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Give up commuting ?

Old 04-25-13, 11:35 AM
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Give up commuting ?

Hey guys - serious question. Would you give up bike commuting for the right price?

I've been biking to work for 2 years now (and love it), but was recently offered a position in which would require an an hour commute each way. Salary wise, it's almost a 40% pay raise - it's much more than I've ever made in my life and could be a good opportunity to sharpen my skills.

Odds are, I could leave my bike at work, and ride on my lunch breaks - but I would miss the heck out of riding to from/work, and stopping for coffee in the mornings with my crew.

I do hate being trapped in a car - but I'm not sure at what price am I being selfish... In other words, am I putting my love of cycling in front of the financial needs/stability of my family.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old 04-25-13, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by joshuatrio
Hey guys - serious question. Would you give up bike commuting for the right price?

I've been biking to work for 2 years now (and love it), but was recently offered a position in which would require an an hour commute each way. Salary wise, it's almost a 40% pay raise - it's much more than I've ever made in my life and could be a good opportunity to sharpen my skills.

Odds are, I could leave my bike at work, and ride on my lunch breaks - but I would miss the heck out of riding to from/work, and stopping for coffee in the mornings with my crew.

I do hate being trapped in a car - but I'm not sure at what price am I being selfish... In other words, am I putting my love of cycling in front of the financial needs/stability of my family.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
I'm not a cycle commuter so hope I'm not speaking out of turn by replying.

To me cycling is sometimes an activity I do for fun and sometimes it's a means to an end. If I just go for a ride for the sheer hell of it, that's fun. If I cycle to get somewhere, it's an activity that serves a purpose. To me cycling to work is more likely to be an activity that serves a purpose than something that's specifically fun.

If you really enjoy your current commute then by all means consider it alongside other pros and cons of the new job. When you say the new job is an hour's commute are you talking an hour on the bike or an hour by car/train/bus? If it's an hour on the bike then that doesn't have to be a problem - where I live it's pretty standard to take an hour on the train to get to work and all things being equal I'd rather take an hour on the bike than an hour on the train (big city, so the time taken is about the same). If you're trading a 10-minute commute for a 60-minute commute then the extra travelling time is worth considering - when I worked in town I used to find it increasingly soul-destroying to leave work at 6 and not get home (11 miles away) until after 7. The only reason I put up with it for so long was because the money was good.

Depending what that 40% means to you I'd seriously consider it. If it means the difference between just about getting by and having a good chunk of change to spare each month I'd say you should ask whether you're being selfish in not taking it. If it means the difference between eating fillet steak five times a week instead of four, or trading the year-old Lamborghini for a new one, maybe you don't need the extra money.
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Old 04-25-13, 11:49 AM
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Don't pass on the 40% raise.... I bike at lunch a lot and often do a car/bike when I want to commute. To me it about the cycling... not really keeping a car off the road.
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Old 04-25-13, 11:49 AM
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Hmm, tough call -- don't forget to factor in the cost of driving when doing the math on your salary upgrade.
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Old 04-25-13, 11:51 AM
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Move your home to within a shorter distance to ride from.
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Old 04-25-13, 11:51 AM
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An hour of car commuting or an hour of bike commuting?
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Old 04-25-13, 11:52 AM
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for 40%? hell yes!

do this with your new found money:
Originally Posted by fietsbob
Move your home to within a shorter distance to ride from.
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Old 04-25-13, 11:58 AM
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I did the same thing a few months ago.

Got an effective raise of 46% but picked up a two hour (round-trip) commute. It's been a net positive, mainly because the increased income has pushed me into a lifestyle where I actually have discretionary funds. I do hate driving though; once I'm able, I plan to go back to walking/cycling to work as I had done for the majority of my commuting the previous 7-8 years.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:00 PM
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It depends on what stage of life you're at, and how you are placed financially. Me - I have to start saving for my son's college. I'd do it - sometimes you make sacrifices for the family, and sometimes its the other way around.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:01 PM
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Sounds like a great opportunity. You have to consider your earning potential over time is going to be a lot more (sounds like) at this new job. I hate a long commute by car, so hopefully you could move closer at some point.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:14 PM
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Take the job !!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-25-13, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Move your home to within a shorter distance to ride from.
This. There are a lot of things that are worth the money, more so than a bike commute.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:29 PM
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Biking's important to me, but I don't think I could justify passing up a 40% raise just over the bike. If it's one factor in a combination of issues that make the job undesirable, though, I wouldn't jump at a job you don't want just because of the pay.

There are jobs I'm qualified for in my city that would pay 30-40% more than I earn now, but in addition to most of them being industrial park jobs that would take me far from home, these high paying opportunities are all petro-chemical industry work, and I just can't justify sacrificing my ethics by working in that industry when I have other options that provide adequate income. The key here, though, is that my family is financially stable, though not exactly rich, in our current position. I did start my career in a company that did oilfield services (though I spent half the time I worked there working in the engineering group, that mostly designed sewers for suburbs), and now that I'm out and into something where the end product is actually something I'm (usually) proud to have been involved with, money alone couldn't lure me back.

So evaluate the whole opportunity together. A 40% raise is fantastic, but if it's the only think that's drawing you in, is it worth it? Biking is just one part of the puzzle.

Last edited by neil; 04-25-13 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:34 PM
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Nope. Money does not equal happiness. I'd rather be broke as a joke and be happy than rich as a b- and be unhappy. So I would ask myself more if I wanted the job for the job itself, not the commuting part necessarily. The commute comes in mainly for cost assessment. Gas + time = cost of commute. Take that minus the extra income to decide apples to apples.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:35 PM
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40% pay raise would allow me to pay someone else to workout for me and update my Strava (kidding...).

I would have to think long and hard about that. If the 40% pay raise would add on stress that would cause weight gain and shorter life span....no.

If it means that I would maintain the same amount of stress(maybe more) and have to stick to riding on weekends only....I would take it.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:36 PM
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You should take the job.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:37 PM
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Really appreciate the solid advice. I was hesitant posting this, thinking that everyone would be like "BIKING IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO !" - but in all honestly, you've all given great feedback.

Originally Posted by contango
Depending what that 40% means to you I'd seriously consider it. If it means the difference between just about getting by and having a good chunk of change to spare each month I'd say you should ask whether you're being selfish in not taking it.
My current salary is slightly over the average salary for the area. Considering CA is so expensive, it doesn't go extremely far - but it helps that we got out of debt several years ago, and have lived by that rule since. My wife also doesn't work (by choice), so it would be a nice bump.

40% would help us save more each month, and allow us to probably be a little more liberal about being able to take a family vacation. We're good at saving. One day we'd like to buy a house, not sure if it will be out here - even though we'd like to.

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Hmm, tough call -- don't forget to factor in the cost of driving when doing the math on your salary upgrade.
That's why the salary is so high. I turned down the job - TWICE. Simply because the commuting costs. This morning they dropped a much larger offer in my inbox this morning, to compensate for the drive.

Originally Posted by fietsbob
Move your home to within a shorter distance to ride from.
Thought about it. But I really like the area we live. Plus, right now we're .8 miles from the beach.

Originally Posted by caloso
An hour of car commuting or an hour of bike commuting?
Current job: 15-20 minutes by car, 30-35 minutes by bike

Possible future job: 1 hour - 1.25 hours by car.

Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
I did the same thing a few months ago.

Got an effective raise of 46% but picked up a two hour (round-trip) commute. It's been a net positive, mainly because the increased income has pushed me into a lifestyle where I actually have discretionary funds. I do hate driving though; once I'm able, I plan to go back to walking/cycling to work as I had done for the majority of my commuting the previous 7-8 years.
That's about what this position will do for me. I've even considered setting a time limit - a year or two max, in order to get the experience I've wanted, then to move, or find another position without the commute.

Originally Posted by treadtread
It depends on what stage of life you're at, and how you are placed financially. Me - I have to start saving for my son's college. I'd do it - sometimes you make sacrifices for the family, and sometimes its the other way around.
Just turned 30. Couple kids. Started a college fund a while back for them - but have been at a tipping point in my career for the past two years. It's been time to move on for a while - it's just sucking it up and making the leap.

Originally Posted by matimeo
Sounds like a great opportunity. You have to consider your earning potential over time is going to be a lot more (sounds like) at this new job. I hate a long commute by car, so hopefully you could move closer at some point.
I struggle with how this is going to affect me long term. I do not think the position is worth what they are offering - however, they are having a hard time recruiting for it because of location. The salary level is adjusted to account for the commute. So long term, it could put me at a new level, but then I can see potential employers saying "we can't afford to pay you what you're currently making." If that makes sense.

Then again, what I consider a great salary is pennies compared to what a lot of people make. Don't know... Went to a training class one year, and a guy with a couple years more experience was making 6 TIMES what I made. Another guy 2-3 TIMES. These were both more experienced people - maybe I'm just underestimating myself - but this is also a chance to jump into that "senior" role - that kinda freaks me out.

Originally Posted by neil
If it's one factor in a combination of issues that make the job undesirable, though, I wouldn't jump at a job you don't want just because of the pay.
That’s what I’m trying to determine. It would impact me more than just biking. Just not sure how much at this moment..

Originally Posted by neil
The key here, though, is that my family is financially stable, though not exactly rich, in our current position.
Very nice. Thanks Neil.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by g0tr00t
40% pay raise would allow me to pay someone else to workout for me and update my Strava (kidding...).

I would have to think long and hard about that. If the 40% pay raise would add on stress that would cause weight gain and shorter life span....no.

If it means that I would maintain the same amount of stress(maybe more) and have to stick to riding on weekends only....I would take it.
Lol - a raise like this would allow me to pickup N+1 so that I could turn into a spandex road racer, or tour the divide on a new MTB (what I really REALLY want to do).

But yeah, the stress thing bothers me. I don't want to get complacent by driving in a car everywhere - then not want to go anywhere on the weekends or do anything athletic. Biking also helps me manage my stress - and if I have a crappy day now - I take it out on the bike path.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:44 PM
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Take the job. There's going to be a way to keep riding. Either do multi-mode if you can find a park-and-ride lot at a good distance, or something like that.

Or just do long weekend rides.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Nakedbabytoes
Money does not equal happiness. I'd rather be broke as a joke and be happy than rich as a b- and be unhappy. So I would ask myself more if I wanted the job for the job itself, not the commuting part necessarily. The commute comes in mainly for cost assessment. Gas + time = cost of commute. Take that minus the extra income to decide apples to apples.
Thanks - solid advice.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by joshuatrio
Biking also helps me manage my stress - and if I have a crappy day now - I take it out on the bike path.
That is EXACTLY what I do. I get home and my wife goes, you look beat. My reply is, "Yeah, but I feel great!" and give her a nice big sweaty hug...then we laugh.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:56 PM
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Money can't buy you happiness, but luckily it pays for most everything else. Including things that can make you happier.

Get a really small efficient used convertible and/or a motorcycle and pretend you're riding a bike.

My commute by car time drops in half by flexing my schedule to avoid the rush. But I'm not sure that will work, since most populated places in CA have 12-18 hour rush hours by our standards. Work from home helps when possible.

I once worked on a project that required 60 miles of driving one way. It was out in the middle of nowhere so it only took a little over an hour. The time and distance wasn't as frustrating as the 5 miles of lights getting to the highway so there's a commute and then there's a painful commute. Books on tape and good music make it easier. Luckily for me, my commute distance continues to go down while the salary increases.
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Old 04-25-13, 01:06 PM
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yea get the Vespa..

If you live that close to the Beach, in California,

It will take all the money you can get ahold of to keep living there.
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Old 04-25-13, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by joshuatrio
Lol - a raise like this would allow me to pickup N+1 so that I could turn into a spandex road racer, or tour the divide on a new MTB (what I really REALLY want to do).

But yeah, the stress thing bothers me. I don't want to get complacent by driving in a car everywhere - then not want to go anywhere on the weekends or do anything athletic. Biking also helps me manage my stress - and if I have a crappy day now - I take it out on the bike path.
No, sorry. Most racers I know bike commute. For a lot of us, it's the only way to get in enough saddle time to be fit enough to race.
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Old 04-25-13, 01:11 PM
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I moved accross the country for a job to a place where the traffic is threatening to people on bikes. The decision can be difficult but it is yours and you must be willing to accept the consequences. I wish you the best.
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