The economics of bicycle commuting?

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What kind of tires do you use on the road bike? I've had way too many pinch flats for the amount of times I've ridden, and I think a better structured road tire would do me good (that and losing 40lbs!).

I've had my best luck with Continental Gatorskin and Michelin Krylion Carbon tires. Specialized Armadillos are also good but since performance bike doesn't sell them, I don't buy them. I don't have pinch flats unless I don't mount the tube properly or when I tried a tire liner. Is the PSI right?

dougneb said:   I've had my best luck with Continental Gatorskin and Michelin Krylion Carbon tires. Specialized Armadillos are also good but since performance bike doesn't sell them, I don't buy them. I don't have pinch flats unless I don't mount the tube properly or when I tried a tire liner. Is the PSI right?

I commute pretty much all year around and I had horrible luck with he Krylion Tires. Gatorskins aren't bad but sometimes have problems with sidewalls. I've had pretty good luck with Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires.

uscfsmitty said:   I commute pretty much all year around and I had horrible luck with he Krylion Tires. Gatorskins aren't bad but sometimes have problems with sidewalls. I've had pretty good luck with Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires.

This was my first year on the Krylions and they wore better than the Gatorskins but I had a few more punctures. I have noticed my Gatorskin sidewalls but they were near end of line anyway. I have never tried the Hardcases for the same reason I haven't used the Armadillos.

I currently work 2.1 miles from my place of residence. Depending on which one of my cars I drive, I spend either ~60 cents in gas (honda civic low estimate 25 mpg @ $3.30/gal) or ~$1.15 in gas (jeep grand cherokee in desperate need of tune up 12mpg). My bike cost 90 bucks at w-mart, the lock another 10, the air pump another 5 and the helmet was free because I accidentally stole it (I had the helmet hanging from the bike handlebars and neither myself or the cashier caught it). Not that it matters since I usually wear a ball cap (we all know how effective mesh and cardboard are at preventing blunt force trauma injuries). This means I would have to bike to work between 91 (jeep driving) and 175 (civic driving) times to recoup the cost of the bike and gear (which was purchased solely to commute to work).

I have a high deductible insurance plan which has a $2100 deductible and $4200 OOP Max. During my 2.1 mile bike I cross 6 intersections, no less than three of which have the potential to kill me due to a driver not paying attention during a right hand turn. (I always do my best to be safe, but my reflexes and judgement will only protect me so much) One trip to a specialist (to treat an injury) would require another ~180 - ~350 commutes to make up.

I live in North East Florida, I sweat extremely easily and cool down extremely slowly. No shower at my current work. For me there is a window of maybe four months where I can bike to work and be comfortable enough for my personal standards. I use rubber bands to keep my pants out of the gears and wear a breathable company polo with hagar cool wick pants. I carry a camel-bak.

Personally, I am unable to justify biking from an economical standpoint. In fact, due to the possibility for injury, my wife has made economical arguments AGAINST biking to work.

That being said however, the few days I bike to work I feel infinitely better than if I drove, am more productive, and that irrationally makes up for all the risks in my eyes.

EDIT - Forgot to mention the times I bike I usually end up eating out lunch at between ~$6 - ~$8 for lunch. Which requires another 8 - 13 commutes to recoup

Don't forget the health benefits of cycling 4.2 miles per day, which could save an unknown but likely significant amount of future medical expenses. Wear and tear on the autos is also a factor, though not likely much for a commute that short.

$0.51 is the govt cost per mile, so if you spent $105 on your bike then it would recoup the cost in only 206 miles or 49 commutes. If you re-purchased that gear every year you'd still have roughly 10 months of pure commuting profit.

2.1 is a very short commute, I personally couldn't ever justify driving that distance.

I lived 2 miles from my work before and tried several different ways to get to work: walking, running, roller blading, cycling, scooter. It seemed a little silly to bicycle because it took longer to lock up the bike than it did to get to work. Still, cycling was the most efficient method.

Behr, I think you forgot the potential of a lawsuit if a motorist were to hit you. That might pay for 3000-10,000 commutes.

Get a cheap electric bike. You can use that to boost yourself to work so you're not sweaty, then you can pedal the heavy SOB home for exercise profit.

Can't bicycle in a suit... the spokes might mess up my threads.

efficacyman said:   Get a cheap electric bike. You can use that to boost yourself to work so you're not sweaty, then you can pedal the heavy SOB home for exercise profit.

Or get a not-so-cheap one instead. Kalkoff I bought one a year or so back and find it makes a huge difference in me decidng to ride or not. I spent a bit under $3K total with accessories. Pedelecs only assist you riding, they aren't self propelled -- so they make nasty hills much less nasty while still letting you get a decent bit of workout.

These are direct EU imports, with full fenders and guards for commuting -- just add locks, a helmet and your preferred cargo system. I ride in "normal" clothing all the time and usually without sweating much. (not counting the days in the middle of summer where WALKING was a sweat-inducing activity...)

behr said: I currently work 2.1 miles from my place of residence...

I have a high deductible insurance plan which has a $2100 deductible and $4200 OOP Max. During my 2.1 mile bike I cross 6 intersections, no less than three of which have the potential to kill me due to a driver not paying attention during a right hand turn. (I always do my best to be safe, but my reflexes and judgement will only protect me so much) One trip to a specialist (to treat an injury) would require another ~180 - ~350 commutes to make up.


Wear the helmet you stole. Always, every time. Look up the statistics for cycling accidents if you want proof. Most deaths and serious injuries (90%?) from cycling are head trauma. Of those (85%?), wearing a helmet would have kept them alive, or not a vegetable. If you can, keep front and rear lights on your bike, even in daylight. It really helps your visibility. Wearing bright colors or a reflective vest is also a good idea. You might think you look stupid, but a splatter on the pavement looks much more stupid. Other cyclists will completely understand; you won't look stupid to them at all.

At intersections, you're actually relatively safe if you're where you're supposed to be at. Cross streets, driveways, one ways, and close calls from behind are much more likely locations for cycling accidents. Oh..., and at the intersections, if you're supposed to stop, STOP! I'm sick and tired of people on bikes and scooters thinking, because they go slower, maneuver slower, and have absolutely no protection around them, that they can ignore all traffic controls, drive on the wrong side, cross in front of cars, etc.

behr said:
I live in North East Florida, I sweat extremely easily and cool down extremely slowly. No shower at my current work. For me there is a window of maybe four months where I can bike to work and be comfortable enough for my personal standards. I use rubber bands to keep my pants out of the gears and wear a breathable company polo with hagar cool wick pants. I carry a camel-bak.


You really need a camel-bak for 2.1 miles? Just take a water bottle. You'll probably sweat less. Or, wait to get to work for water. Many people that commute by bike take their clothes, and change at work. Keep a towel, your work shoes, a belt, and some deodorant at work. Take your pants and shirt with you, and bike with whatever clothing is seasonally appropriate. Cycling with pants on that you need to tie back isn't safe.

^ What he said.

Not only wear the helmet, but wear it properly. I know I look stupid with my strobe headlight, helmet headlight, helmet taillight, bike taillight, reflective jacket, etc. I smile when someone laughs. I'm glad they saw me.

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.

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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