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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 04-15-08, 07:13 PM   #1
Buglady
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So much for the "but I'm saving money!" argument :D

Went to MEC today. Unsupervised. With $1000 in scholarship money burning a hole in my pocket (and how sad is that, that I win an academic award and the first thing I think is "SWEET! I can get new panniers!!").



So. I am now the proud owner of:
  • a new set of panniers (36L capacity - my old panniers BOTH fit in one of these!
  • new helmet, because I slammed mine in the door this morning trying to prevent a cat from accompanying me... also the old one never fit properly . Just a basic Bell but I like it.
  • lots and lots of turtle lights. I didn't even need them really (see next item) but I am obsessed...
  • Planet Bike Beamer headlight with Superflash rear blinky
  • new brake pads for 2 bikes
  • chain cleaner gizmo
  • new shorts, since I only have 2 pairs
  • and a cyclometer! It doesn't do cadence but at least I will know how fast I am going

Still have to get fenders for the touring bike, and new pedals for both bikes...

Oh, and now it is snowing again. Bah!!!
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Old 04-15-08, 07:29 PM   #2
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I'm in the same boat. And it doesn't help that I rode mass transit for a total of $3.50 a day commuting, so any savings takes awhile to accumulate.

Luckily, I at least had a real nice older mountain bike (Schwinn Homegrown ~1998) so I didn't have to invest in a whole new system, but that still needed a tune up, new helmet, new tires, new brooks saddle (god my old mountain bike one killed me for longer rides), new pedals, and I need to figure out something that I like for storage(no holes for racks). Then when I hit the winter I'll need to get some lights.

So I've nixed the saving money idea for the next year or so. But the exercise is great, and my commute is pretty darn scenic. Much better than sitting on Metro with a few thousand other zoned out people.
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Old 04-15-08, 07:35 PM   #3
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Actually, I totaled the total cost of my commuting habit the other day. In summary, i've spent $1,450 on bike and parts. 56% of that cost is the bike. Lesson learned: buy a cheap bike of craiglist. I also have the added joy of odd frame geometry, discs, and nothing commuting fitting well without some modifications.
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Old 04-15-08, 07:42 PM   #4
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I did get the cheap bike part right - my commuter cost $50, and my touring bike was a $5 church bazaar find (we won't talk about the $200 in parts that immediately went into it...). It's all the other bits!!

Oh well, it is still much cheaper than a car. What I spent today covers about two weeks of The Boy's car expenses. (I should clarify that I did not spend ALL my scholarship money! Just, um, 20%. Heh).
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Old 04-15-08, 07:48 PM   #5
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Straight up. I bought a new bike a few weeks ago, and figured out how much I am saving by not driving and parking each day, and how long it would take for the bike to pay for itself. Not bad.

Then within a month I bought:
-Fenders
-SuperFlash
-Head Light
-Rack
-Trunk Bag
-Performance Ultra Jacket
-Pump
-Lock
-Shorts
-Wrenches (8mm and 10mm crescents, to install aforementioned fenders and rack)
-Zip Ties (to attach SuperFlash to fender, and secure fender to frame)
-Bungee Cords
-Helmet
-Gloves

I've spent damn near as much on this stuff as I have on the bike! I'm just looking at a set of panniers now, and that's another $100! When does it end? Is it like climbing - when once you get your basic rack and equiment, you just retire and replace equipment and stuff that wears out or becomes obsolete over the years?

At least if and when I get another bike, most of this stuff will cross over. I have my commuter, now I'm eyeing road bikes...

I suppose I could be spending it on meth, instead...
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Old 04-15-08, 08:08 PM   #6
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Is it like climbing - when once you get your basic rack and equiment, you just retire and replace equipment and stuff that wears out or becomes obsolete over the years?
This is what I am SINCERELY hoping. I started out with really basic, barely adequate stuff, and I've been upgrading as and when I can. This lot should hold me for a while, I think - puts me into the solid middle ground of quality anyway.

My sister's a climber and her spending puts mine to shame Then again, you can get away with crappy accessories on a bike, but when your actual body is being suspended god knows how far off the ground with climbing ropes, you do want to make sure you have the best quality!

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I suppose I could be spending it on meth, instead...
This is true. Or therapy. Either one would be more expensive than the bikes (possibly not by MUCH, but nobody needs to know that part...)
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Old 04-15-08, 08:30 PM   #7
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It never ends!

Actually, this is the third season riding my Kona Dew and I'm finally at a point where I'm not buying much at all...just maybe the odd thing on clearance for the heck of it. The money I will have to spend this season is for maintenance stuff, like a new chain and cables.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
Went to MEC today. Unsupervised. With $1000 in scholarship money burning a hole in my pocket (and how sad is that, that I win an academic award and the first thing I think is "SWEET! I can get new panniers!!").



So. I am now the proud owner of:
  • a new set of panniers (36L capacity - my old panniers BOTH fit in one of these!
  • new helmet, because I slammed mine in the door this morning trying to prevent a cat from accompanying me... also the old one never fit properly . Just a basic Bell but I like it.
  • lots and lots of turtle lights. I didn't even need them really (see next item) but I am obsessed...
  • Planet Bike Beamer headlight with Superflash rear blinky
  • new brake pads for 2 bikes
  • chain cleaner gizmo
  • new shorts, since I only have 2 pairs
  • and a cyclometer! It doesn't do cadence but at least I will know how fast I am going

Still have to get fenders for the touring bike, and new pedals for both bikes...

Oh, and now it is snowing again. Bah!!!
And you say this was academic scholarship money!
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Old 04-15-08, 08:33 PM   #9
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He has to get to school somehow...
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Old 04-15-08, 08:35 PM   #10
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This reminds me of the day I went to the bike shop for a few bits (brake pads, a couple of tubes) and walked out with a Cannondale CAAD9 Optimo 1 (top of the range with Dura-Ace)..... I was also unsupervised

...and i had to go back the next day because I forgot the brake pads!
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Old 04-15-08, 08:37 PM   #11
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I only spent $20 at MEC today.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:45 PM   #12
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And you say this was academic scholarship money!
Hey, at least my head was not in it at the time!
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Old 04-15-08, 08:46 PM   #13
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I only spent $20 at MEC today.
HOW??! I refuse to believe this is possible. I demand that you show your receipt.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:47 PM   #14
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He has to get to school somehow...
Who, the cat? 'Cos, well, see username...
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Old 04-15-08, 09:02 PM   #15
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Old 04-15-08, 09:35 PM   #16
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I used to work a job with an 88 mile round trip daily car commute. I also ended up putting about 10+/- miles on the car driving to lunch and back. So for the sake of argument, let's call it 500 miles a week of driving. I usually spent about 1-1/2 to 2 hours in the car per day, depending on traffic.

My car (Scion xB) is relatively fuel efficient, getting about 28mpg average. I usually put about 10 gallons in the tank each fillup, and had to fillup twice per week (I did some driving on the weekends too). At the time, the gas prices were around $3.40+ per gallon, so that was roughly $70 per week in gas.

On top of that, every ten weeks (5000 miles) I had to do an oil change. That cost about $40 if I remember correctly (this is at a real garage, not a quickee-lube, and even had a shuttle that picked me up and dropped me off from work - nice). And I had to do the major services, which ran more, sometimes up to $200+.

Anyways, the gas alone cost $3500 a year, and with the oil changes and other services the total came out to roughly $4000. That doesn't include the tires I had to get once I wore out the OEM ones, but anyways, I think the point is clear. My very typically American 2 hour car commute was $$$$!!!

I was fortunate to leave that job, find a far better job here in my hometown only 1.3 miles away. The pay is 25% better, too... amazing! Anyways I ride a bike now, spend about 20 minutes total on my daily roundtrip, and am losing weight at a slow and steady pace. Just treated myself to a new Surly Cross Check custom built to my specs.. I'm jazzed

Oh, my car? I drove it a couple weeks ago. I think... can't really remember

Steve
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Old 04-15-08, 10:31 PM   #17
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Oh, my car? I drove it a couple weeks ago. I think... can't really remember

Steve
I found the savings really start when you get rid of your car. The insurance savings alone will pay for a lot of rental cars, add in oil changes that will happen even if you don't drive. Depending on where you live, not having to garage/park your car at home can be substantial, I live in San Francisco and would inevitably rack up $250 a year in street cleaning tickets, or you pay $1200/year or more to have a place with parking. My non-car never blows a transmission, needs to be washed, etc...

I was discussing this with someone who said "Yes, but you get rid of your car and your friends hate you because you are always late and always mooching a ride". The reality is that since I need to plan, and put in appropriate time buffers, I am the one who is on time (especially since I never get "stuck in traffic" or "can't find parking"). And I don't mooch rides, I get offered rides by my friends who decide to drive, and I go with them but I don't consider this a favor - usually this results in me being late because the typical car driver will not have the same sense of urgency as someone who needs to meet the bus/train which will leave without him/her, as such they are always 5 minutes late (plus the parking time).
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Old 04-15-08, 10:43 PM   #18
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Last year I rode almost 3000 miles, and at least 2000 of that was commuting.

2000 / 15mpg = 133 gallons saved on commuting
133 x $3.25 = $433
Add in another $50 or so in parts for maintenance work, and I'm still under $500 saved.

Then I spent about $1300 on a new bike and some accessories at the beginning of this year, so I'm starting at about -$800. I may not be saving money, but by riding 20-30 miles a day I'm far less agitated than I would be if I drove every day. Me not being a jerk is something you can't put a price on.
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Old 04-15-08, 11:05 PM   #19
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HOW??! I refuse to believe this is possible. I demand that you show your receipt.
I only spent $11 at MEC today...

It was the $700 on the folding bike I bought last night that was the kicker!!

Students + scholarships/funding cheques = spend.
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Old 04-15-08, 11:16 PM   #20
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Hey, at least my head was not in it at the time!
OK, you get extra credit for getting the joke that went over paulwwalters head.
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Old 04-15-08, 11:50 PM   #21
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Its funny that I thought I would be saving money by riding my bicycle to work instead of riding the bus. Unfortunately the bus is quite a bargain as I can go 6 miles where I need to go on one bus for just $1 a ride. Including the purchase of a new bicycle to replace the destroyed Hybrid and some things I bought for it, I could have bought an annual bus pass for 3 years.

There is just always something you want or need for you bicycle. I'm going to have to start riding to a lot more places in order to come anywhere close to breaking even.
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Old 04-15-08, 11:52 PM   #22
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I cant walk out of MEC without dropping 100+

Oh and Buglady, i feel your pain, im obsessed also, I got a closet of cycle clothes i cant every get good use out of, and drawers full of parts and gadgets everywhere
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Old 04-16-08, 12:03 AM   #23
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It took awhile for me to hit the saturation point, where I understood I didn't need anything else in terms of bikes or gear. About a year. I still came out ahead with the money I was saving in gas and car maintenance. But now, when the only bike things I buy are the occasional part (a new chain last week for all of eight bucks), it's ridiculous the spare change I'm accumulating now. I even had to buy some bike stuff I didn't really need to make the savings feel like a reward.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:07 AM   #24
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i spent 180 on the wheelset, 20 on the brake lever(it was a trade acutually), 15 on the tail light, and 5 on the used handle bars, sooooo I've spent $220 on my bike in the past year of riding it. But i am fortunently/unfortunently looking at buying a kogswell p/r with a build cost of around 800-1k , meh it will take me a year to recoup the cost, or year and a half with what i might drive in the winter. I figure it's cheaper than a gym membership+driving, and better for my metal health, even with the included stress of dealing with idiots on the road.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:02 AM   #25
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I am way past the student level...but we did get a job bonus payout last week...I too went on a spending spree Brand new Redline R530 (had to order to get my size) and about $300 in upgrades/add ons bringing the grand total to around $1000 But sad to say that equals about 6 weeks of fuel through my company supported truck I needed another bike...yeah right! I am sitting here in my motel room looking at the two I have traveling with me Well at least I am supporting the local LBS

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