cannot comment on). Certainly not negligible.


Now, I would like to know what are the comparative statistics of accident for cyclist and cars (I guess it is hard to tell because everybody who has a bike is not a full-time commuter).
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Old 03-10-01, 08:06 PM   #15
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Paptee! You found Ken Kifer's fantastic website!

To compare the risk of driving to the risk of cycling, Ken will show you:

www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm

Web page title: "Is Cycling Dangerous?". Go exactly halfway down the web page. It compares cycling to many other activities in terms of danger. See "Fatalities per Million Exposure Hours", as this is what you want.
Do not use "Odds of Dying in Crashes by Vehicle", as this is not exactly what you are looking for.

Based on these statistics, an hour of cycling carries about 1/2 the risk of an hour of driving. But since we who cycle take almost twice as long to arrive, the risk is about even with driving.

I started out with Ken Kifer's site. He has so many great links that you may never get to read all of it. I don't always agree with Ken on everything, but I'm sure no one agrees with me about everything, either.

Peter

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Old 03-30-01, 10:57 PM   #16
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Another way to save money by bicycling is to avoid getting tickets.

I am not a speedster or a madman behind the wheel - just a guy to whom the cops compass points. They got me for anything; "going 40 in a 35 zone", "the light was orange - that's the same as red". Cops never gave me a break because I am so handsome and wealthy and charming that they are jealous... or something, oh well never mind why. They just gave me tickets, alright?!

So anyway, two days ago I had to use my car for work to transport some of our company's customers who were visiting from out of town (we don't get company vehicles). Sure enough, the car battery was dead from sitting there for so many months without being used.

Weeeeeell, I thought that might happen, so I got up at 4:00 AM to call AAA to have my battery jumped. I moved my wife's car and parked it in the street so that the tow truck could get in.

Sure enough, in the instant that I parked my wife's car in the street and waited for the tow truck, I got a parking ticket on my sleepy little residential street for parking in the street between the hours of 3:00 AM and 5:00 AM.

I immediately called the Department of Parking or whatever those slugs call themselves, but they said that I would have to get written evidence from the towing company.

The long and the short of it is that when I so much as touch a car, it costs me money.

Biking saves.
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Old 04-01-01, 09:21 PM   #17
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My company pays me $1.00 for every day I bike commute. The money is applied to a Mastercard credit card and can be spent anywhere Mastercard is taken. I cannot redeem for cash. Once a month I submit a summary of the days I commuted. It's totally on the honor system. I generally get about $15.00 a month, not a lot but a nice little perk for something i would be doing anyway.
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Old 04-01-01, 09:29 PM   #18
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Wow, Yeoh, where do you work?

You get $1.00 for every day that you bike to work. That is too cool.

I can't even get a bike rack for my bicycle at my company. To get them to pay me for biking would be so over the top.

Somebody pinch Yeoh. That cat is living a dream life.
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Old 04-01-01, 10:05 PM   #19
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Mike, it's a large company that has discovered it can get all sorts of tax breaks for supporting alternative methods of commuting. I live in the Puget Sound area which has nearly the worst commute times in the country. I am also lucky enough to have a locker room with showers and a boss who designated an empty cube for me to park my bike in out of the weather. This kind of support makes all the difference.
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Old 04-01-01, 10:20 PM   #20
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Oh, man, Yeoh, you are lucky.

I bicycle to work every single day of the year - rain or shine (and many days it gets well below zero). I have a good position at the company which affords me the luxury of having a personal parking space near the building. I let others who would normally be parking in the outfield use my parking space.

I don't get any of the luxury treatment you are talking about for bicycling. You would think that the cost of taxes and maintanance (snow-plow, re-surfacing, painting, etc.) the parking space I don't use would be worth some gratitude.

Tomorrow, when you go to work, bring your boss a fist-ful of flowers or an apple or something. Actually, that might get you in trouble if you work in a big gender-sensitive corporation. How about giving her a nice pair of new grips for her bike. Stuff the grips with a big Tootsie-roll or some other candy.

Oh, oh, here is a good idea; give your boss a shiny new red rear reflector for her bike along with a note that says "I like the way you lead.". You get it? Because she is leading, everybody else sees her rear reflector. Maybe you could think of something more clever for the note, but along those lines.

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Old 04-01-01, 10:29 PM   #21
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Yeoh, better forget giving your bike supportive boss a pair of grips stuffed with a big tootsie roll. I thought about it and it may send her the wrong message.

The reflector idea still seems good, though.
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Old 04-02-01, 05:23 AM   #22
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Bar End Stuff with a tutsie Rolls, is a bad idea, Mike, how about given the boss a "Bar Tape" at least it doesn't ressemble anything like it!
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Old 04-02-01, 07:49 AM   #23
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Relating to company incentives described above. I have my own (small) business. I have been debating whether or not a new bicycle constitutes a valid business for tax purposes. After all I do use it to visit my clients. The irony is that if I was to deduce $1000 a year for car fuel and maintenance, it wouldn't even be an issue but the IRS may not like the bicycle.

More seriously, since this thread is about saving money. I have been having flats after flats recently. Does anybody know a good online source to buy tubes (preferably by the bulk). I use 700x30 presta and they are sometimes hard to find. The only local store having them sells them $7 a piece (standard tubes, not Thorn resistant of anything) and I would rather stock a box of cheaper tubes and be done with it.
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Old 04-02-01, 08:58 AM   #24
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Papeteebooh,
I always check performancebike.com or nashbar.com for such things, though I usually just buy my tubes from my LBS for about $4. Nashbar.com has your size for $3.49 each. Their own brand. I have not used their tubes, but most of their Nashbar brand stuff is reasonable quality.
Patch them suckers, too. A good patch will last indefinitely. I find that in addition to roughing up the area with sandpaper, cleaning with alcohol really makes sure you have a clean grease free surface that glue will really stick to. In fact, I have gotten where I use alcohol to clean any surface I need to glue or use other adhesive on, even bandaids. It really makes a difference. I even keep a couple of alcohol wipes in my bag so if I get a second flat on a ride (ie in the spare tube I used on the first flat) I can do a good patch job and get back on the road. Beats walking the bike the rest of the way.
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Old 04-02-01, 10:24 AM   #25
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Forget about going through the expense and hassle of using Presta valve tubes.

Presta valves are an ancient system. People who are stuck on using them have to use a great deal of imagination to justify the extra hassle.

In the USA, Presta valves make no sense at all. You are forced to carry your own pump wherever you go. If your pump fails (as they do) when you are on the road, you can't just get air at the local gas station and you can't mootch a pump from some farmer.

So, my suggestion to you is to live with Schrader valve tubes and you'll save money.
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