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Cost of bike commuting

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Cost of bike commuting

Old 06-12-20, 06:00 PM
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Surubi
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Cost of bike commuting

Many years ago, when I was just starting my professional career, I lived close enough to work to walk there in half an hour. After walking to work and home for several months a pair of shoes needed new heels and soles. It cost $36.00. That weekend I went to a flea market, bought a black, large frame, woman's Raleigh equipped with Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub for $25. $10 got me two new tires and $6 a smaller rear cog. I rode the bike to work most days for the next two years. At that point I changed jobs and cycle commuting became impractical. I continued to ride the bike on occasional week ends. A couple of years later I felt flush enough to buy a real ten speed with front and rear derailleurs, drop bars and skinny tires. I sold the Raleigh for $50 --- a profit of $9.

I concluded from that experience that it was cheaper to commute by bike than walk, The same numbers certainly would not work today, but I wonder if my conclusion is still true,
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Old 06-12-20, 06:19 PM
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I think most of us are in it for the exercise and alone-time, but yeah it can be very cheap if you aim to.
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Old 06-13-20, 12:04 AM
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If solely judging by the dollars spent on walking vs bike equipment, regardless of distance, bike would be more costly. A pair of cheapo $20 Walmart shoes could cover my 16 mile (one way) commute, compared to a $200 Walmart bike.

Again this only works if you take dollars spent on equipment as the only variable. Once you factor in time cost, then bike wins in my scenario. But if you are 2 blocks from your work, then obviously shoes would win out on cost!
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Old 06-13-20, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by yamsyamsyams View Post
If solely judging by the dollars spent on walking vs bike equipment, regardless of distance, bike would be more costly. A pair of cheapo $20 Walmart shoes could cover my 16 mile (one way) commute, compared to a $200 Walmart bike.

Again this only works if you take dollars spent on equipment as the only variable. Once you factor in time cost, then bike wins in my scenario. But if you are 2 blocks from your work, then obviously shoes would win out on cost!

I agree, the time factor is a major consideration on calculating transportation cost differences between bicycling versus walking.
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Old 06-13-20, 09:45 AM
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If it matters write it all down.. in 50 years the hip joint replacement may make it all moot. ... or a crash on the bike..
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Old 06-13-20, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by yamsyamsyams View Post
If solely judging by the dollars spent on walking vs bike equipment, regardless of distance, bike would be more costly. A pair of cheapo $20 Walmart shoes could cover my 16 mile (one way) commute, compared to a $200 Walmart bike.
You'd be lucky if those $20 walmart shoes lasted two weeks with a 32 mile per day walking regimen.

Also, over the course of a year, 32 miles a day mon-fri comes to 8320 miles. Even with a $500 bike plus, say, $500 for repair and maintenance (tires, tubes, chain, new cassette and chainring, etc.), that's $1000 sunk vs maybe a couple hundred in good quality walking shoes, plus an extra ~400,000 calories burned walking that distance vs biking it. Quality food is expensive. Figure an extra $5 per work day for the extra calories from healthy foods, that adds up to $100 a month or $1200 a year.

I'd argue that anything over a ~6 mile round trip commute will probably end up with the bike winning out on cost, even with the assumption that commute time has no value.
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Old 06-14-20, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by yamsyamsyams View Post
If solely judging by the dollars spent on walking vs bike equipment, regardless of distance, bike would be more costly. A pair of cheapo $20 Walmart shoes could cover my 16 mile (one way) commute, compared to a $200 Walmart bike.

Again this only works if you take dollars spent on equipment as the only variable. Once you factor in time cost, then bike wins in my scenario. But if you are 2 blocks from your work, then obviously shoes would win out on cost!
You must have some quite sturdy feet, and hips. When was the last time you walked 15 miles in cheap shoes......?
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Old 06-15-20, 07:35 AM
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When the alternative was driving a car, and gas was $5/gal, cycling to work was really, really cheap.

When the cardiologist said, "You're alive today because of all the cycling you've been doing," cycling to work became priceless.
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Old 06-15-20, 01:50 PM
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For me bike commuting started out as something to do for fun and make me feel better about not ever going to the gym. I also still have my car because I commute about 50%, and as a result I've probably spent more bike commuting than I would have if I just kept driving 100% of the time. If I factor in not paying for a gym membership that helps, but my current employer for the last 10 years has a free on-site gym so that isn't even a factor any more. Not complaining, there are lots of things I could be doing that are worse for my health and my wallet.
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Old 06-16-20, 07:32 PM
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The costs can add up when you first get into the hobby but once you have it built up, it's actually cheaper than maintaining a car by a long shot.
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Old 06-17-20, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Pugs2xLove View Post
The costs can add up when you first get into the hobby but once you have it built up, it's actually cheaper than maintaining a car by a long shot.
Not to mention the savings on insurance and registration.
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Old 06-17-20, 05:52 PM
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The lesson here isn't how cheap bike commuting is; it's how expensive car commuting is.
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Old 06-17-20, 06:03 PM
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Everything is relative. Car ownership in general, for most people, is quite expensive. DIYers who don't mind driving 20+ year old beaters can do it pretty cheaply, but then the same could be said of cycling as a hobby. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, depending on the time and effort you want to put in.
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Old 06-24-20, 02:28 PM
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I figured out once that I'm spending as much money for my extra fuel when bike commuting, as I do for fuel for my car. Oh well...
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Old 06-25-20, 11:11 AM
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Yeah, gas on a calories per dollar basis is really cheap. Too bad you can't eat it
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Old 06-26-20, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I figured out once that I'm spending as much money for my extra fuel when bike commuting, as I do for fuel for my car. Oh well...
I used "what I'm saving on gas" as an excuse to buy parts, clothing, etc. I figure I'm still saving on maintenance (oil change twice a year instead of four times a year), tires (Yikes! have you bought a set of new car tires lately?), and other wear and tear. I'd probably be looking for my third new car since I bought the last one if I weren't bike commuting. (New car price tag makes car tires look cheap by comparison!)
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Old 06-26-20, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I used "what I'm saving on gas" as an excuse to buy parts, clothing, etc. I figure I'm still saving on maintenance (oil change twice a year instead of four times a year), tires (Yikes! have you bought a set of new car tires lately?), and other wear and tear. I'd probably be looking for my third new car since I bought the last one if I weren't bike commuting. (New car price tag makes car tires look cheap by comparison!)
Good point. BTW, you priced a new set of "tubeless" tires lately? getting in to car tire territory. Still, when I built my e-bike for commuting, I sold my summer car (and still the pedal bike gets 90% or more usage vs the e-bike)
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Old 06-26-20, 12:24 PM
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I am not saving money on bike commuting. Maybe gas. The third kid and suburb living are really counter to the idea of saving money.
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Old 06-27-20, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I am not saving money on bike commuting. Maybe gas. The third kid and suburb living are really counter to the idea of saving money.



Besides kidding Darth I can't see how eating a bit more is a comparison to savings on gas, insurance, maintenance, potential car payment, somebody running into you (I had that happened to me, one DRIVER ran into another DRIVER and flung his car into mine while I was on a side street) overall traffic, even in clusterf*ck suburbia where they can't stop unnecessary building........
and some states are just plain bizarre. Some states the police can pull you over for a minor infraction and issue a bond for your license, taking your license.. Isn't Illinois one of those states?

I may have to drive again but I hate it!

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Old 06-29-20, 07:13 PM
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My total bicycle numbers for 2014 and 2015:
Surly Cross Check: $1340
Lighting: $400 (A really good Dinotte set.)
Clothing: $600 ($400 for a close out Rivendell rain jacket. Until I had to buy suits for work, it was the single most expensive piece of clothing I had ever purchased.)
Brooks Saddle: $85
Ticket: $50 (Trail riding after dark)
Total: $2475

My total vehicle numbers for 2016 and 2017:
Jeep Wrangler: $11,640
Insurance: $5088
Fuel: $2704
Maintenance: $700
Tickets: $300
Total: $20,432

My commute changed and I had to buy a motor vehicle. When I was commuting by bicycle, I spent lavishly and justified my purchases by comparing the costs to what I would have been paying had I owned a car. My commute was fifteen miles round trip and for me that was a long ride. I splurged because I enjoy comfort and stuff that works. Thinking about it now, I could have easily have cut my expenditures by seventy-five percent. A less expensive bicycle, a cheaper light set, and avoiding online sales would have made a big difference.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:35 PM
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$5000 for two years of insurance on one Jeep, damn.
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