Author Topic: How biking saves money  (Read 10723 times)

Raislin

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
How biking saves money
« on: May 09, 2015, 09:12:20 PM »
I sold my car in February and began walking/biking 2 miles to work every day.  On April 30th, I started training at a new job that is 10 miles one way and 11 the other (I take a different, safer route home).  The training at my current location ends on Tuesday and that is also the day I will break 200 miles of biked commuting in May.

Next comes four weeks of a drive commute for more training, as the distance is about 35 miles each way.  Once that's done, I'll settle comfortably at an 8 mile bike ride to and from work everyday!

Excluding grocery trips -- only done once every month or two, and also on my bike -- and any extracurricular travel, I expect to travel 80 miles every week by bicycle.  If I can successfully do this during the winter months, that's roughly 4200 miles in a year.  My estimated vehicle-related savings is $7800 per year and I average 15 miles per hour on my rides (a few hills, but it's almost constantly windy here, so I usually go very fast one way and struggle a bit the other direction).  If I consider that my car would have only been used for commuting to and from work, it's as if I'm saving $27.86 per hour while biking.

The further one has to bike, the smaller that number becomes.  Conversely, the shorter the distance, the higher it becomes.  At my old job (2 mile commute each way), I get $112.50 per hour of biking.  At my second training location, which is 35 miles out, the rate is $6.43 per hour -- less than minimum wage.  $27.86 is more than double what I'll be pulling in at my new job, so it's clear that the ride is worth both the time and effort.

lpep

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 285
  • Location: Hanoi, VN
    • My MMM journal
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2015, 12:12:37 AM »
What are your calculations?

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2015, 12:55:43 PM »
$7800/yr = $650/mo in vehicle costs - that seems really high.

Winter biking is fine, but depending on where you live, you may want to buy a set of studded tires for your bike.  They make winter biking radically safer if you get a lot of snow and ice.  Also, lube your cables (shifters and brakes) before it gets cold or they're likely to freeze up on you - I always made sure I left my bike in a "generally useful" gear pairing when I parked it outside in case the shifters froze.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2015, 03:36:59 PM »
And did you sell your car?  Otherwise you'll still have a lot of the costs.

Literally the first words in the post:

I sold my car in February...

Raislin

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2015, 06:20:39 PM »
What are your calculations?

80 miles per week * 52 weeks = 4160 miles (I rounded to 4200)

4200 miles / 15 mph = 280 hours spent cycling

$7800 / 280 hours = $27.86 per hour

The total, actual cost savings are what matter for savings rate.  Instead, this demonstrates a way to find out how fiscally valuable your commuting time is.  Bike faster, live closer to work, and commute less often to improve the value.

$7800/yr = $650/mo in vehicle costs - that seems really high.

Winter biking is fine, but depending on where you live, you may want to buy a set of studded tires for your bike.  They make winter biking radically safer if you get a lot of snow and ice.  Also, lube your cables (shifters and brakes) before it gets cold or they're likely to freeze up on you - I always made sure I left my bike in a "generally useful" gear pairing when I parked it outside in case the shifters froze.

It's very high, so my case is definitely an extreme.  I was counting the car payments in those costs, then car insurance, gas, and property taxes.  Obviously, if I'd paid the car off and kept it, that number would drop significantly, but it would have taken years.  Extremes are often useful for demonstrating a point -- that cycling and living close to work saves a respectable amount of money.  In my case, I don't actually live very close to work, but my travel expenses on a bike relative to the old car are tiny.

Thanks for the tips on winter biking!  The area around here tends to get more icy than snowy, so studded tires are a great idea.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2015, 06:35:10 PM »
Enjoy. Not a lot of people I've talked to know studded bike tires exist. People looked at me like I was completely insane when I'd show up places on bike after an ice storm. It's great!

They're expensive, but it's worth the money. Generally the more expensive ones have better studs that last more winters. $150+ for a good pair isn't unreasonable, but you'll get a lot of miles out of them.

Jakejake

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 720
  • FIRE: June 17, 2016
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 08:29:37 PM »
How much do the studded tires slow you down?

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 08:31:55 PM »
Quite a bit when you're trying to brake on ice! :)

They're louder and a bit higher drag than normal tires, but the point of them is that you can literally ride on a sheet of wet ice safely.

Jakejake

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 720
  • FIRE: June 17, 2016
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 08:47:17 PM »
After an epic wipeout on ice earlier this year, I gave up - but that was regular tires. I have an hour and fifteen minute commute each way with good weather. I'm wondering if studded tires would make it a 2 hour commute each way, which isn't manageable for me. (two hours on ice in the dark on short winter days might make me cry.)

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2015, 09:16:24 PM »
Your commute will probably be longer, but it's the winter road conditions and drivers, not the tires.  If the paths you take are mostly clear, there shouldn't be a big difference.

I can't really say I noticed a huge difference in rolling drag between my summer tires and my studded snow tires.  If I did, it was because I was doing something idiotic like biking through 6" of crusted over snow (which I flat out couldn't have done on my summer tires).

The "moments of truth" were when I was moving at a good clip down a road, hearing the grinding of the studs on the pavement, and then things getting dead quiet.  This meant that the studs, instead of beating on asphalt, were now digging firmly into black ice.  On summer tires, this is almost immediately followed by a crash, and with studded snows, you just keep rolling along.

I could bike straight up iced over sidewalks when people literally couldn't walk up them.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8037
  • Location: United States
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 06:57:43 AM »
I absolutely believe biking saves money. But I don't think your calculations are accurate.

Including a car payment seems a bit spurious. That gives the assumption that you would buy a new car when you finish paying off the old one.  But you won't always have a car payment- you should probably have at least 10-15 years at a time without one.

Rage

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
  • Location: SoLoNoCo (aka Longmont)
  • Eat the Horses
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2015, 09:19:45 PM »
I sold my vehicle (Jeep Grand Cherokee) in March.  I estimated that it cost me $8.50 per day while I owned it:

Depreciation - I sold it for $1K less than I bought it for after 3 years (which is phenomenal - I'm a craigslist magician)
Sales Tax on Purchase - $1200
Maintenance - I spent $3.5K in maintenance over 3 years
Insurance - ~$350/year
Licensing, emissions - ~$250/year
Gasoline - ~$600/year

It works out to $3100 per year or $8.50 per day.  I think it is fair to assume this is roughly how much I am saving every day that I go without a vehicle.

I think the most interesting thought experiment is how much of the year do you have to work to pay for your car for the year (in terms of take home pay).  For me, for that vehicle, you could say that roughly the first 2 weeks of every year I was working just to pay for my Jeep.  Most people I know own much more expensive vehicles and have much much longer commutes - I would guess that for a lot of the people I work with the first 2 months go to pay for their vehicle.

cerebus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
  • Age: 42
  • Location: South Africa
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2015, 01:31:56 AM »
I don't think my cycling to work saves more than around $80 a month as we only have the one car and I work 7kms from home. If I had to buy my own car and do the insurance and maintenance and all that, then yeah probably you could add another $200 to that. I think if I had to do a 1 1/2 hour one-way bike commute I'd rather take the bus or something though, that seems hectic to me.

Cheryl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2015, 08:06:52 AM »
You're forgetting money saved by avoiding impulse trips!  Back when I was driving I'd occasionally decide what my Sunday needed was a movie theater, or to go visit a friend in a nearby city withwhom I'd drive somewhere else, or any number of other things.  Biking, on the other hand, makes you think twice about trips.  Do I actually want to see that movie in theaters?  So much so that I'll bike six miles to do so?  Six miles isn't far, but it gives the brain a second chance to remember that paying to see a movie in theaters is silly anyway.  Visiting my friend in another city?  Better plan the whole day around it, twenty miles is a friggin' good distance!  Then when I get there we pretty much just drink coffee and play scrabble, since neither of us even has a way to get to the mall anymore.

SticktothePlan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Chicago
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2015, 08:31:18 AM »
Just purchased a Divvy subscription (bike-sharing program in Chicago).  It's $75 for a year and I'll probably use it mostly in good weather. I've been hesitant in the past, but now it's so darn convenient to everywhere I tend to be in the city. I'm hoping it lowers cost on bus transportation and reduces time to get home.  If I use it 38 times in one year I break even on the bus cost ($2 one way).  I'll often find myself waiting 10+ minutes for a bus that takes 20+ minutes to get me home, when I could hop on a bike and be home in 20-30 plus get some exercise.




codemonkey

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2015, 10:09:58 AM »
After an epic wipeout on ice earlier this year, I gave up - but that was regular tires. I have an hour and fifteen minute commute each way with good weather. I'm wondering if studded tires would make it a 2 hour commute each way, which isn't manageable for me. (two hours on ice in the dark on short winter days might make me cry.)

I only commute via bike once a week since I'm a wimp, although I'm trying to fix that.  Anyway, my commute was about 1:10 last fall when I was getting started.  I switched to studded tires after my first wipe out on black ice in early November.  My rides increased to 1:15 to 1:25 during the winter, although I think part of that was due to the wind picking up, part of it was due to restrictive clothing, and part of it was due to my bike not shifting gears as well in the cold.

The last frost is usually May 15th where I live, so this weekend I'll switch back to normal tires.  My last month of commutes on studded tires have been 1:05 or less, with one being at an hour.  Without having to navigate snow piles and possible slippery areas I'm faster than my best times on road tires last year.

I paid $160 for the pair at a local bike shop, but all the studs are still in place and they'll be good for next year for sure.  The owner of the shop said he had customers going on their 7th season with the same pair of tires.


Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2015, 11:37:22 AM »
...and part of it was due to my bike not shifting gears as well in the cold.

Lube your shifter cables, heavy on the lube.  If you flush out any moisture that's accumulated, they work fine in the cold.  I had to do this at the beginning of the winter and then sometimes midway through the winter when I was winter riding in Iowa.

Quote
I paid $160 for the pair at a local bike shop, but all the studs are still in place and they'll be good for next year for sure.  The owner of the shop said he had customers going on their 7th season with the same pair of tires.

Yeah, they last pretty much forever.  Eventually you lose enough studs that it's worth replacing them, but I only lost a few in 3 winters of daily riding, and they were still entirely usable.  Warm & dry is what kills the tires, not cold and ice.

Rage

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
  • Location: SoLoNoCo (aka Longmont)
  • Eat the Horses
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2015, 04:27:27 PM »
I just did the math and I've been spending an average of $43/month on bike paraphernalia since I started seriously biking almost everywhere about a year ago.  Compared to spending an average of $258 per month on a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In case you're curious that spending includes: a new headset, a new helmet, a light and reflector for biking at night, a new cassette, crankset, chain, a rack, a Burley (used), tubes and tires, a velcro reflective strap to wrap around my pant leg, platform pedals, a few other things.  I'm not going on a shopping spree or anything, I'm just using my bike a lot more and things are either getting worn out or were already worn out and now they need replaced. 

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3571
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2015, 10:59:55 PM »
I just did the math and I've been spending an average of $43/month on bike paraphernalia since I started seriously biking almost everywhere about a year ago.  Compared to spending an average of $258 per month on a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In case you're curious that spending includes: a new headset, a new helmet, a light and reflector for biking at night, a new cassette, crankset, chain, a rack, a Burley (used), tubes and tires, a velcro reflective strap to wrap around my pant leg, platform pedals, a few other things.  I'm not going on a shopping spree or anything, I'm just using my bike a lot more and things are either getting worn out or were already worn out and now they need replaced.
.

^^^ This is what I was going to say. Don't forget to factor in the cost of all the bike parts you'll wear out from riding 200+ miles/mo. In the past 18 months, I've averaged $65/mo. This has included, new helmet, new bottom bracket, new chain, jug of degreaser, new wheels (yes I wore out my wheels), tubes, tires, more lights, new cables and several sets of brake pads.

cerebus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
  • Age: 42
  • Location: South Africa
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2015, 12:07:58 AM »
I just did the math and I've been spending an average of $43/month on bike paraphernalia since I started seriously biking almost everywhere about a year ago.  Compared to spending an average of $258 per month on a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In case you're curious that spending includes: a new headset, a new helmet, a light and reflector for biking at night, a new cassette, crankset, chain, a rack, a Burley (used), tubes and tires, a velcro reflective strap to wrap around my pant leg, platform pedals, a few other things.  I'm not going on a shopping spree or anything, I'm just using my bike a lot more and things are either getting worn out or were already worn out and now they need replaced.
.

^^^ This is what I was going to say. Don't forget to factor in the cost of all the bike parts you'll wear out from riding 200+ miles/mo. In the past 18 months, I've averaged $65/mo. This has included, new helmet, new bottom bracket, new chain, jug of degreaser, new wheels (yes I wore out my wheels), tubes, tires, more lights, new cables and several sets of brake pads.

I'm a relatively new cyclist commuter and I started off with a hand-me-down Raleigh that has basically fallen apart and needed to be replaced part by part. Then I purchased a 2ndhand Silverback but it still needs some upgrading especially to sludge and calibrate the tires and get some good lights. I'm hoping that'll be the end of it though; it's still cheaper averaged out than driving even if I've had to spend something every month.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2015, 12:08:49 AM »
$50/mo sounds reasonable for bike maintenance on a daily driver style bike.

onemorebike

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 328
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2015, 06:02:30 AM »
Don't forget to include the cost of the n+1 factor. Soon you will realize that you need a fleet of bikes specialized to various uses and will need to add in the cost to purchase and maintain these. (n+1, where n is the number of bikes you currently have)

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2015, 09:46:34 AM »
Don't forget to include the cost of the n+1 factor. Soon you will realize that you need a fleet of bikes specialized to various uses and will need to add in the cost to purchase and maintain these. (n+1, where n is the number of bikes you currently have)

I had a similar problem, only because of kids. Once you have a family riding instead of driving, you get the fun/health/environmental benefits but the cost savings is barely there, if at all. I gave up tracking because I still wanted to bike, and didn't want to be reminded that it wasn't saving any money on a per-mile basis.

We still have 1 car but biking let us have the confidence to drop from 2.

On the studded tires, I absolutely loved my Schwalbe Marathon tires. Yes, they're ~1-2mph slower but way, way worth it for the safety. I loved flying over black ice at full speed.

On cables, don't just lube it, use a pump with a needle (bonus if you have an air compressor) to shoot air through the last cable shroud before the rear derailleur to get the moisture and gunk out. That has always been a trouble spot for me until a local mechanic suggested that - no more replacing cables every year!

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2015, 09:55:07 AM »
Don't forget to include the cost of the n+1 factor. Soon you will realize that you need a fleet of bikes specialized to various uses and will need to add in the cost to purchase and maintain these. (n+1, where n is the number of bikes you currently have)

You... Well, uh, the maintenance interval is longer in calendar time for each bike so the maintenance costs should be about the same, right?

That sounds good in theory, and I absolutely don't want any numbers to prove otherwise! :D

======

Interesting idea about blowing out the cable shrouds. I'll have to try that! Right now it doesn't get that cold where I live.

Raislin

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2015, 10:23:30 AM »
I absolutely believe biking saves money. But I don't think your calculations are accurate.

Including a car payment seems a bit spurious. That gives the assumption that you would buy a new car when you finish paying off the old one.  But you won't always have a car payment- you should probably have at least 10-15 years at a time without one.

I made a note on this in a later post.  I agree, but I was using my own situation as an example.  Over the course of five more years, I was looking at costs equaling those I used.  If I'd continued, they would have dropped by $423 per month, plus whatever insurance I might have been able to save on.  Still, for the next five years, I can expect to have a significant amount of money to put toward other things, without any real sacrifice in my life.  We kept my wife's car, as the costs associated with it are significantly lower for now.

You're forgetting money saved by avoiding impulse trips!  Back when I was driving I'd occasionally decide what my Sunday needed was a movie theater, or to go visit a friend in a nearby city withwhom I'd drive somewhere else, or any number of other things.  Biking, on the other hand, makes you think twice about trips.  Do I actually want to see that movie in theaters?  So much so that I'll bike six miles to do so?  Six miles isn't far, but it gives the brain a second chance to remember that paying to see a movie in theaters is silly anyway.  Visiting my friend in another city?  Better plan the whole day around it, twenty miles is a friggin' good distance!  Then when I get there we pretty much just drink coffee and play scrabble, since neither of us even has a way to get to the mall anymore.

I specifically noted that I was excluding those, as it's hard to measure how often and how far you travel for them.  For me, I don't go out much, so trips to the grocery store account for the majority of my extra biking, and that's about a mile each way.

I just did the math and I've been spending an average of $43/month on bike paraphernalia since I started seriously biking almost everywhere about a year ago.  Compared to spending an average of $258 per month on a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In case you're curious that spending includes: a new headset, a new helmet, a light and reflector for biking at night, a new cassette, crankset, chain, a rack, a Burley (used), tubes and tires, a velcro reflective strap to wrap around my pant leg, platform pedals, a few other things.  I'm not going on a shopping spree or anything, I'm just using my bike a lot more and things are either getting worn out or were already worn out and now they need replaced.
.

^^^ This is what I was going to say. Don't forget to factor in the cost of all the bike parts you'll wear out from riding 200+ miles/mo. In the past 18 months, I've averaged $65/mo. This has included, new helmet, new bottom bracket, new chain, jug of degreaser, new wheels (yes I wore out my wheels), tubes, tires, more lights, new cables and several sets of brake pads.

This was hard for me to account for, because I haven't been biking very long and have not yet had any costs associated with my bike, aside from replacing a lost lamp and a lost lock.  I will, of course, account for these in my budget as I become more aware of what I have to face.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2015, 10:40:12 AM »
Chains and rear cassettes wear out and need replacement.  You can usually go through 3-4 chains before the front chainrings need replacement.  Spokes break and need replacement, and stay up on that, because if you break too many, the wheel will fail and that's a more expensive replacement.  Rim brakes will eventually wear out the braking surface on wheels and you'll have to replace the wheel (this is *heavily* dependent on terrain - a hilly area will wear them out far faster than flatlands, where I never managed to wear out the braking surface).  Head bearings last a good long time, but will need work eventually.  Brakes, tires, tubes, all add up.

It all adds up, but it's still not that much compared to car maintenance.  Now, if you have a full family biking... you'd better learn to do your own work.

vhalros

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 309
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2015, 11:32:09 AM »
Regarding loss of studs on studded tires, Schwalbe actually sells replacement studs and a tool to install them. I think Nokian has one as well (I think the studs are specific to a particular manufacturer). I haven't needed to do this yet myself, but it is worth noting you might not have to buy a whole new tire just because it has lost studs.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2015, 11:52:01 AM »
Interesting - that's also good to know!  I last ran them in around 2009, and hadn't lost enough studs that it was an issue yet.

oneday

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3220
  • Location: SF Bay Area, USA
  • Knit, bike, breathe. Repeat. - 94
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2015, 01:30:46 AM »
Hi cylcling folks!  Your badassity has me in awe.  Studded tires?  Riding in ice?  The whole family on bikes?  Maybe one day I will join your bad-ass ranks.

So OMG, I'm so excited you guys, I just got my new bike!  First I must mention I looked on Craigslist but didn't find anything suitable for a variety of reasons...maybe I'm just picky.  Anyway.

OK, this thread is about saving money by biking.  I'm just going to spitball a bit, because I'm too excited to figure out exact car costs...psh, I'm too happy about my beautiful new bike to care about precision right now.

My commute is 16 miles one way.  Using the IRS standard mileage rate of 57 1/2 cents per mile, that is $18.40 per day round trip. (Yikes, didn't realize it was that high!)  This takes about 45 minutes one way.  I'm not factoring in the time value right now.

Well the car on the fritz this week, so I have been taking mass transit.  That costs $9.40 and includes waiting for the G-D busses, which are never on schedule (on Tuesday, I just missed the 6:40 bus, the 7:00 bus never showed, argh!).  If all goes well, this commute takes about 1 hour & 15 min, including about a half hour of walking each way...that's better that sitting in a gas-powered throne!  A little more time, but it's relaxing on the train & I save $9/day.

But best of all will be tomorrow when I can ride the bike.  It's just under 3 miles to the train station.  Only have to pay train fare at $5.90, saving $12.50/ over car commuting (my default), or $3.50 over bus+train, and & 100% of the frustration.  And the commute time should be about the same as the bus+train option, more or less.  I guess that will depend on my legs :)

So, how much saved?  $12.50/day that I bike commute.  Purchase cost of the new bike will be paid back in 41 days, or about 2 months...wow that's faster than I thought!  It's always useful to put pen to paper & work things out, so to, err, speak. Then I will have to figure out what to do with all the cash that will be stacking up, lol.

Ok, I will give it a whirl tomorrow & report in the beginners bike challenge thread.  Hope to see you there!

FrugalBeard

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Age: 31
  • Location: The Urban Midwest
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2015, 01:35:40 PM »
$50/mo on bike maintenance? I feel like I'm under $20, but maybe it's cuz I'm only putting on ~120 miles a month. Plus we have a great non-profit bike shop in town that does a lot of refurbing and giving to the community and had a lot of cheap used and even new stuff too.. I got a new tire and used pannier rack for $15 each, would have easily spent $60 at the other LBS.

vhalros

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 309
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2015, 08:56:38 AM »
I spend about $50/year on bicycle maintenance, including buying new lubricant. Most years are actually less than that, but you'll occasionally have a random busted thing that will make one year more expensive and push up the average. I do all my own maintenance and repairs, so that doesn't include any labor. I probably only ride a about 3,000 miles a year though.


BCBiker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
  • Location: Colorado
    • Business Casual Biker - Health, Wealth, and Mental Stealth BTYB Bicycle Commuting
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2015, 02:10:22 PM »
The OP savings is 100% believable. If one has a car that is less than 5 years old, you are going to depreciate a couple thousand dollars every year. Then you have insurance, gas, maintenance, tolls is some areas, taxes, registration, interest, etc.

Here is a post with my two cents on the subject. http://www.businesscasualbiker.com/monetary-impact/

Admittedly, my car driving scenario was entirely made up and I would drive something more practical (although I will likely never own a car again so any car seems insanely impractical...).

$50/mo sounds reasonable for bike maintenance on a daily driver style bike.

I think that if you are spending $50 per month on bicycle commuting, you are doing something wrong. A lot of the expenses listed are one time expenses.

Below are some tips on how to keep your costs low.

It is important to ride a sturdy bike but the most sturdy bikes are the least expensive. Think '70s or '80's steel frame touring bikes (fast, somewhat low weight, and sturdy).  Get a nice set of wheels, tires and tubes for a $200-300, and you should be basically cost free for 5-12K miles. After that you will replace your tires at $100-120 every 10k miles.  Throw in occasional things like chain repair, oil, brake pads, etc. 

Most importantly, if you are biking just to save a buck, you are probably not going to get the full benefits.  Bicycle commuting is a LIFESTYLE to be appreciated for what it is: simplicity, efficiency, exercise, mental free time, etc.  If you are thinking about the cash you saved, you will wonder why the hell you are out in the middle of blizzard at 5 below and you will be cussing.  However, if you accept that you do this because it makes you a better person, you will be plowing through the snowdrifts with Glee!

I hope those interested in this subject will check out my blog.  I have been super busy lately so the posts have gone to a complete hault but I will be back soon once my job slows down.  I appreciate any comments you leave on my posts.

-BCBiker

Rage

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
  • Location: SoLoNoCo (aka Longmont)
  • Eat the Horses
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2015, 02:33:31 PM »
Seems silly to me to argue that $50/mo is too much for biking.  If you amortize all of the expenses associated with biking you are going to wind up with a number in that range.  It starts with a casual biker with a casual bike ($400).  And then once you start biking every day you realize you need a new bike seat ($30 to $100).  You realize that if you're going to bike every day you want better pedals ($20).  You realize that you need to start buying nicer tires that will hold out longer ($40 instead of $15).  You're going to need carry a small pump ($20) and a spare tube ($5).  You put fenders on your bike ($60 to $100) for the rain.   You buy a burley for going to the grocery store ($150 to $250 used).   You buy some biking gloves ($30 to $50) and a helmet ($40).  Eventually you are going to have to take your bike in for a tune-up ($120) or buy the tools yourself ($100).  This all goes on for a very very long time and will never amortize out to less than $50/month.

But on the internet, the biking experts will say that if you're spending $50/month, you're doing something wrong.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3958
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2015, 02:34:46 PM »
I think that if you are spending $50 per month on bicycle commuting, you are doing something wrong. A lot of the expenses listed are one time expenses.

Spokes.  Brake pads.  Chains and rear cassettes.  Tires.  Tubes.  Bottom bracket bearings.  Wheel bearings.  Cables.  A helmet every few years.  Lights.  They add up over time.  It also depends on the environment.  Seattle hills are much, much more brutal on bikes than the flatlands of Iowa.

BCBiker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
  • Location: Colorado
    • Business Casual Biker - Health, Wealth, and Mental Stealth BTYB Bicycle Commuting
Re: How biking saves money
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2015, 02:52:39 PM »
Seems silly to me to argue that $50/mo is too much for biking.  If you amortize all of the expenses associated with biking you are going to wind up with a number in that range.  It starts with a casual biker with a casual bike ($400).  And then once you start biking every day you realize you need a new bike seat ($30 to $100).  You realize that if you're going to bike every day you want better pedals ($20).  You realize that you need to start buying nicer tires that will hold out longer ($40 instead of $15).  You're going to need carry a small pump ($20) and a spare tube ($5).  You put fenders on your bike ($60 to $100) for the rain.   You buy a burley for going to the grocery store ($150 to $250 used).   You buy some biking gloves ($30 to $50) and a helmet ($40).  Eventually you are going to have to take your bike in for a tune-up ($120) or buy the tools yourself ($100).  This all goes on for a very very long time and will never amortize out to less than $50/month.

But on the internet, the biking experts will say that if you're spending $50/month, you're doing something wrong.

Actually, if you consult most biking related blogs, you will be encouraged to buy so much expensive worthless crap because most of these people are in the business of sell you shit.  I want people to experience bicycle commuting for the pure enjoyment of helping people.

There are definitely things that you need to splurge on to improve your experience and prevent getting stuck along your path, like good wheels, tires and tubes. You need a helmet, bags, etc.  I actually would in general encourage people to splurge because biking is such a great deal overall.

But $50 a month is a lot!

So far this year I bought a new rear wheel, used a tube that I bought years ago (but I will include it), and had an emergency chain repair (stranded but near a bike shop), so I'm 6.5 months in with about $95 worth of expense for a little over 4000 miles worth of riding - 2.3 cent per mile.  Admittedly, you are talking about  start-up expenses which can be expensive when you don't know what you are doing (paying someone $120 for a tune up?), but in the long run (decades) your expenses will likely even out to well under $20 per month, maybe even less than $10.