Author Topic: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?  (Read 5905 times)

krishnamba

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Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« on: April 17, 2014, 02:45:28 PM »
I work 33 miles from where I live.

I have 22 mpg 07 Avalon, I put in 93 octane @ 3.58 a gallon @ Costco.

Is it worth it to buy a 100-200 $ bicycle and try to cut a portion of the distance traveled by car.

Based on Google maps  and bicycle paths, parking at a place on the way to work.

Start 2 miles parking at Target near my work
  "      6.5 miles at a park ""
  "      18.6 miles at park and ride

I was thinking start at 2 miles and aim to get to 6.5 miles.
The 18.6 seems like an dream.

I am overweight and was hoping this would help me lose weight.
I live in NJ.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 03:10:36 PM »
I think you may benefit more by selling the car and down grading to a more desi like Corolla. ;)

You should still get a bicycle though to minimize your driving for things outside of going to work though. And slowly working your way up to 18.6 miles.

Good luck either way

TrMama

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 03:15:51 PM »
Ditto what HairyUpperLip said about selling the Avalon and getting a Corolla instead. Better gas mileage AND cheaper gas.

Use the proceeds to buy that bike and start biking the 6 mile route right off the bat. Two miles is hardly worth bothering with.

CarDude

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 06:19:01 PM »
If you're planning on getting rid of the car, I'd recommend an '07 Camry. Better mileage than a same year Avalon without being significantly less safe and significantly safer than a same year (or any year) Corolla. I do agree that buying a bike and riding it will be good for your health, regardless of whether you use it for commuting or not.

StarryC

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 08:17:41 PM »
The answer to this is yes.  Yes, a $200 bike is worth it if the result is you ride it 4 miles a day at first.  If you are out of shape, that might take you 20 minutes each way, depending on the hills/etc.  If you keep it up you for 8 months, that is only $25 a month- way less than a gym.  If you hate it just sell the bike!

All the other advice might be right, but if you lose weight/ gain health/ feel better/ happier, $200 is worth it!  Especially because you could probably keep using that same bike for 8+ years, not just 8 months!  That would be a great investment in your health compared to almost anything else.  You could probably also use it for other errands and entertainment. 

If possible, buy a good used bike at a bike shop.  It will be harder to resell and ride a $200 Target bike. 

People who are in OK or good or great shape will say 2 miles isn't worth it, and you should go straight to 6.  Whatever, that's cool for them.  Start at 2 if that's what you are sure of/ comfortable with.  Your butt will hurt after 2 miles anyway, at first.  2 miles might be hard for you.  That's ok too!  Eventually it will get easier! Really, after like a week or two. 

CJMcF

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2014, 03:33:00 AM »
Definitely worth it - but only if you like biking - not worth it if you don't and are likely to give it up after a couple of times

krishnamba

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 04:15:49 AM »
thanks all for your replies...

I do eventually want to get rid of the Avalon, but I am
under water and waiting to a break even or only be a
few hundred in difference. I learned Manual and have been
looking at coparts a wreckage company for Scion xA at
under $1000. But that's down the line.

If I calculate the .50 a mile which is supposed to include depreciation.
And I travel a net 4 miles a day 2 miles from/to Target parking.

.50 x 4 = 2$ daily
@20 Business days a month
20 x 2 = 40$ monthly

Months May,June,July,August,September, October =5
5 x 40 = 200$

I guess I would breakeven.

If after 1st Month do the 6 miles

.50 x 12 = 6$ daily
@20 Business days
6 x 20 = 120$ monthly

Months May = 40$
Months July, August, September, October @ 120$
4 x 120 = 480$

I am seriously considering this to stop the depreciation of my
vehicle so I can sell Avalon by October and switch in to a xA.



greaper007

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2014, 04:32:50 AM »
You say that you're overweight, and underwater on the car, biking that kind of difference seems like a huge hail mary.   You've got to take a look at your life and figure out what's going on to make things like being out of shape, and underwater on a car happen.     You're on this site so it sounds like you're doing that.   Still, fix all the bad junk that's making you make bad decisions before you go out and buy something new.

I've never tried to get rid of a car that had payments.   Isn't there a site where you can offer it to other people and they can take over the payments?    Another option is to start driving more efficiently.    Look up hypermiling.    The epa is putting your car at 20 city 23 combo 28 highway.    You should be able to do 24-25 mpg in mixed traffic by inflating your tires and driving in a style that minimizes accelerating and braking as much as possible.

Do you know anyone with an old bike they'd let you buy or borrow?    Lots of people have bikes sitting in their garage that they don't use.    Could be a good way to start trying it out and saving up for a new one.   

Like others have said, 6 miles for a regular biker is nothing.   And I bet on a lazy Saturday 6 miles would be fine for your.   Throw in lots of early mornings and all the stresses of work and that could be a difficult commute that you could potentially fail at.   If you do start this commute, maybe aim for once or twice a week to start out with and try to move up from there.    That's still saving you gas money and helping you with your fitness.   It's a little more sustainable long term though.

It sounds like you're making good decisions and trying to change your life around.   That's awesome.   Just make sure that you're making changes that are sustainable for you in the long term.   It sounds like you're dealing with lots of difficult issues and trying to do crazy over the top solutions to fix them, that doesn't always work.   Good luck.

Also, be careful buying a salvaged car.    You don't always know why it was salvaged, could be flooded, have major component damage etc.   
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 04:40:51 AM by greaper007 »

FunkyStickman

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2014, 08:31:36 AM »
Why are you putting 93 octane in a Toyota Avalon? It's not boosted that I know of... doesn't need high octane. You're wasting money.

luigi49

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 08:39:19 AM »
cant lose with your plan

Thegoblinchief

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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2014, 03:36:11 PM »
Why are you putting 93 octane in a Toyota Avalon? It's not boosted that I know of... doesn't need high octane. You're wasting money.

I was wondering this myself.

If you DO buy a bike, do yourself a favor and get a quality used bike (either a LBS that sells used bikes, or off of CL). Expect to pay $200-350 for something that will last you. Worst-case, if you absolutely hate biking after trying for a few months, you can flip it for basically what you paid it.

Lots of threads around here with bike purchasing advice, most recently this one:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/index.php?pretty;board=welcome-to-the-forum;topic=i-need-to-buy-a-new-bike.0

Feel free to ask for advice on a particular deal. Keep in mind when analyzing the numbers that even the most dedicated commuters around here typically do one-ways of 10 miles or less. For longer rides, what some people do is alternate biking/driving. (E.g. drive to work with bike on car, bike home; next day, bike to work, drive home with bike on rack, etc.)

Good luck!

BlueMR2

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2014, 05:42:29 PM »
Bikes don't have to cost that much.  I see perfectly acceptable old 10-speeds go for $5-10 at garage sales.  Often just because they need some simple cleaning.  Beware the ones where everything on them is used up of course.  If it needs a chain, brakes, and tires, then you might want to keep looking unless you enjoy the fun of upgrading old bikes.  :-)

JT

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2014, 05:00:52 AM »
I used to take the train to/from work - $1.90 each way = $19 p/w = $912 p/y

Put slicks on the mountain bike, checked the chain was well oiled and clean, the gears worked and the brakes worked.  Then started riding in.  Took it nice and slow; one day a week advanced to twice a week advanced to three times a week which ultimately got me to five times a week.

It's great being in the fresh air and going past things at a slower pace is quite relaxing.  I found it was important to get a good backpack.  Something that could fit in your work clothes and lunch.  And it's good to check out if work has a shower.

Also, carry a pump and puncture repair kit.  Get bright lights for the front and back, perhaps some reflective tape for your ankles.

Fitness will come.

Good luck with everything!


Thegoblinchief

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2014, 05:23:55 AM »
Also, carry a pump and puncture repair kit.

I prefer carrying a fresh tube and a CO2 injector. Especially in nasty weather it's easier to swap the tube than to figure out where the leak is. I'll patch the bad tube back at home, and that becomes my new spare. Maybe it's the mini pump/injector I have, but CO2 is the only way I can get the pressure anywhere close to rideable.

FunkyStickman

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2014, 06:31:06 AM »
Unless you're riding skinny tires that need 110 PSI, a small pump should work fine. I have an Avenir Combi pump (had it for years) and never had a problem with it. But I will definitely second that you're going to want to bring spare tubes and a pump of some sort.

Riding a bike is almost always worth the trouble. Find a decent bike on Craigslist and give it a shot!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2014, 06:46:54 AM »
Unless you're riding skinny tires that need 110 PSI, a small pump should work fine. I have an Avenir Combi pump (had it for years) and never had a problem with it. But I will definitely second that you're going to want to bring spare tubes and a pump of some sort.

Huh. My mini pump can't seem to get over 40psi and that's barely rideable on my bike (really needs 60-80). I think the problem is that the valve doesn't lock, so it's hard to keep air from leaking back no matter how still I hold it against the Presta valve.

It was the model my LBS recommended, as it's a combination injector and pump. The injector part works at least!

FunkyStickman

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2014, 08:40:02 AM »
Huh. My mini pump can't seem to get over 40psi and that's barely rideable on my bike (really needs 60-80). I think the problem is that the valve doesn't lock, so it's hard to keep air from leaking back no matter how still I hold it against the Presta valve.

It was the model my LBS recommended, as it's a combination injector and pump. The injector part works at least!

Rule #1: the LBS doesn't always know what's best. ;)
Also, combination CO2/pumps don't work very well as pumps (as you've noticed). My pump will easily do 100 PSI, on schraeder or presta valves. I usually run my tires at 80. You might want to check into something like a Topeak RoadMorph, or the (slightly bigger) Avenir Combi. The Combi even has a PSI gauge in it.

krishnamba

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2014, 08:31:31 PM »
I know everyone is recommending pumps but what about the resealable tire that has the green liquid?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2014, 08:37:10 PM »
I know everyone is recommending pumps but what about the resealable tire that has the green liquid?

The what?

galliver

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2014, 09:03:00 PM »
Unless you're *really good* at finishing projects that you start, very interested in fixing up bikes, and have the time planned out, don't pick up a "project bike" on the cheap.  I told myself I was working on one I got for free for 3 years before I gave  up and got one I truly liked and looked forward to riding.

It's not clear if you're actually in the red financially, but I would reason if you would ride a bike at all (as a commute or before/after/weekends/errands/ec), it is a good investment in your *health*. Do you pay for any unhealthy hobbies (Netflix, computer games, other sedentary entertainment, sweets or snacks?) I'm not judging, I indulge in those occasionally...but if I look critically at my priorities, these things would go before any fitness-related expenses (that I use).  Once I adopted that mindset, I let myself rent a gym locker (gym was "free", as I'm a student) and buy new running shoes (so my shins didn't hurt) and hire a personal trainer ($15 for a half hour every 2 weeks) and replaced Hulu with Spotify (so I can have a constantly-rotating workout playlist).  And you know what? I work out more now. I'm getting my returns for that money.

2 miles biking is an easy/short commute (that's what mine is), but it is noticeable. I also definitely agree with not setting a 5x a week goal off the bat. Give yourself a pat on the back for 3x, and extra props for 4x. You don't have to take your "day off" but things come up.

Good luck!

krishnamba

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Re: Is it worth it to buy a bike and cut my travel in car?
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2014, 05:51:33 AM »
@Thegoblinchief, I am not a good explaing of things below is an article explaining the item

Tube
http://www.gizmag.com/slime-self-sealing-smart-tubes/14577/

Tire Gator more tire protection

My dream bike - currently $850 at dealers
http://www.popularmechanics.com/how-to/blog/reviewed-montague-paratrooper-pro-folding-bike-15623770

Main reason is you do lose mpg with bike on bike rack attached to car. I want to fold bike into
trunk. But at this point get a bike that has quick release for front tire.

But before even splurging on a dreambike I would like to see if this is something I can truly do even 2x
a week.

I am currently not seeing any good craigslists ad in cnj.