The economics of bicycle commuting?

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Hello,

I've recently been pondering the concept of commuting to work via bicycle rather than by car (the public transportation where I work isn't a realistic option if you can afford alternatives). I was hoping that some FWFers who already bike commute can help me on my brainstorming to figure out if this is a good choice for me A) Financially B) For my long-term well being.

My city has recently finished a bike trail that's mostly off street that I can get to 2/3 blocks from my house, and will lead me straight to downtown 7/8 miles later. I have learned that my workplace has semi secure bicycle parking, but no shower facilities, so I'll have to join a nearby gym so that I can clean up and not smell like sweat all day. I don't feel that my fixed costs will change at all, as I will still need a car for inclement weather as I can't show up to work drenched, but will save me ~$5 or so in gas every day. I'm going to assume that I'll commute 3x a week throughout the year, as snow/ice are non existant where I am now.

Here's my initial +/-'s for the first year, and I'd love to hear from others who have tried bicycle commuting as to what factors I'm not including.

Negatives:
$500 bike
$200 lock/panniers/accessories/etc
$300 gym membership (diff between the downtown gym and the one I'm at normally)
$2600 Extra 20 minutes of commuting time, assuming $50/hour
$300 amortizing the cost of an expected bike theft once/two years
$520 extra food cost to fuel myself for additional calorie burning
? Chances of surviving a traffic accident are drastically reduced compared to my automobile
Total: -$4420


Positives:
$5200 Get my workout time back 3x/week, assuming $50/hour
$780 gas savings
$400 arbitrary number for reduced wear and tear on my car
? Longterm health benefits/Reduced medical bills (unless hit by car)
Total: $6380

So it looks like I'd be coming out a little ahead, but not so much that it would be worth doing if I didn't enjoy riding bikes to begin with (and while I enjoy the stationary bike at the gym, I haven't ridden a normal bike in years).

Thoughts? Flaws in Logic? Would love to hear constructive comments, even negative comments if they're relevant and applicable. Thanks.

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Infinion (Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:26a) |

^ What he said.

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How many miles do you drive now? How many would you drive if you ride to work?
Auto instance will be less if you are in a lower annual mileage category.

Positive: reduce your car insurance premium if you can demonstrate reduced mileage

Question: why do you gain more than you lose on your time? If you would be working out that much anyway then it should be a wash(?), and if you don't normally work out that long then it should be net-negative. Do you mean saving commuting time? If so it's still hard to puzzle out how that would be a net positive if you're not even doing it every day (and cycling still takes longer than driving, presumably).

naas said:   Positive: reduce your car insurance premium if you can demonstrate reduced mileage

Question: why do you gain more than you lose on your time? If you would be working out that much anyway then it should be a wash(?), and if you don't normally work out that long then it should be net-negative. Do you mean saving commuting time? If so it's still hard to puzzle out how that would be a net positive if you're not even doing it every day (and cycling still takes longer than driving, presumably).


So this is my general thinking:

I'll spend 20 minutes more on my bike than I would in my car (the impact of the lower top speed being reduced by getting out of the rush hour traffic on the off street path).

On the other hand, if I bike 16 or so miles in a day, I'm likely going to skip my workout of about 40 minutes in the evening, because I will have gotten a fair amount of physical activity in the day. That time cost has already been accounted for in the commute/additional bike time.

Does that shed any more clarity?

Questions:

1. What gas mileage does your car currently get?
2. Any chance of ditching the car altogether and relyingonly on bike/public transportation and renting cars when you need them for weekends, etc?
3. Any supermarket or other places on the way back from your work where you could run errands?
4. The "cost" for the extra 20 minutes of time is not really a cost unless you are giving up overtime or other opportunities in order to bike. In fact, since you enjoy bike riding, you could call it a benefit.
5. What backup options for transportation are available in case of rain?
6. Is moving your residence an option? You should also make a plan 3: move to within walking distance of your office.

Would you actually be making 50/hour during the times that you'd be biking/working out?
If not I think that number is high.
If you'd spend that time relaxing/eating/sleeping its hard to justify 50/hour for that time.

Kanosh said:   Questions:

1. What gas mileage does your car currently get?
2. Any chance of ditching the car altogether and relyingonly on bike/public transportation and renting cars when you need them for weekends, etc?
3. Any supermarket or other places on the way back from your work where you could run errands?
4. The "cost" for the extra 20 minutes of time is not really a cost unless you are giving up overtime or other opportunities in order to bike. In fact, since you enjoy bike riding, you could call it a benefit.
5. What backup options for transportation are available in case of rain?
6. Is moving your residence an option? You should also make a plan 3: move to within walking distance of your office.


1. My car gets about 20 mpg in the city. Not great, not awful.
2. No, as I live in a city of urban sprawl and poor public transportation.
3. I definitely could grocery shop on the way home, so that's a great point.
4. To also address Batman, $50/hour is my opportunity cost for giving up free time. If I'm giving up my free time to do something I don't necessarily want to be doing, $50 is what it's going to take for me to find it worthwhile. I have more disposable income than I have disposable time, which makes the time I do have high value for me
5. I have friends/coworkers who live somewhat nearby, but wouldn't want to be a ride mooch on a regular basis. A taxi would cost roughly $15
6. Moving is always an option if the cost/benefit ratio was there, right? Unfortunately downtown is not a desirable place to live where I am, as it essentially shuts down by 6 and gets to be moderately Walking Deadish with drug addicts and vagrants...

drupha said:   6. Moving is always an option if the cost/benefit ratio was there, right? Unfortunately downtown is not a desirable place to live where I am, as it essentially shuts down by 6 and gets to be moderately Walking Deadish with drug addicts and vagrants...

This gets off the topic of bike riding somewhat, but the way you describe your downtown is exactly the way many downtowns were prior to being gentrified. Around the world, real estate in the core downtown is usually the most expensive. Buying there now could both easy your commute and be a great investment.

If you do decide to do this, below is what my bike is outfitted with. I did quite a bit of research and feel I received good quality for a good price. Also get a good bike used bike to maintain resale value (trek, cannondale, fuji, giant, etc). I'd highly recommend leaving work clothes/shoes in your gym locker to minimize weight and save time. Also, this is an expensive choice!

I'd get the bike first and substitute your workout for a month with riding. If you enjoy riding then make the jump! If not, sell the bike for close to what you paid for it.

Topeak MTX Trunk Bag DXP Bicycle Trunk Bag
Topeak Explorer MTX Rack
Cygolite Expilion 350-Lumen USB Rechargeable Headlight
OnGuard Pitbull STD U-Lock (Black, 4.53 x 9.06-Inch)
Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light

I think you are over estimating having your bike stolen every two years. I commute during the summer and have been doing so for about four years. I have never had anything stolen.

You are forgetting the cost of maintenance on the bike. Tune-ups once per year. Blown tubes which need to be replaced. Brakes, tires. You will probably want to buy a floor pump and tools if you don't already have them. I don't think the $200 which you listed for locks and whatnot is nearly enough to cover this (between your lock and helmet, half of that is gone).

scottybweyy said:   I'd highly recommend leaving work clothes/shoes in your gym locker to minimize weight and save time.
Leave an extra set of clothes at the office. This way if you show up soaking wet from rain or realize that you forgot your clean underwear at home, you have a backup.

I commute 1.5 miles each way or so by bike almost every day. I also just spent about 2.5 weeks in the Netherlands on business, and lived somewhat like a native (I had a bike there, commuting about 1.5km from my hotel every day). Just about all dutch commute on bikes (even wearing a suit/tie), so it's certainly possible.

A couple of things to consider:
- If your commute to work goes downhill (even a very shallow gradient), and you bike relatively slowly, you won't sweat much if at all. Dress more lightly than you would otherwise, and you'll be fine. It might take twice as long to get there, but you won't have to stop by the gym.
- Perhaps consider an electric assist. It's more expensive, but you can pedal less on the way to work, hence you won't be sweaty.
- Buy a European-style bike. Chain-guard, fenders, etc... It really helps keep you from getting dirty (and from getting pants caught in the gears). American bikes are not designed for commuting.
- The best u-lock won't help your bike if no one ever goes into the storage area and it's not locked. Best thing here is to see if you can bring your bike inside your office. Second best is to get a used bike. New bikes will get stolen quickly. If it looks old and used, it won't go as quickly. And if you can find a nice commuter bike for $150 or so, then you're only out that if it's stolen
- Don't buy panniers or a rack until you know you like biking. They're great, but not required.
- Get a messenger bag if you need to bring stuff to/from work. If you use a backback, you will get much sweatier.
- Look at the weather forecast closely. If rain is expected, and you don't want to deal with that, then drive that day. If you get caught at work in the rain, worst case you'll get wet on your way home. Make sure you have weather proof bags for your stuff. Also, oftentimes rain is sporadic. Light rain is not too bad to bike in - just time when you leave with the weather (e.g., look at radar and the like).

Overall, I love commuting by bike, though my commute is somewhat shorter and the weather here is nice just about all year.

My husband commutes by bike. While I'm obviously not a big fat wallet hitter (see post count), I thought I'd offer it form the wife perspective.

- We bought his bike used off of craigslist. Nice bike.
- Ever since then, all his christmas, bday presents have been bike related. Fine by me. Easy to shop for.
- Sorry I dont know the official term, but he has a rack on teh back that he attaches a special briefcase like thing to carry his stuff and computer. He said it made all the difference for him.
- He watches the weather every night.
- He is much fitter and therefore more attractive.
- He is SIGNIFICANTLY happier because of no commute in bad traffic, working out every day, and time saved in working out.


Good luck!

dblevitan said:    Second best is to get a used bike. New bikes will get stolen quickly. If it looks old and used, it won't go as quickly. And if you can find a nice commuter bike for $150 or so, then you're only out that if it's stolen

When I went to grad school at Illinois, bike thefts were even more rampant there than at Michigan State.
After a few times when the bus didn't come on time, I gave up and walked home, only to have the bus pass me 300 yards before I got to my apartment complex, I decided to ride despite the 'world class' bus service.

I found a pile of old bikes (mainly just frames) behind the dumpster, and picked out a halfway decent Ross. I had some black, white, and blue spray paint. I tried to uglify it with the paint in random patterns, but I ran out of black after doing the fork, and the blue splattered which gave the bike an appealing robin egg pattern. I put a pair of good wheels on it, took the derailleurs off and shortened the chain to make it a single speed, and put a plastic shopping bag on the saddle so you couldn't see that my piece of junk had a $40 seat on it. I never put a lock on that bike, not once. It was always parked in a rack behind my apartment or on campus for a year, and it was always right where I left it.

My advice:

1. Buy an abandoned bike from the nearest campus police auction, look for high quality and poor cosmetic condition as if it'd sat in the rain for a month or two.

2. Buy a touring bike or maybe a paperboy type, but not a mountain bike. If it looks too good, remove or paint over the brand decals.

3. If you like bike commuting, put fenders on it and some kind of chain guard so you don't have to wear trouser bands or get a dirty stripe up your back when it rains.

4. Don't worry too much about getting it stolen. It might be a good idea to put a $5 WalMart lock on it just to keep it from casually walking off.

drupha said:   
$2600 Extra 20 minutes of commuting time, assuming $50/hour




Back in college, I had a statistics professor who would tell us about how his son followed this type of thinking. His son had a $200/hour position in finance, the guy evaluated the use of every minute of his day as to whether or not he was getting more than $200/hour of enjoyment or use from a given activity. For example, he weighed spending three hours going to a movie against the $600 worth of his time it would take.

The kid never did anything but work because he could never justify any other activity against his $200/hour salary.

People over analyze things...Eat a granola bar, take a $100 bicycle to work on a test run, with a towel, soap or wet wipes... and see how it goes.

FYI... If you leave the house 20 minutes earlier, you wont be late for work and it wont cost you money, as I'm certain you dont calculate money lost on your personal life... BTW...How much money did you lose writing this post.

Living in NYC and bike a fair amount here is some advice:

1) Your cost for lock/accessories/panniers is way low. I would expect more around $500 to get quality items to use on an everyday commuter. My commuting tires alone cost $130, and my lock was $90. Also you are going to want some basic bike tools, a flat kit, etc. The cost adds up quick.
2) Get the largest chain style lock you can afford, and keep it locked at your bike rack at work full time. That way you don't have to lug it back and forth each day. LINK Also make sure to lock the wheels, and either remove the seat or run an old chain through it to the frame.
3) As for bike, get a hybrid or dutch style. 8 mile is nothing, no need for an expensive street bike, and mountain bikes are meant for mountains, not commutes. A bike with a belt drive and internal gearing is nice in terms of cleanliness, but can have mechanical issues. But most of all find a bike that fits you. A poorly fitting bike is going to make the whole experience dreadful.
4) Use you headlight and taillight all the time, not just at night.
5) If you are worried about an accident, get a GoPro and attach it to your helmet to records your rides.

True story:
You ride the bike so much, you get complacent.
You get complacent, you don't pay attention and fall off the bike.
You fall off the bike, you spend a few days in the hospital, a few months in physical therapy, thousands in medical bills, and you never want to look at another bike again.

Moral of the story - do it because you want to and when you want to. Don't do it to save money. That is just penny foolish.

I work in a downtown area, in a state known for urban sprawl; With that said, I would certainly attach some arbitrary $ figure to the "Odds-of-getting-hit-by-a-car-and-missing-work-for-quite-some-time". 7-8 miles in large city may be a risky endeavor.

Chances of surviving a traffic accident are drastically reduced compared to my automobile

I tried commuting by bike 12 miles each way. I've been yelled at, coins tossed at from a car, and worse one was tacos (i chased the guy down at 30mph stupidly and then failed to memorize the plate# for a followup police report). With a dangerous curvy road near my work place and impossible to take the road b/c its uphill, I gave up valuing my life. I used to ride 1600 miles each year for 3 years and then gave up biking for now completely. Its a bit dangerous out there for cyclist. Think motorcycle is dangerous? Try biking in tight fitting clothes with specialized shoes.

Don't reduce this to a purely financial decision. If you like riding your bike, then do it!

You'll get the occasional flat tire too.

Financially it's break even. Do it only if you'll feel better.

Do it if you like cycling, don't do it for a pure financial reason. At the end, you are going to end up with a thought if you enjoy it or not.
If you are planing to use your bike every day I'd send somewhere near a $1000 for it. You can get a low end Specialized or Cannondale for this money. In addition brand bike holds it's value, it's like Kia vs Honda or WalMart vs Brand.

-$520 extra food cost to fuel myself for additional calorie burning
how long do you have to travel? if it's just a mile I don't think it's too relevant.
-$200 lock/panniers/accessories/etc
You might end up with more spending, special clothes, bike parts, some repairs, etc.

As of again if you like it, do it, if you don't, don't force yourself into it.

i used to bike to work in london, about 20-30mins on the bike each way.

it was awesome. i was at a point when some days I didn't bike, there was some part of me missing.

if you are so afraid of your bike getting stolen, then get a foldable one, brompton seems to be the best and most expensive.

SS7Man said:   Chances of surviving a traffic accident are drastically reduced compared to my automobile

I tried commuting by bike 12 miles each way. I've been yelled at, coins tossed at from a car, and worse one was tacos (i chased the guy down at 30mph stupidly and then failed to memorize the plate# for a followup police report). With a dangerous curvy road near my work place and impossible to take the road b/c its uphill, I gave up valuing my life. I used to ride 1600 miles each year for 3 years and then gave up biking for now completely. Its a bit dangerous out there for cyclist. Think motorcycle is dangerous? Try biking in tight fitting clothes with specialized shoes.


I commute 4 miles a day, which I admit is quite a bit less, but I've used my bike to go all over my city at different points in time. Personally, I've never had anything that crazy happen to me. People have yelled at me once or twice, but honestly, I probably deserved.

As far as the expenses, I just can't see it. Here's what I've put in the last few years:

I bought a bike for $360. It's a little heavy, I'd probably get something lighter for a longer ride, but my boyfriend just got a used Specialized for $170. There is a thread here on Bike Forums w/a list of "Co-ops" that do these kind of deals: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/495576-Bike-Co-op-Threa... Ours also does maintenance help (you "turn the wrenches", they advise you) for $10/hour.

I bought a rack for $18 and a bungee cord thing for $7. I don't have panniers or anything (they're just so expensive for what you get), I just strap my backpack on.

I did buy a few warm things for winter riding, but I got them all from Sierra Trading Post and spent about $120 total.

Got a reflective vest, lights, and reflective leg band thingy for about $50 total.

All in, nowhere near as much as you're expecting. You can spend as much money as you want biking; the challenge is how LITTLE can you spend?

Thank you all for your posts. Many of you have brought in different opinions and viewpoints, which I appreciate greatly and was the purpose of this post.

BADADVICE said:   drupha said:   
$2600 Extra 20 minutes of commuting time, assuming $50/hour




Back in college, I had a statistics professor who would tell us about how his son followed this type of thinking. His son had a $200/hour position in finance, the guy evaluated the use of every minute of his day as to whether or not he was getting more than $200/hour of enjoyment or use from a given activity. For example, he weighed spending three hours going to a movie against the $600 worth of his time it would take.

The kid never did anything but work because he could never justify any other activity against his $200/hour salary.


It's comical you bring this up, because that is exactly how this came up for me, only in reverse. I work in the big corporate rat race, and when I started, I looked around and saw that it was really easy to get caught in the cycle where you work 12+ hours a day, so I assessed what my values and goals in life were. I'm not a person who gets validation with titles or corner offices, so I quickly realized that the face time for the sake of face time wasn't worth my time. As a work to live (rather than a live to work) guy, my thinking is that over 9 hours a day, if I don't feel it's bringing me $50+ an hour in value, I would rather enjoy my life outside of the glass and steel tower. It means I'll never get into the top 2% high flyer track, but I'm productive enough in my 9-10 to stay in the top quartile.

Hence the reason I bring up this topic. By my calcs, it's not worth doing for monetary reasons, so I wanted to see if there's anything I'm missing out on in order before making the decision purely on a quality of life basis.

JaxFL said:   People over analyze things...Eat a granola bar, take a $100 bicycle to work on a test run, with a towel, soap or wet wipes... and see how it goes.

FYI... If you leave the house 20 minutes earlier, you wont be late for work and it wont cost you money, as I'm certain you dont calculate money lost on your personal life... BTW...How much money did you lose writing this post.


If I left twenty minutes earlier, I lose out on sleep time. I don't know about you, but I put a high value on my sleep time.

It would be irresponsible of me to try to assess this from an economical perspective without at least assigning some value to opportunity cost and the money value of time, or the answer would be to walk everywhere because the only costs would be personal time and a bunch of nikes.

Hence the value of personal time.

I completely agree with this. IF you want to bike commute, I think it's for your pleasure and physical activity not for financial reasons. I bike try to do (everyday) with a 20 mile round-trip.

If you are not going uphill, quite a lot, then seating is not that bad. I have showers at work, but never seem to need one. Here is what I do:

1. Start early, so that you don't get caught in sun, that reduces sweat quite a lot
2. Stock towels, and wet towels (some perfumed ones) at work. Clean yourself thoroughly, especially armpits, neck, and those places
3. Keep double extra under wear at office..
4. If you are in California, there is a $20 subsidy that you get for bike commuting (if your employer provides it)

TravelerMSY said:   Don't reduce this to a purely financial decision. If you like riding your bike, then do it!

I commute by bicycle five days a week usually. Only fill my gas tank once every couple months. Avoid $700 parking fee at work. Can hang bike on a nice sculpture in my office. It's like art.

More things to consider:

A high quality LED light, such as from Light and Motion. Not cheap, very important.
Seat bag to carry tire iron and spare tube. Pump. You will get flats.
Jersey. Wicks sweat. I generally go slow enough that I just need to cool down and not shower.
Can you keep your work wardrobe at work to avoid the daily packing? This saved me a ton of time.
Careful in traffic. I went over a car that didn't see me a few months ago. Minor injuries, $2200 for my trouble from their insurance. Could have died just as easily.

things to consider while riding "car is always right" even if its not its just not worth the pain and suffering, let car go. Also never go around cars from right side before intersections, there are they too many people wjo don't use turn signals.

Your best option as of now, get some decent bike from performancebike.com or nashbar.com they have same return policy like Costco (speaking of which you can look for bike there as well, they also sell nice accessory pacls) if you dont like it just return it.

CL a bike from someone who thought of this idea last year and has since given up.

I don't think the bike trip replaces the gym unless you Sprint the way there and back or enjoy pretending to be fit.

Other negatives: Silly bike shorts with padding or a calloused groin.

Ah London. Fresh Diesel air. Enjoy: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/health/diesel-fumes-cause-lung...
dawhim said:   i used to bike to work in london, about 20-30mins on the bike each way.

it was awesome. i was at a point when some days I didn't bike, there was some part of me missing.

if you are so afraid of your bike getting stolen, then get a foldable one, brompton seems to be the best and most expensive.

Your deeply flawed logic of putting $ 50.00/hour charge for commuting tells me you are not at all informed on biking to work. You do it to gain, both financially and healthwise, in a very big way. Someone mentioned Holland. Yes, all your concerns are addressed there in a practical way, and are a daily routine for the whole year among young and old, male and female, politician or begger in Holland, Belgium or Dennmark, and these are cold places with snowy winters. So, imporant variables are: weather and average temperatures in your area,local culture of trafic respect for bikers, and biker's rights law enforcement, as they are directly correlated to the number of bike fatalities per year in your area, a figure you have to digg up. Is your employer averse to sweaty employees with wrinkly clothes? Washhroom/bathroom decent facilities at your job site with enough privacy? Have you ever changed a tire? Ever heard of disk brakes and how to calibrate them? Ever changed bike wheels, like fat ones or cyclocross for winter? You do need at least two sets of wheels, if not more. A spare bike is even better. Got to know maintainance. You need two chains as antitheft, and drop the front wheel and take it with you. Just make it harder for the thief, but know that motivated ones, given time, can get anything they want. A road bike is what you need, but in a hybrid form, think Trek, or ideally a classic european design where your spine is straight, and ride lower to the ground. Steel frames are preferred, but aluminum is fine. Forget carbon frames, maybe just the fork! Disk brakes are also preferred. For lighting, single Aa lithium rechargable 14500 battery Led lights from dx.com, get a couple with bike velcro attachements. Gym time? No need for gym, save your money for new and better fitting clothes,as you WILL get in better shape than in gym. Your aerobics is more than covered by biking, if you need strength excercises, do calistenics at home, or even better, do not take elevators with a bike at home or work,just take the stairs and lift the bike. Best strength and interval training exercise! Depending on your situation, you might even have no choice but lifting your bike on stairs. Do this for one year, and you will need to buy new smaller size clothing, for sure. And of course, keep your car, this is America afterall, you need a car, just use it less, and bike as often as you can.

I used to bike for years, at school and work, but in Europe...... Belgium..... Here in the states, in Northeast, it is impossible to bike in suburbia, a completely different planet from what I am used to. If I had access to bike infrastructure, it is not a question of if and when, but how fast can I buy my gear. One last thing to keep in mind, bike accidents are a bitter reality, and head collisions do happen. Educate yourself on head trauma from bike accidents. There is tons of medical literature that can be found on Medline, at least abstracts.Head protection is an absolute requirement!

Consider the following:

(1) A motorized bicycle -- Gets you where you need to go, without breaking a sweat, at virtually the same timeframe as an automobile... without the need for licensing, insurance, registration, etc... and only pulling 150-200 mpg. If you are serious about taking this route, I would skip all options and skip straight to the Golden Eagle Bike Engine kits because they are belt driven. Those kits are basically the most maintenance free of them all and will save your ass if you really want to use this to commute. I'd also recommend getting a solid frame; I had a chain-drive bike that was built on crummy Chinese aluminum and the frame broke after 2 or 3 years of SERIOUS abuse. If you want to read more about motorized bicycles, I wrote a guide a few years back -- Crash Course for Motored Bike N00Bs
(2) A SoloWheel -- an ELECTRIC powered, SELF-BALANCING, hands-free UNICYCLE that takes you 15 MPH for just $1800. Pick it up and carry it onto the bus, subway, etc. Carry it inside and charge it at work.
(3) If you're DEAD SET on a pedal bike.... Folding bicycles can be had for a couple hundred bucks all the way up to $800 for the dual-speed CarryMe DS, or $1450 for the CarryMe DC electric, or even $2700 for the IF Mode folding bike which is the most elegant of all full-size folders. Or heck, perhaps it's not size contraints you're worried about... but you want the lightest bike to carry upstairs??? Then why not go with the 18 lbs, titanium "2012 Motobecane Le Champion Ti SRAM Apex" for just $1600 (just Google the name)?? That's less than half the weight of the IF Mode...

If you want to spend money on bikes, then feel free to ask. I'll post this last vid just for fun, since I haven't heard of anybody successfully ordering just ONE of these "King of Folding Bikes" folders, but they sure tripped me out. http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjU4NzY0NjYw.html You just have to be 165 lbs or less to ride on it safely, tho!!

lray said:   Other negatives: Silly bike shorts with padding or a calloused groin.

Well then they don't seem to silly.

Iíve been commuting by bike for many years. I used to have a short 3.5 mile (one way) commute, but we moved to a small home about 5 years ago and now my commute is 8.5 mile (one way). I actually enjoy the longer commute more. BTW, Iím 61 and I currently ride a Trek 8000 MTB.

Maybe itís just me, but Iíve found that if I shower before leaving for work and then change clothes at work (in the menís room) I donít have to worry about BO (I've checked with others and they agree there's no noticable BO). The only times it becomes a problem are on those days when the temp and humidity are very high (dew points 70+). I always keep some deodorant at work and do a touch-up when necessary. I can keep 2-3 pairs of pants and 3-4 shirts at work and I change into them once Iíve cooled down from my commute. I also keep underwear and a couple pairs of shoes at work. I have panniers and can resupply as necessary.

My commuting replaces the need for a gym membership and also helps me burn calories, which I consider a plus.

Here are my actual stats after commuting for 3 years 10 miles a day, four days a week... Afterwards I moved to walking distance, but I kinda missed the bike commute.

$27 bike Schwinn Ranger... stole it off an eBay local pickup only auction.
$50 lock/panniers/accessories/etc... Mostly an awesome padlock and a chain, but I got a sped/computer, pump, extra tubes, headlight and taillight.
$0 gym membership... Go slow enough where you don't sweat on your way to work. Perhaps alter your route where much of it is downhill/easy within 5 mins of work for a cool down.
$0 Extra minutes of commuting time... My work gave extra 22.5 mins a day as workout time.
$0 No thefts yet.
$0 Extra food: lol, bike runs on fat and saves you money. Car runs on money and makes you fat.
Never been hit by a car... FYI, I've read you're more likely to die driving.

Probably about 30k miles on that beater bike and it still works fine after minimal parts and maintenance, its amazing... Driving to work eats an outrageous amount of potential savings for so many people.

Skipping 93 Messages...
dougneb said:   Please obey the traffic laws. Cyclists who don't make it worse for the rest of us. If someone honks or curses at you, wave and say thank you.

That's pretty much right. The number one rule of cycling on the roadway is to make sure cars can predict what you're going to be doing. So use signals. And use signals cars can understand, even if they aren't 'standard'. When cyclist don't act predicable or disobey traffic rules, it makes it unsafe for all of us, because cars then expect you to do stupid stuff. I'm fairly confident in my safety on nearly every road around me, but I won't bike in downtown. Not because the roads are tight or anything, but because everyone that is biking there, are complete idiots, so the cars in the area have trouble knowing what to do when a cyclist actually obeys the rules.



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