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View Full Version : Cost / Savings of riding a bike.


abcdpeterson
08-28-2008, 09:37 AM
How I answer cost / savings question:

When people find out I often ride my bicycle to work they always get around to asking me about the cost or savings of riding my bicycle.
I have an electric assist bicycle. (only assist’s me, I still need to peddle)

It most always feels like they are looking a number that way it will help them feel more justified driving their car.

Questions are always: :confused:
“How much I think I am saving by riding my bicycle?”
Or.
“How much is the bike costing me per mile?”

I check my bicycles odometer for mileage and give the same answer to either question.
“I don’t have an exact dollar per mile number, but I can tell you it has NOT cost me XXXX miles in my car. And I need the exercise anyway.”
The response in most always, “GOOD point!” and sometimes they add “I should look into something like that or some other way to not drive.”

I used to try and give them a dollar amount. That mount was never substantial enough to make an impression. (I don’t have a good way to figure a dollar amount anyway)

When the amount is given in miles not spent in the car it makes a MUCH bigger impression then a dollar amount.

Lugnuts001
08-28-2008, 04:13 PM
What kind of electric bicycle is it and how much was it? It's probably way under the cost of depreciation, fuel, service, insurance, etc. to pay for a car for a year. Even if you take into account the cost of electricity of the bicycle, it's probably pennies a day. The substantial cost would probably be the battery replacement which would probably last a few years anyway.

Phil

abcdpeterson
08-30-2008, 09:18 AM
It’s an “ElecTrec” now called Rayos.
It was just under $1,000 two years ago.
I have added a 2nd battery for longer distance and better hill climbing.

It has 2,000+ miles now and still going strong.
I shopped around and I believe the bike is the best for the price.

One of the reasons I chose this bike is because it is has standard bike components. I have always worked on my bikes myself, so this bike is easy to take care of. I fell once when a car pulled out cutting me off. Broke the break handle. Rode 3 miles to a bike shop in the area, found a compatible break handle, installed it and rode home.

mtbiker278
09-02-2008, 08:22 AM
If someone was really a stickly they would factor in fuel (food) costs :-)

Lugnuts001
09-02-2008, 09:06 AM
abcdpeterson, the federal mileage reimbursment rate is $0.585/mile. Multiplied by 2,000 miles equals $1,170, so it basically looks like you've paid off your bike with the miles saved from using a car. Since you're averaging about 1,000 miles a year, that's about $585 saved per year, so just as long as you don't spend more than that to maintain the bicycle, you're saving more money vs. using a car.

If someone was really a stickly they would factor in fuel (food) costs :-)

On "Living with Ed" on Planet Green, Ed Begley, Jr. said it takes one bowl of rice and a corn on the cob to go 30 miles on bicycle.

abcdpeterson
09-02-2008, 06:40 PM
If someone was really a stickly they would factor in fuel (food) costs :-)

LOL!!!
If I am gona add up "fuel" like that. Hmmmm... :rolleyes:
Less just say I don't have a small "fuel" tank. lol. :eek:
Room for lots of fuel - :Banane35:

99HXCivic
09-10-2008, 06:28 PM
To see how much a bicycle is saving you, you compare it to replacing the vehicle you drive. So if you drive a 14mpg city minivan like me, biking 34 miles at $2.45 gas would save you $5.95 - what I actually did and saved!

I kept records since 2005 of every gas saving bike ride, where I went, how many miles, and cost of gas.

2005 - saved $57.67
2006 - saved $70.36
2007 - saved $55.95 on 315.22 miles on 46 bike trips
2008 - only saved $15.86 on 18 trips so far [160.91 miles]

Total $199.84 in 3.75 years!

But I actually saved more money when I used the bike instead of valet parking to a restaurant that only had that, CTA to Downtown Chicago, Auto show parking, or any time I didn't have to feed a parking meter.

Parasite
09-11-2008, 02:12 PM
I would use the goverment $.585 per mile. It includes car depreciation, insurance, gas, repairs, and wear and tear. Some of those costs are fixed and you don't really "save", but others vary. What about the time where you did not hit the pothole because you were on your bike and not in a car. You just saved $200 on a tire rim replacement, but hard to prove. That is why you can use the per mile number.

I would count food costs too. I expect you are much more hungry after riding than if not.

lamebums
09-13-2008, 03:16 PM
For the cost savings of a bicycle I suggest finding the cost per mile of your current car and doubling it. That's because especially for short trips (the most bikeable ones) is the trips you'll get the most dismal FE when the catalytic converter and engine block are still trying to warm up.

smsimpson83
09-22-2008, 04:29 PM
The benefits of a bike go WAY beyond saved gas. Many companies building new facilities are spending thousands of dollars to accommodate cyclists. My work has a rack next to the security door plus several locker rooms with showers. These companies realize the amount of money to save by having cyclists.

1. Cyclists mean less parking spaces needed in my works case they pay for monthly parking in a nearby lot since we are smack dab in the middle of downtown.

2. Healthier Workers mean more productive wokers.... less missed time... things like that...

3. AAAAAND the big one..... healthier wokers mean LOWER health insurance costs for the employer.

SO what does this mean to you.....

Biking reduces your fuel use, carbon footprint, is GREAT exercise (no need for that expensive gym membership you never use anyways), lower heathcare costs.... longer life... and so on.

Steve

Proud owner or a 60cm Surly Long Haul Trucker with a rack, panniers, lights, and a sweet brooks saddle.

chief302
09-22-2008, 06:07 PM
On "Living with Ed" on Planet Green, Ed Begley, Jr. said it takes one bowl of rice and a corn on the cob to go 30 miles on bicycle.

It takes about 30-40 calories to ride a mile, so a 30 mile ride would be around 1000 calories.

degnaw
09-22-2008, 08:52 PM
It takes about 30-40 calories to ride a mile, so a 30 mile ride would be around 1000 calories.

Sorry but I don't buy that - I usually only eat around 1800 calories a day (I only weigh 105 lbs) and ran 5 miles every day for three months during track season. Assuming running takes 10x more energy than bicycling (which seems plausible, seeming I don't sweat at all on a 5-mile bike ride), that would mean I'd have withered to nothing during the season. And the exact calorie figure aside, I didn't notice myself eating any more with running than not.

chief302
09-22-2008, 10:13 PM
Sorry but I don't buy that - I usually only eat around 1800 calories a day (I only weigh 105 lbs) and ran 5 miles every day for three months during track season. Assuming running takes 10x more energy than bicycling (which seems plausible, seeming I don't sweat at all on a 5-mile bike ride), that would mean I'd have withered to nothing during the season. And the exact calorie figure aside, I didn't notice myself eating any more with running than not.

Well, I don't buy that you were cranking out 35 mpw and had no increase in food intake and no weight loss.

A quick google search should prove it to you:

Biking: 30-40 cal/mile (dependent on weight, wind resistance and terrain)
Running: 100-150 cal/mile (dependent primarily on weight)

fuzzy
09-23-2008, 01:44 AM
Sorry but I don't buy that - ... Assuming running takes 10x more energy than bicycling (which seems plausible, seeming I don't sweat at all on a 5-mile bike ride),...

Serious bikers and runners ought to burn a similar number of calories per hour, simply because both will have similar metabolic limits.

If running really took 10x more energy than biking, then bikers could travel ten times faster than runners. Wouldn't that create a new form of road rage -- bikers pedaling in the fast lane of the Interstate Highways, complaining about cars being left lane hogs?

In reality, cycling energy needs are a strong function of speed. If you pedal alongside a jogger, you very well may consume very few calories per mile. But most distance riders are pedaling in the 15-25 mph range. How fast are most runners going?

chief302
09-23-2008, 06:25 AM
Serious bikers and runners ought to burn a similar number of calories per hour, simply because both will have similar metabolic limits.

If running really took 10x more energy than biking, then bikers could travel ten times faster than runners. Wouldn't that create a new form of road rage -- bikers pedaling in the fast lane of the Interstate Highways, complaining about cars being left lane hogs?

In reality, cycling energy needs are a strong function of speed. If you pedal alongside a jogger, you very well may consume very few calories per mile. But most distance riders are pedaling in the 15-25 mph range. How fast are most runners going?

Paradoxically, running and walking use very similar amounts of energy on a per mile basis...since we cannot run fast enough for wind resistance to begin to affect the equation. In biking (and of course driving), air resistance becomes a dominating factor in the energy required.

abcdpeterson
09-23-2008, 09:11 AM
Hmmm… same but not.
If Calories are fuel like fuel in my car.

Same both using fuel. One trying to use more the other trying to use less.

Me burn fuel = good, I have to much stored energy. My stored fuel is defiantly a renewable resources.

Car burn fuel = bad.

Hmmm… if I take this further.
If I get rid of some of my stored fuel, my car will possibly use less if it’s stored fuel to move me.

chief302
09-23-2008, 09:21 AM
Hmmm… same but not.
If Calories are fuel like fuel in my car.

Same both using fuel. One trying to use more the other trying to use less.

Me burn fuel = good, I have to much stored energy. My stored fuel is defiantly a renewable resources.

Car burn fuel = bad.

Hmmm… if I take this further.
If I get rid of some of my stored fuel, my car will possibly use less if it’s stored fuel to move me.


Ha, I suppose it depends on your goal. If you want to lose 'stored energy', then using lots of it is good. But if you want to get a long distance in the shortest amount of time, you'd be better off being efficient with your fuel.

Hadi
09-25-2008, 10:25 AM
I was able to amortize the cost of my bicycle in two and a half months, and that's just in fuel savings ;)

jhu
09-30-2008, 01:51 PM
I don't have a bike. But I have a 2.8 mile commute to work, so that's 5.6 miles a day. I'm averaging 0.1 gallons each way, so that's 0.2 gallons to work and back. That ends up being 1 gallon per week. Current gas prices are $3.69. So, for me, a cheap bike+lock+helmet will run $100-$120. It'd take about 35-40 weeks for me to break even. The problem is that I don't think I'll be staying where I am past June. So I've started walking instead.

abcdpeterson
09-30-2008, 08:05 PM
almost 3 mile walk to work.
I'm impressed, my feet would give out after 1 day of that.

Stormtrooper06
12-27-2008, 10:26 PM
There is definitly a $$ savings in riding your bicycle to/from work/school.
If your bicycle gets stolen, then there is a financial loss.
....
take it a bit further, if it takes you 20 minutes to drive to work, vs. cycling it in say 33 minutes, well that is a 13 minute difference(cost) in time. What is your time worth ? Some/many think their time is exponentially worth lots, thus that is why many do not cycle to/from work/school. Plus many figure that they have a monthly car payment, and that they are paying.. say $3 per day to have insurance (if these services/costs are not used.. then its a waist). Some also think that its "not convienent" to cycle. Convienence to one person can mean something totaly different to someone else. Cycling in general, to most people, is not easy/ or convienent activity. If your consistant with it, the months/years roll on... you become stronger, leaner, and a smarter rider.

Personally, I dont recommend cycling to/from work when the commute is ... say over 10 miles each way. For example, if the ride is 5 miles one way, I could possibly do it in say 22 minutes. If I drove it, it would probably take me 15 minutes.... not much difference. Plus, when most people ride for 1hr+, when they reach there destination they may be sweating like dogs, energy tapped, etc. Optimally, a ride of 20-35 mintues is plenty enough to raise the heart level, for some good cardio, energize you, yet when your done you wont feel mega-burned out energy wise. As the distance increases, the time it takes to cycle it increases. A 1 hr drive in a car(covering say 50 miles) would take most cyclists 2+ hours to accomplish.

Be safe, know your limites , yet don't be afraid to push yourself. A penny saved, is a penny earned. I've ridden to work school one way of 2 miles, 6 miles, 20 miles. I prefer a daily cycle commute of 5-6 miles each way. However, in 2009 I may be commuting about 8-9 miles each way to work/school ... which is still very do-able by bike. Rock on peoples :Banane35:

snax
12-28-2008, 11:26 AM
Even people with really short commutes can save significant money by biking - primarily by not driving their car at all and canceling insurance on it.

This last summer, I commuted about 10 weeks by bicycle alone (but being married, we did keep the other car fully insured and drove it for other purposes during that time). Even for the relatively cheap to insure Ford Escort at $38/mo, that alone was close to $100 in savings with the trade-off of me getting exercise that I otherwise was not making the time for. The total impact to my commute time both ways was a mere 20 minutes for the 8 mile round trip. (Yeah, I was still not even close to getting an aerobic benefit.) Anyway, for that 10 weeks x 8 miles per day, I rode about 400 miles which is about one tank of gas in the Escort at an average of $3.50/gal then, or about $40 in fuel savings.

So the total savings, not accounting for minimal wear and tear on the car saved, was about $140. Yeah, that's not much, but it was also extremely easy to do.

The route I take is virtually totally devoid of traffic except for a 1/2 mile stretch, so I get plenty of fresh air. And as non-aerobic as I have allowed it to be, it is still exercise that helped me to lose 10 lbs over the summer. It also provided me a very relaxed ride home to decompress from the stresses of work - assuring that I never arrived home with a chip on my shoulder.

I should also throw in that during that same period, I also built a 50cc 2-stroke kit on a mountain bike frame that I rode about 50% of the time. I never really needed the motor kit and it really only saves about 5 minutes one way over the bicycle, but it is mostly just more fun and gets about 80 mpg. (Still no insurance to worry about however.)

I forgot to mention that I simply won't ride any kind of bicycle to work at this time of year for safety reasons. The 1/2 mile stretch of road that has all the traffic has virtually no shoulder and riding that stretch home in the rain with traffic whizzing by at 50+ mph at night is just asking to be punted into the ditch. Even the motored bike can't cover that distance fast enough for my comfort.

abcdpeterson
12-28-2008, 12:13 PM
There is definitly a $$ savings in riding your bicycle to/from work/school.
If your bicycle gets stolen, then there is a financial loss.
....
...

Personally, I dont recommend cycling to/from work when the commute is ... say over 10 miles each way. For example, if the ride is 5 miles one way, I could possibly do it in say 22 minutes. If I drove it, it would probably take me 15 minutes.... not much difference. Plus, when most people ride for 1hr+, when they reach there destination they may be sweating like dogs, energy tapped, etc.
.....


Be safe, know your limites , yet don't be afraid to push yourself. A penny saved, is a penny earned. I've ridden to work school one way of 2 miles, 6 miles, 20 miles. I prefer a daily cycle commute of 5-6 miles each way. However, in 2009 I may be commuting about 8-9 miles each way to work/school ... which is still very do-able by bike. Rock on peoples :Banane35:

Good points. It is hard to compare Biking vs car due to the amount of variables.

Here is 1 more variable with amount of time a given distance takes. Traffic.
(note: I am not riding bike much at this time, maybe this spring)
I need to commute at rush hour. During rush hour my 13 mile drive is 45 min on average.
Riding bike rush hour is not a factor, I can rid that 13 miles in 50-55 min.

JHZR2
12-30-2008, 08:24 PM
I would not get rid of my cars. I would use them less.

Bicycling my 9 mile commute, because of routing and proper roadways, would take me 30 minutes to an hour, compared to 15 minutes by car.

Couple the time (which effects my utility and effectiveness at home and on other tasks) with the exposure to harm and it is not worth it.

There needs to be a decent paradigm shift, enabling nice bicycling lanes, particularly on major bridges, and on direct throughways, for it to be worth the effort.

fixedgear
01-02-2009, 08:14 AM
I've ridden a bike to school and then to work for many, many years. I found that for me, it has kept me fit and healthy. I've never had to be on a diet. Riding is a physical challenge and a pleasure, mixed with a certain risky thrill. (is that the definition of fun?) The time spent riding a bike is beneficial time, not awasted time. In fact, I don't have to spend time at the gym, so I actually can do other stuff instead. The physical effort is a great stress-reliever, too.

Having a bike in the city is really convenient - you can get anywhere (I ALWAYS obey traffic lights, btw) much more easily. You can usually park where you want to, also.

A agree that a commute of less than 10 miles is something most people could do on a regular basis. If your work place has a shower, so much the better. If your ride is more than 3-4 miles, it's worth wearing cycling clothing.

You will feel the seasons change. Your clothing will change with them. After you get used to the Winter, Spring comes along and you can savor it better than anyone in a car - even a convertible.

Kinder
01-02-2009, 10:54 AM
And another variable regarding time savings--parking passes at the university are very expensive; street parking is very poor and far away. So by riding my bike in, I save about 10 minutes of searching for a spot and walking to the office. I park my bike in the office, by the way. As my commute is only 2 miles, I save several minutes of time by biking rather than driving.

Bonus is we are able to be a one-car household purely because of my commitment to bike commuting year round. Huge money savings.

This is my 4th year of it--I may have written this elsewhere, but by moving to Reno and living near work, I eliminated a 48 mile round-trip daily commute--so by changing my personal status quo, I've eliminated perhaps 40,000 miles of driving since moving here, and many hundreds of hours of commute time.

Still riding my 1973 Raleigh International daily!

JusBringIt
01-02-2009, 12:04 PM
bike "tunnels" along the roads? That should be pretty good. similar to the highways but lit and temp controlled. Exits are marked depending on where along the road you are. Of course these domes can be opened during nice weather for views or it can be made of some hard glass to begin with. It might be expensive but would save a lot of road usage and gasoline and much more if biking can be done in winter without worrying about extra padding.

total nut
05-17-2009, 06:16 AM
What brand of bike seat is the best?



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