The Economy of Bicyling to Work

I rode my bike to work four days last week and a couple of days the week before. Am I saving money? Let’s check the receipts:

  • $29.50 for bicycling gloves
  • $23.00 for bar end grips
  • $??.?? for the new helmet I need to buy today

If I had driven to work and out for lunch as I normally do for this same time period, I would have used at least $25 worth of gas.

Fortunately, these items will last a long time. Kinda like the gas in my tank. I filled it a week ago Sunday and it’s still 3/4 full. That’s not going to last because I have to drive to the airport and back this week, but I’m going to get more than the typical two weeks from a tank of gas.

That works for me.

5 responses to “The Economy of Bicyling to Work”

  1. Todd Avatar

    I rode in today too.

    I’ve had my bike for two years now and am using the same $10 gloves. However, they are really in bad shape and need to be replaced.

    Other things I need to buy in the next few months: a new saddle (~$60), handle bar grips ($25), a better back pack to carry stuff in (??), new tires (Somewhere between $40 – $100!).

    In the last two years, I’ve spent: $120 on shoes and SPD pedals, $70 on a new center chain ring and ~$80 on miscellaneous tools, cleansers, lubricants and replacement cables, tubes etc… Let’s not forget the initial outlay of cash for the bicycle!

    Of course, this isn’t a fair comparison, I ride for pleasure a lot more (and a lot rougher) than I do to and from work.

    I guess you could reasonably subtract the cost of a gym membership that you might otherwise join to get some cardio exercise?

  2. Brent Logan Avatar

    @Todd – If you’re going to include the cost of the bicycle and maintenance, better do the same for your car. Even if you would have the car anyway, riding your bike should decrease the wear and tear on your car.

    It sounds like you’re brutal on your bike: wearing out a saddle in two years and needing a new center chain ring.

    And you’re exactly right about being able to subtract the cost of a gym membership. At least, it works for me. ;-)

  3. Todd Avatar

    I’m riding 3 days/week now and loving it. It saves me about $8 gas per week that I ride. My Camry has >100,000 miles, so the less I drive, the better! Yep, talk about maintenance costs!

    How do you pay $25 for gas in a typical day, and still be able to ride that same distance on a bike? That’s a lot of riding!

    The center chain ring – I busted it hammering through an oak branch. Doh!

    The saddle – one too many crashes on the trails. I replaced it with an old spare for now.

  4. Brent Logan Avatar

    The $25 estimate was based on buying gas every other week at $50 a pop. Yeah, that’s not entirely fair because I’m not going to ride my bike to the airport tomorrow and I still drive to church and errands on the weekends. I need panniers (and a roof-rack on my bike) if it’s going to replace my weekend driving.

    When I ride my bike to work, I tend to eat in the cafeteria instead of going to Taco Bell, Barnes & Nobel, or Guitar Center. Lunch ends up being $2.75 instead of $5.16 and I don’t buy magazines or guitar gadgets. The savings keep adding up.

    If I just drove to work and didn’t use the car in the middle of the day, I wouldn’t save much by biking. After all, my “commute” is just less than a mile. Don’t burst my bubble, man… ;-)

  5. Todd Avatar

    Sorry for bursting your Bubble :-(

    I’d like to see a roof-rack on a bike. I paid extra for the sunroof on my bike – what a ripoff!

    Enjoy the riding