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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 10-07-04, 03:03 PM   #1
westman2003
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Being a bean counter I figured here are my savings by biking.

No Car Payment $3600
Insurance 900
Fuel 1200
Parking Fees at work 720
Repairs 500
Misc (car washes etc) 200
Less Bike (one time investment) 500
Clothes Lights Helmet Etc 200

TOTAL SAVINGS YEAR 1 $6420

Furthermore I'd have to earn about $10500 before tax to have $6420 take home pay to pay for the car. It's like I've just given myself a $10,000 raise. Also if I was driving I'd be riding each night for fitness ( 1 hour). It takes me a total of 15 min extra to ride to work than drive round trip. Thus I "save" 50 hours almost 4 hours a week I can spend with my wife and kids by making my commute my fitness time instead of 1 hour each evening.

I can't put a dollar amount on lower stress fitness etc but add this to the pot and biking to work keeps making more and more sense.
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Old 10-07-04, 03:49 PM   #2
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I still have the car, no way my wife will let me sell it. We can not survive where we live without a car (no stores within 5 miles, school 5 miles away, 2 kids with scouts, sporting events, etc means lots of trips into town), and she insists on having two, which is probably good because often we are both transporting kids in different directions, and sometimes cars break down.

Cars are paid off and have been for years, though. I do all the maintenance on them, so our maintenance bills are typically on the order of $150 a year for both cars. Parking is free at work. Exercise room at work is also free, so I'm not saving there either. I never wash my car as long as it rains at least once a year or so :-) I bought a denim blue car specifically because it looks exactly the same dirty as it does clean.

So my only real savings is fuel. So far, I've put on 1700 miles, so I'm figuring about $135 in gas (my car gets 24 MPG, gas averaging somewhere around $1.85/gal this summer so far).

I've spent about $600 on the bike. It'll take me probably on the order of 2 years to pay off what I've already spent, and that's if I stick with it through the wind and snow this winter. In addition, I'm probably going to need some clothes and maybe studded tires this winter. So in actuality it'll probably be 3 to 4 years to pay back, and by then I expect the bike will have taken some heavy mileage and will need new wheels, perhaps cables, maybe deraillers, maybe more (I have 4 miles of gravel which beats the bike (and me) badly (broken spokes, etc) and splashes lots of mud into the chain/etc during rains).

My commute takes an extra 40 minutes per day (40 per way instead of 20 in a car) for the 21 mile round trip.

But, I don't care if I'm saving money or not. That's not why I'm doing it.
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Old 10-07-04, 03:58 PM   #3
jslopez
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Thanks for making the calculations. I'm a carless guy myself and these figures help justify the new Orbea I got .

I see I still have a few dollars left over based on your calculations ...
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Old 10-07-04, 04:34 PM   #4
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Well lets see... I cancelled the plates on my 2nd car for the summer - plan to licence it for 5 months of the year for winter backup (still not sure if I'll be "ice biking"). so, assuming the minimum of 7 months cycle commuting:
- no car insurance $50/mo * 7 months = $350/yr
- no gas $70/mo * 7 months = $490/yr
- a couple of oil changes $50/yr
- misc maintenance ?$

So a total saving of $890/yr

So far I've spent:
Bike $610
Rack $20
Light $30
Total $660

So, even if I spend another $230 on accessories/bike repairs, I'll break even after 7 months, then it's all gravy!
I guess I could also factor in savings by not having to go to a gym as well.
Plus when I don't have a car at work I'm not tempted to head out for lunch (more savings)... at this rate I'll be able to retire at 55 for sure!
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Old 10-07-04, 09:11 PM   #5
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I'm an accountant myself, but in my case it's really hard to tell, as many of the things I buy for the bike have other uses elsewhere. For example I spent $200 on an altimeter a few months ago, now it's not like I'm going to use that much on a commute that only has about 25 metres of climbing. On the other hand, it will come in handy on Mt Hotham later this year.

Even things like repairs and so on, I'd suggest that bill would drop considerably without 200km weekend rides. I guess the saving is that if I had a car I mightn't be able to afford the altimeter and spanky touring racks that I use at other times -- not to mention the apartment on the water. Hard to put it in pure dollar terms at this point (admittedly, I'm too lazy to do the calculations anyway), but I'm sure I come out in front.
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Old 10-08-04, 07:27 AM   #6
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Well I save at least $100 bucks a month from bus/subway fare. But then again I spent almost a years worth of that equipping my bike for commuting
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Old 10-08-04, 07:46 AM   #7
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My girlfriend and I share a car, so we still have insurance payments, etc.
If I wasn't biking, I'd be taking the bus -- I'm not crazy enough to drive into downtown Boston. And may company pays for a bus pass, so no savings there.

Lately, though, I've started loaning the bus pass to my girlfriend, since I haven't used mine in over a month. So I guess she saves about $70/month because I bike

Still, it's going to take a long time for that to offset the $1300 for my new bike, winter clothes, etc etc.
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Old 10-08-04, 07:58 AM   #8
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car insurance: $720 (went from paying $110 a month for liability in my name to $50 for full coverage in my dad's name)
gas: $700
feeling better, looking better, and getting sick less: can you really put a price on that? (well, you can on doctor bills, I guess)
... still do the routine maintenance and repairs on my car myself, so no savings there... but I do save milage on the car

expenses:
... once you buy the equipment, there really aren't many to speak of... maybe $50 a year maintenance?... or is it the $1000 a year upgrading that kills ya? hehe
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Old 10-08-04, 08:04 AM   #9
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I find that any savings I make end up getting spent on one or other of my bikes or on on bike-related gear.

It's a bit like the "Peace Dividend". Swords into ploughshears my a** :-)
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Old 10-08-04, 08:17 AM   #10
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12 months of subway fees would cost me $1000
The bike i just bought cost me $1900
no save there...
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Old 10-08-04, 08:18 AM   #11
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$6 Parking
$4 Car mileage ($.38 * 11 miles)
$10 Daily total
250 days per year -- $2,500

Expenses:
$200/year -- repairs
$1,000 bike, amortized over 4 years -- $250 a year
$50 -- misc (includes raingear amortized over 4 years)..
Total = $500

Net savings -- $2,000

It is probably unrealistic to assume bike value goes to zero in four years, so expenses my be overestimated. My car insurance is also somewhat lower, because I do not use either car for commuting.

Paul
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Old 10-08-04, 08:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clevernamehere
Well lets see... I cancelled the plates on my 2nd car for the summer - plan to licence it for 5 months of the year for winter backup (still not sure if I'll be "ice biking"). so, assuming the minimum of 7 months cycle commuting:
- no car insurance $50/mo * 7 months = $350/yr
- no gas $70/mo * 7 months = $490/yr
- a couple of oil changes $50/yr
- misc maintenance ?$

So a total saving of $890/yr
I wish we could do this in the US. With me commuting by bike, and both my husband and myself owning motorcycles, I'd love to have my car registered and insured for only 5 - 7 months of the year.

Lucky Canucks!
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Old 10-08-04, 08:58 AM   #13
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1 Year of puplic transportation pass $500 and I think that I put around
$1000/Year in bike gear including clothes.

So it cost me $500/Year.

It is ridiculous regarding to the level of pleasure that it provides me.

Philippe
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Old 10-08-04, 09:42 AM   #14
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I can only base my savings on public transportation... so I save about $70 a month
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Old 10-08-04, 10:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westman2003
Being a bean counter I figured here are my savings by biking.

No Car Payment $3600
Insurance 900
Fuel 1200
Parking Fees at work 720
Repairs 500
Misc (car washes etc) 200
Less Bike (one time investment) 500
Clothes Lights Helmet Etc 200

TOTAL SAVINGS YEAR 1 $6420

Furthermore I'd have to earn about $10500 before tax to have $6420 take home pay to pay for the car. It's like I've just given myself a $10,000 raise. Also if I was driving I'd be riding each night for fitness ( 1 hour). It takes me a total of 15 min extra to ride to work than drive round trip. Thus I "save" 50 hours almost 4 hours a week I can spend with my wife and kids by making my commute my fitness time instead of 1 hour each evening.

I can't put a dollar amount on lower stress fitness etc but add this to the pot and biking to work keeps making more and more sense.

Your figure of 6K is close to what AAA estimates it takes to drive a brand new car per year. Most people never take into account depreciation, tolls, tickets and repairs. Keep in mind that after year 6, you have to buy a new car all over again costing thousands.

These are my estimated numbers if I drove into 42nd street (New York City)

New Car Payment $4,200
Insurance $1,600
Fuel $950
Parking Fees at work
$450.00 per month in $5,400
Time Square)

Repairs $900.00
(New cars get Broken into
frequently in Manhattan)

Maintenace $300.00
(Oil Change every two months)

Tolls & Tickets estimated $650.00

Depreciation $4,100.00
$25,000.00/6 years

Total Cost $18,100.00

Less

Train ticket ($1,116.00)
Less new bicycle ($900.00)
Tune-ups/Misc (150.00)

Total Savings $15,934.00
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Old 10-08-04, 10:40 AM   #16
madhouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westman2003
I can't put a dollar amount on lower stress fitness etc but add this to the pot and biking to work keeps making more and more sense.
The going rate of a Health Club membership would be a good bench-mark for the cost of lower stress, fitness, etc... Thousands of people spend that money and the cost of driving to and from to obtain lower stress, fitness, etc.
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Old 10-08-04, 10:46 AM   #17
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well, since I never owned a car, I can say that I don't have to buy a bus pass every month, which amounts to 828$ per year. Though that's been blown by the new bike I bought, I reason that I'll still be riding the same bike next year.
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Old 10-08-04, 10:57 AM   #18
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I drive a í93 Subaru with 220,000 miles on it. It was paid for many years ago. My commute is 13 miles one way and takes me 15 minutes from the time I grab my keys until I am at my desk. I have free parking at work. Based on the number of kids, my school, work, and activities it would be impractical to give up the car. So I donít have any concrete numbers or justifications working in my favor.

That said, the going rate of mileage for business expenses in the US is $0.35/mile. Based on my old beater I reduced that to $0.30/mile, which averages $8.00 per commute. I keep a log and justify spending more money on my bike habit based on these numbers. 110 more commutes and the new bike is paid for!!!! Iím starting to eye my next bike!!!!

Savings = $0
Supporting a habit/Fun quotient =
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Old 10-08-04, 11:46 AM   #19
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I thought that the per mile rate is $0.375/mile? Atleast that's what I get at work... I just drove 300 miles yesterday - that is about $90 worth of bike stuff after gas! So I guess in a way (for me), owning my truck actually makes me money, probably about $6000 per year after gas expenses (20,000 miles billable). Minus maintenance, the cost of the truck (spread over ten years), and permitting, it probably makes me about $4,000 per year (tax free).

Commuting by bike (when I don't have a project to drive to) saves a few hundred dollars a year in gas and oil, and likely hundreds in untold health care costs.

It is ironic that owning my auto makes me more money than bicycle commuting does... The truck will have paid for itself in about another year (its only 3.5 years old). The bike has already paid itself off.

Eventually I won't need another car for work - I would love be a one car family instead of having two...
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Old 10-08-04, 01:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
Your figure of 6K is close to what AAA estimates it takes to drive a brand new car per year. Most people never take into account depreciation, tolls, tickets and repairs. Keep in mind that after year 6, you have to buy a new car all over again costing thousands.

These are my estimated numbers if I drove into 42nd street (New York City)

New Car Payment $4,200
Insurance $1,600
Fuel $950
Parking Fees at work
$450.00 per month in $5,400
Time Square)

Repairs $900.00
(New cars get Broken into
frequently in Manhattan)

Maintenace $300.00
(Oil Change every two months)

Tolls & Tickets estimated $650.00

Depreciation $4,100.00
$25,000.00/6 years

Total Cost $18,100.00

Less

Train ticket ($1,116.00)
Less new bicycle ($900.00)
Tune-ups/Misc (150.00)

Total Savings $15,934.00

you can either count car payment in full, or depreciation and only part of the car payment... you don't pay $30k to buy a car then an extra $25k because it's gets old... you pay $30k for a car, then can only get $5k back because it's old...
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Old 10-08-04, 02:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digs
you can either count car payment in full, or depreciation and only part of the car payment... you don't pay $30k to buy a car then an extra $25k because it's gets old... you pay $30k for a car, then can only get $5k back because it's old...
You have a point in that I did not take salvage value into consideration. I suspect a 25K auto after 6 years would be worth about 7 - 12 K depending on milage and overall condition.

However, depreciation is something that many owners never take into account and thus my figures were based on a new car purchase with little or no money down.
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Old 10-08-04, 04:52 PM   #22
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I just did the calculations:
20 mile commute (round trip)

$525 saved in gas per year
$3240 saved in insurance
$1800 saved in maintenance
$5565 total saved
I'd need a raise of about $7000 to take that home after taxes.

Hmm. I sold the car over a month ago and commute everywhere by bike now; the money way overshadows the $700 I've spent on bike + stuff so far. No wonder I can afford to eat so much now! (Eating is my new hobby to supplement my biking addiction).

Thanks for starting this - I had no idea I was saving so much money, I just thought it was fun.
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Old 10-09-04, 09:02 AM   #23
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In response to message #12 (sorry, I don't know how to include it in the header):

I guess the down side to not having the car insured for part of the year is that it's not covered if anything should happen to it - not a big concern for me since my 2nd car is an '87 Corolla that's barely worth the insurance deductable anyway. Plus it's stored in my garage, so chances of anything happening to it are slim.

Tony

Last edited by clevernamehere; 10-09-04 at 09:10 AM. Reason: edited to clarify my response
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Old 10-09-04, 05:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digs
getting sick less: can you really put a price on that? (well, you can on doctor bills, I guess)
I got over the cold I came down with last week very quickly. Still got the cold, but they normally hang on for 2 weeks for me, this time I was feeling great except for a bit of congestion after 3 days, and all that was gone by day 8.

Can't say that I'm getting any less doctor bills. All I ever really catch is colds and flu, and it's pointless to go to a doctor for those, because they can't do anything about them anyway. You go to a doctor with a cold, he says "You have a cold. $80, pay on the way out." Thanks. I was at the doctor with a leg fracture this spring, but before that it was about 15 years.
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Old 10-09-04, 05:59 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
Most people never take into account depreciation, tolls, tickets and repairs. Keep in mind that after year 6, you have to buy a new car all over again costing thousands.
Well, that's making some assumptions. For one, that people get new cars at 6 years. My current car is 8 years old, still in very good shape, and I plan to have it for many years to come. It's been paid off for 5 years. I have never had a ticket of any kind. I do my own repairs, average for 2 cars is < $150 a year for parts. There are no toll roads within 300 miles of where I live. So there is a wide variation in cost per mile.

I like to be honest with myself, so I'm not using the 38 cents/mile figure. Currently my $18000 car (total cost after financing) has 105000 miles on it. Total repair costs so far have been about $400 including oil changes. Gas has cost $6300. Insurance, about $2800.

So at this point, miles have cost me about 26 cents each. Every mile I drive from now on will reduce the average.

Even if you're the "average" driver, you can't really just count miles on the bike and multiply by 38 cents to get your savings. You're still depreciating the car and paying insurance on it even if you're not driving it.

Of course, if I stop driving it altogether and keep paying insurance, that'll actually drive UP the cost per mile for already-driven miles! But that's unlikely, since I still drive errands and stuff.
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