Author Topic: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike  (Read 867 times)

GotStacheNotCash

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Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« on: October 09, 2017, 09:43:45 AM »
Hi everybody,

I'm looking into the potential for buying a bike to cycle to work. I've got a few hurdles I'm hoping to get some advice on dealing with in that question.

The situation:  25y/o, I make 58k/year, and have about 46k in debt between student loans and credit cards.  Idiotic college years aside, I'm hoping to move forward from that and get all my debt paid off ASAP.  I don't yet know how fast I can plan to pay off my debt, as I'm trying very aggressivly to cut my spending but am living with my girlfriend who does not have the same mentality (she doesn't have debt and is open to the idea of saving but has otherwise been paycheck to paycheck for ~5 years and appears convinced that it is due to her earnings, around $40k annually) The state I live in has some harsh winters, and I have almost no experience riding a bike.  Currently I commute to work in a used mazda 3 which gets ~32 MPG on average.

I'm thinking about spending a couple hundred dollars to invest in a bike to commute to work (that research is its own adventure, given my noob status with bikes, but I've started by reading the articles from the FAQ), but my concern is that the set-up costs to be able to use it in the coming winter months are going to make it infeasible given how much money I'm trying to throw at my debt, and that my lack of experience will be an issue in rough weather.  I also need to dress professionally for work (pressed shirt, slacks, nice shoes, no tie), and would love to get some advice from anyone who has experience commuting in rough weather on how they handle it and how much stuff they bring to work so that I can plan on a bike that will enable me to do the same.

So, my concerns.  First and foremost are the added costs - my winter gear is non-existant outside of a poofy jacket and a dress jacket.  From the sound of things, I should expect to buy lighting of some kind (dark winter months), a helmet, gloves, a new saddle, and whatever clothing is necessary to protect myself from harsh conditions on the way to work.  Any and all of those purchases pull directly from my ability to pay off my debt faster.  Second, am I going to get myself killed trying to bike in the Winter, given my lack of experience?  I learned how to ride when I was 20, and never quite got the hang of it very well, but I want to learn and get better!

Ultimately, I'm trying to do all of my homework to ensure I make the right decision.  I figure that decision might be driving this Winter and starting in the Spring, so that I can get experience in safer conditions and then start winter biking next Winter.  I also figure that my concern over Winter biking might be irrational, or my brain's way of making sure I uphold my current status quo.  Either way, it seems like switching to biking will be a great way to save money.

Oh, and I nearly forgot - my commute is 9.1 miles, at least one steep hill along the way, lots of less maintained roads if I want to use a bike (highway for commuting via car.)

PoutineLover

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 09:50:16 AM »
If you are not a confident biker, and don't have any gear yet, I would recommend waiting until the spring. Based on the winters where I live, it's definitely challenging to bike in the winter and you don't want to be skidding around on ice and snow around cars. You should probably do a case study to figure out exactly how much money you can throw at your debt over the winter, and do some research and slowly collect what you'll need to bike once the weather is better. By next winter you will probably be ready to tackle winter cycling, with a summer of practice and experience behind you.

GotStacheNotCash

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 10:09:37 AM »
Hi PoutineLover,

Thanks so much for your response!  I was drawing somewhat similar conclusions as I wrote this out, but it's great to get advice from people who have more exposure to this sort of thing. 

Given the idea of waiting until after this Winter, I can use the time to study local craigslist offerings to assess prices and maybe scoop up some out of season gear during the Winter, then do the same come Summer to prepare for my first Winter cycling.

Imma

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 10:53:01 AM »
I am nearly always pro-cycling and I commute by bike year-round, but I'm in a bike friendly country and our winters aren't harsh.

Don't underestimate cycling through harsh weather. You can get some nasty injuries if you fall on ice. You don't want to break or shatter your arms or legs. Make sure you get a good quality helmet that fits well. Find a bike that's suitable for cycling on snow and ice (look for MTB-type wider tyres). Use this winter to prepare yourself for next winter: identify the route to work by bike and check the conditions of those roads during the winter. Gather the necessary supplies on discount by the end of winter. If you want to practice cycling in rough conditions, loose sand is a bit like loose snow. Packed snow is more like a regular dirt road, but it can be dangerously slipperly quite suddenly. It doesn't sound logical, but you don't want to ride in car tracks. Untouched snow is much easier to cycle through. The heat from the cars make the snow melt and then freeze again and it makes car tracks very slippery.

In my town, some roads are cleared from snow and treated with salt while others are not. I have made sure I know which roads are in the best condition during bad weather so I know how I can safely get around. I'm lucky that my street ends up on a main road and my workplace is also close to a main road. If you use separate bike lanes next to main roads, make sure you check if they get the same treatment as the main road.
 
As for clothing, you definitely need a good quality, warm, weatherproof outdoor jacket. On top of that you need weatherproof gloves. I know many people prefer wool, but your hands get really cold if they get wet. You get really cold when your head gets cold, so you might want to wear some sort of cap under your helmet. Get advice from a local outdoor shop or someone you know who's into outdoor winter exercise.  I like to wear long thermal underwear under my regular clothes when I bike to work. We have a super casual dress code so I can turn up at work in jeans and a hoodie. In case of snow, ice or very low temperatures I like to wear snow boots. I leave a pair of lightweight shoes at work. You'll want to wear shoes or boots with proper soles in case you need to walk a part of the way. I always wear hiking socks in my snowboots to keep my feet warm.

If you need to wear formal clothes to work, I would take some pants and jackets and dress shoes to work by car and change clothing once you're there. I think you can find a way to carry a clean pressed shirt to work in a backpack without it getting wrinkly, but I don't think you could do so with a jacket. Depending on how cold it gets over there, you can wear regular outdoor exercise clothing or something more suitable for the cold when you're on the bike.

Depending on the distance and how bad the weather is, you might want to consider walking instead of cycling through the harshest period of winter. My commute is about 3,5 miles and whenever I'm not sure about the weather, I set my alarm 1,5 hours early and consider walking.

ixtap

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 11:06:49 AM »
Would you be selling the car?

GotStacheNotCash

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2017, 11:33:19 AM »
Would you be selling the car?

Most likely not, as my SO's car is not long-distance worthy and my nearest family is 20+ miles out.  That said, we could look into the possibility of selling hers.  Our jobs are inconveniently located in opposite directions, with hers being farther away, which makes having at least one fully-road-worthy car something of a necessity due to her longer commute.  She's looking for a new and more local job presently, however, which provides more ammo for the "wait until the Spring, ride next Winter" argument. 

Edit:  Thanks to Plog's wonderful advice, I'm definitely re-evaluating the idea of selling the car.  However, I will certainly be waiting and making sure that I enjoy cycling and could manage to cycle to work and back consistently without issue prior to doing so.


snipped for length


Pretty sure that breaking something would end up setting me waaay farther back than a winter without using my car would get me ahead!  Thank you for all of the excellent advice, I will definitely do some "trial runs" of the bike route this Winter to get a feel for any problem areas.  I've definitely got some work cut out for me in terms of finding Winter gear, so having a year to prepare both my body and my wallet will help.  As for walking, it isn't a realistic option given the length of my commute (9.1 miles.)  Though I am hopeful that once my SO finds a new job, we can move out of our current expensive city-sukka apartment (which, to be fair, is still cheaper than my old one when I foolishly lived alone) and into something much cheaper and more local to my work.

« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 07:29:33 AM by GotStacheNotCash »

plog

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2017, 12:07:12 PM »
Wanting to bike threads on MMM is always super confusing to me.  Are you seeking financial advice?  Just looking for positive reinforcement that will spur you on to this new venture?  These threads in this context are just weird. 

From a bicycling perspective, you'd get much better advice on a biking forum.  Or go to your local bike shop and talk to the manager.  Ask him your bike questions and then at the end tell him to level with you.  Tell him that you know he gets guys like you starting from scratch every so often and ask him what he thinks their success rate is.  How often does he see a bike he sold to them either being tried to be returned or on craigslist being sold because the guy gave up.

Financially, do the math.  Biking to work is not going to make a dimple, much less a dent in your debt.  I bet the break-even period is at least 6 months. If the financial aspect is what's going to tip the scale, you are not interested enough in bicycling to work to bicycle to work.

Practically, I think you can find out your resolve to do this without buying a bike.  Borrow one from a friend or see if you can  rent one when you talk to the bike manager.  Then on a Saturday or Sunday make that 9.1 mile ride. And back.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 12:08:51 PM by plog »

GotStacheNotCash

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2017, 07:27:32 AM »
Wanting to bike threads on MMM is always super confusing to me.  Are you seeking financial advice?  Just looking for positive reinforcement that will spur you on to this new venture?  These threads in this context are just weird. 

From a bicycling perspective, you'd get much better advice on a biking forum.  Or go to your local bike shop and talk to the manager.  Ask him your bike questions and then at the end tell him to level with you.  Tell him that you know he gets guys like you starting from scratch every so often and ask him what he thinks their success rate is.  How often does he see a bike he sold to them either being tried to be returned or on craigslist being sold because the guy gave up.

Financially, do the math.  Biking to work is not going to make a dimple, much less a dent in your debt.  I bet the break-even period is at least 6 months. If the financial aspect is what's going to tip the scale, you are not interested enough in bicycling to work to bicycle to work.

Practically, I think you can find out your resolve to do this without buying a bike.  Borrow one from a friend or see if you can  rent one when you talk to the bike manager.  Then on a Saturday or Sunday make that 9.1 mile ride. And back.

Thanks so much for the advice; like I said in my post, I'm trying to do my homework before committing to a large decision - I know I enjoy cycling, and that I need to pay off my debt ASAP, and that one might help the other.  I also live in a city, and know that a bike would be a great means of travel 90-95% of the time, assuming I was competent enough to use it in the Winter.

The reason I posted here instead of on a biking forum is that I was looking for feedback from people who were in similar situations (I.E, saving money, potential debt emergencies) to learn if investing in a bike prior to paying off the full amount of my debt would be a worthwhile investment given my debt situation.  A (edit: estimated minimum, not ballpark) of 6 months to payoff tells me that my time will probably be better spent elsewhere unless I want to sell my car.  I mentioned earlier that I wasn't interested in that, but your wake up call on how biking alone would impact my debt (not much if at all) lets me know that I should seriously consider it.  Thank you for that.

Honestly, I think you answered your own question!  Between the reminder that it won't be 9.1 miles a day, it'll be 18.2, and the warning about my priorities and what it means for my cycling resolve (it's not like I have a good track record with cycling, after all,) you've given me really great advice!  I'm also concerned about gear costs and frugal ways to reduce them (and I've gotten some lovely advice on that front from others) which is why this forum helped me so much over a biking one; I'm less concerned about picking out a specific bike at this moment and more interested in learning about the associated costs and potential pitfalls for someone in my situation.  Now I'll be able to make a more informed decision, thanks to the wonderful people here.  My next step will end up being more biking-forum related, as I learn more about types of cycles and what might work for me, but that will wait until after I've managed an 18 mile biking trip and ensured that it is something I want to invest in =)

Thank you again, I hope my reasoning for making this post is more clear now!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 07:32:34 AM by GotStacheNotCash »

ooeei

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2017, 07:39:33 AM »
Wanting to bike threads on MMM is always super confusing to me.  Are you seeking financial advice?  Just looking for positive reinforcement that will spur you on to this new venture?  These threads in this context are just weird. 

From a bicycling perspective, you'd get much better advice on a biking forum.  Or go to your local bike shop and talk to the manager.  Ask him your bike questions and then at the end tell him to level with you.  Tell him that you know he gets guys like you starting from scratch every so often and ask him what he thinks their success rate is.  How often does he see a bike he sold to them either being tried to be returned or on craigslist being sold because the guy gave up.

Financially, do the math.  Biking to work is not going to make a dimple, much less a dent in your debt.  I bet the break-even period is at least 6 months. If the financial aspect is what's going to tip the scale, you are not interested enough in bicycling to work to bicycle to work.

Practically, I think you can find out your resolve to do this without buying a bike.  Borrow one from a friend or see if you can  rent one when you talk to the bike manager.  Then on a Saturday or Sunday make that 9.1 mile ride. And back.

I've never been to a bike forum, but if they're like any other hobby forums, I suspect they'll immediately suggest some pretty expensive high end gear. Go into a knife forum and ask what you should use as your daily pocket knife and they'll immediately suggest ones in the $50-500 range, with plenty of them saying anything under $100 is garbage and not even worth buying. Most people can get just as much utility from a $15-30 knife as a $200 one. Forums are full of enthusiasts, and enthusiasts tend to go all in on things. It's hard to figure out what is actually worth it in those scenarios. Is the $1000 bike really better than the $500 one? Do disc brakes matter? Is ____ derailleur really $200 better than ____ derailleur?

Asking about it in a place where people are going to be more inclined to recommend value oriented setups makes sense.

Dave1442397

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2017, 07:53:20 AM »
Winter cycling can be fun, but you really have to be careful. We ride road bikes (skinny tires) year round, but we will call off a ride if it's too icy outside. I personally know two guys who broke hips from falling on ice, and they've been riding for 30+ years.

Do some research on fat bikes and studded tires and you'll find plenty of winter riding tips, such as this article: https://qbp.com/call_up/rubber-side-rad

Another issue is road conditions and vehicular traffic. Around here, we tend to lose most of the shoulder to plowed snow, so you're closer to cars than usual.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2017, 01:50:31 PM »
I disagree with many of the posts here.

Financially:  Biking to work is a complete NO BRAINER win.  The payback on the biking ~9 miles to work instead of driving is huge and quick, even if you don't do it EVERY day. 

The Winter:  Cold is certainly irrelevant.  You build up a lot of heat (like there's furnace inside your body!) while cycling.  As far as snow and ice:  I get it.  You can skip it during "unsafe conditions", but that's not going to be every day of the winter!  In my case, my policy is when it snows, I wait 3 days for plowing and melting before I bike.  That still leaves many days in Chicago that are bikeable.  On "unsafe days", I take transit.  Of course, some years there's a lot of unsafe days, others not.

Lights:  Yes, get very good lights.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2017, 02:30:00 PM »
Following this post with interest! I bought a bike earlier in the summer with the eventual goal of commuting, with the wrinkle that I learned to ride a bike three days after buying my bike earlier this summer, at the ripe old age of 29. So far I've only spent money on the bike itself (~$290 for a used bike from a reputable dealer; BF gave me lights).

I still suck SO MUCH at riding that I have no idea how long it will take me to get confident enough to bike to work, since I have to deal with some busy roads and heavy traffic in the afternoon. So I might miss the winter weather issues. But it's great to know what to be aware of.

elaine amj

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2017, 05:03:04 PM »
With a debt emergency I'd hesitate to spend a bundle on a bike and all the attendant bike gear. You'd be better off spending your time finding other efficiencies and then try biking in the spring. I would totally caution you against buying something fancy at this point though. It's very tempting to buy the latest and greatest (especially if you talk to gearheads), but not really wise at this stage.

If you want to try it, go to the thrift store and buy a warm winter coat (even if it is not the most fashionable) along with a pair of decent warm gloves. Pick up a couple of baselayers from Costco, etc for $10-15 each. Then borrow bike or buy an el-cheapo secondhand one and see how you do. You can upgrade when you start doing it more.

Anyway, that's what I did (although I didn't have a debt emergency and did already own an ugly $50 winter coat) when I started bike commuting. Two layers of baselayers along with a half-decent jacket kept me warm enough to ride along with a good scarf, warm hat, and thinnish thrift store gloves at around zero degrees. I did switch to walking (my commute is much shorter) when it was icy. And would give in and drive occasionally.

Regardless, I think it's crazy to drop $500 on a decent bike + gear to save a little bit in gas when you have a debt emergency. I do think the long term payoff of bike commuting is awesome though and I love it. But maybe something to explore when you have a bit more disposable income and/or can get the gear cheaper?

calimom

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2017, 05:18:13 PM »
I'm in the "if you want to bike, bike" camp. But to address the financials of the equation, I'm with those who think it really won't help in the long run, especially since you're in a debt emergency. If you were going to sell the car and replace it with a bike and all the gear, sure. But I question money saving tips that actually cost a lot of money. Think Insta Pots, Vitamixes, inversion stoves, etc.

meghan88

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2017, 05:26:44 PM »
Regardless, I think it's crazy to drop $500 on a decent bike + gear to save a little bit in gas when you have a debt emergency. I do think the long term payoff of bike commuting is awesome though and I love it. But maybe something to explore when you have a bit more disposable income and/or can get the gear cheaper?

^^This.  Consider this another vote for buying a second-hand bike, or borrowing at first.  Clothing-wise, opt for layers.  Try out your commute on the weekends to see how you like it and to plan out an optimal route.  Keep your wits about you at all times (e.g., know what's going on around you, never wear earbuds).  FWIW, I'm a 58 and I bike all year in Canada, though I will walk on really snowy or icy days.  If I can do it, any able-bodied person can.  Bikes are also great for grocery-shopping and other errands.

My used Trek cost me $80.  Why pay more than that?  Nice / new bikes are thief-magnets, so my u-lock cost me more than the bike.  Another word of advice: *never* leave a bike unlocked, not for a second.

Mariposa

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2017, 07:19:21 AM »
Agree that a bike isn't a solution for your debt emergency, unless you're committed to getting rid of a car. And, if you have little experience riding a bike, it's probably not a good idea to immediately attempt a 9-mile commute each way. 9mi would likely take ~1h, so you would be committing to biking 2h a day. Be sure this isn't ultimately a shopping outlet for you, an excuse to research gear.

If you look around, you could probably find something that rolls for sub-$50. You only need a cheap lock (no sense getting a $75 lock for a $50 bike) and a helmet to get started. Personally, I would be OK with a used helmet, if the owner assured me it was never in an accident or damaged. If that makes you queasy, here's a new one for $25: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00012M5MS/ref=twister_B076CMSG77?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

You don't have to wait until the Spring to go this route. I would start by using your bike for every <5mi errand, and see how you like it. After you get the hang of biking, try the 9mi commute and see how you feel. If you can't commit to doing that on most days, I wouldn't put another cent into this bike thing. And that's OK: I don't think I could do a 9mi commute each way, unless most of it was along paved bike trails.

I've been riding bikes my entire life. Currently, I'm riding a 12-year-old beater with an MSRP of $300 and current fair market value of maybe $25. It's the nicest bike I've ever had. FWIW, I to a 2.5 mile commute in stop & go traffic year-round on my beater, under every condition except maybe heavy snow. For a long time, I used a $5 rain poncho from the drug store but eventually upgraded to a $100 raincoat + rain pants after I was doing this commute for a while. I did buy good lights early on, since I commute at night and value my life. I bike when it's in the teens without any special gear. I just layer on what I already have in my closet: 2 thin wool sweaters under my winter coat, 2 pairs of gloves, leggings under my work pants ... my commute is short.

elaine amj

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2017, 05:09:09 PM »
Agree that a bike isn't a solution for your debt emergency, unless you're committed to getting rid of a car. And, if you have little experience riding a bike, it's probably not a good idea to immediately attempt a 9-mile commute each way. 9mi would likely take ~1h, so you would be committing to biking 2h a day. Be sure this isn't ultimately a shopping outlet for you, an excuse to research gear.

If you look around, you could probably find something that rolls for sub-$50. You only need a cheap lock (no sense getting a $75 lock for a $50 bike) and a helmet to get started. Personally, I would be OK with a used helmet, if the owner assured me it was never in an accident or damaged. If that makes you queasy, here's a new one for $25: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00012M5MS/ref=twister_B076CMSG77?_encoding=UTF8&amp;psc=1

You don't have to wait until the Spring to go this route. I would start by using your bike for every &lt;5mi errand, and see how you like it. After you get the hang of biking, try the 9mi commute and see how you feel. If you can't commit to doing that on most days, I wouldn't put another cent into this bike thing. And that's OK: I don't think I could do a 9mi commute each way, unless most of it was along paved bike trails.

I've been riding bikes my entire life. Currently, I'm riding a 12-year-old beater with an MSRP of $300 and current fair market value of maybe $25. It's the nicest bike I've ever had. FWIW, I to a 2.5 mile commute in stop &amp; go traffic year-round on my beater, under every condition except maybe heavy snow. For a long time, I used a $5 rain poncho from the drug store but eventually upgraded to a $100 raincoat + rain pants after I was doing this commute for a while. I did buy good lights early on, since I commute at night and value my life. I bike when it's in the teens without any special gear. I just layer on what I already have in my closet: 2 thin wool sweaters under my winter coat, 2 pairs of gloves, leggings under my work pants ... my commute is short.
+1

I have a pretty $1500 mid level road bike. Works great and is just what I need for long distance endurance type stuff.

The bike that makes my heart happy everyone I climb on (practically every day to commute) is a beat up ancient old cruiser I picked up for $50. Previous owner had removed the gears for easier maintenance and I keep it that way. It's old, it's slow,  it's not fashionable (a few months ago I found out the bearings were worn almost to nothing) and yet I was just telling hubby I don't think I could ever give it up lol! I'll just keep fixing whatever needs to be fixed! It just fits me perfectly and makes me feel safe and comfy.  So glad I didn't drop $300-600 on an commuter bike like all the bike experts said I needed (I was tempted).

Sent from my STH100-1 using Tapatalk


MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2017, 05:44:13 PM »
I ride almost every day to work. We have a shower at work, so that solves the clothes issue. Iím fine riding in the rain, my commute is only 15-20min and rain is the worst it can get, never snow or ice. Iíd never ride a bike in snow or ice, ever. I donít know how people do it.

PrinsKheldar

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 12:27:59 AM »
Hi,

Glad to hear that you consider bike-commuting.
I sold my car years ago and started to bike everywhere. That is by far the best decision I've ever made, not only financially but also mentally. I now feel a lot less stressed and alot more happy. Truly!

I guess you have heard most of these tips already but here it goes anyways...

Before you continue hesitating because of the winter conditions I should mention that I myself live very close to the polar cirle and winter is pretty harsh around here, to say the least. And I can therefore say with confidence that there is absolutely no problem to bike-commute during the winter. I've done so through out blizzards, heavy snowfall, rain, hail and storms...it works fine. Not always a walk in the park but it works!

It do does requires som good enough gear though and first of all I'm glad to see you bring a helmet to your list. It can be a really cheap life saver! =)

Next after helmet you should put TIME. This is often not mentioned but if you do plan a little extra time for every travel, and therefore always have a little margin, you can keep a comfortable pace no matter what. You can take any upcoming and unplanned detour with ease. It can happen due to road works, snowpacks, floodings or a hungry bear/ threatening packs of wolves in your path. A little extra time enables yo to handle all this without getting sweaty. ;-)

Jokes aside; This really do helps when needed to be fresh and well dressed arriving at work.


Shoes, gloves and hat should all be warm and rainproof. Good rainwear is essential and a back pack-rain cover is allways a good thing to bring along. I bring these things with me at all times, even during warm sunny summer days ( those are suspiciuosly rare overe here though)

Another good thing for snow and muddy winter biking is a hub mounted dynamo/generator for the lightings, batteries wears out pretty fast during the cold. (Having the dynamo/generator mounted in the hub protect the generator from getting jammed or clogged by mud or ice).

Also studded/spiked winter tires are greatly worth the cost!

And offcourse, don't buy the bike brand new! ;-)

Have fun!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 12:29:54 AM by PrinsKheldar »



runbikerun

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2017, 01:43:12 AM »
Borrow a bike from someone and try doing the commute cycle on a Saturday morning. You'll get a decent idea of how long it takes, which parts of your body need covering, which parts are basically a giant furnace, and (crucially) whether you like it enough to do it regularly. If you arrive at the office after half an hour in shorts and a T-shirt despite the cold and a massive grin you can't seem to get rid of, then go buy yourself a decent secondhand bike and start riding.

If you get there after an hour, teeth gritted and knees skinned from a fall on black ice, with frostbite in your nose, maybe leave it off for the winter.

I'd also add my voice to the chorus advising you to keep away from cyclists' fora. Cyclists are unbelievably dedicated as a group to sustaining ever-increasing demand for marginally lighter or more aerodynamic equipment, and every cycling forum will have at least one regular who spent an extra two thousand euro on his (and it will be a man) last bike so that the click from the shifters would be the kind he likes.

Wayward

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Re: Entry-level Mustachian, debt emergency, considering a bike
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2017, 01:37:08 PM »
In your situation, I would recommend optimizing other areas to deal with your debt emergency first.  If you havenít done so already start tracking your spending Ė notebook, Excel spreadsheet, Mint, Personal Capital, whatever works best for you.  I definitely recommend reading Your Money or Your Life or The Simple Path to Wealth.  Also, 9.1 miles one way is quite far for a novice biker, especially in the winter.  Have you considered finding an apartment closer to your job (maybe even a cheaper one), if possible?  In my opinion, optimize spending over the winter while driving to work, then consider buying a used bike and some gear in the Spring and bike to work a couple days a week to start.  Iíve put my work clothes/shoes in a backpack and change once I get to work to avoid getting sweaty or dirty in my nice clothes!

Since your SO isnít keen on saving, perhaps talking about goals for the future and seeing if the FIRE lifestyle is appealing to her would help?  She needs to not be living paycheck to paycheck if you are going to reach that.