Author Topic: my neccesary commute with added badassity.  (Read 3774 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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my neccesary commute with added badassity.
« on: April 21, 2012, 04:32:12 AM »
Soooooo I am a contractor and run my own company accounts and came across mr money mustache blog when trying to lower the cost of my commute but I have hit a bit of a wall so far as bad weather is concerned:

I used to commute by car every day though I change the place I work at roughly every 3 to six months and when I do change I need to take my tools with me (they weight 20kg+ and occupy a large 4 draw tool chest).

My ride is:
1997 proton 1.5gl automatic

it cost me 175 and had roughly 33000 miles on the clock (lucky find I know) when I got it
Insurance and Tax run just above 640 per year
yearly maintance is 120 to 150 (I do most of the work myself this mostly for tyres, fluid and a mot)
the cars mpg is at its highest is 35mpg cost per litre in the uk is 1.42 (as of 21/04/2012) making a gallon 1.42 * 4.33 = 6.15 (rounding up there), to make matters even more expensive petrol is expected to hit 1.50 a litre by the end of the year.

The above car costs me 0.29p per mile (at current fuel costs).

When I used to commute solely by car I used to only do 13000 miles per year and as I cant pick where I work quite as easily as say a carpenter I work in motor racing  and there are roughly 50 companies that specialize in the work I do. Luckly mostly 60 percent of these are within a 29 mile radius of where I live.
The first thing I looked at was trading the proton was for a motorcycle, something like a honda cbf 125 that would get roughly 80-100mpg and cost two thirds less to run than the proton. But this would limit the amount of tools I can take from job to job and limit my employment prospects. The lower costs were appealing but it still represents a yearly investment where as a bicycle was a one time investment (minus consumables).

So the next best solution was to invest in a bike and cycle the long distances to work and use the proton to take tools to and from new contracts, this was working ok I would cover 40 miles to and from work a day and 3 day a week and was working towards doing the whole week then the weather turned nasty and my steel road bike with slicks could no longer deal with the early morning frost, ice and heavy rain. I disappointingly only covered 1700 miles and stayed in when it rained to avoid getting a cold, this year I have purchased some wet weather clothing like over shoes and water proofs and am back out there. But I fear I will relax and let everything slip when the early morning frost and ice kicks in again.

So my long winded question to the forum is can I justify the funding of more than one bicycle ideally the new bicycle would be a mountain bike with fat tyres for bad weather and because of the large mileage with decent components. Fortunately because of the work I do I can build a high quality mountain bike frame myself and purchase the components separately running the cost of a new build to roughly 600 meaning I would have to cover 2068.96 miles on it before it was paid for ( at a saving of .29p per mile this mileage would decrease with the rising cost of fuel). 

What do you think is a new mountain bike justifiable?


  • Bristles
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Re: my neccesary commute with added badassity.
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2012, 06:20:19 AM »
Here's my advice: I live in Minnnesota where we have a lot of ice and snow in the winters. This year I simply bought mountain bike tires to fit on my current bike and fenders to keep me dry. You can install these yourself and it shouldnt cost more than $30-$40, not sure what that is in pounds.

Also invest in good gear. Get some rain pants and a good biking rain coat with a hood to keep you dry and warm. Cold weather alone will not give you a cold, only germs can do that. I biked in snowy, icy 20 degrees this winter, and I'm pretty sure Britain doesn't get that cold. Try out some different clothing that you already have to stay dry and warm and if that doesn't work invest in some carefully considered new options. Also I'd suggest making sure you have lights on your bike and check with a local police station to see if you can find a free reflective vest to wear for cloudy dark days.

You could also see about getting a trailer (if you don't have one already) to allow you more flexibility with transporting tools (unless they're super heavy). Anyway sounds like you've already biked a lot, you really don't need a new bike to keep biking in the cold and rain, just some new tires and tenacious fortitude.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: my neccesary commute with added badassity.
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2012, 08:42:42 AM »
First, I want to publicly commend the level of badassity in this post.  The long commute, the right attitude about doing the math, and a willingness to build your own mountain bike frame, together, put most of the people on this board to shame.  I'll never read another post that says "I don't want to bike the five miles to work because I might get sweaty" without thinking of this.

Second, I would suggest swapping out your tires on the road bike.  Depending on what kind of brakes you have, it may be a simple matter to buy a second hand mountain bike that's not in working condition, take the wheels and tires off it and put them on your road bike.  You might even salvage the brakes to make the swap easier.  Add some fenders and the right clothing and you're all set.

With that said, if you really want to build a mountain bike don't let us stop you. Using the numbers you quoted, you only need to ride to work 52 days to save in fuel the cost of the new bike.  That's less than one winter.  It's not as frugal as modifying your current ride, but since you're clearly a serious bike commuter I would personally justify the expense.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: my neccesary commute with added badassity.
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2012, 08:20:58 PM »
You covered 40 miles a day, and continued to try through frost and rain?

You are easily the most bad-ass person I have ever heard of.

I used to use a road bike with fat tires as a bike messenger in New York City in the winter.
Its not worth it.  Get a mountain bike.  They aren't that expensive, even if you don't build it yourself, compared to how much you are saving by not driving the car or buying a motorcycle.

Most road bikes won't accept tires as wide as most mnt bike have (at least in the US)

I am generally a minimalist in many ways (live in 250 sq ft trailer) but I think 3-4 bikes is a pretty reasonable number to have.

And although you are ultimately trying to save money, get a good bike.  A cheap crappy bike, in traffic, in bad weather = unnecessary risk of crash.

I wrote a guide on buying used bikes for commuting, specifically at the request of a fellow MMM reader:


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: my neccesary commute with added badassity.
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2012, 02:04:39 PM »
Studded tires would help on the ice. Check out for more about winter riding.