The economics of bicycle commuting?

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Another extra cost: food! You will be hungrier if you are going any distance.

I commute 2.5 Miles to work and 2.5 miles back and on occasion take a scenic route for more miles making it a minimum 5 miles + every day for 52 weeks, or 260 business days +/- holidays and PTO. I save about $108/month for the MTA train commute which is $1296/year.

I have been commuting for over 1 year and half through rain and snow on my bike which has been very good to me.

I have a Trek 2100 zx with the following acc $300
avenir handle bar pouch to hold my lock $30
NY kryptonite lock $85
Dual front and rear lights $$35
Helmet $50
Comfort racing seat $45
New Tires $65 for both
other misc stuff needed (grease, chain oil, bike tools, cleaning supplies, etc) $100

Work done on it
Downshift conversion to thumb shifters $50
3 Blown tires $10/each = $30
2 wheel alignments $15/each = $30
Tuneup (Replace rear cog, chain, brakes, grease, oil, derailer alignment, etc) $150


Total expenses for 1& 1/2 yrs $1015
Total Train commute for 1& 1/2 yrs $1944

I saved $929 overall.
Not to mention the health benefits, I feel more energetic, and fit than I did before I started biking.
Since I do not drive to work I cannot say how much I would have benefited if I switched from driving to biking.
And to avoid accidents I follow one rule, always give pedestrians/cars/bikers priority to pass bc its not worth trying to beat them and get smashed in the process. If they let you pass then kudos!

drupha said:   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...


You suggest the value of your time is very high. Unless you feel that this form of exercise is superior to what your doing currently, I don't see how you should consider the hours riding a net gain. Are you still going to want to do other types of exercise? You are counting shower time, right? (You should count this because you will still need one when you get home. From your post I expect it's going to be a warm ride home. )

I would consider some value from the gym membership. Even if you only worked out there once every week or two (Since you are getting this other exercise) that's still a value. If it rains a lot, you might find it to be a convenient before / after work workout.

Besides the reduced auto mileage the other poster mentioned, you are reducing the chance you will be involved in a accident while driving. (Reduced risk of your insurance rates going up). How much that offsets the risks of riding a bike, I'm uncertain.

scottybweyy said:   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


The MOST important thing to consider if you're going to seriously do this is get a bike that FITS you, even if it cost you twice what you're willing to pay it will pay off in the long run. If you're commuting on a bike this uncomfortable then you're not going to stick to it.

Second on the Expilions, although I have the 400s. $70 seems like a lot for lights for your bike, but these things are amazingly bright for portable/rechargeable lights and you will definitely appreciate it on a dark night. Same for the Danger Zone.

I also suggest getting some decent tires. Check out the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. And a GOOD seat. It doesn't have to be a $300 leather seat, but get something that is supportive and comfotable, not a fat, cushy seat because you will regret it after 5 or so miles.

OP you forgot to include:
• bike maintenance which can be done cheaply at a bike co-op. ie tightening spokes, fixing flats, degreasing and cleaning chain etc etc
• Time to and from the gym that you need to shower at before work
• I think you can (not entirely sure) ask to lower your auto insurance due to the fact you’re driving less annual miles.

Everyone here has commented on all the small things they decided to get for their bikes. My advice about all the fancy accessories is to wait until after you've tried bike commuting for a month. Don't spend more than $500 total when starting out, preferrably less. If you like commuting, then you'll have a much better idea of what you need. If you have secured storage, then a $100 lock is pointless. If you never need to carry anything, panniers won't help. If your path to/from work is well-lit, super powerful lights won't matter. And you definitely won't appreciate a super-fancy bike unless you understand the differences between it and the cheap used one.

Otherwise, we'll have a thread on here in a month "Bought $2k of bike equipment last month, hate biking, now what do I do with it?"

fongo61 said:   I think you can (not entirely sure) ask to lower your auto insurance due to the fact you’re driving less annual miles.

My car is insured for 8000 miles per year of "pleasure" use. With pleasure use, fewer miles won't change your rate much, but there is a large cost savings between pleasure and commute use.

The knowledge that you're doing something for the planet: priceless.

drupha said:   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.


I get around exclusively by bicycle and the first thing you should realize is that once you become accustomed to riding for transportation you'll realize that a lot of your preconceptions and things you think you "need" are, in fact, wrong:

#1 You definitely don't need a gym membership for all 12 months/year because if you don't overdress in the winter you won't sweat. I don't wear a jacket or anything over my regular indoor clothes until temperatures get to be well below freezing and if it doesn't even get that cold where you live then you should probably being looking to ride shirtless/naked.

#2 Once you get in shape you won't sweat nearly as much...after years of riding I'm now fit enough that an 8 mile commute wouldn't make me sweat any more than relaxing on a park bench under the sun...so the only time of year you might possibly need a gym membership is Summer.

#3 Clothing makes a huge difference in handling sweat and inclement weather. Wear hydrophobic materials like wool, polyester, nylon, etc constructed with a low denier weave (ie thin, not bulky fabric) and your clothes won't get drenched even if you went swimming in them...sedentary people don't understand this because they don't generate enough body heat to evaporate the water, but the reality is that getting wet simply isn't an issue because a properly dressed bicyclist doesn't stay wet for more than 5 minutes and never gets cold. Sweat also isn't nearly as stinky when it doesn't get sopped up by your clothing where it festers like a dirty/rotten sponge...so even in the Summer you probably won't need to shower if you bring some anti-diaper rash baby powder (it's antibacterial) and a clean change of work clothes.

#4 You're way overestimating the amortized cost of bike theft...if you lock up your bike properly then the chances of it getting stolen in broad daylight are pretty low even in high theft areas like NYC. Not saying it won't happen, but I don't think you need to factor in the cost of bike theft anymore than you need to factor in the cost of car theft.

#5 Very unlikely that you'll need any extra food riding 8-16 miles/day. If it were 80 miles per day then sure, but if you're a fairly normal person then you're probably already eating way more calories than you need...the easiest way to tell if you eat a fairly balanced diet is to look at the amount of poop you excrete: if it's even 1/2 the weight it was going in then that means your body is trying to expel the excess because you're eating way more than what you need already. It can take years for your body to adjust, but in the long run you should make very little poop if you're eating the right amount and balance of food for your level of activity.

#6 The health benefits of cycling outweigh any increased risk of accident. This is why the dutch have anti-helmet activists because anything that scares people away from cycling is a net negative.

#7 Once you get in shape you'll realize that there's really no limit to how far you can ride or under what conditions. When I started commuting I thought 5 miles was far, but now I ride hundreds of miles/day without a second thought. So the car is a completely unnecessary luxury and you can add the insurance savings (plus the return on capital freed up from purchasing the vehicle itself) to the "positives" column.

#8 You haven't factored in any externalities: cost of terrorism funded by your exported gas money, pollution and environmental damage, etc. Although it's true that you don't bear the full cost of these choices yourself, you do bear some of it not to mention the fact that it must be worth something to not have your great grandkids spit on your grave as if you were a slaveowner.

#9 You don't have any accessories for your car? IPod? Air Freshener? Coffee Mug? Bumper Stickers? Time wasted getting gas?

So all in all, IMO there's no way you could peg the advantage of cycling at less than $4000 (as opposed to the $2000 you computed) and possibly way more than that when you also take in to account items of broader value such as the right to tell the police to go f*ck themselves (when pulled over because you don't need a license to cycle) and the ability to quit your job once you can get your total expenses below a certain threshold....$4000 might not seem like much but if your overall expenses are only $8000 then it's a huge percentage difference that could have a tremendous impact on your available lifestyle choices.

www.bikes-direct.com is where I bought my commuter bike from. The site was recommended to me by an avid bicyclist coworker as an alternative to buying a quality high priced bike, you can get a quality low cost bike and customize whatever you want. You get a good light frame and components, which will make your ride more enjoyable. From what I've been told, the company buys old frame designs/out of business companies and rebrands them. I started out on old '70's Raleigh bike for almost a year and upgraded to my new bike and was in heaven. I also concur with the used bike deal. The lady who bought my Raleigh actually bought it because she didn't want to leave her nice bike chained somewhere in the city. When she saw it, she even thought it might be too nice to ride where she wanted, LOL. I even broke even on that used bike. Not bad.

If you're in relatively good shape, you shouldn't worry about your sweating issue. I'm fat and bike about 6 miles each way to work (with a train commute somewhere in there), and I ride in the same gear everyday, and keep all my work clothes in my office to change into. I keep some deodorant in my desk too, just to touch up when I get in. No one in the office has told me I smell yet.

Lastly, BIKE PANTS. Good bike pants will make all the difference to butt.

dblevitan said:   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.


Agree with dblevitan. Don't buy everything at once. Why don't you get a used bike and try it out? You can always sell it back on CL for most of your money anyways, especially as spring comes and more and more people are biking. If you like bicycling, then get a bike after season (REI and other local bike shops usually clear out their inventory after summer). I still haven't bought a pannier and rack, but its on my list of things to do.

I've been biking to work for a few years (mostly 2-3 times a week, and never if I have to go to a client). I keep face wash, a few pair of shirts and pants at work, so I can freshen up there and change. First started with a beater bike (at 60s schwinn suburban). Then got a much nicer 70s le tour. I don't think you necessarily need a new bike if you are worried about it being stolen or what not.

Also, keep in mind once you start doing this regularly or semi regularly, it won't be much of a workout when you first started. I don't sweat going to work (6 miles) unless I wear a backpack or its above 80 degrees. Also, I'm in Chicago, so Jan-April is no biking for me. But, I have found that bikes in urban area like mine are almost necessary. It saves me more money on parking and aggravation in traffic that saving money on gas is bonus. In my case, its the same time in commute because I'm not stuck in traffic as much. At this stage, I would bike even if I was driving electric car, as I'm being active and in the elements, not to mention bypassing heavy traffic and saving money in parking.

Oh and bicycling is not cost free. For 2 years, I had no flats. This year, I've had 3. Tune-ups are necessary each year. But then again, all the costs are much more less than on a car

Ask your work if they would give you bicycling commuting reimbursement. See IRS pub 15-B, go under Qualified Transportation Benefits.

imbatman said:   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.


I'm onboard this ship. Can you actually make $50/hr during this lost time or is this an arbitrary number? The wear and tear on your car will be relative as well, on a brand new car.. You could lose $5000 the first year. If it's a 20 yr old POS.. yeah, it might only be $400.

The health effects -- Agreed. They are very positive.

There's a finance blog that builds off the idea of biking to work. Mr. Money Mustache

Also, judging by the way you've described your downtown, are you in Jacksonville?

Do you own a bike now? Can you borrow one? Try a local bike store and find out if they will give you a loaner to try one out. Once you secure a bike, give it a try on a day that would be ideal and figure out some of the specifics that you are guessing on. My guess is you'll spend as much time on the bike (give or take a few minutes) as you would in your car.

Try it a few times see if you even like it enough to do, regardless of savings or not. Give you an idea on safety as well, since you could be riding in the dark/dusk.

I ride my bike approximately 100 miles/month. My expenses are significantly lower than what anybody else mentioned. I bought a used Schwinn off craigslist 5 years ago and have spent almost zero on maintaining the thing. It cost me $50 and I use a dollar store lock.

My biggest expense related to biking would probably be sunscreen

If your commute is flat, you might consider an electric scooter. There was an adult version that had enough charge for 10 miles for about $200 on BF. This would negate the costs of sweating. Just a suggestion.

I was considering one for my commute but local laws prohibit electric scooters.

drupha said:   the easiest way to tell if you eat a fairly balanced diet is to look at the amount of poop you excrete: if it's even 1/2 the weight it was going in then that means your body is trying to expel the excess because you're eating way more than what you need already. It can take years for your body to adjust, but in the long run you should make very little poop if you're eating the right amount and balance of food for your level of activity.

Posts like this are why I love reading FW finance forum.

I love the concept of biking to work, but I haven't put it into practice yet. I'm hoping this thread will help me get started!

+ fitness
+environment (probably)

-danger of winding up a hood ornament

With everyone bemoaning how using a plug-in car just transfers the fuel burning to the power plant, I keep waiting for someone to say that riding a bike to work makes your body chemistry work faster, thus creating more waste, thus offsetting the benefits...

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

Well then they don't seem to silly.
I definitely would go for the padding over the calloused groin.

I did this for about 6 months. Worked out really well until I was hit by a car. Nothing serious but made me reconsider. Accidents can happen at any time (driving, bike, walking etc.). Do you have a truly bike friendly route?

marketingmike said:   + fitness
+environment (probably)

-danger of winding up a hood ornament


- is really risk of winding up smeared on side of car. (says I who almost got side swiped twice this summer with attention-deficit drivers. It won't stop me from biking, but made me consider taking a little longer way to avoid busy streets.

Come on, I can't believe all you guys are doing the calculations, it should be really obvious....

There is NO WAY this is financially sound because no matter how much he saves, it's going to be far more expensive to pay for the extra years the OP will live from exercising more. So obviously, don't do it! It's not the FW way!

Go go Internet sarcasm

There is a WIDE range of driving and riding conditions. Posts about safety are useless without mentioning what sort of street you were on at the time. Obviously a down-town bike messenger is going to be more at risk than a wooded sidewalk rider. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have access to car-free paved trails, but that doesn't make the information about whether you were on one or not unnecessary.

This is a good thread. I am actually planning on adding bike commute to work instead driving everyday. To me, I live about 5 miles to work, it would take me about 30 minutes to bike to work one way.
To me, it is a working out for better health combined with gas saving.

mrfinger said:   drupha said:   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.


I get around exclusively by bicycle and the first thing you should realize is that once you become accustomed to riding for transportation you'll realize that a lot of your preconceptions and things you think you "need" are, in fact, wrong:

#1 You definitely don't need a gym membership for all 12 months/year because if you don't overdress in the winter you won't sweat. I don't wear a jacket or anything over my regular indoor clothes until temperatures get to be well below freezing and if it doesn't even get that cold where you live then you should probably being looking to ride shirtless/naked.

#2 Once you get in shape you won't sweat nearly as much...after years of riding I'm now fit enough that an 8 mile commute wouldn't make me sweat any more than relaxing on a park bench under the sun...so the only time of year you might possibly need a gym membership is Summer.

#3 Clothing makes a huge difference in handling sweat and inclement weather. Wear hydrophobic materials like wool, polyester, nylon, etc constructed with a low denier weave (ie thin, not bulky fabric) and your clothes won't get drenched even if you went swimming in them...sedentary people don't understand this because they don't generate enough body heat to evaporate the water, but the reality is that getting wet simply isn't an issue because a properly dressed bicyclist doesn't stay wet for more than 5 minutes and never gets cold. Sweat also isn't nearly as stinky when it doesn't get sopped up by your clothing where it festers like a dirty/rotten sponge...so even in the Summer you probably won't need to shower if you bring some anti-diaper rash baby powder (it's antibacterial) and a clean change of work clothes.

#4 You're way overestimating the amortized cost of bike theft...if you lock up your bike properly then the chances of it getting stolen in broad daylight are pretty low even in high theft areas like NYC. Not saying it won't happen, but I don't think you need to factor in the cost of bike theft anymore than you need to factor in the cost of car theft.

#5 Very unlikely that you'll need any extra food riding 8-16 miles/day. If it were 80 miles per day then sure, but if you're a fairly normal person then you're probably already eating way more calories than you need...the easiest way to tell if you eat a fairly balanced diet is to look at the amount of poop you excrete: if it's even 1/2 the weight it was going in then that means your body is trying to expel the excess because you're eating way more than what you need already. It can take years for your body to adjust, but in the long run you should make very little poop if you're eating the right amount and balance of food for your level of activity.

#6 The health benefits of cycling outweigh any increased risk of accident. This is why the dutch have anti-helmet activists because anything that scares people away from cycling is a net negative.

#7 Once you get in shape you'll realize that there's really no limit to how far you can ride or under what conditions. When I started commuting I thought 5 miles was far, but now I ride hundreds of miles/day without a second thought. So the car is a completely unnecessary luxury and you can add the insurance savings (plus the return on capital freed up from purchasing the vehicle itself) to the "positives" column.

#8 You haven't factored in any externalities: cost of terrorism funded by your exported gas money, pollution and environmental damage, etc. Although it's true that you don't bear the full cost of these choices yourself, you do bear some of it not to mention the fact that it must be worth something to not have your great grandkids spit on your grave as if you were a slaveowner.

#9 You don't have any accessories for your car? IPod? Air Freshener? Coffee Mug? Bumper Stickers? Time wasted getting gas?

So all in all, IMO there's no way you could peg the advantage of cycling at less than $4000 (as opposed to the $2000 you computed) and possibly way more than that when you also take in to account items of broader value such as the right to tell the police to go f*ck themselves (when pulled over because you don't need a license to cycle) and the ability to quit your job once you can get your total expenses below a certain threshold....$4000 might not seem like much but if your overall expenses are only $8000 then it's a huge percentage difference that could have a tremendous impact on your available lifestyle choices.


#1 I'm pretty sure OP knows better. If he ever exercised he knows how much he needs it.

#2-3 I really don't know which planet you are from, but people sweat on planet Earth, maybe where you are from people smell like Anise after bike rides, but here we smell like "Anise". Everyone sweat differently, you might sweat less in special cycling clothing. Price of this clothing will vary from $40 summer paints and $20 jersey, to $200 winter cycling clothes. According to your advice he is going to end up with $500+ bill for clothing.

#5 not sure where you get it from, but if he is going to ride 4000 miles a year, he is going to have eat more. Also I'm not sure where you are pulling "the poop" data from.

#6 I got hit by a car door doing 15mph, I also fall off on the contraction road in NYC. I'm not sure how can serious accident overweight your health benefits. It takes some time to learn how to ride safely especially in urban environment.


And I'm not sure if you want to tell police officer to go f*ck themselves. Some violations are summons, if you don't appear in court they issue a warrant for your arrest, good luck with that.
You might also find useful to read this. http://www.businessinsider.com/nypd-slaps-cyclist-with-1555-tick...

CreditCrunch said:   
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.

How does that work? They hit you and you paid?

Anecdotal evidence, but I have $3500 reasons why I don't bike anymore.

Don't forget to count the intangibles. It's not all about money/financial savings.

Does it make you happy? How less-stressed will you be riding your bike instead of sitting in traffic in your car? Your quality of life could be so much better. Those can exceed any financial value.

unnamedny said:   
mrteeth said: ]#1 You definitely don't need a gym membership for all 12 months/year because if you don't overdress in the winter you won't sweat. I don't wear a jacket or anything over my regular indoor clothes until temperatures get to be well below freezing and if it doesn't even get that cold where you live then you should probably being looking to ride shirtless/naked.

#2 Once you get in shape you won't sweat nearly as much...after years of riding I'm now fit enough that an 8 mile commute wouldn't make me sweat any more than relaxing on a park bench under the sun...so the only time of year you might possibly need a gym membership is Summer.

#3 Clothing makes a huge difference in handling sweat and inclement weather. Wear hydrophobic materials like wool, polyester, nylon, etc constructed with a low denier weave (ie thin, not bulky fabric) and your clothes won't get drenched even if you went swimming in them...sedentary people don't understand this because they don't generate enough body heat to evaporate the water, but the reality is that getting wet simply isn't an issue because a properly dressed bicyclist doesn't stay wet for more than 5 minutes and never gets cold. Sweat also isn't nearly as stinky when it doesn't get sopped up by your clothing where it festers like a dirty/rotten sponge...so even in the Summer you probably won't need to shower if you bring some anti-diaper rash baby powder (it's antibacterial) and a clean change of work clothes.

#5 Very unlikely that you'll need any extra food riding 8-16 miles/day. If it were 80 miles per day then sure, but if you're a fairly normal person then you're probably already eating way more calories than you need...the easiest way to tell if you eat a fairly balanced diet is to look at the amount of poop you excrete: if it's even 1/2 the weight it was going in then that means your body is trying to expel the excess because you're eating way more than what you need already. It can take years for your body to adjust, but in the long run you should make very little poop if you're eating the right amount and balance of food for your level of activity.

#6 The health benefits of cycling outweigh any increased risk of accident. This is why the dutch have anti-helmet activists because anything that scares people away from cycling is a net negative.



#1 I'm pretty sure OP knows better. If he ever exercised he knows how much he needs it.

#2-3 I really don't know which planet you are from, but people sweat on planet Earth, maybe where you are from people smell like Anise after bike rides, but here we smell like "Anise". Everyone sweat differently, you might sweat less in special cycling clothing. Price of this clothing will vary from $40 summer paints and $20 jersey, to $200 winter cycling clothes. According to your advice he is going to end up with $500+ bill for clothing.

#5 not sure where you get it from, but if he is going to ride 4000 miles a year, he is going to have eat more. Also I'm not sure where you are pulling "the poop" data from.

#6 I got hit by a car door doing 15mph, I also fall off on the contraction road in NYC. I'm not sure how can serious accident overweight your health benefits. It takes some time to learn how to ride safely especially in urban environment.


And I'm not sure if you want to tell police officer to go f*ck themselves. Some violations are summons, if you don't appear in court they issue a warrant for your arrest, good luck with that.
You might also find useful to read this. http://www.businessinsider.com/nypd-slaps-cyclist-with-1555-tick...


#1 Doubtful that he actually knows better. I can't think of any other kind of regular exercise that has the same amount of airflow as cycling and it makes a world of difference.

#2-3 I don't wear special cycling clothing...I didn't mention this because I was trying to keep it short, but cycling clothing is generally a waste (even though it's better than general cotton sportswear) and special $200 winter cycling gear is the worst thing you could possibly wear for winter cycling. The best clothing for cycling is wool/polyester ski thermal underwear, but DO NOT DO NOT (I repeat) DO NOT wear anything over it or you'll get too hot/sweaty and don't try to block the rain/snow or it won't be able to evaporate when it inevitably leaks in. Just like an animal with fur you want to let the air and water come in and out so that your body can use its sophisticated temperature regulation system like any other mammal.

#5 I get it from experience: There is no data because it is simply a fact of life that you don't need to eat more riding 4000 miles per year...and you would know this if you got your fat head out of the data and onto the road like me.

#6 True it does take time to learn how to ride safely, but the bottom line is that time spent in a car is far more dangerous than time spent on a bicycle...it's amazing that people don't understand this even while the obesity epidemic is slaying Americans by the millions.

And as to the police...let them issue a warrant for my arrest. They'll never find me because I don't carry ID which is a priceless protection afforded to only non-car-driving Americans and which I would never trade no matter what the "pros" of driving an automobile.

How has nobody mentioned MrMoneyMustache yet?? MMM's a financial beast and I think biking to work is one of his keys to success... I'll update this post later when I find the thing. Oops, ETA I see that someone already referenced MMM. The article is def still worth a read though.

ETA: Here's the article - definitely worth a read.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-d...

mrfinger said:   unnamedny said:   
mrteeth said: ]#1 You definitely don't need a gym membership for all 12 months/year because if you don't overdress in the winter you won't sweat. I don't wear a jacket or anything over my regular indoor clothes until temperatures get to be well below freezing and if it doesn't even get that cold where you live then you should probably being looking to ride shirtless/naked.

#2 Once you get in shape you won't sweat nearly as much...after years of riding I'm now fit enough that an 8 mile commute wouldn't make me sweat any more than relaxing on a park bench under the sun...so the only time of year you might possibly need a gym membership is Summer.

#3 Clothing makes a huge difference in handling sweat and inclement weather. Wear hydrophobic materials like wool, polyester, nylon, etc constructed with a low denier weave (ie thin, not bulky fabric) and your clothes won't get drenched even if you went swimming in them...sedentary people don't understand this because they don't generate enough body heat to evaporate the water, but the reality is that getting wet simply isn't an issue because a properly dressed bicyclist doesn't stay wet for more than 5 minutes and never gets cold. Sweat also isn't nearly as stinky when it doesn't get sopped up by your clothing where it festers like a dirty/rotten sponge...so even in the Summer you probably won't need to shower if you bring some anti-diaper rash baby powder (it's antibacterial) and a clean change of work clothes.

#5 Very unlikely that you'll need any extra food riding 8-16 miles/day. If it were 80 miles per day then sure, but if you're a fairly normal person then you're probably already eating way more calories than you need...the easiest way to tell if you eat a fairly balanced diet is to look at the amount of poop you excrete: if it's even 1/2 the weight it was going in then that means your body is trying to expel the excess because you're eating way more than what you need already. It can take years for your body to adjust, but in the long run you should make very little poop if you're eating the right amount and balance of food for your level of activity.

#6 The health benefits of cycling outweigh any increased risk of accident. This is why the dutch have anti-helmet activists because anything that scares people away from cycling is a net negative.



#1 I'm pretty sure OP knows better. If he ever exercised he knows how much he needs it.

#2-3 I really don't know which planet you are from, but people sweat on planet Earth, maybe where you are from people smell like Anise after bike rides, but here we smell like "Anise". Everyone sweat differently, you might sweat less in special cycling clothing. Price of this clothing will vary from $40 summer paints and $20 jersey, to $200 winter cycling clothes. According to your advice he is going to end up with $500+ bill for clothing.

#5 not sure where you get it from, but if he is going to ride 4000 miles a year, he is going to have eat more. Also I'm not sure where you are pulling "the poop" data from.

#6 I got hit by a car door doing 15mph, I also fall off on the contraction road in NYC. I'm not sure how can serious accident overweight your health benefits. It takes some time to learn how to ride safely especially in urban environment.


And I'm not sure if you want to tell police officer to go f*ck themselves. Some violations are summons, if you don't appear in court they issue a warrant for your arrest, good luck with that.
You might also find useful to read this. http://www.businessinsider.com/nypd-slaps-cyclist-with-1555-tick...


#1 Doubtful that he actually knows better. I can't think of any other kind of regular exercise that has the same amount of airflow as cycling and it makes a world of difference.

#2-3 I don't wear special cycling clothing...I didn't mention this because I was trying to keep it short, but cycling clothing is generally a waste (even though it's better than general cotton sportswear) and special $200 winter cycling gear is the worst thing you could possibly wear for winter cycling. The best clothing for cycling is wool/polyester ski thermal underwear, but DO NOT DO NOT (I repeat) DO NOT wear anything over it or you'll get too hot/sweaty and don't try to block the rain/snow or it won't be able to evaporate when it inevitably leaks in. Just like an animal with fur you want to let the air and water come in and out so that your body can use its sophisticated temperature regulation system like any other mammal.

#5 I get it from experience: There is no data because it is simply a fact of life that you don't need to eat more riding 4000 miles per year...and you would know this if you got your fat head out of the data and onto the road like me.

#6 True it does take time to learn how to ride safely, but the bottom line is that time spent in a car is far more dangerous than time spent on a bicycle...it's amazing that people don't understand this even while the obesity epidemic is slaying Americans by the millions.

And as to the police...let them issue a warrant for my arrest. They'll never find me because I don't carry ID which is a priceless protection afforded to only non-car-driving Americans and which I would never trade no matter what the "pros" of driving an automobile.


#1 Don't just compare it with yourself. There are people who sweat there are people who don't really sweat. Men sweat an average 40% more than women. That's proven fact. If you are 6'2'' and 160lbs chances of you sweating even in 90 degrees are low. It also depends on how hard are you pedaling, don't you think? if you are going 8mph vs 17mph that makes quite a difference. If you don't sweat during cycling don't automatically assume that no one does.

#2 How do you cycle 100 miles without any special gear? Do you wear jeans, shirt and tie or something? If it's not special why do you bring up thermal skiing underwear, which is by the way made of exactly the same materials as winder thermal cycling pants.
http://www.zappos.com/pearl-izumi-elite-thermal-cycling-tight-bl...
56% polyester, 30% nylon, 14% elastane.
http://www.rei.com/product/836442/columbia-youth-baselayer-midwe...
85% polyester/15% elastane

Don't you think you need to wear something on top of underwear pants as well.

#5 I cycle and I jog and go to gym sometimes, lots of exercise really crank up the appetite and I eat slightly more, there is no reason to torture myself next day after good couple of hours of exercises. As of again, you are not a center of the universe and Earth does not revolves around you. You are not a standard to anyone or anything. Michael Phelps is an Olympic swimmer and he eats around 12000 calories per day.

When you are on a road you are under the laws of traffic so you have to have an ID on you. Cop might as well take you to the station to verify your identity if you refuse to show it. It might be different from state to state and cop to cop, but flipping a bird to a cop is not going to do you any good on planet Earth.

If you didn't cycle before, you ain't going to start cycling now. Just wait for those wet, windy, cold days. It's gonna suck.
But on those hot summer days, riding behind a nicely shaped gal in spandex is such a joy. It makes your heart sings and your groin hot (not b/c of incorrect seat fitting)...

mrfinger said:   
#5 Very unlikely that you'll need any extra food riding 8-16 miles/day. If it were 80 miles per day then sure, but if you're a fairly normal person then you're probably already eating way more calories than you need...the easiest way to tell if you eat a fairly balanced diet is to look at the amount of poop you excrete: if it's even 1/2 the weight it was going in then that means your body is trying to expel the excess because you're eating way more than what you need already. It can take years for your body to adjust, but in the long run you should make very little poop if you're eating the right amount and balance of food for your level of activity.


This is complete bogus/hogwash/Internet truths/hokum. The gut has developed to extract every last bit of energy out of the food that it can. That is why it has such remarkable surface area. That is why food does not necessarily move in one direction while in the intestines; the gut contracts forward, backward, and segementally to expose digested food to the lining and promote absorption. This is why we have a collective weight problem. People are eating more. Fecal matter is largely comprised of indigestible plant matter (fibers), bacterial biomass, and water (in reverse order by weight). The total weight of feces has less to do with "eating the right amount" than it does with your gut health and the quantity of unprocessed plant-based foods that you eat. People eating exclusively animal products are going to obviously pass less stool than a vegetarian eating mostly beans, whole grains, and vegetables.

Moreover, an increase in activity is ALWAYS going to result in increased demand for nutrients. Particularly if you are untrained. If a cyclist who does 250+ miles a week decides to commute 8 miles to work, he will burn less calories than a couch potato who decides to get up and do the same thing. Anybody is going to eat more if they move more.

So we don't go too far off topic, I should add that OP has steeply discounted long-term financial AND health benefits of activity. He can reduce risk for a lot of the most expensive medical conditions to treat, saving thousands of dollars for himself and potentially hundreds of times that to the medical system. Not to mention potential improvements in quality of life, which it is hard to place a dollar sum on. The benefits are simply not outweighed by the risk of accident, which can be significantly mitigated by being smart.

Three words: Better Call Saul!

Why anyone would want to be outside of a metal shell with the proliferation of drivers texting, and using tablets and smartphones is beyond me.

Plenty of good points brought up already. One thing I'd like to add is regarding safety, check out this street biking safety guide: http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/index.htm

Reading that booklet some years ago changed the way I ride, and I think it has kept me significantly safer (I've been commuting ~3 miles each way for ~5 years without any accidents, knock on wood). There are some riding habits that many people have because they are afraid of traffic that actually make them more unsafe, and that booklet goes over them pretty well. (For example, the intuitive tendency is to ride as far to the right as possible, or on the sidewalk, but that opens you up to dangers like opening car doors or cars pulling out of driveways that can't see you.)

I don't think riding a bike is as dangerous as many people make it out to be.

unnamedny, you're making it way more complicated then it needs to be.
*In most cases you can get to a point where you don't sweat. MOST.
*Special biking clothes are ridiculous for commuting... All it does is add time, complexity and cost. With the added bonus of making you look a douche.
*Biking to work will not require a significant amount of increased food... C'mon, Phelps? Riding 10 miles a day hardly compares to an Olympian swimmer that trains hard for 6+ hours a day.
*Getting stopped by a cop is going to be incredibly rare (has never happened to me on a bike). ID is required for driving and flying, not biking or walking... I wouldn't even consider these variables.

Been meaning to jump in on this thread.

I work in the Chicago burbs, fifteen miles from my job, and ride my bike to work every day it's over 47 degrees and rain is not in the forecast. I've done this consistently for the last 17 years.

1. I think it's a great idea (obviously) for the reasons you lay out.
2. I think $500 for a bicycle is extravagant. I get my bicycles from garage sales. Typically in the range of $20, though if you wait till the end, sometimes they'll just give them away for free. My thinking is that I can get a $20 bike and even if I just get a season out of it, I'm coming out ahead. You'd have to ride that $500 bike for 25 years to make it pay by comparison. There's no way any bike is going to make it 25 years. Better to buy the $20 bike and throw it away. Also, I don't worry about broken frames, bent wheels, etc. Streets are tough. Stuff happens. If a bike goes, I toss it in the trash and use a spare until I can get to another garage sale. You actually can get some great bikes for next to nothing at garage sales. If a bike get's stolen (something which hasn't happened to me in seventeen years of biking), it's a minor inconvenience. Also, a bike that looks like a $20 bike is less likely to be stolen in the first place.
3. The gym membership is a waste. At a previous job, I had a shower. After I left there, I didn't think I could live without it, but learned that with some large wipes from WalMart, I can do the "whore's bath" in the bathroom (face, pits, crotch), and that's good enough. Do I stink? Dunno. But even if I do, that's not all bad. Get invited to fewer boring meetings. Those I'm in will be shorter. People won't stop by my desk and linger; they'll state their business and be on their way. I can get more work done! Seriously, though, it hasn't been an issue, even when it's 100+ degrees outside.
4. I do spend a bit of money for riding shorts; approximately $50 every couple of years. I don't worry about anything else, but my crotch is worth preserving.
5. I spend about $100 a year in tubes, tires, water bottles, etc.
6. Always care a spare tube and a pump.

Stay safe!

Chris.

lray said:   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.


i actually rode to and from my college to my apartment (a few miles off campus) during my first year of college. i was in the best shape of my life. granted, i was carrying books on my back every day, and my bike wasn't exactly light (more like heavy as crap), but i was also eating a lot of pizza and other unhealthiness, so my ability to be in shape them was amazing. i'd love to do it now to get to and from work, but i'm very afraid of cars, as people in my city are horrible with sharing the road, and the streets are not very conforming for someone who wants to do this.



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