Author Topic: Biking my way to health and wealth  (Read 14950 times)

Mike Key

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Biking my way to health and wealth
« on: February 14, 2012, 01:32:49 PM »
I was really inspired and kind of shocked by the Mustache's post on "The True Cost of Commuting". So I looked over our finances and found a big area of savings was looking me right in the face.


I've always been an active lean and fit guy. But after getting married and starting a new business I suddenly gained 30lbs that I've been struggling to get rid of. And after reading that post I found two great motivators.


One, getting back into shape riding a bicycle and two, saving a ton of cash each year by only having one car.


Working from home I rarely go out that much. And we live in a location where I am within about 2-3 miles of a dozen locations where I can meet with clients.


Most of the time my car is driven to waste gas, or when me and my wife go out to dinner. And my wife is commuting 11 miles in a Trailblazer. Another over sized waste of gas.


3rd problem, my lead foot. I've owned 3 Camaros, a Mustang, a Trans Am before owning the Audi. Needless to say I owned those in my younger days, and paid my fair share to the state of Virginia. Thus, our insurance is high. Even though it's been nearly 5 years since anything has been on my record. And I'm about to turn 30, I'm still screwed. But after talking to a number of companies, the savings in me not being a primary driver, puts us into "NORMAL" people's payment range and takes us out of the 208 a month we're currently paying.


This is a pretty big challenge for me. I'm used to the freedom of a car. I'm used to just getting in my car and wasting gas when I can't think as well. But I think in the end, this is going to work out to a healthier and wealthier lifestyle.


After the Audi gets sold, we are going to sell my wife's Trailblazer and replace it with a smaller more fuel efficient car.


So just curious if there is anyone else out there taking up the challenge of moving from two cars to one car?

Erin

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 01:39:17 PM »
Unfortunately I cannot join you in the challenge as I work approximately 35 miles one-way from my job - however I can pledge to:

1. Look for a new job closer to home.
2. Bike to non-work places (library, grocery, etc)
3. Support you while you move towards this goal :)

I think this will really help in your savings & the student loan payoff goal you had mentioned in a different post. I too need to get back in shape as my current job revolves around the computer!

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 01:55:04 PM »
Unfortunately I cannot join you in the challenge as I work approximately 35 miles one-way from my job - however I can pledge to:

1. Look for a new job closer to home.
2. Bike to non-work places (library, grocery, etc)
3. Support you while you move towards this goal :)

I think this will really help in your savings & the student loan payoff goal you had mentioned in a different post. I too need to get back in shape as my current job revolves around the computer!

It certainly will help. My business revolves around the computer too, being a web developer and all.

If others take the stairs instead of the elevator, then I can certainly ride my bike up the road to meet someone at Star Bucks rather than waste the gas by driving there.

rowsdower

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 01:57:08 PM »
I'm used to just getting in my car and wasting gas when I can't think as well.

Bikes work pretty well for this purpose.

So just curious if there is anyone else out there taking up the challenge of moving from two cars to one car?

We have never had two cars.  I ride my bike to work and my wife stays at home.  Most days neither of us uses the car.  You'll get used to it pretty quickly.  If you don't have the option, a lot of trips that need the car either don't really need the car, or aren't really necessary. 

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 02:08:14 PM »
We have never had two cars.  I ride my bike to work and my wife stays at home.  Most days neither of us uses the car.  You'll get used to it pretty quickly.  If you don't have the option, a lot of trips that need the car either don't really need the car, or aren't really necessary. 

When we first got married we had one car, but it was a beater. Somehow we ended up with two. The weather here and the bike friendliness of this city really make it conducive to riding.

My wife wants to join me on this and get a bike as well, and we're talking about possibly getting a trailer for the bikes. We live within distance of where we do a lot of shopping that some of the small runs we do could be done with bikes.

To be honest, I'm totally excited about this whole biking experiment.

Right now I've been averaging about 7-8 miles in 40-50 minutes, trying to just get back into it. My goal is to be able to ride 10-12 miles within 45-50 minutes. I think that will give me a great range of mobility.

cyclevillian

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 02:25:52 PM »
I am sooo close to getting rid of our second car. My wife has a 2010 Honda Civic. I have a 1996 Pontiac Bonneville. I have had it for over 10 years now even though I put maybe 500miles a year on it. I currently bike to work almost all the time. Last year I kept track and hit 69% (lost a whole month due to injury). This year my goal is to bike to work 80% of the time (currently at 88%).

The problem is I have a 7mi trip each way, and no public transportation option that takes less than 1hr 20min (thanks Louisville). So if i can't bike due to an injury or terrible weather (only tornadoes and ice count) then I get a ride from the wife. But on the off chance that she needs to travel for work or go in early/stay late. I don't really have any other option for getting home. So i'm keeping the car for just a handful of days each year. Seems silly doesn't it?

I've been brainstorming some backup plans but haven't found a solid one yet. Perhaps a co-worker? a scooter? just take the day off?

Sounds like you have a decent situation with working from home and being close to meeting locations. I would just start transitioning to using the bike first, car second. It takes discipline as you will have some days that you wear the wrong clothes or forget something and have to ride back home. Don't let it discourage you. It's just a sign you are heading in the right direction. As you find weaknesses you address them and move on. Eventually you will go months without any problems and will be healthier, wealthier, and happier

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2012, 02:54:17 PM »
we had two cars and two jobs.  If I was to continue working I would have to buy a new car.  It would have taken about a year after I paid my payroll taxes and commuting expenses to just buy the car.

We went with one car and DH only works part time now.   We save so much money because I walk or bike everywhere, combine trips and don't shop for much of anything.  If you have to be organized to say, get groceries, you really plan.  Our expenses went way down with one person at home to take care of everything, cook healthy meals from scratch and take care of all the stuff in life you need to take care of.  Plus we are healthier for it.

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2012, 03:09:10 PM »
The problem is I have a 7mi trip each way, and no public transportation option that takes less than 1hr 20min (thanks Louisville). So if i can't bike due to an injury or terrible weather (only tornadoes and ice count) then I get a ride from the wife. But on the off chance that she needs to travel for work or go in early/stay late. I don't really have any other option for getting home. So i'm keeping the car for just a handful of days each year. Seems silly doesn't it?

I've been brainstorming some backup plans but haven't found a solid one yet. Perhaps a co-worker? a scooter? just take the day off?


Where we used to live we had a similar problem which is how we went to two cars. Public transportation in Hampton Roads is considered the worse in the nation. I remember looking up a route to work and it'd take 2 hours and 3 transfers to go 7 miles across town. How horrible is that. Plus riding a bike is pretty much asking to be killed.

If your Bonneville is paid off, what's the harm? You could adjust your insurance to have liability only for savings there if you're ok with the additional risk.

We've considered the scooter option, I see a lot of them around here.

Ultimately it depends one your situation. Mr. Money Mustache and his wife both seem to work from home. I work from home, but my wife doesn't. And if two people are traveling, whew... I might however consider an arrangement if it's possible for you to car pool together. Or if one spouse can drop off the other and pick up the other.

Other than those thoughts, I'm out of ideas. :)

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2012, 03:24:51 PM »
I've been biking to work for 6 years, its the best.  My old job was 9 miles each way by bike on a relatively flat ride.  Bike trails about 1/2 the way.  Current commute is only 2.5 miles each way, but I have to go straight up and over a very big hill (If the hill wasn't there it would be less than 1 mile ride).  Only time I haven't been able to do that commute have been the icy mornings - I tried the first day but slid all the way down the other side of the hill.  So I drove for 2 weeks, but am now back to biking. 

Currently, my boyfriend and I have one car between us (that I paid for in cash).   I'm actually like to go car free since the car has needed major repairs every 2 months for the last year and was stolen right out of our driveway one night (we got it back, but it cost a lot...)

So, I will cheer you on in your challenge. :D  Let me know if you need any commuting tips!

cyclevillian

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 03:39:09 PM »
Quote
If your Bonneville is paid off, what's the harm? You could adjust your insurance to have liability only for savings there if you're ok with the additional risk.

Bonneville is paid off and insurance is at a minimum. I even got a 30% discount from Progressive using their snapshot program because i drove it like 50mi during the 6mo it hooked up. What is funny is that my insurance would go UP if i dropped the bonneville because the cost of insuring it is less than the multi-car discount we currently have (crazy huh?).

The harm with keeping it is maintaining it. I recently had an oil change and inspection done on it. They quoted me $1300 worth of work. None of it was urgent, but something is bound to go wrong with it soon and I don't want to pay for it.

So I'm constantly in a mental battle with myself. Part of my brain says "Keep it as a backup because it isn't costing me anything" the other says "its going to have problems, ditch it now!"

I'm leaning towards two options. I need to reach out to my co-workers and establish a couple people that I could carpool with on those rare days. And I need to see if my company would be OK with me working from home a few days per year. As an engineer I can handle most projects with a phone and a computer. Come to think of it, some other people have done that because they live over and hour away and when the weather is bad they stay home. I should be able to do the same thing right? Even though I'm only 7mi away.

Although I do think the scooter option sounds like the most fun... A good way to rest the legs occasionally.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 06:01:40 PM »
Sorry, Cyclevillian, if you only use your car some 500 miles a year and the work doesn't need to be done at the moment and it isn't costing you extra in insurance then what is your problem? They are quoting you $1300 for work that isn't yet essential. When will it be essential? 2000 miles away? That would be four years of back up use for you. And who knows, as you become more and more mustachian you might be able to do some of the work yourself in the years to come.

Do you have other costs you haven't mentioned? Where I live we have to pay the government hundreds a year in registration for each vehicle.

woodworker2010

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 06:11:14 PM »
One point that doesn't always come up in this vein is the freedom of biking to work.  I live in DC...you might think--hey you have great public transit, right.  Mostly.  Except, I live a mile from a metro stop and work a mile from a metro stop (five miles between me and work).  It can be done, but it means relying on different metro lines, and then catching a shuttle to work from the metro stop.  If traffic is bad, the shuttle isn't going anywhere...and traffic is always bad here.  We have one car for occasional work commuting...but mostly for getting out of the city.

There are no metro/shuttle schedules to worry about when I ride my bike.  I have badass parking right in front of my building (covered by a parking deck, thank you very much).  When the bike needs repairs, I can do them myself--a few hex keys and wrenches, air pump, grease, oil, etc.  No going to the garage.

Obstacle: I have to wear a suit to work every day
Solution: I bought a badass waterproof bag (twowheelgear) which has survived 4.5 years of daily use with little sign of wear.  It's made for the job and holds clothes just like a garment bag you'd take on a business trip.
 
Obstacle: bad weather
Solution: Good judgment; sometimes good stories.  If it's below 40F and precipitating, I get a ride/drive.  If I think I won't ruin a suit of clothes and it's warm enough, I go for it.  Sometimes, I double wrap my suit inside my daily bag with some dry cleaning bags.  One time I waited 45 mins under a bridge in a bad neighborhood while a nasty morning thunderstorm passed.  It was a good watercooler story.

Obstacle: funny looks--grown man riding a bike to work--sometimes in inclimate  weather
Solution: laugh as they sit in traffic.  We had an earthquake here in August and offices closed early...traffic was a mess.  My commute was exactly as long as it normally it is.  AND, sometime haters marveled at my apparent foresight and clear independence

Obstacle: pedestrian and vehicle haters
Solution: haters gonna hate.  Even if you follow the rules of the road and greet passersby with a smile, some cars and pedestrians seem to hate bicyclists.  I think they're jealous of our freedom (and good looks).


cyclevillian

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2012, 07:37:43 PM »
woodworker, i think you're showing the fun part of biking to work. overcoming obstacles. most days are pretty easy. but some days are challenging depending on the weather or what you must bring with you. personally i like figuring out what works and what doesn't. if im too cold, ill get a new balaclava or gloves. if im wet, rain gear! and i agree, it does result in some fun stories. once had a kid race me on a scooter.. i almost won!

harriet, there are some other costs but nothing major. had to get a new battery ($100) and taxes/registration is only $40. but the issue is i don't know when something will break and need to be fixed. could be the next time i drive, could be 4 years. i just know i don't want to be driving it when it happens. overall its a pretty good situation that i'm currently in which is why i haven't gotten rid of it. if the costs start increasing i'll be more inclined to sell it. or i could be proactive and sell it now while it's worth more. probably could get a couple decent bikes for it instead. or maybe a used scooter. the mustachian way would be to fix it myself for supercheap.. perhaps i'll look into it, but i don't particularly like cars and would rather focus on my house and bikes and other skills.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2012, 09:48:30 PM »
I've enjoyed hearing about Mike Key's transition from Car Wussy to Mustachian Biker ever since he first mentioned it on Twitter! Go Mike and Wife!!

I remember worrying about the transition from a two-car family to one-car when I made that switch myself back in 2004. It turns out, I barely noticed at all, except the extra cash in my pocket.  At the time, both the Mrs. and I had full-time jobs 8 and 9 miles from home. We biked most of the time, and carpooled in bad weather. One time I even took the bus, but it was much slower than biking (I find that cycling can eat up a mile every 3-4 minutes these days).

Over the subsequent seven years, there were a few times when having two cars would have been handy, but when you added them up and divided them into the savings from a single car, we saved hundreds of dollars for every single time we would have used that second car.

 Nowadays I find myself toying with the idea of going to ZERO cars. We could easily do it with the current lifestyle, the only thing that keeps the car in the garage is the fact that it is so damned cheap to own a car where I live. A few hundred per year in total.

I actually LIKE those rare times when we both have to travel to separate non-bikeable, non-public-transitable destinations. It is fun to solve the problem. You can solve it with creative scheduling, renting a car, hitchhiking or Craigslist ride sharing, or borrowing a car or motorbike/scooter from a friend. It's great fun!

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 06:57:13 AM »
Thanks for the motivation MMM. I'm excited to see the overall impact this move will make for our finances. Especially with gas prices currently on the rise. And more than likely we're going to have a repeat of 09 when gas prices went up really high.

Maybe after a couple months I'll be able to share my own reader case study.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2012, 07:24:16 AM »
We'll be dropping down to one car in about a month or two.  Waiting for warmer weather to sell my Miata...

We've been testing one car for a while now, and it's worked out just fine.  Carpool to work (living too far away at the moment to bike), and figure out a way around other situations.  Just need to add some extra foresight when planning things.

As MMM said, we should be treating roadblocks as a Mustachian challenge to be solved rather than let them poke at us as annoyances.  The shift in mentality makes a HUGE difference for me.  As always, thanks MMM for the inspiration!

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2012, 07:42:07 AM »
We actually have our second car listed for sale right now. It's the one that is the oldest and least fuel efficient, so we are keeping the newer one. Since moving 2 blocks from work right before Christmas, we only use the car a couple of times a week, or when we travel on the weekends. We have loaned the second car out twice and never missed it in the last few months, so we figure it's time to get rid of it. Good luck with going to one car! It's very doable! ~Stella

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2012, 11:05:37 AM »
This is a great thread! I was inspired to start biking to work with MMM's "How to bike all winter long" gauntlet throwdown, and the unusually warm winter we've had in Boston. We are a no car household, using strictly public transportation. This is pretty cost-effective, but we pay a premium to live in Boston and close to the T. So, I would argue being carless here is as Mustachian as someone who lives in a place with low cost of living and has one car.

I actually love the convenience of public transportation, even though it's a popular thing to complain about in the city. But due to transfers and indirect routes, my commute to work was about 1 hour long via public trans (for only 5 miles as the bird/bike flies), and for years I would wake up and go to the gym beforehand. So, 5:00 AM wakeup, breakfast, gym at 6:00 - 7:00, on the train at 7:30, at work at 8:30-ish. Then at night, I would crash way early to repeat the whole crazy morning again.

Then a eureka moment: though my morning commute & routine was healthy and relatively low cost, it could be a lot more efficient. I found a great bike route to work that takes me on bike paths past museums, through parks and a university. I also invested in some good lights, reflective vest, etc., and have started biking to work every day! It takes me 30 minutes instead of an hour, and I save an hour every day by not going to the gym. So, that's two hours a day, ten hours a week, 490 hours a year saved!!! Add to that the money saved on gym membership and train pass ($130/month).

So far no gym has been fine, 50 miles biking/week + weekend activities seems to more than do the trick. I was always worried about weather and being sweaty at work, but my new job there is actually a shower, and just as MMM promised, 30-ish degrees is no problem with a few layers (underarmor, sweatshirt and windbreaker).

Anyways as a new-to-bike-commuting guy, one observation I have is you VERY quickly learn, through necessity, how to keep your bike in good shape. Bikes were always a big mystery but now I am getting all the necessary gadgets to do regular maintenance and tuning on my own. Jumping from 100 miles/year to 50 miles/week, everything basically fell apart (riding an SE Draft, so really an entry level single speed, cheaper parts). I have the tools coming in the mail to replace my chain and freewheel, and can replace a tube or tire and tighten my brakes. Is there any other regular maintenance I should be doing do keep things from falling apart?

Also, at some point I'll need a better bike. Any recommendations for good single speed commuter bikes in the $200 - $600 range, let me know!

woodworker2010

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2012, 12:02:02 PM »
Fu Manchu: Jamis Coda is a great commuter bike.  AND within your price range (a new one is around $600).  You didn't mention it, but oiling your chain about once/week and checking the air pressure once/week (I usually do both Saturday morning or SUnday night) are great preventative measures.  Also, check your axles regularly...the bolts/quick release axles that hold your wheels on can loosen and create a real danger (happened to my wife recently). 

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2012, 11:34:07 PM »
This thread might be just what I needed to finally push me into getting my bike out finally. When I lived within a mile, I'd walk to work every day and loved it. Now, I live just a very short distance further (2.5 miles) but I drive in which means gas money + parking + miles on my car.

The thing is....I hate biking. I hate having to make sure that I have a big enough bag to carry everything I need between home and work....and I hate that going up a hill is so slow that I feel I could walk it faster....and I hate that if its raining there's no place to put the bike to keep it dry....and...and...and....

Anyone else have this problem? How'd you get past it? Also, what types of clothing do you suggest for commuting in the rain?


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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2012, 05:31:26 AM »
Hey,

I bike daily and have done for the last five or six years. I live in Scotland so we know all about the weather...

2.5 miles is no distance on a bike. Even if you live somewhere hillier than Scotland... the difficulty (your Moustachian challenge) is to get over the *idea* you can't do it, because actually doing it is not that difficult at all.

If it rains, just drive your car. That removes immediately the whole excuse that the weather's no good (and soon, you'll not be bothered by the weather - but you need to take these first steps).

Second, can you take stuff in at the start of the week and bring it back at the end of the week by car? If so, you can ride Tue-Thu without carrying anything much - again, baby steps.

It's probably the single most important change anyone can make - especially living so incredibly close as you do. Improve your health, save a wad of cash... what's not to like?

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2012, 06:37:52 AM »
The thing is....I hate biking. I hate having to make sure that I have a big enough bag to carry everything I need between home and work....and I hate that going up a hill is so slow that I feel I could walk it faster....and I hate that if its raining there's no place to put the bike to keep it dry....and...and...and....

Anyone else have this problem? How'd you get past it? Also, what types of clothing do you suggest for commuting in the rain?

Electric bicycle.

Hardcore bicycle riders will mock or smile, depending on their personality, but it's a good way to transition to regular biking, handle hills, etc.
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rowsdower

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2012, 11:09:09 AM »
The thing is....I hate biking. I hate having to make sure that I have a big enough bag to carry everything I need between home and work....and I hate that going up a hill is so slow that I feel I could walk it faster....and I hate that if its raining there's no place to put the bike to keep it dry....and...and...and....

Adjust your perspective: I hate driving.  I hate that I can't find anything because I am carrying around a bunch of crap that I don't really need....and I hate sitting in traffic while people on bikes fly past me....and I hate running out to the parking lot to close my windows when it rains (or even worse, completely forgetting that they were open)....and...and...and...

Sunflower

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2012, 06:57:08 PM »
The thing is....I hate biking. I hate having to make sure that I have a big enough bag to carry everything I need between home and work....and I hate that going up a hill is so slow that I feel I could walk it faster....and I hate that if its raining there's no place to put the bike to keep it dry....and...and...and....

Adjust your perspective: I hate driving.  I hate that I can't find anything because I am carrying around a bunch of crap that I don't really need....and I hate sitting in traffic while people on bikes fly past me....and I hate running out to the parking lot to close my windows when it rains (or even worse, completely forgetting that they were open)....and...and...and...

Perfect solution! I think I'll start this weekend! (I usually go into work for a while on Saturdays and Sundays as I'm a graduate student but its always more relaxed and the perfect opportunity to start biking without worrying about being late.) My original goal was to start biking daily in June but maybe I'll up the timeline and start in April instead. :-)

woodworker2010

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2012, 07:17:27 PM »
Now that you're convinced, remind yourself daily--you're getting exercise, not spending gas, and totally sticking to the man by leaving your car at home.  Ask around--there might even be covered bike parking somewhere near your office/lab/whatever.

Rain gear...usually I drive in the rain.  However, I keep some quality rain gear available for my more adventurous days.  I just got simple rain/camping gear from EMS...I'd look for it used and only after you've been consistently commuting by bike for 6-12 months.  The best thing I did for bike commuting was buy a pair of low-top, waterproof shoes...I think they're for hunting or something.  They were $25 bucks at Bass Pro...they have kept me pedaling on wet and cold days that would have had me driving in the past.  I wore my running shoes for years...they wore out faster than they would have if used only for running and they provide no protection from wind and water, which is essential.

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2012, 08:42:29 PM »
Hope everyone has learned to adjust their seat to the proper height!

Dave

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2012, 06:38:37 AM »
That's a good point. A lot of people seem to put their saddle really low, I think because it lets them sit on it with both feet on the ground. However this is Bad News for your joints.

A good starting point is if you sit on the saddle, your knee should be locked out when your *heel* is on the pedal (this works because  you pedal with the ball of your foot). You won't be able to touch the ground except with one foot, probably by leaning a litt.e

 There's no right answer, but really low is definitely a wrong one!

Sir Sideburns 'Stash-a-lot

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2012, 06:45:29 AM »
I too have been considering getting more into bicycling since beginning my reading here.  I have one of those ultra-fancy racing bikes on loan from my father.  He doesn't miss it being the slowest of his 3 ultra-fancy racing bikes.  I ride it for fitness occasionally, and have a pair of the special shoes for the tiny clip-in pedals.  I still toy with the idea of buying a more casual, hop-on-it-with-whatever-shoes-on-and-just-ride kind of bike.

Seņora Sideburns 'Stash-a-lot and I are a one car family.  We both work outside the home and we live in a suburb of Dallas.  Our house has a measly Walk Score of 15!

This works for us today because the office complex where I work is a 15 minute walk from my house.  Day in and day out, I walk to the office, walk home and back for lunch, then walk home at the end of the day (unless I happen to catch a ride home from the Seņora on her way home from work).

Casual biking access would extend my range and open up some possibilities, but I just can't suck it up and spend the money when I remember I have access to a fantastic bike today.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 06:47:29 AM by Sir Sideburns 'Stash-a-lot »

Physics

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2012, 08:50:23 AM »
Neat find, you just made me feel really good.  I just checked that site and we have a score of 83!  Of course we chose this house based on walk-ability and proximity to work (I walk 1mi. to and from work every day!)

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2012, 09:49:01 AM »
Neat find, you just made me feel really good.  I just checked that site and we have a score of 83!  Of course we chose this house based on walk-ability and proximity to work (I walk 1mi. to and from work every day!)

My zip code got a score of 87 and my house a score of 35?? But that's walkability. And I'm confused on how it's figuring that out, but I did see the same people who made it are working on a Bike Score website too. www.bikescore.com < now that would be interesting. I enjoy walking, but I think the Bike just really increases range and mobility IMO.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2012, 02:10:34 PM »
Great encouragement for Chemistay, everyone!

I agree on the reversing of perspective. I HATE local driving, because it is just so damned silly, and it's much slower than biking when you factor in all the extra baggage that a car comes with (stopping for fill-ups, no ability to ride on sidewalks or shortcut through parks and parking lots, working 1 month of the year just to pay for car expenses, etc).

But even more important is the exercise aspect of it. To stay at a good level of fitness, we all need at least 30-60 minutes of moderately exciting exercise every day. That's not an option - you MUST do it, otherwise you'll end up one of those comedically-shaped old people who cannot walk up a flight of stairs by the time you're 65! The benefits are so great, it is silly to think about anything else in life until you get this basic concept down.

It takes a shitload of willpower to lock yourself into a weight room or an aerobics class for this long every day.

But with biking to work and to the grocery store, it comes for free. Every day I look at the speedometer on my bike at the end of the day, and see a surprisingly large total. "Wow, another 10 miles, another 40 minutes of riding.. weird, I don't even remember doing all that much today!".

When you simply make it a habit that local driving is not an option, and then add it all up as the years go by, you end up with some seriously nice legs, and a seriously fat wallet.. all with no suffering at all. It is automatic badassity.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2012, 07:05:32 PM »
Ok I ran the numbers! Using a conservative estimate for both gas prices ($2.75/gallon) and fuel economy (20mpg in city with a '99 accord), and adding in fixed monthly parking costs....if I start biking to work 70% of the time, I'll be saving over $50/month. When you take into account that gas is more like $4 right now and push it up to 80%, that number jumps up even higher...so I'm sold!

I'm still going to ease into it like a wimp though. I'm going to declare no-car weekends (except my once weekly trip to the grocery store on Saturday afternoons) for the next month and see how that goes. My current goal is to turn in my parking pass April 1....but no joke!

Next question: theft prevention. I have some panniers that my parents gave me a while ago when they tried to get me into biking but I'm worried that if I left them (or anything in them) sitting outside, they'd be gone in a few minutes. I live in the middle of a city and have had head/tail lights stolen before and my roommate's bike was stolen from the front of our apartment a few years ago. If I were to, say, run into the library to pick up a book on the way home from work....is there an easy way to secure everything so I don't have to carry it all in? I usually have lunch containers and some gym clothes, so nothing I couldn't live without but its still a hassle to have to lug it all around (and I don't have a functioning backpack at the moment).

Thanks for all the encouragement! I've been thinking about ditching the car commute for a while now but inertia is just so powerful...I needed a gauntlet thrown to hold me accountable to my desired lifestyle. :-)

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2012, 08:31:40 PM »
http://lifehacker.com/5847276/properly-lock-your-bicycle-by-knowing-which-parts-are-easy-to-remove

Watch this video, it will answer anyone's question about how to properly lock your bicycle. It educated me, and I now laugh at all the bikes I see that I realize I could steal in under a minute.

keith

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2012, 01:03:23 AM »
This thread is super inspiring. I need to move to a bikable distance from work and do this.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2012, 07:00:53 PM »
I biked to work today! I didn't love it, but at least I felt good for doing it and I'm going to focus on that feeling. (Not going to lie, I considered not going into work so that I didn't have to bike - but I decided that was pretty lame. So thanks everyone, its because of you that I got off my butt and did it!)

It's not very cold here in Southern California, but it's just chilly enough that my eyes water and my ears hurt after the 15 minute ride...is this something that I should learn to live with or is there a easy fix?

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2012, 06:06:36 AM »
I biked to work today! I didn't love it, but at least I felt good for doing it and I'm going to focus on that feeling. (Not going to lie, I considered not going into work so that I didn't have to bike - but I decided that was pretty lame. So thanks everyone, its because of you that I got off my butt and did it!)

It's not very cold here in Southern California, but it's just chilly enough that my eyes water and my ears hurt after the 15 minute ride...is this something that I should learn to live with or is there a easy fix?

You may need to ride glasses. I have to wear glasses to see. And I noticed even my Ray Bands for driving don't seem to deflect the wind out of my eye balls when riding. But I've seen other bikers I spoke with who have cycling glasses that they say keeps that problem at a minium. And they are shaped different. I might have to invest in a pair myself.

As for the ears.... maybe cotton? I have my earbuds in so I don't have that problem, nor have I noticed it.

My thighs where sore the first week. I really pushed myself to get back up to speed.

Something else I'm doing that, others may want to consider, especially if your starting out is, is adjusting your dieting.

Try eating a clean and healthy diet for a few weeks and getting a daily ride in of at least 3-4 miles. The reason I suggest this, is you have to consider, if you don't work out normally and eat healthy already, you are working out for the first time when you start to ride. So getting on your bike after coffee, donuts and sugar coated cereal to ride to work is naturally going to SUCK BALLS.

I also have a speedo on my bike and try to maintain a pace of 16 mph.

Keep up the good work folks. I'm going to start keeping a journal of my progress I'll be posting up soon.


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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2012, 07:41:26 AM »
I'm signing over the title to the Audi today, and after that my only official source of transportation when the wife isn't home is going to be my bicycle!

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2012, 08:37:20 AM »
I'm signing over the title to the Audi today, and after that my only official source of transportation when the wife isn't home is going to be my bicycle!

Badassity.  Congrats and well done!
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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2012, 02:56:45 PM »
I biked to work today! I didn't love it, but at least I felt good for doing it and I'm going to focus on that feeling. (Not going to lie, I considered not going into work so that I didn't have to bike - but I decided that was pretty lame. So thanks everyone, its because of you that I got off my butt and did it!)

Dear Chemistay,

Great job!  I am was in a similar situation to you.  Last April I went through a job change that coincidentally put me within easy bike range to work (3.5-4 miles).  So, sometime in May or June I bought a bike and tried it.  I really hadn't ridden a bike since before college and though cognitively I knew it was a good idea to ride to work, it felt like a massive sacrifice to give up my car.  I ended up riding probably 40-50% of the time and made up a whole array of ridiculous excuses to justify driving instead.   

Come October my aversion to cold weather gave me the ultimate excuse to not ride and my poor bike even ended up in the basement for a little while while I spent MORE time getting to work (30 minutes w/ car vs 25 minutes bike) and MORE money parking ($120/month, ouch!).  To top it all off, I had to park a 10 minute walk away from work, so I still had to spend 20 minutes per day in the blistering cold.

Then I somehow found the MMM blog and got to the article on biking and badassity.  This (and a recently purchased very warm coat and long johns) inspired me to give it a shot in the "winter" (which isn't saying much for Boston this year - no snow to speak of).  It turned out that it wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought and I was able to find my inner badass and that felt great.  However, there was still a level of reservation about the whole thing. 

Then my bike broke!  The brake lines on the rear brake kind of seized one day as I tipsily rode home in the dark on Friday night.  I made it home just fine, but this gave me another golden opportunity to make an excuse and drive.  For a week and a half my injured bike languished in the front hallway and something incredible happened.

At first I thought that it was awesome that I'd be able to drive again.  And then it was distinctly Not Awesome.  It felt so silly to drive in, I could not stop thinking about the gas I was wasting, the time I was wasting, the fitness I was wasting, etc.  One day I snapped and took my bike into the bike mechanic.  I spent $26 on a break job (and chuckled to myself because a car break job is a whole factor of 10 more money!) and felt like I had been set free.

This was about two weeks ago.  Now I am back on my bike and riding and it feels absolutely amazing.  Driving in a car to work just no longer makes sense.  I'm still working on the whole grocery shopping aspect but we have acquired a bike trailer and intend to use it.

Sooo all of that is a very long way for me to say KEEP AT IT.  It may take some time to break the old habit of riding in a car and thinking that it's the best of all possible worlds.  In time, hopefully, you will grow to love it and wonder how you could ever have done otherwise.

Also, here are a few items that have made a big difference to my bike commute:
  • Warm, waterproof jacket
  • Hat that fits underneath my helmet to keep my ears nice and warm
  • Layers.  Long johns under jeans is perfect for me.
  • Lightweight, waterproof pants.  Christmas present from my boyfriend that totally saved me just last week.  It was POURING out and I rode through the rain and chuckled, great fun.  Plus I got to show up at my destination and make a slightly naughty joke.
  • Good lights.  People need to see you.  I am planning to use EL wire and really artify my bike soon.
  • A speaker for my bike.  Riding with headphones is dangerous, but I really missed listening to music during my commute. They make speakers specifically for bikes!

Cheers,
bicycle

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2012, 11:09:50 AM »
This is one area that is a problem for me.

I have a very unmustachian collection of vehicles. I personally own a chevy cargo van, An SS camaro, and a Harley Sportster.
Now before everybody freaks out on me, all the vehicles I own outright. The Van is old, crappy and very bare bones. No AC, no radio, rusty and ugly. I definitely look like a molester driving it around. I use it for my reselling hobby (business?). I Love my camaro but it just passed 100k miles and it is getting to the point where I will probably have to start putting a lot of money into it in maintenance.

The thing is though, I am wary of the reliability of the van, and I have a national Guard obligation so once a month I have to drive about 140 miles each way. So I made myself a deal, that I will keep the car only until my time in the Army is up.

Mike Key

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #40 on: February 29, 2012, 01:41:35 PM »
I don't think having a collection of paid off Vehicle is UnMustachian. Maybe I'm wrong? I myself am I car guy, and I was just thinking, that maybe a few years on the bike might equal me being able to own a few of my own garage queens a wee bit sooner.

I have a deep desire to own a VW Vanagon Westfalia and restore it. I really want to do so when I have boys who are old enough to work on the car with me. And then drive it across the country.

I also would like a StingRay corvette. I don't need one, but I want to own one. And if I get FI and have extra cash laying around, is a weekend cruiser or a classic car you drive mostly to car shows only really the same as a useless SUV?

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #41 on: February 29, 2012, 07:59:23 PM »
Bicycle, I really enjoyed your post! I wish I could respond in more detail but I don't have the time right now, maybe next week?

I turned in my parking pass today! This is cheating a bit because as of yesterday I'm going to be spending the next five weeks in Germany doing research. (I leave in 48 hours...yikes!) But, I'll save the parking money in March and I won't get a new one when I return - it's biking to work from now on! Also, last time I was in Germany my boss loaned me one of his bikes to get around. I didn't use it much because there was a very convenient bus route near my flat but this time I'm going to forgo the bus and bike around the very accessible small German town. Wish me luck!

Also, I keep reading articles about how much gas prices are going up in California, that won't matter much if I'm not driving!

sol

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #42 on: February 29, 2012, 08:15:21 PM »
I turned in my parking pass today!

Congrats.  Feels good to make a positive change, doesn't it?

Quote
Also, I keep reading articles about how much gas prices are going up in California, that won't matter much if I'm not driving!

Every time I ride my bike past a packed gas station, I give them a little mental F-you.  Bicycles aren't just transportation, they can also be a social movement.

Mrs MM

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #43 on: February 29, 2012, 08:43:16 PM »
Wow!!  This thread is excellent!  I need to read this every day for inspiration, as I am a bit of a winter biking wimp.  Summer is not an issue for me, but I hate the cold and use it as an excuse far too often.

I just wanted to mention that when I first started biking to work back in the year 2000, I was really worried, as my bike commute was about 8 miles and I wasn't a biker at all.  Plus there was a big hill on the way home.

So, MMM just decided to take me on a bike ride to work on a weekend.  We went together and then had lunch near my office, and then we went home.  I had to walk my bike up the hill on the way home, but I was definitely sold.  It turned out to be much easier and way more fun than I thought.  After a week, I was able to ride my bike up that hill.  After a few months, I was racing MMM up the hill (he always won, but sometime he humored me).

I actually miss those morning bike rides.  Biking into Boulder and zooming through the bike paths in the fresh morning air is one of the most invigorating things ever.  I always arrived at work feeling awesome.

Anyway, the point is, anyone can do it.  The only obstacle is your mind.  Heck, even my 60 year old out of shape mom biked to work for a little while!

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2012, 08:05:55 AM »
This is a very inspiring thread!  I stopped biking in October when I got bronchitis. We were biking 2x a week.  I never started up again after getting healthy because then I was too pregnant. :(  And I just don't feel like my balance is good enough to ride 10 miles on city streets.

Things that we got for the ride (since over the winter, one of us is riding in the dark): a flashing red tail light, a yellow reflective vest that we share (a gift from my MIL).  We have bike racks and bags from 15 years ago that we've constantly used.  My coworker rides 2-3 days per week now (he's new) and assures me there are really bright LED headlights now.  We could ride about 1/2 the trip on a bike path instead of streets, but it's dark and slow (and 1 mile longer).

I want to try and work biking to work back into my hubby's schedule, even if it doesn't get back into mine for awhile.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #45 on: March 05, 2012, 11:51:13 AM »
Gas just went up at least 40 cents over the last week in my area. I am taking my bicycle in to get fixed (my darling younger sister ran over the back wheel about ten years ago) so I can start biking to work a couple times a week. I'm also exploring the idea of getting a motorized bicycle so that I can have an easy morning commute (I am NOT a morning person) and could maybe even bike on days when I have to go teach piano after work. We shall see! I found someone who does custom motorized bikes that get around 120 miles a gallon... and if you ever run out of gas you can always revert back to using the pedals... which is nice because I'm sure I'd like to hit the "no motorized vehicles allowed" trails on the way home.
It is NOT a very bike friendly area and I've got about a 9-10 mile commute so it will be interesting to see how this works out! No bike lanes, no shoulder in some places, and plenty of bad drivers!
I have a question for experienced bike commuters- I wear glasses. In the winter time, I would need to cover my face at least on super cold days so my skin doesn't fall off. While contacts are an option (but I don't really like them that much), I was wondering if there were any suggestions for spectacled commuters since lens fogging can be a bit of a problem.

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2012, 12:02:32 PM »
I have a question for experienced bike commuters- I wear glasses. In the winter time, I would need to cover my face at least on super cold days so my skin doesn't fall off. While contacts are an option (but I don't really like them that much), I was wondering if there were any suggestions for spectacled commuters since lens fogging can be a bit of a problem.

Check out this page: http://icebike.com/Clothing/eyewear.htm

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2012, 12:50:00 PM »
I have a question for experienced bike commuters- I wear glasses. In the winter time, I would need to cover my face at least on super cold days so my skin doesn't fall off. While contacts are an option (but I don't really like them that much), I was wondering if there were any suggestions for spectacled commuters since lens fogging can be a bit of a problem.

Check out this page: http://icebike.com/Clothing/eyewear.htm

I've definitely considered wearing my safety goggles home on windy/cold days! Mine look something like this: http://vwrlabshop.com/uvex-astro-otg-3001-safety-eyewear-bacou-dalloz-/p/0012191/

As for another update: I have a bike here in Germany and I biked to and from work this morning and to the grocery store this evening! It's much colder here than I'm used to (there were even snow flurries today), the hills are real instead of imagined, and the bike I'm borrowing is old, heavy, and lacking front gears. When I get back home in April, riding to work is going to be a breeze!

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2012, 12:59:37 PM »
I'm also exploring the idea of getting a motorized bicycle so that I can have an easy morning commute (I am NOT a morning person) and could maybe even bike on days when I have to go teach piano after work. We shall see!
Try biking to work for three days a week (mon, wed, fri) for a week for two before plunking down any money on a gas conversion. You'll probably find that the invigorating ride makes you more awake than any coffee can. Also, check the legalities of a riding a gas bike on pathways and non-motorized vehicle routes in your area. You could end up paying a hefty fine (and pissing off your neighbours if the bike uses a loud little two-stroke). In all honesty if you want to go the dead-dino-juice route you may as well get a 50cc four stroke scooter - it'll get the same mileage (100+ mpg), better for the environment (catalytic converter four stroke is much cleaner than tiny two-stroke blowing blue smoke) and let you ride in traffic safely. They are also ridiculous fun if your ego can take being seen on one.

I'm not saying a scooter is superior to a bicycle, but I do think it is superior to all the homebuilt mopeds I've seen. If you your goal is to save money and build health, just pedal. 8 miles isn't that far once you do it a few times. If your going to go gas, go gas and get a DOT approved vehicle.

Quote
I have a question for experienced bike commuters- I wear glasses. In the winter time, I would need to cover my face at least on super cold days so my skin doesn't fall off.
Wear ski goggles meant to go over glasses. Any sports store that deals with downhill skiing will have them. Also get a neoprene face mask at the same time. That way you have zero exposed skin. I've biked to work in -30C with that setup (mind you, it was a whole 2km, so not badass in the slightest)

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Re: Biking my way to health and wealth
« Reply #49 on: March 05, 2012, 02:43:49 PM »
Awesome, thanks for the info. I'll definitely do normal biking first before getting anything motorized (if I even do). Matt, you brought up some good points about motored bike vs scooter. I'll be able to do it 2-3 days per week depending on my teaching schedule (I travel to my students' houses). We'll see! Except for the whole riding in the cold thing, I'm getting excited about giving this a try. Plus I'd LOVE to be able to drop my gym membership which would save me $13/month plus whatever it was costing me to drive out there.