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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 11-27-07, 05:18 PM   #1
passrusher
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Bike or Public transportation?

Hi everyone. I'm still trying to decide whether to bike-commute or take public transportation, I'm curious how others have made this decision. I had a car but have sold it since moving to NorCal. I've been busing and walking to work everyday, which works out, but I'd also really like to start biking again. How do others feel biking vs. public trans works out in terms of finances, and exercise? Obviously biking will be a better workout than a bus ride although the walk from the stop to my office is pretty far. Any thoughts?

I read through the sticky thread in here and that was very helpful, by the way.
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Old 11-27-07, 05:25 PM   #2
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People who ride post to BF, so I don't see many folks advocating riding the bus over a bike.
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Old 11-27-07, 05:28 PM   #3
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I'm in Boston. Biking is cheaper, faster, less hassle and more fun than public transportation. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 11-27-07, 05:31 PM   #4
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I dont think life could get much worse than riding the bus.

I would consider suicide if I had to take mass transit daily.
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Old 11-27-07, 05:31 PM   #5
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People who ride post to BF, so I don't see many folks advocating riding the bus over a bike.
Good point. I know a lot of people in my neighborhood who do a combination of the two...I guess in a way it's a question only I can answer, I just thought maybe some others would have had to make similar choices. Thanks!
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Old 11-27-07, 05:46 PM   #6
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Ugg. My hatred of RT was a main driving force in starting to bike commute.
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Old 11-27-07, 05:52 PM   #7
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I dont think life could get much worse than riding the bus.
Interacting with real live people is bad? I rather enjoy my daily bus commute. The mornings are relaxing, and the evenings are engaging.

RFM
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Old 11-27-07, 05:57 PM   #8
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Riding the bike allows you to set your own schedule/route, not go by the bus schedule/route.
Bus allows you to get out of the weather (hot/cold/rain/snow) + walk a distance.
A bit more independence/exercise/ freedom with bike.
Bike commuted for 16 years.
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Old 11-27-07, 06:00 PM   #9
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I like the bus depending upon how I use it. The train is even better.
That being said:
bike>train>bus>car
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Old 11-27-07, 06:01 PM   #10
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Taking the bike is faster, cheaper and more enjoyable to me than the bus. I don't hate pulic transit or anything, i just prefer the bicycle. When i'm on the bus i often feel like i'm just wasting time.
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Old 11-27-07, 06:36 PM   #11
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I'm with zonatandem. I checked out the bus option and figured out that it would take approximately the same amount of time to ride the bus as to ride my bike. I chose the bike because it lets me come and go on my own schedule, and because it's healthier for me. That being said, my company offered to provide a bus pass gratis and I accepted so that I can commute that way if I get sick or hurt.
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Old 11-27-07, 06:50 PM   #12
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I bike, but I'm skeptical of the assertion that biking is cheaper. Anybody have any real numbers on their bike commuting-related expenses over the long term?
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Old 11-27-07, 06:56 PM   #13
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Biking IS cheaper. Bought my rig for $23. Beat that with a bus. Ok, so I just put $200 in wheels into it, but that was the first expense (besides chain oil) that I've spent on it, and with all the time invested I'm sure I spent less than a bus. Factor in that I ride recreationally on weekends and it's really free! See, because even if I took the bus I'd have spent the money on the bike.

I think biking is also faster. No stops, no hassle, just get to where you're going.

Additionally, for some of us getting to the bus stop is not easy and can involve a bike ride anyways, which negates the price point of the bus vs. bike. If it's only a walk then you have to factor time for walking, time for stops and transitions=big PITA.

I'd do it if it made sense.

I think there's a much stronger argument for doing ridesharing or carpooling even.

But hey, I like riding my bike!
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Old 11-27-07, 07:19 PM   #14
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Interacting with real live people is bad? I rather enjoy my daily bus commute. The mornings are relaxing, and the evenings are engaging.

RFM
+1 - I use my bike for the most part, but I do use the bus and enjoy having it available when I am not up to a ride on the bike for whatever reason. Helps living without a car even more easier to adapt to if you have options without having been told "You need a car." No I don't, and I also don't have to ride every single second/minute I commute. If it makes it easier on you, use public transit. I know I will. Even more so when I move to Chicago.
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Old 11-27-07, 07:33 PM   #15
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I bike, but I'm skeptical of the assertion that biking is cheaper. Anybody have any real numbers on their bike commuting-related expenses over the long term?
Cycling can be cheaper, but for most it likely isn't. In any case, a transit pass is a fixed cost. For me, the question became moot after I used my local transit service's trip planner. It took 3x as long in time and that doesn't factor in the .6 mile walk each way from my home to first stop. This despite heavily subsidized passes from my employer. I think everyone has to just get out there and do it once to get a handle on the options.
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Old 11-27-07, 07:47 PM   #16
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I ride the bike year round but my alternative choice is always to look to public transit first. It's real easy from where I live. I'm pretty sure if I did the math the bike would end up cheaper.

I use it when the weather is just so bad that to bike would be impractical (usually a heavy snowstorm). Once they've plowed the roads I'm back out there.

When I take Public transportation the only downside is sometimes it's a bit of a wait for a bus to get home if I leave too late and that sucks.
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Old 11-27-07, 07:55 PM   #17
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I bike, but I'm skeptical of the assertion that biking is cheaper.
I think it depends where you live. If I were to commute by bus it would cost me $105/month. That seems pretty steep for a bus pass to me.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:24 PM   #18
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I think it depends where you live. If I were to commute by bus it would cost me $105/month. That seems pretty steep for a bus pass to me.
Same here, i'me pretty sure my cycling doesn't cost 100/month.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:36 PM   #19
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Hi everyone. I'm still trying to decide whether to bike-commute or take public transportation, I'm curious how others have made this decision. I had a car but have sold it since moving to NorCal. I've been busing and walking to work everyday, which works out, but I'd also really like to start biking again. How do others feel biking vs. public trans works out in terms of finances, and exercise? Obviously biking will be a better workout than a bus ride although the walk from the stop to my office is pretty far. Any thoughts?

I read through the sticky thread in here and that was very helpful, by the way.
Why not both? If you get a folding bike then you can have the best of both worlds.

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I bike, but I'm skeptical of the assertion that biking is cheaper. Anybody have any real numbers on their bike commuting-related expenses over the long term?
I find that the cost is pretty comparable, but public transit is heavily subsidized. If public transit were not subsidized then biking would win hands down.

Also, if you include the cost of a gym membership or a triple bypass then biking wins hands down.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:40 PM   #20
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I used to do a long part bus/ part bike commute. I really favored the biking part, even if it was raining. My strongest aversion to bus riding is that they feel like virus pits. Second, is the freedom of transportation with a bike. You can go where you want. If you need to do errands, no problem on a bike. Third, I'd just rather be moving. Waiting bothers me. I feel like I'm getting no where.

There are pluses to the bus. The one that comes to mind is reading. If you need to study then busing can be a good use of your time. When I was a beginning programmer, I'd often spend the ride to and from work reading books on Fortran to solve coding dilemmas and figure out what I would be doing next. And they are a bit drier in the rain.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:41 PM   #21
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You really don't have to decide one way or the other. Take the bike the days you feel like the bike, take the transit the days you don't. Okay you lose the economy of a monthly pass, but you'll probably feel like the bike more often than transit anyway. If your commute is particularly long, or the transit trip involves multiple transfers you may want to combine both. One job I had that was further away involved a crowded bus, then a crowded subway, then an uncrowded subway that went uphill. When I didn't feel like doing the whole commute by bike I'd ride to the subway transfer point. Sure it cost me the same as if I did the whole trip by transit, but I replaced the unpleasant parts of the commute with exercise and a much more pleasant time.

Bike is definitely cheaper in Toronto - here a monthly pass is over $100, and in an average year that's all I'll spend maintaining the commuter bike. I make a transit trip maybe once every few months so transit spending is virtually non existent.

Transit also makes a great plan B - something breaks on your bike, a nasty storm rolls in, whatever.

As for making the decision, when I first started biking I was using transit and would ride occasionally. Then I realized biking was faster and more reliable - not to mention more fun! and so increased the bike trips until its all bike now!
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Old 11-27-07, 09:41 PM   #22
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I use both. I have a physically demanding job that starts before dawn so I ride 2 miles to the bus stop, take the bus 80% of the way and ride the last mile up to work. Due to poor bus scheduling I usually ride the 13 miles home.

I also live in NorCal. Sonoma Cty.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:42 PM   #23
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Exercise was the biggest factor in choosing bike commuting. And, getting me off of the roads suffering from gridlock. / I like to be able to use both bikes and public transportation. Putting your bike on a bike carrier on a bus, can really extend your cycling distance. With your long walk, cycling might be faster. / Also, buses have sometimes broken down on me. / Bikes might be more reliable.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:50 PM   #24
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Maybe I didn't read far enough but no one mentioned bike racks on buses, so you can do both. We have it here in Minneapolis/St Paul, MN. All of our buses have bike racks. I works great if you have a major break down on your bike.
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Old 11-27-07, 09:59 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by passrusher View Post
Hi everyone. I'm still trying to decide whether to bike-commute or take public transportation, I'm curious how others have made this decision. I had a car but have sold it since moving to NorCal. I've been busing and walking to work everyday, which works out, but I'd also really like to start biking again. How do others feel biking vs. public trans works out in terms of finances, and exercise? Obviously biking will be a better workout than a bus ride although the walk from the stop to my office is pretty far. Any thoughts?

I read through the sticky thread in here and that was very helpful, by the way.
I do both. A lot of times, I'll ride the full 30 mile RT. As it gets colder, I mix bicycles and public transportation. I can choose on a whim what I'll do by mixing up which bus line I take or how far from home I get on or off the bus. I can ride basically anything from 6 miles up to the full 30 mile RT depending on what I do.

That said, I only pay $15 for a monthly bus pass. My company's nice, and if you give up your company parking space (which you pay $50 a month for anyways), they practically buy your bus pass for the month.
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