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Old 04-27-09, 08:04 PM   #1
delver
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Selling commuting to a friend

Generaly I don't try to talk anyone into my lifestyles but this is kind of a different situation than usual.

I don't commute, because I am self employed,(but I always take a bike on work related trips to major citys). So I really don't know the ins or outs of daily commuting other than what I have learned from these forums(spare clothes, hygene, ect).

I have a good friend who has recently taken a cut to half salary at his job due to the state of the economy. He is struggling to avoid losing his home, trying to cut back on a lot of things.
He lives four miles from his job, in Springfield MO. He drives a 64 Monza that is going to need some transmision work soon. I suggested that since that car is going to be a money pit with repairs(other than things like gas and insurance) he let the insurance lapse and start riding to work. He has a station wagon for his wife and kids.
The exuses began...
"they won't like it if I show up sweaty". My response was fairly profane, based on the half salary thing and the fact that he heads the division he works at, if they can't understand a little brow sweat then they suck.
"I have to cross a major street". Daunting for a beginer, but I told him about the magic of stoplights and sideroads.
"it will take too much time". I beat him there on my bike. there and back(though I am in decent condition and more aggressive a rider than him). He might have caught some lights wrong, but still.
There were more, including not having a good bike. Told him that he could have the pick of any bike that I own, some of which it would suck to give up but he is a friend, or I would build him several custom commuters out of my stash of bikes and parts. I own enough helmets and lights that it would be low to no investment for him.

It is really up to him, and the savings would be a drop in the bucket, but this is all that I can do for a lifelong friend. I also offered to help put new hydrolics in his trans if thats what he really wants.(offering labor, not parts.)

any thoughts on how to convince without being a pushy jerk, insights on money savings, ect? He understands my motives are not some charity thing with all the free stuff, and is closer to accepting the idea than ever, I suggested once of twice a week to start.

Last edited by delver; 04-27-09 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 04-27-09, 08:28 PM   #2
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I would say just keep pointing out the positives of riding to work. Some people just are not into riding, i say that because most of my friends are. No matter what i say on the benefits they always have an excuse of why it is not right for them. But someday they will be if i keep nagging them lol.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:08 PM   #3
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The insurence thing would help save big time and he can still keep the car as that would be a big step to take to just get rid of it. In his frame of mind all of this must be a big pill to swallow and riding a bicycle through town my feel humiliating to him at this point. You and I love to ride but we took it up during better times and started riding for the enjoyment we get from it. Try to keep his side of the fence in mind when you talk to him and I think you are a great friend
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Old 04-28-09, 06:16 AM   #4
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Ride with him a couple of days.
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Old 04-28-09, 06:37 AM   #5
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Ride with him a couple of days.
+1

I am in a similar situation right now. I currently bike to work and am trying to get a co-worker to bike in with me. He only lives 1 mile away from me but doesn't want to do it for similar reasons. Last sunday I took him for a ride (he said he only wanted to do 4 miles, at the most). I ended up taking him 11 (it is 12 each way to get to work for me). When he realized he could do it, his attitude changed dramatically.
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Old 04-28-09, 07:04 AM   #6
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I was going to suggest take him on a weekend ride, for enjoyment, then tell him "see you could have this much fun every day" and you would feel better for doing it. I think the savings would be significant if he allows insurance to drop on that car. But there is always that saying "You can lead a horse to water, but......"
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Old 04-28-09, 08:17 AM   #7
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+1

I am in a similar situation right now. I currently bike to work and am trying to get a co-worker to bike in with me. He only lives 1 mile away from me but doesn't want to do it for similar reasons. Last sunday I took him for a ride (he said he only wanted to do 4 miles, at the most). I ended up taking him 11 (it is 12 each way to get to work for me). When he realized he could do it, his attitude changed dramatically.
++1

If you can get him to do that ride on a weekend, just to see what it is like, then escort him to and from work for say a week, he should have the hang of it by then, and you have gotten a few extra miles in.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:52 AM   #8
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The insurence thing would help save big time
Our car insurance only changed about 10% when I sold my car. It sucks to lose the multi-car discount. I haven't run the numbers, but I think it would actually be cheaper to add an old beater with minimal insurance to my policy (that I didn't even drive) than it would be to have just one car.


I just went and quoted a change and my rate does actually go down by adding a second car. Not much, but still.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:58 AM   #9
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Wow, thats an insurance angle I had not thought of. Still, not fixing it for a while would save some bread.

I was going to help him work out a couple routes, but I live about fifty miles away so riding with him would be hard.

Taking him on a ride would be a good idea, I may start him on the Frisco highline trail. Its a railtrail fairly close to where he lives.
Good point on the "embarrasment" thing. Sort of admiting to the world that times are kind of tough sucks. Personaly, I would love to live in a city only so that I could ride on pavement to the grocery store.

All I can do is help out if he decides that this is an option.
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Old 04-28-09, 10:22 AM   #10
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People wont' think times are any worse if he goes from driving a beat Monza to a nice bicycle. I recently sold my car to become a full time commuter, and the bike I bought to replace the car cost almost as much as I sold the car for.

Cars are not status symbols, they are appliances.
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Old 04-28-09, 10:36 AM   #11
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suggest taking him on test ride from home to work on Saturday/Sunday when traffic is light.
my old commute was similar 2.5 miles and daunting the first week or so. now I'm riding the full 11 miles to work through everywhere and in everything. I plot my route carefully to avoid the worst roads when out roaming. Stop lights are your friend. I also offloaded the old SAAB as donation to charity. Cut insurance to the single car. Lost all the maintenance issues and expense of that SAAB. I have saved over $1000 on gas alone. Not to mention the several thousand waiting to explode in the SAAB and the sleepless nights worrying about it. I also park at the door. I shower when I arrive at work. So am fresh as a daisy when working. I don't have to deal with traffic. Morning commutes are very quiet with little traffic at 5:30 am. Afternoons I have to adjust my route home but mmmehhh it's nothing. I have lost 30+ pounds. Am fitter than I have been in 20 years. Can't wait to get out to ride everyday. Wife shoo's me out the door to get rid of me (am antsy with all the extra energy) on weekends to unwind. Of course that benefit did take a while to unveil. Am still riding my original commuter at this point. Next year maybe I will get a road bike but for now the beater is ok. what's not to love about this?
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Old 04-28-09, 11:36 AM   #12
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That vehicle is going to cost your friend dearly on the day it needs $1000 before it will drive another foot. On that day, he'll wish he had an alternative. Best he start thinking about it now.
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Old 04-28-09, 11:38 AM   #13
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Tell him that after the first month he will be addicted and unable to stop. I go through withdrawal every weekend.
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Old 04-28-09, 12:21 PM   #14
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I lived in Springfield, MO for a year and biked almost the whole time I was there. The mid-west summers are pretty humid, and if you're riding you definitely get sweaty since it's hard for the sweat to evaporate. To help with the sweat factor though, the hills are very minor hill there.

We have two cars. Someone mentioned that insurance between 1 and 2 cars isn't that big of a difference which is true. The wife uses one car, and the other is sort of a backup/better mileage car. It's paid off, so if we were to sell it we wouldn't really 'save' money besides the mostly small insurance. The part that saves money (for us) is having much smaller maintenance costs and lower gas costs.
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Old 04-28-09, 12:50 PM   #15
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I lived in Springfield, MO for a year and biked almost the whole time I was there. The mid-west summers are pretty humid, and if you're riding you definitely get sweaty since it's hard for the sweat to evaporate. To help with the sweat factor though, the hills are very minor hill there.

We have two cars. Someone mentioned that insurance between 1 and 2 cars isn't that big of a difference which is true. The wife uses one car, and the other is sort of a backup/better mileage car. It's paid off, so if we were to sell it we wouldn't really 'save' money besides the mostly small insurance. The part that saves money (for us) is having much smaller maintenance costs and lower gas costs.
That's why I haven't been in too much of a rush to get down to one vehicle. We'd end up keeping the minivan, and while it doesn't get the worst mileage in the world, it's not as good as the little economy car's.

The car is big enough for 80% of our trips.
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Old 04-28-09, 12:59 PM   #16
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Tell him that after the first month he will be addicted and unable to stop. I go through withdrawal every weekend.
+1
I'm new to commuting. Been at it for almost exactly one month, and the addiction is real. I couldn't get out for a ride over the weekend, but I so wanted to...
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Old 04-28-09, 01:22 PM   #17
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[People wont' think times are any worse if he goes from driving a beat Monza to a nice bicycle]

to be fair to my friend, his monza was voted the best resto in the national monza club a few years back
But you never get out of a car what you have into it, I know

And yes, it is pretty Misserble in Missory in the summer. But to be fair its really nasty in the winter as well. I lived in Branson MO, and bike commuted there in the summer during the boom years in the ninetys. In fact my freind lived downstairs from me, and I remember we all rode to classes one day.


I have started two bikes for him(three actualy, one for his wife would be nice). One is going to be a faster road type bike that will look sporty and cool for him, a Fuji Monteray with 700c conversion and just some good solid Deore components.
The other is a Raleigh Capri, going roadster SS with it, and a matching Capri stepthrough frame for the wife. both are decent frames with nice paint and good chrome to sooth the riders ego.

Last edited by delver; 04-28-09 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:00 PM   #18
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If the money won't do it for a guy who's broke I don't know what will. You might try offering to ride him in once or twice. Maybe he'll be less afraid of it if he has a friend with him? Once he's done it 3 times it'll probably seem normal and easy.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:03 PM   #19
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I lived in Springfield, MO for a year and biked almost the whole time I was there. The mid-west summers are pretty humid, and if you're riding you definitely get sweaty since it's hard for the sweat to evaporate. To help with the sweat factor though, the hills are very minor hill there.

We have two cars. Someone mentioned that insurance between 1 and 2 cars isn't that big of a difference which is true. The wife uses one car, and the other is sort of a backup/better mileage car. It's paid off, so if we were to sell it we wouldn't really 'save' money besides the mostly small insurance. The part that saves money (for us) is having much smaller maintenance costs and lower gas costs.
Your insurance company rocks. My second car, which was getting under 2,000 miles a year, was around $30 a month. It sounds like a pittance but it's $.18 a mile.

Maybe I'd get a better rate if I told them I wasn't driving it?
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Old 04-28-09, 09:05 PM   #20
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Our car insurance only changed about 10% when I sold my car. It sucks to lose the multi-car discount. I haven't run the numbers, but I think it would actually be cheaper to add an old beater with minimal insurance to my policy (that I didn't even drive) than it would be to have just one car.


I just went and quoted a change and my rate does actually go down by adding a second car. Not much, but still.
I'm getting angry as we speak. I wonder if I'm subsidizing multi car families?
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Old 04-28-09, 09:18 PM   #21
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Realistically he's not likely going to give up his car since he would be new to commuting. Therefore you can't really discount the cost of upcoming repairs, or insurance. However if he does a simple cost savings calculation on gas and reduced repair costs, it might be enough to convince him ... especially if he's struggling to meet his housing costs.

Btw, you're a great friend if you're willing to let him choose any one of your bikes. Not something that I would do, however then again I'm a bit stingy.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:24 PM   #22
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Sounds like you've already shown him the door; it's his job to walk through it.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:29 PM   #23
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Tell him he can post on BF with all us wonderful people if he begins to ride.
If that dont work call him an ignorant cager and kick dust on his shoes.
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Old 04-28-09, 10:10 PM   #24
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Next time on his way to work just have him look for commuters (though I am not familiar with his area). I really didn't notice people on bikes until I became one of them. I notice people riding all types of bikes now and usually give them a nod when i'm out on my rig. And definetely when you have a chance take him out for a spin on one of the bikes your building for him. It's one thing to see someone do something, and another to actually do it yourself.
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