Bike commuting is too expensive!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bike commuting is too expensive!

    I have been bike commuting the past two years (year round), about 3000 miles each year. But I am frustrated because it is costing me MORE than commuting by car (I do not have a car payment - and already have a car).

    From all the new equipment (lights, panniers, etc.), clothing (gloves, rain gear, shoes, etc.), replacement parts (chain, brake pads, tires, etc), etc. I KNOW I am spending more money than driving my car.

    I most likely will continue because I like the health benefits (both physical and mental) but I am a little disillusioned thinking I would save a lot of money. I realize the initial start-up is expensive, but I will be starting my third year commuting.

    Am I doing something wrong? Any one else experiencing this situation?

  2. #2
    Eff U Gee Em
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    Quote Originally Posted by tominbend
    Am I doing something wrong? Any one else experiencing this situation?
    Did you calculate how much gaz you didn't need to buy for those 6000 miles? That's at least $700.

  3. #3
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    I think your assumption is that you plan on owning the car anyway so you did not add in the cost of insurance and registration. Also, the clothing and accessories should last awhile and it is normal to start riding and then figure out what stuff you need to make your commute better. From this point on it should be mostly maintenance items, so there's no way your car will be cheaper.

  4. #4
    I got nothin'
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    It's more than just gas money

    There are a few other things to think about. 1. your vehicle repair and maintenance cost are less because you are driving less. 2. you are polluting less by not driving. 3. You are extending your life and improving your health by exercising. 4. You are stimulating the economy by supporting the bike industry and not the oil industry.
    I ride at ludicrous speed

  5. #5
    tough guy
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    Don't forget the fact that your car's value is higher with lower miles. There is pretty much no chance of speeding or parking tickets. Car in a garage gets no door dings, rock chips, sun damage, etc. etc.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hydrogeek
    There are a few other things to think about. 1. your vehicle repair and maintenance cost are less because you are driving less. 2. you are polluting less by not driving. 3. You are extending your life and improving your health by exercising. 4. You are stimulating the economy by supporting the bike industry and not the oil industry.

    This couldnt be more wrong.

    *gets posterboard to write these down for anti-car rally*
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  7. #7
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    Then don't do it to save money. Do it to have fun.

    Problem solved.

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Hmmm... Are you doing other riding that you`re counting into the cost of commuting? Your "start up" costs might have been higher than necesarry (not saying they were, you just didn`t say how much that cost you), but even if they were, you ought to have paid that off already. Tires, chain, and batteries aren`t very expensive for me- maybe your weather conditions eat them up faster than mine. Any rate I`m pretty sure I pay more to bike than what I save by not driving to and from work, but most of that extra cost is not really needed. If I were to stop buying crap just because I had a hankering to try it and just rode what I already have (and which already does the job just fine), I`d come out ahead, but I love tinkering and experimenting. I also love riding to work and back.

    EDIT: Also, it also seems that a big part of what other bike comuters save is in parking fees. In my neck of the woods, nobody pays to park, so that`s no savings for me and maybe explains part of what YOU aren`t saving either.
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
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    Have a read of this thread from Down Under here it has some cents per kilometer costs posted for commuting. A km is about 5/8 of a mile and $1 US is about $1.2 Aus

  10. #10
    viva la v-brakes!
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    Quote Originally Posted by hydrogeek
    3. You are extending your life and improving your health by exercising.
    So he's going to live longer, which means he has to save up more money for retirement? Geez, this just never ends.
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    I have a car. I made a choice. I ride my bike.

  11. #11
    tough guy
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    haha, at least it puts off the funeral costs for a few years

    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473
    So he's going to live longer, which means he has to save up more money for retirement? Geez, this just never ends.

  12. #12
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    if commuting by bike is more expensive than driving a car, you're doing it wrong.
    panniers?! don't you already own a backpack?
    lights? I've got under 12$ in blinkies, and don't need projector lights since I'm inner city, you doin highway miles or something?
    gloves and rain gear I'll give you, but it's not like they get replaced every year. and you don't need to buy expensive biking-specific versions.
    tires? get armadillos, don't buy another set for a couple years.
    pads and chain wear depend on you, your braking habits and your maintenance schedule.

    I've been there, I tried it your way, all the spiffy biking-specific stuff.
    back to basic raincoat, basic backpack, running shoes in summer, hikers in winter, multi-layered gloves (wind proofs under waterproofs keep me fine down to -12 celsius or so)

    now? racks are off, fenders off, probably spent more on a second hand trailer for my son than the previous 2 years worth of gear.
    (warning: saving money by using commonly available gear is completely negated when you buy new frames every couple months... )
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  13. #13
    i also unicycle
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    are you paying someone to do basic maintenance on your bike? if you are, knock that off, and learn how. i'm sure you're not but i have customers that could save a bunch on their commuting budget learning to do basic stuff.
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
    bikes & beers (on my blog) http://idontrideenough.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
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    The Feds here allow .50 US per mile for use of a car. If you figure depreciation or cost of replacement that is about right for a 1-3 year old or an older car eating parts.

    I use that figure to keep track of my errand/commute bike to stop me upgrading unless necessary (like a broken RD).. Even without steady employment and a job to ride to, in another year and it is paid for, but that doesn't count the health benefits of the exercise. Not to mention it is not as desireable a theft object whole or in parts as my other bike which is irreplaceable. Hard to put a value on that sort of theft protection.

    If you don't do it by mileage you will ned to do a ledger of all expenses associated with the vehicle and the bike. Unless you are an accountant and enjoy that sort of tallying, it could take the fun out of commuting pretty fast.

    BTW, depending on your health coverage, an angina attack and stay in a hospital for observation that did not occur because you are fit or was held of for decades will tip the balance toward commuting assuming no uninsured motorist runs over you.

  15. #15
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    Bike commuting is more expensive than driving? This is the most absurd thing I ever heard...

    I manage to recover my whole commuting bicycle cost in just 5 months. Is not an expensive bicycle but not crapped too.

    I admit I am spending abit too much on bicycle. But yeah, that is a personal preference not the biking fault.

    When you drive, you need to pay taxes, pay insurance, parking fee, petrol or even fines.

    You don't need to pay all this when you cycle.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    Bike commuting is more expensive than driving? This is the most absurd thing I ever heard...When you drive, you need to pay taxes, pay insurance, parking fee, petrol or even fines. You don't need to pay all this when you cycle.
    A car and no bike is more expensive than a bike and no car. He did not say that. That is NOT his situation. I agree he did imply that with the thread title.

    Outside of urban areas with decent mass transit and cabs to back up the bike, having a car and a bike is par for the course.

    If you keep a car and commute by bike, you have a backup for really cruddy days, a means to haul the bike to nicer places to cycle, if you have someone else who can drive it, an emergency service vehicle, and other good options, but at a considerable cost. If the car is essential to own for other reasons, these are nice fringe benefits.

    Even if the car sits most days because you use the bike, you still have the carrying costs like license fees, taxes, insurance, 3 month maintenance (even if it just sits there), and maybe a parking spot lease if very urban. The expendables that change with mileage like fuel are easy to identify and count. Then there is depreciation/replacement cost.

    It seems to me that you would get he same depreciation/replacement benefit on the current car with a second beater vehicle used just for commuting with all its attendant costs. In which case, the bike (if kept to reasonable costs, ie no $10,000 bikes) wins compared to a second car.

  17. #17
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    I took my monthly gas budget and only allowed myself to spend that much on bike stuff until I had the gear I needed. It took maybe a year to get set up nicely for the commute. And I needed some serious winter gear... sounds like you're doing something wrong.

    You're doing your own bike maintenance, right? If you're spending any money to have someone else work on your bike you might as well be throwing money away.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  18. #18
    viva la v-brakes!
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    I agree with byknuts, if your goal is to save money, you can get the job done with clothes and gear from the department store and doing without some fancy accessories. It can be really cheap this way. But I'm pretty sure everyone taking the time to post on this forum is at least a little bit of a bike nut, and so we will spend a bit more for a more fun and pleasant experience, and that is worth a little extra expense to us.
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  19. #19
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    Commuting has been really cheap for me. It's been great only having one car between my wife and me. I spend more money on my mountain bike than on commuting stuff.

  20. #20
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    I agree that it cost more money in your situation

    I myself owned two cars that were paid off (one for me and my wife), and I bike commuted to work.

    I didn't start bike commuting to save money. I did it because my life has gotten so busy I needed to build in some gaurenteed saddle time. I soon realized that it was costing me more, but my wife was none the wiser. I was paying car insurance, tickets, gas, and maintenance regardles if I biked, plus upgrades to the bike. It was easier for me to spend money on the commuter bike because in my wife's mind we were "saving" by me biking to work. Plus she is a super disciple of the going green movement.

    Fast forward a year. One of our two cars kept braking down, and the repair cost were through the roof. Each time our car was in shop, the thought that we could get by with one car would take over my brain a little more. We could always drop off and pick each other up, or I could just bike. We ended up selling the second the car, and now we truly are saving money. On average I spend about 150 on bike upgrades a month. That is between my commuter and my two mountain bikes. So really I would probably spend 100 a month on my mountain bikes even if I didnt have my commuter. I do what commuterboy said he does. I set a budget each month of what I can spend, and I slowly build up the parts I want. Then once I feel like I have everything, there is always an upgrade I "need". So spending that extra 50 a month on my commuter is not that bad. I save hundreds in insurance, gas, tickets, and maintenance.

  21. #21
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    I have spent about $can 11000 in five years on biking clothes races, parts everything.

    I coould have spent much less I could have spent much more.

    I have ridden about 35,000 km

    So that is about $0.31/km.

    One bike, about 1/2 of that is off road. I include fully snow covered roads as off road.

  22. #22
    Bedwards Of The West
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    ^^ That's a good formula.

    I've probably spent $2500 in the 5 years I've been commuting...parts, maintenance, clothes, everything for recreational mountain biking and commuting. 2k commuting miles per year, another 500 recreational miles or so per year... that's 12,500 miles, for a per-mile cost of $0.20.

    If you changed that to kilometers and canadian dollars, I'm pretty sure I'd be making money.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  23. #23
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    I think I only save about USD $15/week on gas by riding my bike (the commute is only 10 miles each way, and my car gets 30-ish mpg) but I'm sure I burn a @#$%-ton more calories ^_^ It's also a short enough ride that I can just wear the athletic shorts I already have without getting Irritated Gooch Syndrome.

    I went into it knowing that the money savings would be pretty minimal but my car is ancient and it can't hurt to keep as many miles as possible off of it so it can survive until I finish school in December, and so I can drop a few pounds to help increase my Batting Average (if you know what I mean ) before I leave college behind forever.

    Hopefully all my hypothetical benefits start adding up after I've been at it for a while.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts
    if commuting by bike is more expensive than driving a car, you're doing it wrong.
    That's auto-signature worthy.


    You can take commuting (or {insert anything} here) to highest level of expense down to hardly anything. Some people commute on junk bikes and others customize theirs to the highest degree of bling. Personally my tastes are a mixture of both driven under the constraints I prefer to ride bikes and components that I know from experience are reliable and will last me the long-haul.

    In my situation, it cost me absolutely nothing to drive (I have a company truck and they pay gas) yet I still choose to commute to work anyway. Itís less about the money, exercise, environmental footprint than it is piece of mind, really. What little cost does come in way of bike expense and/or maintenance is worth the mental gain.

  25. #25
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    I bike 15 miles to work about half of my work days. I save about 2 gallons of gas per day. I spend money on bike stuff... lights, fancy clothes.... but I don't >need< to buy anything else but batteries and tubes/tires. i spend because I can, and it is my current obsession... much cheaper than guitars, btw.
    If I lost my job tomorrow, I would use my bike for transportation and sell my car. and I would still only need to spend money on batteries for lights (maybe) and tires/tubes/maintenance. Biking is essentially free compared to driving considering auto insurance, gas, oil changes, tags.
    If I went carless, I would certainly spend some of the loot from the car sale to buy more rain/cold and bike specific clothes. the cycle rig is just more comfy and helps the ride. I would also choose probably to 86 the car with payments (wife's) and keep the paid off car.

    I will simply say that biking is essentially free (after the startup cost) in comparison to driving. One 15 mile round trip by car costs about $2.50. That same trip by bike... free.

  26. #26
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    Have you noticed how much more you enjoy spending money on bike stuff instead of on gas or fixing your car? And even a "big" bike repair bill is generally peanuts compared to car repair.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
    Have you noticed how much more you enjoy spending money on bike stuff instead of on gas or fixing your car? And even a "big" bike repair bill is generally peanuts compared to car repair.
    This.

    Oil change on a car: $30 worth of oil and filter
    Oil change on a bicycle: A few drops out of a $5 bottle that lasts a few months to a year.

    New brake pads on a car: $30-100 for all four corners
    New brake pads on a bike: $15 or maybe $30 if you splurge.

    Not to mention you don't have to deal with Check Engine Lights and silly sensors invented by auto manufacturers to make you spend more money on dealer servicing, refueling is a fun activity that can be shared with friends/family, you can clean up after working on your bike with bar soap, you'll *never* fall asleep behind the wheel, and you can even socialize with strangers (except for the occasional snooty roadie but I get the feeling the really snooty ones don't even socialize with each other so I don't take it personally).

    If it weren't for all the hills and the fact that everything in San Diego is sooooo spread out I'd gladly ride everywhere. My dream is to move to one of the denser, flatter neighborhoods like Hillcrest or North Park and save my car for trips out of town

  28. #28
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    Also remember this is first year costs.

    Next year, you have all the gear.

  29. #29
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by SquishyPanda
    Not to mention you don't have to deal with Check Engine Lights and silly sensors invented by auto manufacturers
    Not yet, but I`m thnking of hooking up a "Check Engine" light to my Schwinn. It sure could use one sometimes!
    Last edited by rodar y rodar; 08-24-2010 at 12:11 PM.
    Recalculating....

  30. #30
    local trails rider
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    What? Check Engin?
    http://www.engincycles.com/

  31. #31
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    I do find riding more expensive than driving, though it is quicker and more enjoyable. The expense for me comes from using okish part and bikes. The other extra expense that everyone always forgets is that I eat a heap more food riding 80min each day. That is what adds up!

  32. #32
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    Along about May the air conditioning on the bike starts to fail on the hills just about when the 'Check Engine' light comes on, then it just gets worse through the summer until about now, just in time for the heater to be on the fritz in the morning. I can look forward to that heater getting worse from here in, until next March or April, but now the air is working great.

  33. #33
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    I was going to say the same thing about spending more money on food. I would ride my bike to work even if gas cost $1/gallon or less.
    Tequila tonight, tomorrow we ride!

  34. #34
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  35. #35
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitzikatzi
    Ken Kifer
    Nowhere near as well known or as oft refered to as Sheldon, but he was equally as helpful to the bicycling world. Thanks for the reminder.
    Recalculating....

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Ken Kifer
    Nowhere near as well known or as oft refered to as Sheldon, but he was equally as helpful to the bicycling world. Thanks for the reminder.
    +1 I knew I read an in depth analysis somewhere. My free Schwinn recycled into an errand bike/commuter went ahead on the strength of his articles.

  37. #37
    NormalNorm
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    Awesome link.....Thanks!!!!

  38. #38
    sofa king awsm
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    I think the OP is spending his $ on crack.
    Hot lunch is cooking in my saddlebag.

  39. #39
    weirdo
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    Aw, come on. It doesn`t HAVE to cost more than driving, but it easilly could if...
    you buy a lot of fancy clothes and whatnot from bike shops, you pay a mechanic to do your maintenance, and/or your driving expenses aren`t very high.

    No crack involved, fair question on the OP`s part.
    Recalculating....

  40. #40
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    My bike collection is more expensive than my car. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

  41. #41
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    Just like anything else, you can spend $10,000 or $1,000 or $200 and still get the same job done. You could buy a great cheap steel frame road bike as a commuter and get a $20 pair of gloves and be done. Even if you needed a helmet, there are plenty of cheap ones available for $20-30...no need to spend $150 on a helmet. I consider my self an above-average spender on commuter stuff, but I still haven't spend that much in the last year of commuting.

    2010 Windsor Knight: $900
    Magicshine headlight: $90
    Cateye Taillight: $30
    Clipon Fenders: $50
    Full finger summer gloves: $25
    Waterproof gloves: $60
    Speedometer: $25
    Frame Pump: $35

    Total: $1215

    I had two cars, both paid for and I sold the one that was primarily mine. It sold for $6000 and was paid for, and sipped about $40 gas per month. Insurance on that was another $70 per month. Yearly costs were $500 maintenance and $200 DMV registration fees. So overall it cost me $2,020 each year to drive that car. I've already paid for my new bike, equipment, clothing, and put about $800 in my pocket. Not to mention the $6000 that went into my bank account when I sold my second car.

    As an added bonus, I'm not quite as much of a fatass as I once was!
    "Got everything you need?"

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing
    Just like anything else, you can spend ...$200 and still get the same job done. ...

    I had two cars ...one that was primarily mine. It sold for $6000 and was paid for, ...As an added bonus, I'm not quite as much of a fatass as I once was!
    You forgot depreciation, once sold that stops. The health benefits are priceless. So with hidden costs and benefits you may be much farther than $800 ahead.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    You forgot depreciation, once sold that stops. The health benefits are priceless. So with hidden costs and benefits you may be much farther than $800 ahead.
    That's true. Plus, the money in the bank is earning interest, and I'm just on year one. This year I won't need to buy a bike, pump, lights, etc. Hmmm, maybe I should say "won't buy".
    "Got everything you need?"

  44. #44
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    I spend $6000+ a year to support 2 cars.
    So, I figure I can justify and spend at least 1/3 that amount on bike stuff per year.
    $2000.00/ year. I don't spend that much but, I can. Not much the wife can say to dispute my expenses.

    Commuting to work by bike is fun. Not always as convenient as a car but, way more fun!
    Enjoy your health while you have it. Ride as much as you can. Spending money on commuting is cheaper that therapy.

    Live the dream.
    The truth will set you free... But first it will piss you off

  45. #45
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    You bought too much stuff. Most of us low income bicycle owners save lots of money and don't have to spend it by riding bicycles to our low paying jobs. I don't have fancy stuff and have bought nothing cause I already own gear needed to get to work.

    First of all panniers are not needed. A rack is all you need and these are often cheaper than a tank of gas. My rack has a basket tied to it and I put all the stuff for work in it. It's also good for groceries. No back packs! I also just recently bought a camel back and was using a big evian water bottle over and over again. My camel back was used, eww I know, but I washed it out good.

    Rain gear can be cheap, I don't use it much. If it rains I take the bus or drive. If I am at work, i take the bus home and put my bike on the rack. In rain if I did not avoid it, I wear my soft shell and it keeps me dry. My basket is like a fender and keeps rain off.

    My commuter bike was obtained cheaply. I traded a bike I bought at a yardsale for it and some cash. It's not a fancy expensive bike and is not the fasted bicycle on the path, but I get to work on it. It paid for it's self in gasoline savings a long time ago. Plus it has vintage appeal and is very simple. Easy to fix, not many parts to break. I have not taken it to a shop yet and it has not broken either. not even a tire blow out, which would be a 3 dollar repair. It cost 11 dollars to fix a nail stuck in my truck's tire and i can't do that myself.

    Bicycles save me lots of money. Even my mountain bike has paid for it's self in gasoline savings. I don't have new bicycles and both together cost around 100 dollars. I don't have lots of specialized gear either and use what I already own. I am a good shopper and will take advantage of yardsales and shops that resell parts/gear.

    Also the less miles I put on my high mileage late model, the less repairs I will have in the future. Car repairs cost a lot more than bicycle repairs. Plus I can do a lot of bicycle maintenance and repairs myself.

  46. #46
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    I've been riding for years and commute to work occassionally. This year I went nut and doing it everyday and start buying, buying, and buying (my fault). It's true, you save a lot for doing your own maintenance. I saved $120 on transit fare in my area (over $1400 a year), that's enough reason for commute.

    Here is my supporting arguments for commuting:
    1) I am healthier and lost weight
    2) I am consistent with my commuting time compares to driving or transit
    3) I got some new gadgets and clothings that I would not buy otherwise
    4) I got to enjoy the view and make detours as I please
    5) I do save money if I don't go crazy with all the purchases

    Here some money saving idea I would like to share:
    1) Check out a community bike shop for lower cost mechanic or supplies (if you have one in your area)
    2) Shop around for gears and do CL
    3) Trade your gears friends or gear swap
    4) Change car insurance to leisure - if available in your area
    5) Keep good regular maintenance on your bike, it makes a safer bike and less wear on parts.

  47. #47
    ravingbikefiend
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    Mileage rates here are .35 / km - .40 km.

    If you spent $1000.00 on your bike and commuting gear you would have to ride 2857km to recover that cost at .35 km

    My better half has $2000.00 into her main commuter (neither of us drives) and has ridden her bike 20,000 km... that would be 7000.00 in driving expenses so figure we're $5000.00 ahead of things.

    I ride 10,000 - 16,000 / yr and none of my rides cost this much.

    You can do the math on that.
    Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 11-22-2010 at 06:36 PM.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

    -Environmental stickers don't mean shite when they are stuck to CARS!-

  48. #48
    One Colorful Rider
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    I've riden 5449 commuter Miles this year
    I have two Commuter Bikes
    A Winter Commuter and and a Spring,Summer & Fall Commuter
    2 Chains $50
    4 Tires $120
    4 pr brake shoes $50
    Two Flats (tubes) $12.00
    I bought a new light Last Fall $100.00

    $320

    If I Drove
    Gas Say $35.00 a week
    Oil Change $25.00 every Four Months

    $1570

  49. #49
    Truly Doneski
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    I've been commuting for two years now. I dont know my exact milage, but I've spent virtually nothing on commuting. No new clothes except one pair of gloves and a helmet. Lights and tubes/tires other than that. I'd say I've sepnt no more than 250 in two years on commuting.
    Originally Posted by Bmateo1:
    Joyous Day in Woods
    Thoughtless Jackwagon, piss near
    Chudzpah, Passion Lost

  50. #50
    Still want a fat bike....
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    Don't think anyone has posted this, but some food for thought.....

    AAA Average Driving Costs

    Does it cost anyone here 56 cents per mile to ride your bike? Not me, that's for sure.

  51. #51
    Moderator Moderator
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    You can subtract out that gym membership as well - won't be needing that when you're bike commuting.

  52. #52
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    I don't do it for the money. I do it for the fame and glory.

  53. #53
    One Colorful Rider
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by moabjason
    I don't do it for the money. I do it for the fame and glory.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by moabjason
    I don't do it for the money. I do it for the fame and glory.
    There's something to that. "You rode here?"

    This accounting thing is complicated. The AAA report said it did not count car payments. So that says it assumes you own the vehicle outright, and no interest is included on a loan, but depreciation likely is. It won't include opportunity costs either. (Opportunity costs are the money you'd save or earn using the monies to pay down loans, increase investments, or a fatten a retirement fund.) Also note that the cost per mile on the low mileage vehicle goes up very fast. So if a bike keeps a low or very low mileage second, thrid, or fourth vehicle out of your driveway, you are getting more than $1 a mile in avoided expense. Then there is the exercise equipment or health membership you don't need to buy, the decrease in health costs as your immune and cardiovascular systems are tweaked to better condition, but you risk outliving your retirement funds.

    I note that some have included the purchase price of the bike, clothes, and other cycling items, others just the replacement and upkeep. I have been able to delay new shocks and fixing a minor but costly leak because the bike lets it sit in the drive a lot. It is very hard to factor that sort of thing into the balance sheet. I am limiting new purchases and upgrades to repairs until the errand bike is paid for, but now, with the AAA numbers I can up the pay-back rate. So I have $50 of a new RD to pay for, if I don't consider health benefits or the shocks I did not need to buy. Essentially paid for in 500 miles. If I control myself on upgrades/new bike, it is all gravy from here out. I'll be able to add a dyno hub soon.

    Then there is the perfect day heading hoime with a nice wind at your back and smile on your face and the endorphins after the ride. Priceless.

  55. #55
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    tominbend's never come back so I'm assuming he's trolled us all.
    I suggest we turn this into a thread giving info on economic ways to commute!

    I'm looking for info on:
    diy studded tires (hoping to do one myself soon)


    I offer:
    not purpose specific cold weather boots I've tried.
    I've used several brands of hiking boots, Dr. Martens, nike ACG "winter running shoes", pull-on shoe covers, gore-tex socks, army surplus boots (several types)

    Hiking boots- huge variety but generally expensive. the uppers don't deal well with really sharp pedals (tore my garmonts that way).
    cheaper ones are great as tossaways but nowhere near as waterproof.

    Dr. Martens- right pukka rocker ready to kick yer 'ed in cabbie!
    (ahem... so people DO stay out of your way when they see 14 holes laced up over your combats, but NOT helping your riding in any way)

    Nike ACG shoes- soft sole, great on-ground traction, but it flexes all around your pedal and wears really fast, the uppers were gore-tex, great waterproof, but they're short ankled shoes, water got in easily. warm if over wool socks.

    pull-on shoe covers- for commuting? crap.
    these do not, will not, work with non-spd pedals, you will tear them apart.
    on spd's: didn't take a day to get a lot of the bottom of them ripping apart. wife skids her feet coming to a stop, I don't, same results (hers worse than mine). just my experience.

    gore-tex socks- wonderful idea! don't stretch much so get the right size!
    allows you to waterproof anything you already own.
    does do a bit for warmth, not much, so wool socks underneath these and you're good.

    army surplus boots- love'em! what variety!
    ok, regular canadian army surplus- good tread, good on snow, durable, relatively waterproof. have a fiberglass or nylon toe (don't know which) so not as heavy as you think. generaly good room in the toebox for thick socks. stepped heel.
    paratrooper overboots- crazy warm and dry, zip them over your regular shoes or boots, have about 2.5" of soft rubber sole to absorb landing impacts, so you're taller now. flat sole not great tread.
    german motorcross boots- these are great, stiffer sole than regular combats, have a zipper thing that the laces lace into so you can remove the boot quickly, nylon toecap, waffle flat sole doesn't have much tread for snow, but it's great for moving around on the pedals.
    seemed more waterproof than regular combats but don't know why they would be. can't find these anymore, don't know if any other military branch has mx-specific boots.
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts
    I'm looking for info on:
    diy studded tires (hoping to do one myself soon)
    Sheldon had a page on this at one time but this is basically the same: metal screws. In a tubeless system with slime maybe no issue, but mtbxplorer had flats even with a liner to protect the tube on her DIY. Duct tape to cover heads then a liner? Maybe she will share her experiences.

    Here are inexpensive tire chains (if they will clear your fenders!):

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/200...re_chains.html

    Thanks for the boot evaluations!

  57. #57
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    These are much better than the screw-type:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dremer03
    How did you stud your tires?

    1.Find tire shop or online source for tire studs (they mde me buy a box 500-1000 or so??) - get the shortest ones u can
    2.Find a tire kicking around with good sized lugs
    3.Drill through lugs so studs fit snug (3/16" on mine)
    4.Force studs thru hole from inside tire - I used vise grips or just place stud tip-up on 2x4, line up with drilled hole in tire & force thru. Expect sore fingers by the time you're done!
    5.Use rubber cement or "shoe goo" on studs to keep snug & protect tube (didn't do either on 1st pr & were OK)
    6.Place a tire liner like Mr Tuffy between tube & studs
    7.Inflate & go
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  58. #58
    weirdo
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    The Winter Cycling section over on BFnet has a sticky on DIY studded tires and I`m pretty sure there`s an article about them at the IceBikes site.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    Here are inexpensive tire chains (if they will clear your fenders!):
    Those chains are probably the best I`ve seen on the web as long as you don`t have rim brakes. Very simple, as durable as the material you use, and they look very easy to install/remove. I bet they work even better than studs.

    Whoa, those Dremer studs look great! I bet they`re easier on tubes than screw heads, too. Did you do yours that way, MtbX?
    Recalculating....

  59. #59
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    Hey all I got About 10,000 km on a pair of Nokian Mount and Ground, I will probably get another year or so....So make that 12500 km....for $160 bucks something like that..


    So......$0.0125/km Not significant.

    Shimano winter boots more milage say 16000 km for $200 bucks something like that..

    So....$0.0125/km Not significant...

    If you plan to ride in the winter that is the cheap and effective way of doing it.

    Where do I spend my money....Shorts and tights (they wear out)...Wheels I have three sets now...so I can pick whatever I want quickly...and tires, summer MTB tires that is.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    .

    Whoa, those Dremer studs look great! I bet they`re easier on tubes than screw heads, too. Did you do yours that way, MtbX?
    Yes, those were my instructions and pix, after dremer asked me about them last winter.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitzikatzi
    Thanks for the link. I had never heard of this guy until now but he has a lot of really good stuff on his website. I read through almost the entire site before coming to the part that says he was killed by a drunk driver while riding his bike. This guy was a huge advocate for the cycling community and if his death isn't an example of tragic irony than I don't know what is.

    To the OP. I think you can spend as much or as little as you want on commuting. Personally, I ride my road bike and wear cycling clothing that I would otherwise wear mountain biking or road riding. No need for anything that is commuter specific per se aside from maybe a backpack or messenger bag which can be had for fairly cheap (I got a sweet free one as a rebate for buying contact lenses). Bottom line is that if you already ride, commuting is great a way to some extra time in the saddle (esp during the winter months when there is snow on the trails).

    Cheers.

  62. #62
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    About 4" (10 cm) of snow with ice under it out there now. Where I'm from that's a 'light dusting'. Heading to about 3 X what the local snow removal can handle with gusts to 40 mph to pile it up nicely. If the UPS van can get through, my Nokians arrive tomorrow. Talk about 'just in time delivery'. Should have lots of packed whitish ice/snow and too cold for the greasy snot layer. Already redid the stem, levers, tape, and saddle with Santa's gifts. (saves wrapping and space under the tree).

  63. #63
    viva la v-brakes!
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    The self-studded tire thing has been hashed out over the net for probably 15 years now.

    The conclusion is always the same: if they are ONLY going to be used off-road on snowy trails and frozen lakes, then they are fine, and maybe worth your time. If they are going to be used for commuting they will get worn out in less than a season because the metal of the screws is too soft to deal with pavement.

    My first pair of Nokian Mount and Ground tires cost me $150 and lasted 6 winters, eventually I gave them away because the sidewalls were starting to scratch. $25 per winter is a small price to pay for security, and in the end it comes out cheaper than DIY.
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    I have a car. I made a choice. I ride my bike.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473
    .... $25 per winter is a small price to pay for security, and in the end it comes out cheaper than DIY.
    There is the mental aspect, but they are really a safety item. One slide or fall saved could pay for them many times over. Santa thought so too. .

  65. #65
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    Mt. bike from Goodwill: $20
    Converted to SS: $ 0
    Laptop bags converted to panniers: $0
    Tires frome bike co-op: $5 each
    Tubes on sale at LBS: $20-30 for 8-10 tubes
    Bike shorts: on sale at LBS: $30-40
    Other clothes: Goodwill: $ cheap!

    So how can bike commuting be too expensive?
    I guess if you ride a TDF carbon bike with top of the line Campy components, Pearl Izumi gear. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of commuting by bike?
    Most people commute #1) Love of bikes, #2) To save money. #3) Health and fitness.
    There are a million ways to ride on the cheap. Just like everything else, look for the best deals.

  66. #66
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    your first mistake was thinking that you need a seperate bike for commuting. just ride your mountain bike.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by hahdtail
    your first mistake was thinking that you need a seperate bike for commuting. just ride your mountain bike.

    Whoa now, we don't encourage such foolishness! Wives and girlfriends might be looking. Shhhh!
    Jason
    Disclaimer: www.paramountfargo.com

  68. #68
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  69. #69
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    With all due respect, unless your commuting on a 10k bike, there's no way your going to convince me that biking to work is more expensive than a car. Insurance, maint, oil, gas, repairs, registration, tires..etc. NO WAY!!!!
    When the **** did we get ice cream?

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