Author Topic: Convince me to get a bike  (Read 2836 times)

Mikhial

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Convince me to get a bike
« on: May 21, 2015, 08:52:15 AM »
My driving situation:
I live in downtown Orlando, Florida. Most of what I need on a day-to-day basis is within walking distance. The farthest thing away downtown is less than a mile so I have no issues walking everywhere. There are a few things that are a little further away like the mall (7mi), cheap/good selection in groceries (3mi), various restaurants, and most notably my job (5mi). I drive a old, reliable, beat-up car so I feel like I'm doing good there. My driving costs are pretty reasonable (to me at least).

Breakdown in costs:
Insurance$59
Service & Parts$75 (Last year's average was $35, but I'm looking at a $600 in bill this weekend)
Gas$48
Parking$15 (Boyfriend subsidizes this since I park across the street)
Tolls/Misc$3
Total$200/Month $2400/Year

My concerns (in order):
It seems a lot of the time when people make calculations on how much you save by biking/public transportation, they assume you will completely ditch your car. I'm not ready to go that far. I'd need to rely on my boyfriend or Uber to get around to some places. And God forbid something happens and we break up. Without this assumption, does it really make sense financially?

Google's suggested bike route for work is 6-7 miles and 40 minutes. That's double my 20 minute door to door commute. I'm not sure if that's the actual time it would take, but that's a decent amonut of time on my commute. I work out 5 days a week and wouldn't stop if I started biking, so I'm not saving time there.

Orlando isn't very bike friendly. The route Google gives to my work mostly has (smallish) bike lanes on a 40mph road, but I'm still concerned about safety.

Comfort. Florida is hot and I don't have showers at work. I'd also have to wear shoes! I really like my flip flops. I suppose a backback could carry some sandals/spare clothes.

Thanks!

GuitarStv

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2015, 09:02:58 AM »
Cycling is fun.  You will spend longer on your commute, but you are in a better mood when you get in.  Also, Google lies.  If you're in moderately good shape you will always beat their cycling times.  My commute is 11 miles and I bike it in about 40 minutes through plenty of stop lights / moderate to heavy traffic and no bike lanes.

You don't have to wear shoes to cycle.  A decent sandal that straps securely to your foot will work fine.  I like wearing sandals when it's hot and rainy, because your feet dry out faster than with shoes.

The fact that you have bike lanes at all is awesome and will make the commute more enjoyable!

No showers at work kinda sucks though.  How much do you sweat, and how open are you to doing a little wet rag cleanup in a bathroom stall after biking in?

What do you do for a workout five days a week?  You should be able to cut back on cardio if you're regularly biking in without any real loss to athleticism.  Then you win back some of that extra time from the commute.

Sibley

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2015, 09:26:33 AM »
Don't decide overnight to not use the car - just start gradually shifting to the bike. Say the library is 3 blocks away and you go once a week. Walk or ride your bike to the library every week. When you run out of a few things mid week, take the bike to the grocery store. Maybe try biking to work on a Friday, see how it goes. If you give yourself time to adjust to the change, it'll be easier and more enjoyable. If you're not in shape yet for a 10 mile ride (to and from work), then several weeks doing frequent shorter trips will help get you in shape for the bigger stuff.

mschaus

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2015, 10:50:31 AM »
Great job having low car expenses!

I've never met anyone who couldn't benefit from a little extra exercise. Are you already in top athletic shape?

You don't have to ride every day or on the hottest days. Give it a try -- you'll find that it will make you feel great having days with zero commuting time and more exercise than you could ever squeeze in before. (That's the way I view it)

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/

TRBeck

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2015, 11:05:36 AM »
I work out on top of my short bike commute, too, and I still think riding my bike is one of the most significant life changes I've ever made.

It has made me a better driver, helping me become more aware of my surroundings and more cautious regarding intersections, speed (especially in residential areas), etc.

It has shifted my mindset regarding necessary trips for shopping, groceries, and everything else. I make more efficient use of my time by taking care of multiple errands in one trip, and I buy less stuff since I'm constantly thinking about how I'm going to get everything home in the trailer and/or my panniers/backpack. This makes a net financial impact as well as helping me reduce waste by buying less needless shit.

It has allowed me to get to know people in my neighborhood and city. It's a conversation starter, and since I'm in open air I can actually talk to other people. Coworkers ask questions about it, and I can talk to them about taking better care of the planet and their community, plus saving money, etc. Store clerks ask about the bike trailer, especially at the grocery store, and it helps create awareness of cyclists and pedestrians in my little part of the world.

It's fun. I enjoy working out, but this is fun in a different way, like it was when I was a kid. It helps me keep my focus on the fact that this lifestyle is about finding joy in simplicity. I have been inspired to try out some other childhood activities that are both challenging and fun - monkey bars, for instance - and as a result have a more well-rounded fitness regiment.

So IMO still worth it.

Mikhial

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2015, 11:18:57 AM »
I think I need to switch how I look at this from a mostly financial decision to a mostly fitness/health decision. After doing some math, if I keep my car I'd be able to save maybe $500 a year if I travel a lot on a bike not including the initial costs. This obviously will go down if I only bike to work half the time or less. I would consider that a fairly drastic lifestyle change if we're specifically comparing it to a couple to a few hundred bucks a year.

There are a couple potential savings that a bike could lead to. It could be a stepping stone to getting rid of my car completely. It would also be more helpful should I move a bit out of downtown to save money on housing. A mile or two away would bring down housing a lot and a bike would make it easier to get back downtown.

It seems the bigger benefit would be mental and physical health. While I lift weights, doing more cardio would be good. And I'm sure I'd come home in a better mood if I got their from physical activity versus in a car.

We just got a bike share here in Orlando, so while I'm not buying a bike yet I think I may rent a bike this weekend and hop over to a nearby neighborhood.

2ndTimer

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2015, 11:19:32 AM »
Biking gives you a great looking butt which is fun to have.

GuitarStv

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2015, 11:26:57 AM »
You look great naked, but having a giant ass/thighs and teeny tiny waist makes it a PITA buying pants.  :P


#MustachianFirstWorldProblems

Mikhial

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Re: Convince me to get a bike
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2015, 11:53:27 AM »
Living in Orlando, FL is justification in itself to move.  I've never been to a more anti-moustachian city.

Disney isn't Orlando, it's Kissimmee. While Orlando is very spread out and doesn't have the best public transportation, I live somewhere with a walkability score  of 96. If I hadn't quit my job that was downtown for a nice raise, this question would more likely be "Should I sell my car?"