Author Topic: 14 months of biking to work!  (Read 6994 times)

hoppy08520

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14 months of biking to work!
« on: November 17, 2013, 05:47:18 PM »
Hi all, more than a year ago I posted here about how I started biking to work.

Well, it's now 14 months later and I'm still at it. Iím sharing this in the Badassity forum not merely to brag, but in the hopes that these testimonials will motivate others to get off the Lazy-Boy chair youíre hauling around town in your four-wheeled, 2-ton metal smoginator (i.e. motor vehicle), and get on your bike!

Some stats:
  • 207 round trips of ~6.3 miles each way
  • 2,635.25 miles
  • $2,135.76 in expenses - bike, pedals, helmet, shoes, shoe booties, tools, repairs, lots of clothes for summer to winter, gloves, winter gloves, jacket, tights, shorts, socks, panniers, DIY maintenance stuff, rack, lights, etc. I know this is a lot and I may have overdone it a bit..
  • $3,003.38 - estimated savings including gas, car maintenance, registration, property tax, canceling car insurance (after selling car)
  • $867.62 in net savings, and going up approximately $170/month now that my initial expenses are over
Now that Iíve bought most of the gear I need, I expect to save more than $2,000 annually, as long as I can keep this up. I think my total savings, though, are actually quite a bit more than this thanks to the ripple effects of the list below, which I'm not even including in my savings tally:
  • I am bringing my lunch to work far more than I used to; this is because itís a pain to go out to lunch on the bike and itís easier to bring the lunch.
  • Riding a bike, itís a lot harder to go shopping after work, so...I donít. I just ride home. Saves me on impulse or worthless spending.
  • I still go to happy hour, but stop at 2 beers...too hard to bike on a buzz. I might save $150+ annually on that.
  • I dropped the $40/month gym membership that I hardly used anyway
  • Biking and saving money is a daily reminder of why Iím trying to be frugal, and it helps keep me on the path to FI.
Let's be generous and add this up above and put it into the savings column. The $40/month gym membership is $480. Let's say I save $15/week in lunches (I do still eat out occasionally) so that's another $600 annually. And let's say I save another $50/month by reducing stupid spending on who knows what, simply because it's too hard to go shopping and spending on a bike, for another $600 in annual savings. That get's my annual savings up to around $3,700 if I want to count things more liberally.

All of that above is about saving money. But I'm also saving time. Here's my daily time spent biking:
+ 28 minute bike in morning
+ 28 minute bike in evening
+ 30 minutes getting ready, packing work clothes, getting bike clothes and gear on and off, locking up bike, etc. (~15 minutes each way)
86 minutes total

Now, suppose I drove to work, but also exercise each weekday at a gym or elsewhere (which is what you should do):
+ 25 minute drive in morning (only 5 minutes faster (!) on average than biking, some days better, some worse)
+ 25 minute drive in evening
+ 20 minutes getting into/out of gym, parking, getting dressed, etc.
+ 60 minutes exercising in gym (same time as on bike)
130 minutes

So, since I get to multi-task on my bike ride--I'm simultaneously commuting and exercising, rather than doing them separately--I'm actually saving around 45 minutes a day compared to driving to work and going to the gym (or doing some other sort of exercise). Now, this is just a theoretical savings because I wasn't actually exercising every day when I was driving to work -- it just didn't happen. But when you bike to work, you get in your exercise no matter what. And I'd much rather be outside biking, even on a road with a lot of cars, than being cooped up in a gym.

[As an aside, a gymbot might want to have a more well-rounded exercise and weight training program. I get that. But for me, the reality was that with my car-based commute, I just wasn't making it to the gym. So, while biking twice a day is inferior to a better fitness regimen in the abstract fantasy world, it is far better than the no-exercise regimen that was my real-world reality.]

Everything Iíve written above is purely about saving money and creating more time, but as just about any bike commuter can attest, the non-economic benefits are even greater. I feel healthier, less stressed, and Iím the best shape Iíve been in since I exercised regularly in college 20+ years ago. Even though I ride the same route every day, I still love it. Itís just plain old fun, even in the rain and cold.

What my example shows is that even a sedentary guy in his early 40s, who hadnít biked 100 miles in the previous 20 years, can do this if you can overcome the excuses and do it.

The crazy thing, my co-workers look at me with a mix of pity and amazement, especially when they see me after biking in on a rainy or sleeting day. But I feel sorry for them. After discovering bicycle commuting, I will NEVER go back to driving to work unless I lose my health or something extreme happens. Once, on a vacation day, I had to drive in commuting traffic and I just about wanted to stop my car, get out, and jump off the overpass. I'd much rather be zipping along on my bike, even in rain or heat, than be entombed in a car trapped in miles of bumper to bumper traffic. Iím done with that insanity---biking is freedom and I will not go back.

bomgd3

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 06:10:55 PM »
Thanks for your story!  Your situation is very similar to mine.  Biking does require a significant outlay of money initially.  I had to buy a good pump, pannier, warm bright clothing, lights, a car rack, and a few other things but the health benefits and gas savings are worthwhile.  Parking at my workplace is horrible, so biking is actually faster because I can park my bike directly in front of the building instead of in some parking lot 1 mi away and then taking a shuttle.

Paul der Krake

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 06:48:28 PM »
Amazeballs!

Let's recap: in 14 months, you single-handedly

1) Reduced the future strain on the nation's health system by becoming healthier
2) Reduced the country's dependence on foreign oil
3) Reduced general waste on cooking more yourself
4) Showed a great deal of resilience and self-reliance, two widely accepted virtues.


N

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 10:00:42 PM »
you rock!

JessieImproved

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 11:07:27 AM »
This is so inspiring!  I'm doing a trial run of biking next week - 5.9 miles of my 15 mile commute.  That portion of my commute is almost entirely bike path.  When I get that down, I may try to incorporate the first half of the trip, but that would involve some moderately scary road driving, so I have to work up to it.

Pylortes

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 11:56:16 AM »
Congratulations sir, you have officially been promoted to BADASS!!!  Nicely done!  I have been biking part time to work since May, but you've gone all the way, and it's awesome to see the benefits listed out.  And as the previous poster noted, many of the benefits spill over from personally to societal- way to go!!

acroy

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 11:57:33 AM »
Badass!!
Keep spinning!! :)

Ottawa

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2013, 12:25:57 PM »
That's amazing!  It's really impressive to see it laid out like that.  I especially like the cascade effect that I hadn't thought about in that way...I need to look at my bike stats now!

zinnie

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2013, 12:54:03 PM »
That is badass! Thanks for posting all of the details; it is inspiring to read.

Cinder

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2013, 01:33:29 PM »
Awesomesauce!

I've been riding my bike to work since mid-march this year.  It started out 5.5 miles each way, went up to 8 miles each way due to construction, soon dropping back down to 5.5 each way as the construction is finished.  It helped me push from about 185 down to 150 (I dropped from 210 down to 185ish by changing my eating habits).  I don't have as much savings as you, since my wife still drives to work and I don't live in an area where I can just get rid of my car.  She has transitioned from driving her 2003 Chevy Cavalier to my 2008 Prius, so we are seeing some residual gas savings there. 

People are always like 'what do you do when it rains?' and I say either 'get wet' or 'that's what foul weather gear is for!'  I am also heard exclaiming that there is no poor weather, just poor dress for the weather. 

I'm hoping to ride as much as I can though the winter, and the new construction which has widened the road on my primary route should help with that.  It's just tough since the slushy snow will stick around for quite a long time here.  I'm debating on getting a second set of tires and studding my current set. 

As an aside (slight thread hijack) does anyone have a good link to a good bike cleaning guide/kit?  I know I'll need chain lube, some kind of cleaning/regreasing tool, etc.. Also some best practices.. should I wipe my bike down every day during the winter due to salt on the roads?

Biggest surprise is how hard it is to get clothing just 'right' as the weather jumps between mid 30s and back up to low 50's this week.. I've overdressed in both occasions and ended up soaked in sweat.  Lots of wool means that I'm still warm, but cleanup/cooldown at work takes a bit longer. 

PindyStache

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2013, 08:17:06 PM »
The crazy thing, my co-workers look at me with a mix of pity and amazement, especially when they see me after biking in on a rainy or sleeting day. But I feel sorry for them. After discovering bicycle commuting, I will NEVER go back to driving to work unless I lose my health or something extreme happens. Once, on a vacation day, I had to drive in commuting traffic and I just about wanted to stop my car, get out, and jump off the overpass. I'd much rather be zipping along on my bike, even in rain or heat, than be entombed in a car trapped in miles of bumper to bumper traffic. Iím done with that insanity---biking is freedom and I will not go back.

Yes, this +1000. WTF do you mean I need to stop and sit still on my ass as some gigantic combustion engine generates enough heat to warm a small house, just because everyone else in front of me is doing the same thing! Even if I was driving a prius I'm still at severe risk of gouging out my own eyes with the stupidity of traffic compared to the wind-in-your-face freedom of the bicycle!

fallstoclimb

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2013, 10:38:40 AM »
The crazy thing, my co-workers look at me with a mix of pity and amazement, especially when they see me after biking in on a rainy or sleeting day. But I feel sorry for them. After discovering bicycle commuting, I will NEVER go back to driving to work unless I lose my health or something extreme happens. Once, on a vacation day, I had to drive in commuting traffic and I just about wanted to stop my car, get out, and jump off the overpass. I'd much rather be zipping along on my bike, even in rain or heat, than be entombed in a car trapped in miles of bumper to bumper traffic. Iím done with that insanity---biking is freedom and I will not go back.

Yeah this is true.  My coworkers are all constantly impressed with me for biking to work, but....it's really not that impressive.  It's 6 miles each way.  Additionally, I've never known anyone who gave bike commuting a solid try who quit unless it was due to new life circumstances.  Clearly we are all out there because its sort of fun!

Agree on the gear, though.  My 'warm' gloves for road riding apparently are only really ideal for when the temperature is between 35 and 45, maybe up to 50 if its a short ride.  I spent most of my ride in this morning being annoyed about that.  I expect a wider temperature range for my clothing! 

NinetyFour

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2013, 11:44:47 AM »
Congrats to the OP!

I have been commuting to work by walking or biking for 14 years.  So I have saved the cost of a parking decal (about $100 per year) plus all the gas/oil/wear and tear, etc.  I figure my savings are in the thousands of dollars.  Also, and this is a HUGE benefit, my general physical and mental health are better than they would be had I gone the clown car route for all these years!!!  (Plus, I saw a fox the other morning, as I was biking to work.  Very cool!! Probably wouldn't have see it had I been in a car.)

Cinder

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2013, 12:14:15 PM »
Agree on the gear, though.  My 'warm' gloves for road riding apparently are only really ideal for when the temperature is between 35 and 45, maybe up to 50 if its a short ride.  I spent most of my ride in this morning being annoyed about that.  I expect a wider temperature range for my clothing!

I have a set of gloves I just got (at the local Ski/Snowboard swap) that came with liners... Without the liners my fingers started to get cold in the 45~50 range.. with the liners this morning (below 35) my fingers were again cold.

 Any recommendations for any good water/wind proof gloves/mittens?  What would be ideal would be Thumb, index finger, then a 'mitten' grouping the remaining fingers.  That would provide a solid 'grip' while allowing my index finger to pull the break.  Or any recommendations for nice warm riding gloves in general?

C. K.

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2013, 12:47:42 PM »
Thanks for sharing. Yours is the longest commute I've read mentioned on the forums - over 12 miles round trip.

That's been my excuse. I'd have to peddle at least 24 miles round trip, mostly in traffic. But, you've given me renewed gumption to try it.


PindyStache

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2013, 06:18:30 PM »
Cinder - I recommend handle bar mitts + light gloves, but others use heavy duty ski gloves for colder temps on hands. I find the mitts keep a nice warm pocket of air around my hands but also allow venting so they serve a wider temp range. Personally, I do: 30+ degrees F = no gloves; 15-30 F = light biking gloves; below 15 = mitts + light gloves.

CK - Come over to this thread and you'll find longer commutes :)
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/november-cycling-challenge!!!
Several folks have 30+ mile round trip commutes. Mine is 20 direct home-work-home, but I usually do daycare drop-off & pick-up which makes it 30 round trip.

Cinder

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2013, 03:35:06 AM »
Cinder - I recommend handle bar mitts + light gloves, but others use heavy duty ski gloves for colder temps on hands. I find the mitts keep a nice warm pocket of air around my hands but also allow venting so they serve a wider temp range. Personally, I do: 30+ degrees F = no gloves; 15-30 F = light biking gloves; below 15 = mitts + light gloves.

I wonder if it is a relative humidity thing or just a PA thing.  I use the thin biking gloves all year round, and I need to switch to the slightly heavier gloves sub 50s.  I previously used a leather set of carheart gloves with thinsulate lining in them, but I did get a bit of airflow though the seam on my fingers.  That's why I was initially looking for a 'mit' type design.

Only problem I see with the handle-bar mitts is that I have a side view mirror attached to my left handlebar.  I've been meaning to find/make a mirror to mount to my helmet (then it would be useful from any angle aka while standing, not just sitting).  Thanks! I didn't know that product existed! I did stumble across these gloves while looking up handle-bar mitts.. THIS is the design I'd like for winter gloves.. a half mitten, half glove design seems like it would be a bit warmer!




My commute isn't that far.. One thing that makes it feel farther then it is, is the fact that I'm using a mountain bike (I guess you could call it a hybrid) that I got for a good deal at my local bike shop. I could probably cut a bunch of time off my commute if I had a fancy-pants road bike, but since the commute isn't super long this is more then sufficient for my needs. 

http://www.allthingsjeep.com/cyc41-overlandsemens.html

Mine also has a rack on the back, to which I've strapped a milk carton.  It's world above carrying my bag on my back (Though I still keep my camelbak there).  Constant little sips from the camelbak are a good way to remain hydrated throughout my ride, winter or summer.  I do have issues with having my face-guard ninja mask thing in place and drinking, so I usually pull down the nose cover onto my chin while I am drinking, but it is a bit hard to do with my bulkier winter gloves on now. 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 03:43:48 AM by Cinder »

fallstoclimb

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2013, 06:43:34 AM »
Sounds like you guys are looking for lobster gloves  :)

I haven't purchased them yet, but I plan to.  They seem to be the go-to for very cold riding.  This morning I doubled my under armour gloves with a pair of warmer gloves and was still a bit cold.  I think there's only so much you can expect when your fingers are separated. 

fuzzhead1506

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2013, 09:46:11 AM »
Hell ya!

That is sooo awesome hoppy!

I have been biking for a partial round trip shared with public transit for some time and have recently upgraded from 1:3 ratio to 3:1 ratio.  My 27 mile roundtrip is now only covered by 6 miles on the train! =D

Today, I bundled up and (despite falling 2x in the first 2 miles) biked to work with 2" of snow on the ground and falling.  Nothing quite like sticking my bike in a lower gear and having an umbrella hat + sweats over my standard work outfit.

I actually got into work significantly quicker than a number of my coworkers: 14 miles on the bike - 1.5 hours.... 14 miles in my coworkers clown car - 2 hours.... hehe

FunkyStickman

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2013, 08:07:18 AM »
Good job! I did a solid year of commuting, then got hurt and took 2 years off. I'm back at it, but not full-time yet.

Keep at it! Badassity takes practice.

rocketman48097

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2013, 10:56:36 AM »
I have a seriously bad biking to work story.  Being inspired by this website, I started biking to work in May, got a stress injury in my foot, still unresolved in November, and my health insurance has paid out $500 so far treating this.  I now have to get an MRI as my boot has not healed this.  Now I am starting to pay out of pocket and the MRI will cost me $445 and that is without treatment afterwards for whatever is really wrong with my foot. 

This has been an awful experience, I am 37, no other health problems, and I have been driving to work since August 9th when I decided my stress injury wasn't going away.  (my first doctor diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis, which was incorrect). 

FunkyStickman

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2013, 11:09:58 AM »
I have a seriously bad biking to work story.  Being inspired by this website, I started biking to work in May, got a stress injury in my foot, still unresolved in November, and my health insurance has paid out $500 so far treating this.  I now have to get an MRI as my boot has not healed this.  Now I am starting to pay out of pocket and the MRI will cost me $445 and that is without treatment afterwards for whatever is really wrong with my foot. 

This has been an awful experience, I am 37, no other health problems, and I have been driving to work since August 9th when I decided my stress injury wasn't going away.  (my first doctor diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis, which was incorrect).

Have they been able to figure out anything as far as how extensive the damage is, and what caused it? I would seriously doubt it's the biking that caused the fracture, unless you took a spill.

And I was hit by a car 2 years ago, had full femur reconstruction, 6 months of physical therapy, $100,000 in bills, etc. and I'm back at it. I can't say that would be the case for everyone, but just as an encouragement, things can get better.

Bike commuting isn't for everyone, but for me, I couldn't imagine *not* doing it.

Peanut Butter

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Re: 14 months of biking to work!
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2013, 11:43:31 PM »
  • Riding a bike, itís a lot harder to go shopping after work, so...I donít. I just ride home. Saves me on impulse or worthless spending.

This is one of the main benefits of always cycling or walking to the store - I'm way less likely to make junk food impulse purchases if I have to schlep them home myself. I was planning on buying a trailer when I sold my car, but I'm putting it off now because I don't really want to make major shopping sprees to easy for myself.