The economics of bicycle commuting?

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JTFH said:   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 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.

It depends on a person once again. I sweat no mater what I was born in St Petersburg where t winter template s reach -30c and in summer its not higher than 80F. I can walk a mile and I need to change a shirt, I sometimes change 2-4 shirts in the summer time in NYC. I usually ride at the average speed of 17mph even If was doing less it does not change the fact. I ride between 20-30 miles a day in winter time and after everyride I need a laundry. I spoke to the guy who rides about 12 miles each way to Manhattan and he told me he has a shower in his personal office.

I never said that OP is going to need a special clothing, I said he is going to need it in order not to break a sweat.

I work our alot and my friends are always make fun of how much I eat. After jogging I can easily go for almost full large pizza and then go for ice cream.

Getting stopped by a cop is getting a common practice in nyc, cyclists get tickets at parks and on the streets. i would not say its that rare. i have one ticket on my record.

OP, I don't know how much body fat % you have but unless you're Mr. six pack or trying to gain weight, I would absorb the caloric deficit without adding more calories to your diet. This will help you slowly and steadily burn fat. Depending on the weekly deficit you could burn through a pound a week or month. Either way, losing about 12-20 lbs of fat in one year is going to make you cut as heck and especially fit/attractive towards the ladies.

cpaynter said:   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.


Stay safe!

Chris.
Chi-town has some nice trails/preserves though... you may may go that whole 15 miles and just have to cross a handful of streets.

JaxFL said:   cpaynter said:   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.


Stay safe!

Chris.
Chi-town has some nice trails/preserves though... you may may go that whole 15 miles and just have to cross a handful of streets.


Yeah, but not on my route. In my experience, bike trails are not made for commuting. They meander around and end up looping through a forest preserve somewhere. I just need to get from point A to point B as directly as possible, and as such, my trek is comprised entirely of streets and roads. Some better, some worse. I cross about three dozen streets, but probably worse are the six left-turns. Mostly I just plop on my helmet and hope for the best. Have had some minor mishaps with cars (actually once laid the bike down and drove *under* the front right end of a car that passed me on the left and then turned into me), but no major injuries.

Chris.

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.


Many partners in law firms are like this.

do you have a bike already or have a bike you could borrow from someone? I think its a good idea to try it before investing too much into a bike and accessories. I ran out and bought a bike once to commute to work, it was more of a backup for when my car broke down but I quickly realized I got too hot and sweaty even in ideal weather to bike to work. That $300 bike is now collecting dust practically unused.

nwill002 said:   do you have a bike already or have a bike you could borrow from someone? I think its a good idea to try it before investing too much into a bike and accessories. I ran out and bought a bike once to commute to work, it was more of a backup for when my car broke down but I quickly realized I got too hot and sweaty even in ideal weather to bike to work. That $300 bike is now collecting dust practically unused.

Sell it for $20 at a garage sale, and I'm there!

Chris.

cr3s said:   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)...


It depends on where he is. Here in Austin it has been in the 70's and 80's every day for the last month, with morning lows in the 60's. Perfect for biking. Of course, our summers suck. I am thinking of biking/walking to work. It is about 2 miles each way with a 200 foot elevation change. 1/3 of the trip is on a hike/bike trail along a creek w/ no road in site. I have to cross 2 wide 4 or 6 lane roads but the rest of the time I am on residential 30mph roads. My problem is I like to sleep late and can't crawl out of bed 20 minute earlier.

I used to commute on a scooter. Is was purple and oh so cute! I had a helmet painted to match. It was a little 50 cc model which was great on gas. It went about 45 mph. It was great fun. I did have to get a motorcycle license in NY, but that was a breeze.

Rain pants change the game. Add fenders if you'll ever ride after a rain... Puddles.

1.5mi commute each way for 5 years for 5 dys a week, rain or shine.

Bike was free because I found it abandoned. But I know and like repairing it so I fully tuned it up myself.

I put a basket on it and use a backpack that I put in there.

Never really sweaty. Biking us actually low intensity unless you have significant hills.

Minor car accident where the car ran a stop sign and hit me broadside... Both of us going slow speed. No injury at all for me.... But my bike suffered a bent basket. The guy bought me new gear.

Lights are a must.

Must've saved thousands compared to driving/parking costs over the years.

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

This will be cool when you can buy it:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1275223--cardboard-bik...

I expect the price will be closer to $30 but probably not more than $50.

Don't forget to budget money for one of those bright yellow and orange clown suits so you can draw attention to your butt sticking in everyone's face while you pretend you are a car for the couple of blocks not on the bike trail.

You know what the first thing someone says when you tell them you want to get a motorcycle? Take a training course.

so... Take a training course. Like this: http://cyclingsavvy.com/

How many of us would really need to consume extra calories if we rode a few miles a day? For most Americans the exercise would just offset some of the current surplus calories that would otherwise stick to our belly and/or butt!

steve1jr said:   How many of us would really need to consume extra calories if we rode a few miles a day? For most Americans the exercise would just offset some of the current surplus calories that would otherwise stick to our belly and/or butt!

I wish I could give you a dozen greens!

unnamedny said:   
#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.


The biggest difference between the cycling clothes and the ski underwear (which I advised primarily for rain/snow...if there's no rain/snow then it's best to go bare skinned) is that the cycling clothes are thicker...which makes you sweat. Don't wear anything over the ski underwear and you won't sweat, that's the point:
You're sweating because you're doing it wrong, but if you keep your body cold enough then you won't sweat no matter how hard you exercise because your body will not sweat while approaching hypothermia. Period.

So your sweating problem is not a problem with cycling it's that you're simply the type of person who likes to be sweaty and smelly and, thus, you're not "comfortable" unless you dress to make yourself sweaty and smelly...it's entirely self imposed, but if you stop playing the part of the smelly jock that consumes everything in sight then the "problems" will take care of themselves.

madcowdisease said:   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.


You sir, are unfortunately just wrong and no amount of words or railing against "internet truths" will ever convince an intelligent person otherwise because anyone that has tried the experiment can see for themselves that you're wrong right in the privacy of their own bathroom.

Don't believe me. Don't believe the "bogus/hogwash/Internet truths/hokum". Try it for yourself or forever remain a slave of ignorance.

^^^wow sweating is not always a choice people can really control. Some people just sweat alot more easily and heavily than others where clothing choice is not going to make much difference.

mrfinger said:   You sir, are unfortunately just wrong and no amount of words or railing against "internet truths" will ever convince an intelligent person otherwise because anyone that has tried the experiment can see for themselves that you're wrong right in the privacy of their own bathroom.
I want to agree with you, because when I was dieting I did notice that my quantity of #2s dropped dramatically. But no one is going to do a poo-weighing experiment in their own bathroom

I live in florida. You learn down here that sweating is not optional. Use baking soda. Best deoderant ever invented.

I'm a bike commuter and love it. Bike 10/miles a day to/from work. To echo some of the points made:
-if you aren't horribly out of shape, don't have a massive hill to climb and are dressed right, sweating isn't an issue. At first you could use baby wipes and re-up your deodorant before walking in the office.
-8 miles seems like a decent amount but it really isn't a lot for a bike ride, so you may want to still work out at least a few times a week in addition. After you do it for a month it will seem like nothing at all.
-I strongly suggest doing it every single day or not at all. Make it a part of your routine and its no problem. Switching back and forth, changing bags around, etc is tougher.
-Rent a bike for a week from a local shop and try it out before buying a bike
-DO NOT BUY A CRAPPY WALLMART SCHWINN!!!! Cannot emphasize this enough. You will hate biking with one of those cheapo heavy bikes. Get a decent used bike like others here have mentioned. I suggest buying from a bike shop bc it will probably have been tuned recently, components are in good shape, etc.
-Prepare yourself for some of the non-financial negatives. Depending on where you live you might have to deal with harassment from cops, drivers, cabs, pedestrians, etc. I just got a $200 ticket for not fully stopping while turning right at a stop sign (with no traffic in sight). Those kind of incidents can really sour you on biking.

I agree that some sweating is probably inevitable in a warm climate. But, since the majority of the world's population lives in cooler areas, this wouldn't be much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that only Americans in warm climates generally consider biking to work as a viable option.

The root cause is a fundamental wrongheadedness in the mindsets of people that are completely incapable of imagining a non-sedentary lifestyle...when it's the right temperature they think "it's too cold to bike" and when it's too hot they think "biking is too sweaty". The ideal solution is simply: Don't live in a hot sweaty area and you won't get hot and sweaty, but the truth is that some people just like being stinky jocks that's why they live in warm places and wear clothes on top of their underpants to make themselves sweat, but if they didn't prefer these stinky choices then they wouldn't be the stinky people they are.

I can't tell you how many times I get this great idea, spend a ton of money on the best gear, then get bored after a couple times. So I echo the sentiment of getting a beater bike and just do the drive a couple times to see if it's even reasonable.

I spent maybe ~$800 on a hiking backpack, very nice sleeping bag, sleeping mat, head lamp, water filtration, camel pack, tent, etc from REI and went backpacking one time in AZ. I'm about to spend ~$500 on a shotgun and gear and go Quail hunting...probably one time.

These are lessons I'm learning.

Al3xK said:   I can't tell you how many times I get this great idea, spend a ton of money on the best gear, then get bored after a couple times. So I echo the sentiment of getting a beater bike and just do the drive a couple times to see if it's even reasonable.

I spent maybe ~$800 on a hiking backpack, very nice sleeping bag, sleeping mat, head lamp, water filtration, camel pack, tent, etc from REI and went backpacking one time in AZ. I'm about to spend ~$500 on a shotgun and gear and go Quail hunting...probably one time.

These are lessons I'm learning.

I'm not sure if it counts as learning yet if you're getting ready to do it again...

bigmarley4 said:   I'm a bike commuter and love it. Bike 10/miles a day to/from work. To echo some of the points made:
-if you aren't horribly out of shape, don't have a massive hill to climb and are dressed right, sweating isn't an issue. At first you could use baby wipes and re-up your deodorant before walking in the office.
-8 miles seems like a decent amount but it really isn't a lot for a bike ride, so you may want to still work out at least a few times a week in addition. After you do it for a month it will seem like nothing at all.
-I strongly suggest doing it every single day or not at all. Make it a part of your routine and its no problem. Switching back and forth, changing bags around, etc is tougher.
-Rent a bike for a week from a local shop and try it out before buying a bike
-DO NOT BUY A CRAPPY WALLMART SCHWINN!!!! Cannot emphasize this enough. You will hate biking with one of those cheapo heavy bikes. Get a decent used bike like others here have mentioned. I suggest buying from a bike shop bc it will probably have been tuned recently, components are in good shape, etc.
-Prepare yourself for some of the non-financial negatives. Depending on where you live you might have to deal with harassment from cops, drivers, cabs, pedestrians, etc. I just got a $200 ticket for not fully stopping while turning right at a stop sign (with no traffic in sight). Those kind of incidents can really sour you on biking.


I'll have to disagree with you on the sweating; I'm not massively out of shape, and believe me, I sweat. It's actually not so much the biking, but the stopping. True, proper clothes help. But when it's 102 degrees out and I'm stopped at a light and I've got the sun baking down and heat boiling off of the pavement, I could be naked and still sweat. Also, clothing is sometimes hard to plan. When it's 47 degrees when I leave the house and 62 degrees by the time I get to work, either I'm going to start out freezing or end up broiling, or be disrobing along the way, which isn't terribly practical.

But I agree that some wipes and deodorant really is sufficient to take care of the problem. In the heat of the summer, I find I need to do a bit of a cool-down period after I get to work, or I'll continue sweating after my "bath," which defeats the purpose.

I also agree about the routine. Actually, for me, it's rather a compulsion. There are days where I actually hope for rain or cold, just so I'll have an excuse *not* to bike. Because I've trained myself with the mindset that unless there's a legitimate excuse, I must bike. Without that forced discipline, I probably wouldn't do it at all.

Chris.

cpaynter said:   ... Because I've trained myself with the mindset that unless there's a legitimate excuse, I must bike. ...

Me too!!! Except mine contains a motor and license plate.

nwill002 said:   ^^^wow sweating is not always a choice people can really control. Some people just sweat alot more easily and heavily than others where clothing choice is not going to make much difference.Have you ever seen a football player's head steam in a below zero game? I wonder if they are just over-dressed?

Al3xK said:   I can't tell you how many times I get this great idea, spend a ton of money on the best gear, then get bored after a couple times. So I echo the sentiment of getting a beater bike and just do the drive a couple times to see if it's even reasonable.

I spent maybe ~$800 on a hiking backpack, very nice sleeping bag, sleeping mat, head lamp, water filtration, camel pack, tent, etc from REI and went backpacking one time in AZ. I'm about to spend ~$500 on a shotgun and gear and go Quail hunting...probably one time.

These are lessons I'm learning.
You can always sell the shotgun for close to what you've got into it.

This thread has taught me that there are some smelly people on FWF.

Somewhat OT but....how about installing a small electric/gas motor on a bicycle to take away some work and sweat?

Sounds like a great idea... but this is probably about the worst time to start bike commuting. Unless you've been out riding your butt will be sore regardless of the quality of the seat, and combined w/ weather and unfamiliarity to riding to work you'll end up mostly frustrated and at wit's end in no time. I'm doing 14mile rides to/back from work now, but that would have killed me when I started biking in earnest.

The best part of riding to work is that I can feel great coming in to work, woken up by the short workout vs a forced caffeine buzz. Starting off you probably won't feel this way, and the extra work required to do this in the winter will not help you. At least wait till spring, and in the meantime keep a keen eye for discounts on baby wipes.

muumuu said:   Sounds like a great idea... but this is probably about the worst time to start bike commuting.

Of course, depending on OP's location, it could be the absolute best time to start. OP hasn't stated a location right? It might help bring better advice...

muumuu said:   Sounds like a great idea... but this is probably about the worst time to start bike commuting. Unless you've been out riding your butt will be sore regardless of the quality of the seat, and combined w/ weather and unfamiliarity to riding to work you'll end up mostly frustrated and at wit's end in no time. I'm doing 14mile rides to/back from work now, but that would have killed me when I started biking in earnest.

The best part of riding to work is that I can feel great coming in to work, woken up by the short workout vs a forced caffeine buzz. Starting off you probably won't feel this way, and the extra work required to do this in the winter will not help you. At least wait till spring, and in the meantime keep a keen eye for discounts on baby wipes.


It depends on where OP is. The weather is really nice in some areas now. It'll be in the 70's all week here in Austin for instance. I don't think OP told us which city this is in- that will make a big difference.

I commuted to and from work(20 miles roundtrip) for 30 days as an experiment. This was in Minneapolis during August. Bike highway the entire way. Door to door was basically just bicycle traffic with three low traffic intersections with cars. So it was hot and dry and flat.

I would bike commute if it were not for one major factor. Wind. The dang wind was brutal. Didn't matter if it was from the front, back or side. The wind would make you have to work twice as hard to go half the speed.

My ride of choice was a makeshift fixed gear that cost $200 total to acquire and mod.

Edit: One more thing. Add in costs to launder your clothing. My rides would result in a daily set of shorts, socks and shirt that was filled with sweat.

naas said:   muumuu said:   Sounds like a great idea... but this is probably about the worst time to start bike commuting.

Of course, depending on OP's location, it could be the absolute best time to start. OP hasn't stated a location right? It might help bring better advice...


Good point. Guess I had skewed views since the last few places I've been have winters that might not do well for the budding cycle commuter(cold, wet Oregon weather, dry but frigid eastern Oregon weather).

Sooo... where are you at, OP? If the weather's good your initial startup cost could probably come down significantly.

edit: too late, spam is already gone I guess

mrfinger said:   You sir, are unfortunately just wrong and no amount of words or railing against "internet truths" will ever convince an intelligent person otherwise because anyone that has tried the experiment can see for themselves that you're wrong right in the privacy of their own bathroom.

Don't believe me. Don't believe the "bogus/hogwash/Internet truths/hokum". Try it for yourself or forever remain a slave of ignorance.


Ignore proven science in favor of a random hippie's Internet anecdote? No thanks Chuckles.

Here's a simple fact for you: mass consumed - mass pooped/vomited/whatever = change in body weight. Your body is not a magical reactor that can convert mass to energy. If you are eating the same and pooping less, then you are getting fat and/or on horse steroids.

unimeg said:   Al3xK said:   I can't tell you how many times I get this great idea, spend a ton of money on the best gear, then get bored after a couple times. So I echo the sentiment of getting a beater bike and just do the drive a couple times to see if it's even reasonable.

I spent maybe ~$800 on a hiking backpack, very nice sleeping bag, sleeping mat, head lamp, water filtration, camel pack, tent, etc from REI and went backpacking one time in AZ. I'm about to spend ~$500 on a shotgun and gear and go Quail hunting...probably one time.

These are lessons I'm learning.

I'm not sure if it counts as learning yet if you're getting ready to do it again...


Well, he is going down in costs. So the next thing he does might come in around $250, and so on.

pandabacon said:   mrfinger said:   You sir, are unfortunately just wrong and no amount of words or railing against "internet truths" will ever convince an intelligent person otherwise because anyone that has tried the experiment can see for themselves that you're wrong right in the privacy of their own bathroom.

Don't believe me. Don't believe the "bogus/hogwash/Internet truths/hokum". Try it for yourself or forever remain a slave of ignorance.


Ignore proven science in favor of a random hippie's Internet anecdote? No thanks Chuckles.

Here's a simple fact for you: mass consumed - mass pooped/vomited/whatever = change in body weight. Your body is not a magical reactor that can convert mass to energy. If you are eating the same and pooping less, then you are getting fat and/or on horse steroids.


Errrr, not to be a stickler, but your "simple fact" doesn't have a Crucial variable: amount metabolized/utilized/burned up by the body. The body isn't some weird bomb calorimeter where you just put a bunch of food in and then take a bunch of poo out and the rest sits on your love handles... your body proooobably converts some amount of that to energy. Just sayin' And I challenge you to attempt any sort of "simple" explanation of amount of food metabolized/consumed/burned up by the body, because if you do somehow manage to solve that problem you'll be putting to rest one of the most vigorous debates in nutrition science today. Get thee to the Nobel committee!

Most people overeat anyway. In most cases biking would probably just get them from some caloric excess to a slight caloric deficit, though variables would put those numbers all over the place.

Sorry for the long post:

I have been bicycle commuting for 15 years and in 3 different states. I skimmed through all the rest of the comments so I'm sure some of this has been covered. I had a mountain bike that I never used and decided to start riding.

Southern California: we had two cars and I worked three miles away, bike commuted year round. Wore a t-shirt, shorts, and a helmet, bought a headlight and taillight.

Midwest: we had two cars and I worked 10 miles away, didn't bike in the snow or rain. I bought a backpack, gloves, cycling jerseys and shorts, cycling jackets and pants, gloves, shoes, road bicycle, better road bicycle, lights, two locks, better helmet, etc.

Pacific Northwest: we have one car and I work 4 miles away, ride almost everyday or walk, run, bus, or some combo. I have a 'racing' bicycle (which I upgraded with better wheels, crankset, and pedals) that I ride when there's no rain. My mountain bike has fenders and road slicks which I switch out to studded tires when the snow starts sticking. I buy new bicycle stuff often and use the excuse that it's cheaper than maintaining a second car.

I keep several sets of clothes at work and have a mini-fridge. I use a backpack to transfer clothes and food; I bought a rack and saddlebags but never mounted them. I do most of my own maintenance on my bicycle; I used to take it to the shop but after attending a maintenance class and watching the mechanics and youtube videos, I can do most of my own work for much cheaper. I have around $100 worth of bicycle specific tools.

Ongoing costs include tubes, tires, chain lube, grease, chains, handlebar tape, batteries (lights and bike computer), cleats, pedals, bicycle clothing.

Benefits include health, cost savings of having one car, extra garage space, and something about the environment.

My advice? Find a friend that doesn't use their bicycle or a decent used bike on craigslist and go from there. People buy new bicycles, ride them less than a dozen times, and leave them in the garage collecting dust until they decide to sell them for half what they paid. I started with a bicycle I never used (I was THAT guy) and a helmet, only extra cost was the headlight and taillight. You don't have to ride the whole way to start. Some folks drive part of the way and park and a park and ride (car might get robbed) and bike the rest. Best to ride the route a few times on the weekend to find the best roads.

Negatives - getting soaked, difficult to run some errands while at work, run-ins with motorists, flat tires.

I love to bicycle commute. When we were in the midwest, I was able to take a half-an-hour lunch instead of a full hour so the extra commute time was a wash. I bought the road bike because guys on road bikes were zooming past me and I figured I could decrease my commute time. I bought the better road bike because I started racing and riding for sport and recreation. Haven't had a bicycle stolen or been hit by a car yet (knock on wood), but I have had several close calls where folks either turned in front of me or didn't see me. I've fallen over a few times after sudden stops and not getting my cleat free. I super-manned once when my front tire got stuck in a crack in the road. The most common annoyance is the flat tire and it can happen anytime; walk into the garage in the morning and the tire is flat, getting a flat during the ride, walk out after work and it's flat. I used to check at night and during the day so I wouldn't have to change it right before the ride. I don't think there's much extra eating involved. My work has a shower but I shower beforehand and don't race to work, and get cleaned up in the restroom. If I do decide to take the long way to work (anywhere from 12 to 30 miles), I use the work shower. I have 7 sets of gloves that I wear depending on the weather - hot, mild, cool, cold, freezing, rain, etc. When we had a second car, I did lower the cost of auto insurance because it sat most of the time.

I get to keep my bicycle in my office now. It was 34 degrees and mostly dry so I rode my 'racing' bike.



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