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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 11-06-12, 02:24 PM   #1
bjorke
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Bike Costs vs Car Costs: A little spreadsheet

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...WhRN3ZTVmdBa0E

(link now public)

Upshot: I should have purchased a much more expensive bike

This comparison is based on deprecation of car and bike, on how often I ride the train versus ride, and I ignore fixed costs like car registration because I'm not getting rid of my car, just looking at my savings when commuting by bike (actually if I own my car longer, I suppose those fixed costs increase -- ironic, eh? A bike causes you to spend more per-car on registration?)

Last edited by bjorke; 11-06-12 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 11-06-12, 02:30 PM   #2
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Don't think your document is publicly available - I can't access it.
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Old 11-06-12, 02:33 PM   #3
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Don't think your document is publicly available - I can't access it.
Me either
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Old 11-06-12, 02:59 PM   #4
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cannot open the link.
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Old 11-06-12, 03:31 PM   #5
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cannot open the link.
Should be fixed!
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Old 11-06-12, 03:50 PM   #6
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Works now
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Old 11-06-12, 03:57 PM   #7
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You are missing an important factor: time and health.

Time spent communting, and health benefits/detractions of cycling and sitting.
These are the largest costs associated with commuting.
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Old 11-06-12, 04:39 PM   #8
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You are missing an important factor: time and health.

Time spent communting, and health benefits/detractions of cycling and sitting.
These are the largest costs associated with commuting.
Agreed, though verrrry difficult to quantify, save in a wide epidemiological sense.
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Old 11-06-12, 05:12 PM   #9
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How did you get $600 for maintenance?
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Old 11-06-12, 05:25 PM   #10
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How did you get $600 for maintenance?
Campagnolo, Rapha, Castelli, Light & Motion...
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Old 11-06-12, 05:29 PM   #11
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Campagnolo, Rapha, Castelli, Light & Motion...
I guess, I still don't understand?
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Old 11-06-12, 05:56 PM   #12
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I guess, I still don't understand?
expensive ass components = expensive ass repair bill
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Old 11-06-12, 06:04 PM   #13
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is that 12% depreciation/year? ah, maybe that's monthly payment/insurance?

what about having a car (like me) with 0% depreciation and 0 parking/year?

then the values come out quite the same, unless i am doing something incorrectly.

i guess that i could have 2 bikes or 1 car and 1 bike (which for me is that better option.)
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Old 11-06-12, 06:05 PM   #14
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...Upshot: I should have purchased a much more expensive bike

That's easily fixed. Just buy *more* bikes.
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Old 11-06-12, 06:27 PM   #15
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Campagnolo, Rapha, Castelli, Light & Motion...
Fortunately my Pocket Rocket doesn't have such expensive tastes. It also didn't cease to exist upon reaching 20 kmiles (but my car didn't either after 100 kmiles).
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Old 11-06-12, 06:58 PM   #16
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Agreed, though verrrry difficult to quantify, save in a wide epidemiological sense.
I think the time factor makes it impossible for many to commute by bike.
Also, city layout and structure does not make cycling easy.

Once those hurdles are accounted for, people will commute by bike.

For example, it would take me 35min by car to get to a work site. By bike, 1.5hrs+.
Despite that, I know people would bike if the streets were bike-centric and not bike-hostile.

Real change will only come with public pressure and heavy lobbying because in general, people are lemmings and they will fight tooth and nail against change, even if it is in their best interest.
I have seen this over and over.

The thing is, once change happens, those complainers magically disappear. But, it takes a huge battle to get over that hump of ignornance and fear.

When streets are laid out to give advantage to bikes and pedestrians, and cars are relegated in traffic (as they should be), that paradigm shift will change everything.

I see the change happening and hope it continues.
Right now, the cost of biking is too high for the majority.

So, even I say, Car cost is less than bike because it currently saves time (in my city and situation).
Time and health are the most valuable commodities. A few hundred or thousands of dollars doesn't really mean much and won't affect change to any real degree.
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Old 11-06-12, 07:35 PM   #17
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What about me, when I've owned my car 11+ years and have over 320K miles on it and it barely ever needs any work? In the past 12 months I have spent a grand total of $1,940 including both gas and parts, not including insurance. Gotta love Hondas.
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Old 11-06-12, 08:32 PM   #18
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The time factor makes it more interesting for me. If I cycle, I reach office in 12 minutes. If I drive, I take anything between 10-30 minutes (not including the 5 minute walk to the car park).
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Old 11-06-12, 09:12 PM   #19
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What about me, when I've owned my car 11+ years and have over 320K miles on it and it barely ever needs any work? In the past 12 months I have spent a grand total of $1,940 including both gas and parts, not including insurance. Gotta love Hondas.
Crank out a spreadsheet and see!

You do have to include insurance - it is a car expense and not a cycling expense. Well, I think you should, but I'm an engineer and not an accountant. Still looks to me like cycling would be cheaper for you.

In my case, I have a paid for rig that gets 16mpg around town, so simply riding saves me about 5 bucks a day. I can't do without the car, but riding allows me to reduce the miles I drive, extend the life of my tires, lower my insurance cost (miles driven will change the rate), lower maintenance costs, and increase my fitness, lower my doctor bills (no crashes included nor planned for), and have more fun.

It really does cost something between $.5 and $1 per mile to drive, when the loaded cost is considered (tires, maintenance, gas, insurance, wiper blades, pine tree air fresheners, etc.). Even with your figures, I think you could have a mighty fine bike and maintain it well.

But most of us that don't live urban can't easily do without a car. So the savings mostly has to be wear and tear and fuel costs - you'll have insurance whether you drive or not. Hmmm, guess I came full circle on that one..
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Old 11-06-12, 10:40 PM   #20
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Well I don't know what insurance would be. I pay about $1K total for both our cars, but mine is a little more than half of that as my car has full coverage with liability only on my wife's.

So maybe $2500/yr for my car. To commute on my bike would save considerable money, but the distance would cost me almost 2 hours of the day, or over 500 hours per year that I would not get to spend with my wife and son. To me that's worth far more than the money saved by not driving.
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Old 11-07-12, 03:24 AM   #21
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just FYI, the German federal government pays 0.51€/km when someone uses their car for personal business.

however, we actually have a car that university employees can use for "official" work (a BMW 7-series active hybrid) and we often have "official business" in Switzerland, so we try to take it and open it up on the Autobahn.

however, students always try to use their own cars ... because they get a huge refund check for driving 700km (35% of their monthly salary).

anyway, i don't think that i save money over public transport on a bicycle (i pay 20€/month for unlimited usage of the excellent system) but I do save a huge amount over a car. am i getting rid of the Audi though, not likely because the train isn't always the most convenient. for example, a 400km trip on Monday at 4am is not so easy.
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Old 11-07-12, 07:21 AM   #22
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So maybe $2500/yr for my car. To commute on my bike would save considerable money, but the distance would cost me almost 2 hours of the day, or over 500 hours per year that I would not get to spend with my wife and son. To me that's worth far more than the money saved by not driving.
THAT is a decision that can't be measured in dollars. Simply priceless, and even without my saying so the absolute right decision.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:06 AM   #23
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Crank out a spreadsheet and see!

You do have to include insurance - it is a car expense and not a cycling expense. Well, I think you should, but I'm an engineer and not an accountant. Still looks to me like cycling would be cheaper for you.

..
The OP said they were not going to get rid of the car so insurance cost is still there. I think they where looking at the cost savings of comuting by bike vs car, not going car free. But for most, if you dont use your car to comute, the insurance would be less.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:21 AM   #24
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Well I don't know what insurance would be. I pay about $1K total for both our cars, but mine is a little more than half of that as my car has full coverage with liability only on my wife's.

So maybe $2500/yr for my car. To commute on my bike would save considerable money, but the distance would cost me almost 2 hours of the day, or over 500 hours per year that I would not get to spend with my wife and son. To me that's worth far more than the money saved by not driving.
The one factor that one has to consider when taking up long distance commutes by bike. Not only the addition extra time, but also the extra energy expenditure, wear and tear on one's body. Even the Dutch, who have a much have a high percentage cycling rate, only ride on the average of 4 to 5 miles before switching to another form of transportation.

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Old 11-07-12, 09:33 AM   #25
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The one factor that one has to consider when taking up long distance commutes by bike. Not only the addition extra time, but also the extra energy expenditure, wear and tear on one's body. Even the Dutch, who have a much have a high percentage cycling rate, only ride on the average of 4 to 5 miles before switching to another form of transportation.

i agree

this video better demonstrates your argument
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