Does the thought of being stuck in peak hour traffic make you shudder? Need to fit in exercise but don’t have the time or the money spare to join a gym? Hate looking for parking and even worse having to pay for it? Well … I’ve got the solution to your problem and it my good friend comes on two wheels.
If you’ve ever envied the mamil (middle aged man in lycra) who coasts along blissfully ignorant to the grumbles of crowded commuters then allow me to explain how and why I chose the 2-wheeled life over the daily grinding commute.
According to the Royal Automotive Club, owning a small car will cost you about $150 per week. If you also would like to drive that car to work add tolls at $10 per day and the car park for $20 daily. That takes it $180 per week. Or, $720 a month. Or, $8640 a year. Or, an eye-popping $43,200 over five years.
Go ahead, check my numbers it’s true… And that’s before the parking fines, petrol and traffic light windscreen washers!
So how does the cost of riding a bike compare to driving?
But wait… before we do that…
Can I just say, the costs below are for actually riding a bike. You could spend much less than what I propose below. But, I’m not talking about buying a bike, riding it once, and then leaving it in your backyard to rust for the next three years while you feel guilty. If you want to realise these savings it will require day-in-day-out, rain or shine, first-name-basis-with-the-bike-mechanic, actual commuting. Like most ways you can save money, this takes a certain level of commitment. Buying the right kit will keep you on your bike for the duration.
Here’s the items I would recommend and their approximate costs:
- High-end backpack or saddle bag – $150.00
- Fluoro waterproof backpack cover – $20
- Fluoro helmet $70
- Helmet deodorizer $10
- Super-blinky lights – $40
- Bell – $3.00
- Spandex, padded shorts – $50
- Jersey (with team logos for extra awesomeness) – $30
- Click-in bike shoes (acceleration power for green lights where you have to stay in front of the 20 cars that you just weaved around to cut the queue) – $180
- Shoe deodorizer – $5
- Road ID bracelet – (allows paramedics to quickly access your critical medical stats and defibrillate you if necessary – not that I’ve ever needed it!) $30
- Deodorant – $5
And that should be just about everything…
Oh yeah! Bike. You will definitely need a bike.
So lets just say you go for something modest… like a Specialized S-Works carbon fibre – retails for $9,500.
What? Is that a squawk I hear? Gee whiz. Some people.
I can almost hear you thinking it. “Gumtree”. “Gently used”. “$75.00”.
Trust me on this, after a month, you will realise your wheels wobble, the bike won’t shift and the whole thing weighs more than a grand piano. You will want something decent and the money you spent will have been wasted. You’re going to spend a lot of time on this machine, get something you love.
How about we compromise. For easy math let’s call the bike $1000. Bike-snob sensibilities aside, a grand will put you onto something quite nice that should easily last five years.
OK. So we add that all up and… If my math is right… Carry the one… That comes to… $1,593. Now for our five-year scenario: Lets say you replace a lot of the little stuff annually (trust me you’ll want a new jersey after 12 months). Let’s call the annual up-keep $500.
For five years that puts you at $3,593.
That my friends, is a $39,607 savings!
The cost savings of riding a bike to work are real. But there’s more to it than that. Biking is really fun. It’s a great mood lifter both morning and evening. It’s good for the city in terms of congestion and smog. And the feeling of passing droves of people stuck in traffic – you just can’t put a dollar amount on that.
Would you ever consider cycling to work? Tell us Y/N and why in the comments!
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