Author Topic: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free  (Read 8575 times)

Hey It's Moe

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Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« on: January 08, 2015, 01:25:12 AM »
I just had to post this here. I've spent the last 15 minutes facepalming at the OP's statement, as well as the thread comments.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/comments/2rjsfm/actual_costs_of_going_carfree_in_an_area_not/

Some of my favorite comments:

From OP:
Quote from: OP
The cost of going "car free"

"I had a rental car for 44 out of the 67 days."

From comment section:
Quote
I went from having a car to moving and only being able to walk/public transport/rental (until i buy a new car).

It is definitely cheaper to not have a car, but i feel SO limited.

Grocery store is within walking distance (.5 miles), but i can only carry so much. I literally look at something like a gallon of some drink and have to not buy it because it will take up a lot of room and weigh a ton compared to actual food. Sure I could buy a cart, but i dont want to be /that/ guy.

Food options are available from .5 miles-3 miles, except when im hungry i want to eat, not walk 10+mins to eat, and its been two weeks and im sick of the closest places.

Need to go somewhat far or carry heavy stuff? Have fun. Multiple buses, or you end up just not going.

So you saved money on the transportation, got extra exercise, and cut your grocery bill? And yet you want to go back to owning a car...

I'll never understand some people.


As one wise commenter pointed out: "The solution is to get a girlfriend who lives close to you."

OP's response:
Quote
I have a couple.

I give up.

innerscorecard

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2015, 03:09:28 AM »
Yes, that was hilarious. /r/personalfinance is now forever lost to Mustachianism, and /r/frugal is getting worse and worse. /r/financialindependence is the last bastion...
Inner Scorecard - Where financial independence, value investing and life meet: http://www.innerscorecard.co/

Ann

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2015, 04:00:37 AM »
He can't buy a gallon of something because it is too heavy?  That's just 8 pounds.  I literally bought detergent yesterday (~10 pounds), but it in my back pack and biked the 0.7 miles to my apartment.  I did not buy that much else on that same trip, but the store is close enough I just go multiple times a week.  Why walk?   Bike!

The long distance girlfriend would be a challenge, yes.  I could justify the rental car every other weekend to take turns visiting each other.  His other complaints are mostly just him not really letting go of the "car" mentality. 

BPA

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2015, 05:39:51 AM »
ha ha  I have one of those carts.  I am THAT girl.  <hangs head in shame>  ;)

Edited to add:  I love this dude's creative problem solving skills.  :D

http://59.ca/weblog/politics/carting.html
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 06:37:56 AM by BPA »

Hey It's Moe

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2015, 08:34:55 AM »
Yes, that was hilarious. /r/personalfinance is now forever lost to Mustachianism, and /r/frugal is getting worse and worse. /r/financialindependence is the last bastion...

r/PersonalFinance is downright madness at times. I really don't know how I used to enjoy that forum before MMM.

Homey The Clown

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2015, 08:52:38 AM »
I looked at a reply to another thread on bike commuting where a respondent said it would take them 5 years of commuting by bike 3 times per week to recoup the costs of a $500 bike. I noted that they must only be considering the cost of fuel, ignoring the health benefits, have a very short commute, and they can find a great bike for $200 or less on Craigslist. People really don't have a clue to the real costs of car use.

Hey It's Moe

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2015, 10:29:27 AM »
a respondent said it would take them 5 years of commuting by bike 3 times per week to recoup the costs of a $500 bike.

LMAO, okay.

purpleqgr

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2015, 11:42:16 AM »
r/PersonalFinance is downright madness at times. I really don't know how I used to enjoy that forum before MMM.

It was quite a bit better before it became a default sub. Friendlier, more informative, entertaining. Now it seems to be angry and stupid, for most interactions. /r/FinancialIndependence has gone downhill a little bit, but still seems lightly traveled enough that it has more good than bad. But, hey, it's reddit. Cat pictures are its specialty, everything else is just a surprising bonus. ;)


lizzie

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2015, 02:04:34 PM »
ha ha  I have one of those carts.  I am THAT girl.  <hangs head in shame>  ;)

Edited to add:  I love this dude's creative problem solving skills.  :D

http://59.ca/weblog/politics/carting.html

Ha ha that's awesome. I've always wanted one and never known where to get it!

Gwyddyon

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2015, 12:16:03 AM »
Quote
except when im hungry i want to eat, not walk 10+mins to eat

Aww, poor baby. I bet he's one of those people that thinks being "hangry" is acceptable behavior in a grown adult, too.

kathrynd

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2015, 12:25:20 AM »
We bought one of 'those carts' for my daughter when she left home, for Xmas present.
Obviously..it wasn't considered 'cool'....she refused to use it.

She gave it to us, we used it and then gave to another child when they went on their own.

What my other son does, is walks to the store, buys 2 weeks worth of groceries, calls a taxi....$5


Some people make excuses for everything

philby85

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2015, 06:05:34 AM »
I looked at a reply to another thread on bike commuting where a respondent said it would take them 5 years of commuting by bike 3 times per week to recoup the costs of a $500 bike. I noted that they must only be considering the cost of fuel, ignoring the health benefits, have a very short commute, and they can find a great bike for $200 or less on Craigslist. People really don't have a clue to the real costs of car use.

not to mention the money lost through car devaluation in just 1 year.... that alone should pay for the bike.

Hey It's Moe

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2015, 10:28:42 PM »
I looked at a reply to another thread on bike commuting where a respondent said it would take them 5 years of commuting by bike 3 times per week to recoup the costs of a $500 bike. I noted that they must only be considering the cost of fuel, ignoring the health benefits, have a very short commute, and they can find a great bike for $200 or less on Craigslist. People really don't have a clue to the real costs of car use.

not to mention the money lost through car devaluation in just 1 year.... that alone should pay for the bike.

I'm fairly certain any aspect of driving could easily pay for the cost of a $500 bike in a few months: insurance, gas, depreciation, maintenance - any of it

greaper007

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2015, 02:48:59 AM »
Quote
except when im hungry i want to eat, not walk 10+mins to eat

Aww, poor baby. I bet he's one of those people that thinks being "hangry" is acceptable behavior in a grown adult, too.

Hmm, I'm going to assume that he doesn't have a kitchen and lives in a cardboard box.

I too am disillusioned with my local take out options.    But I never realize that until someone comes to town and wants to buy us dinner.

MrsPete

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2015, 05:34:57 PM »
While I'm not in the no-car camp, this guy was trying to make his car-dependent life work . . . without a car.  He failed to realize that removing the car would require changes.  I mean, he ended up needing a car 2/3 of the time.  He clearly hadn't thought this through.

A couple things he could've considered:

- Plan a BIG grocery trip and return home in a taxi with the goods.
- Have the groceries delivered; the delivery cost is less than owning a car.
- Keep quick, easy to cook meals on hand. 

darkadams00

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 08:50:32 PM »
We're not car free. We moved from 2 cars to 1 car. Own a car or don't own a car. At least own the decision. If biking means you can eliminate a car, there is no comparison in costs. A $3600 beater with no repairs and driven for 36 months and then junked would be a $100 per month purchase outlay. So a $500 bike would take no more than 5 months to pay for itself. This would be true for a $6000 car driven for 60 months as well. Add in the remaining expenses (which is where some arguments begin) and the time is even lower.

Argue on limitations in protection from the elements, the limits in long-distance travel, the limits in traveling with a friend/spouse etc. There are logical reasons to bike or not, most of them dependent on other choices we make. But expense is just not a viable reason.

sheepstache

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2015, 10:14:17 AM »
ha ha  I have one of those carts.  I am THAT girl.  <hangs head in shame>  ;)

Edited to add:  I love this dude's creative problem solving skills.  :D

http://59.ca/weblog/politics/carting.html

HA that page is funny.

I confess, I'll avoid buying heavy things when I shop at the far away grocery store. But beyond milk, the other "gallons" you would buy would be juice and soda and you don't need that shit.

Russ

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2015, 10:23:02 AM »
But beyond milk, the other "gallons" you would buy would be juice and soda and you don't need that shit.

Oil, heavy cream, yogurt
I also buy cheese in quantities that could be described as "gallons"

sheepstache

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2015, 10:50:41 AM »
But beyond milk, the other "gallons" you would buy would be juice and soda and you don't need that shit.

Oil, heavy cream, yogurt
I also buy cheese in quantities that could be described as "gallons"

Ah, my nyc bias, there is no regular supermarket where we could buy heavy cream in gallons, but I would be in favor of that. I don't like yogurt, nor can we buy that in gallons here, but it's true, that is heavy. Time to whip that shit up in the crockpot. Oil, absolutely. But that's where I'm thinking that, as with anything where you're stocking up, you can break it up over multiple trips because you don't need 10 gallons of olive oil every week.

Like, I don't stock up on olive oil and honey and half & half and canned tomatoes in the same trip. That's why I'm assuming people whining about weight are talking about things they consume quickly. But maybe you use a gallon of heavy cream a week. I don't know you, I don't know your life.

windawake

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2015, 01:48:15 PM »
It's kind of an annoying post anyways. He/she's essentially saying, "I tried to go car-free, hoping to save a bunch of money without being willing to make any changes to my lifestyle."

I got rid of my car in June. I am fortunate to live in a city that's very bike friendly with good car sharing, but I also have family in the suburbs and a desire to go out in the woods from time to time. I use car2go, a car sharing service, maybe once every week or two (about $10/time depending on distance). I invested in over $400 worth of biking supplies (studded tires for winter, a bike trailer for my dog, etc.). I have a neighbor friend whose car I can borrow fairly regularly as needed if it works with his schedule (in fact, due to this car sharing set up we've started dating).

But I definitely don't have the flexibility I once did. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the convenience of being car-free and not having to shovel snow off my car, worry about snow emergencies, pay for insurance or car maintenance, or feel compelled to drive when I don't actually want to drive. I spend less per month on 'car' expenses, but I spend more in buying drinks for friends who drive me places. It's a trade off I'm currently really enjoying.
I talk to folks about biking and write about it at: www.bikinginmpls.com

lizzie

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2015, 03:50:02 PM »
It's kind of an annoying post anyways. He/she's essentially saying, "I tried to go car-free, hoping to save a bunch of money without being willing to make any changes to my lifestyle."

I got rid of my car in June. I am fortunate to live in a city that's very bike friendly with good car sharing, but I also have family in the suburbs and a desire to go out in the woods from time to time. I use car2go, a car sharing service, maybe once every week or two (about $10/time depending on distance). I invested in over $400 worth of biking supplies (studded tires for winter, a bike trailer for my dog, etc.). I have a neighbor friend whose car I can borrow fairly regularly as needed if it works with his schedule (in fact, due to this car sharing set up we've started dating).

But I definitely don't have the flexibility I once did. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the convenience of being car-free and not having to shovel snow off my car, worry about snow emergencies, pay for insurance or car maintenance, or feel compelled to drive when I don't actually want to drive. I spend less per month on 'car' expenses, but I spend more in buying drinks for friends who drive me places. It's a trade off I'm currently really enjoying.

Hey, biking in Minneapolis through the winter is seriously badass! I bike spring/summer/fall, but I always wind up going back to the bus once the snow accumulates and it's dark during both my morning and evening commutes. I really miss biking though! Do you by any chance commute to work downtown? If so may I ask what route you use?

windawake

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2015, 05:12:07 PM »
Nope, I live in Uptown and work in St. Louis Park. I take the Greenway and Cedar Lake trails most of the way. I'm probably on streets for about a mile of my just under 6 mile commute, it's great. I have learned, however, that biking in sub-zero temps is a formula for misery. I'm okay while on the bike, but once I get to work I just can't seem to get warm. I heard the same from another biking coworker today, so I feel good about my decision to only bike when it's above zero, even if just barely. Luckily I have a friend with whom I can carpool to work. Biking weather returns this week!

EDIT: I'm on the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee and right now we're working on a plan for creating prioritized bike routes in the winter. Essentially this would be a series of interconnecting roads whose bike lanes are cleared fully throughout the winter. Hopefully getting to downtown in the winter will be easier in the next year or two.

Studded tires on my front and back really helped my confidence this year, but biking on streets isn't ideal, especially if there's loose snow. I've only fallen once though! I really enjoy winter biking and highly recommend it; I always hated taking three months off. Check out Grease Rag for tips and advice if you haven't yet.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 05:33:57 PM by windawake »
I talk to folks about biking and write about it at: www.bikinginmpls.com

Beric01

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2015, 06:11:18 PM »
I'm car-free in Silicon Valley (read suburbia). Just got back from Costco yesterday with a loaded bike trailer. For smaller trips I just use my panniers. I can fit at least a week's supply of food in my panniers.

It was a little odd at first, but now it's how I live. I bike to friends and family, to work and events, and any necessary shopping. I occasionally use mass transit, but try to avoid it as riding my bike is good for me and free.

lizzie

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2015, 07:11:30 AM »
Nope, I live in Uptown and work in St. Louis Park. I take the Greenway and Cedar Lake trails most of the way. I'm probably on streets for about a mile of my just under 6 mile commute, it's great. I have learned, however, that biking in sub-zero temps is a formula for misery. I'm okay while on the bike, but once I get to work I just can't seem to get warm. I heard the same from another biking coworker today, so I feel good about my decision to only bike when it's above zero, even if just barely. Luckily I have a friend with whom I can carpool to work. Biking weather returns this week!

EDIT: I'm on the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee and right now we're working on a plan for creating prioritized bike routes in the winter. Essentially this would be a series of interconnecting roads whose bike lanes are cleared fully throughout the winter. Hopefully getting to downtown in the winter will be easier in the next year or two.

Studded tires on my front and back really helped my confidence this year, but biking on streets isn't ideal, especially if there's loose snow. I've only fallen once though! I really enjoy winter biking and highly recommend it; I always hated taking three months off. Check out Grease Rag for tips and advice if you haven't yet.

Thanks for the tips, and I'm excited to hear about prioritized winter bike routes!

GuitarStv

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2015, 07:35:42 AM »
I'm okay while on the bike, but once I get to work I just can't seem to get warm. I heard the same from another biking coworker today, so I feel good about my decision to only bike when it's above zero, even if just barely. Luckily I have a friend with whom I can carpool to work. Biking weather returns this week!

What is your routine when you come in from outside?  I've found that immediately changing out of wet/sweaty clothing, eating some food, and drinking some hot beverage combines well to fight off the post-ride chill.  Working today at -21 anyway . . .   :P

lizzie

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2015, 08:07:50 AM »
I'm okay while on the bike, but once I get to work I just can't seem to get warm. I heard the same from another biking coworker today, so I feel good about my decision to only bike when it's above zero, even if just barely. Luckily I have a friend with whom I can carpool to work. Biking weather returns this week!

What is your routine when you come in from outside?  I've found that immediately changing out of wet/sweaty clothing, eating some food, and drinking some hot beverage combines well to fight off the post-ride chill.  Working today at -21 anyway . . .   :P

This is a very minor thing, but it would be great if people would specify whether they're using Celsius or Fahrenheit. There's a big difference between -21C and -21F. Right now it's -9F here, which is a bit colder than -21C but a lot better than -21F (which is not uncommon around here). Sorry if I'm coming off as bitchy or complainypants. I really don't mean to; I just often find myself wondering whether people are using C or F.

Russ

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2015, 08:39:26 AM »
pretty sure that's -21 Communist Degrees

Toronto is on average 3-4 Freedom Degrees warmer than Madison, which is in turn a few * warmer than mpls

lizzie

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2015, 08:42:39 AM »
pretty sure that's -21 Communist Degrees

Toronto is on average 3-4 Freedom Degrees warmer than Madison, which is in turn a few * warmer than mpls

Communist Degrees, ha ha. I assumed he meant Celsius, but I hate making assumptions and then thinking "-21C, pffft. Come back when you're talking about real cold." ;-)

windawake

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2015, 10:32:48 AM »

What is your routine when you come in from outside?  I've found that immediately changing out of wet/sweaty clothing, eating some food, and drinking some hot beverage combines well to fight off the post-ride chill.  Working today at -21 anyway . . .   :P

I'm talking about Fahrenheit degrees, for what it's worth. So last week I biked at -3F with a -18F windchill. My routine is to come in, not change (because I was too cold to sweat), eat hot oatmeal, and drink hot tea. And then drink more tea. And then drink three more cups of tea. If I'd thought about it ahead of time, I would've brought an extra sweater and a hat. Brrr.
I talk to folks about biking and write about it at: www.bikinginmpls.com

Melchior

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2015, 10:53:47 AM »
Most impressive.

The lowest I've done so far is ~30F and my hands are numb by the time I arrive although they warm up quickly enough once inside. That's with lobster claw gloves rated down to 22F; everything else, except perhaps for my toes, stay toasty. I'm looking forward to seeing how much colder temperatures I can handle but there hasn't been a good window without ice/snow yet. It also doesn't help that I don't bike as often as I'd like as it takes me about two hours each way.

I'd love to go car free but attempting it without any change in lifestyle or otherwise thinking it through, like our subject in the article, is at best moronic. Eliminating that long commute, and acquiring some studded tires, would be enough to make it a possibility. I look forward to that day!

iowajes

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2015, 11:32:41 AM »
pretty sure that's -21 Communist Degrees

Toronto is on average 3-4 Freedom Degrees warmer than Madison, which is in turn a few * warmer than mpls

Communist Degrees, ha ha. I assumed he meant Celsius, but I hate making assumptions and then thinking "-21C, pffft. Come back when you're talking about real cold." ;-)

That's the one good (?) thing about when we start talking about -40 wind chills.  -40 C = -40 F and everyone knows it is damn cold.

Northerly

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2015, 11:33:07 AM »

What is your routine when you come in from outside?  I've found that immediately changing out of wet/sweaty clothing, eating some food, and drinking some hot beverage combines well to fight off the post-ride chill.  Working today at -21 anyway . . .   :P

I'm talking about Fahrenheit degrees, for what it's worth. So last week I biked at -3F with a -18F windchill. My routine is to come in, not change (because I was too cold to sweat), eat hot oatmeal, and drink hot tea. And then drink more tea. And then drink three more cups of tea. If I'd thought about it ahead of time, I would've brought an extra sweater and a hat. Brrr.

I'm pretty comfortable biking down to -15F and am usually just getting sweaty at the end of my 4 mile commute. I wear wool socks and decent (light) boots, poly fleece pants over long johns, t-shirt+fleece shirt+fleece vest+fleece pullover on top, topped by balaclava under my ski-helmet. I wear medium weight fleece gloves inside my handlebar mits (KEY!). I have to say, this keeps me pretty toasty. Winter biking is great with Nokian studs and good lights!

windawake

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2015, 11:40:03 AM »

I'm pretty comfortable biking down to -15F and am usually just getting sweaty at the end of my 4 mile commute. I wear wool socks and decent (light) boots, poly fleece pants over long johns, t-shirt+fleece shirt+fleece vest+fleece pullover on top, topped by balaclava under my ski-helmet. I wear medium weight fleece gloves inside my handlebar mits (KEY!). I have to say, this keeps me pretty toasty. Winter biking is great with Nokian studs and good lights!

That's great, and quite impressive! I figure that there's not too much reason to push myself to bike much below zero. I have a carpool option as needed and don't want to invest in all the fancy gear or have to change when I get to work. Luckily, we've had minimal days of sub-zero temps this year.
I talk to folks about biking and write about it at: www.bikinginmpls.com

Northerly

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2015, 12:12:53 PM »

I'm pretty comfortable biking down to -15F and am usually just getting sweaty at the end of my 4 mile commute. I wear wool socks and decent (light) boots, poly fleece pants over long johns, t-shirt+fleece shirt+fleece vest+fleece pullover on top, topped by balaclava under my ski-helmet. I wear medium weight fleece gloves inside my handlebar mits (KEY!). I have to say, this keeps me pretty toasty. Winter biking is great with Nokian studs and good lights!

That's great, and quite impressive! I figure that there's not too much reason to push myself to bike much below zero. I have a carpool option as needed and don't want to invest in all the fancy gear or have to change when I get to work. Luckily, we've had minimal days of sub-zero temps this year.

Yeah, this is all made possible by a shower at work, an awesome luxury.

Beric01

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Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2015, 12:24:04 PM »

I'm pretty comfortable biking down to -15F and am usually just getting sweaty at the end of my 4 mile commute. I wear wool socks and decent (light) boots, poly fleece pants over long johns, t-shirt+fleece shirt+fleece vest+fleece pullover on top, topped by balaclava under my ski-helmet. I wear medium weight fleece gloves inside my handlebar mits (KEY!). I have to say, this keeps me pretty toasty. Winter biking is great with Nokian studs and good lights!

That's great, and quite impressive! I figure that there's not too much reason to push myself to bike much below zero. I have a carpool option as needed and don't want to invest in all the fancy gear or have to change when I get to work. Luckily, we've had minimal days of sub-zero temps this year.

Yeah, this is all made possible by a shower at work, an awesome luxury.

I sure love my shower at work! (and the monthly bike-to-work allowance we get.) I use my shower at work more than my shower at home, honestly.

windawake

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
Re: Actual Costs of Going Car-Free
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2015, 12:28:48 PM »
I also have a shower at work but don't like to shower in the mornings, or to shower every day for that matter. I just prefer to get dressed at home. I will remove layers at work but that's about as much as I'll do. Fortunately, I don't often get sweaty on my rides in.
I talk to folks about biking and write about it at: www.bikinginmpls.com