Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
On the topic of costs, here are the current figures for my bikes (this includes the cost of the bike, bike specific food, clothing etc):
Look 555 - $0.59 per kilometre
Giant CRX 1 - $0.11 per kilometre
Giant XTC 2 - $3.33 per kilometre
Surly LHT - $1.86 per kilometre
Thanks Andrew. I don't suppose you know how that would compare to a car?
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No sorry. Never bothered to track my car costs.
BTW with each kilometre ridden the per km cost tends to trend down, well subject to spending of course
Not really. It reflects cost and mileage. CRX 1 has done nearly 10,000 km and cost $1500 for example.
Yeh, I'm sure that riding to work costs me more than catching the train. The real benefits for me is health and environment.
Fixie riders never freewheel
NRMA has a calculator that allows you to find out the average car operating costs (assuming 15,000km per annum).
Ford Fiesta (a small car): 50c/km
Mazda6 hatchback (a medium car and my car): 90c/km
Nissan Patrol (a 4WD): $1.40/km
FWIW, I think the only way you save proper money by cycle commuting is if you can do without a second (or higher) car as a result.
We still need a car, so we have to pay rego and insurance at the same rate as if I was driving to work - no effective public transport option, unless you count 2 hours each way IF everything goes as planned and I leave when the bus does rather than work needs me to. Work provides me with a parking space so no savings there (not complaining though ).
Basically, I only save on fuel costs and a little bit of servicing. My fuels savings amount to $477.96 so far this year - according to http://www.mycyclinglog.com , based on 7.25163 miles/$ (site is run by a sepo) which is based on my car's mileage and the average cost of unleaded in Sydney for 2008.
I quickly worked out of what I had spent on my bikes this year, $330 over 3462.59km = 9.5c/km. I have a spare cassette, chain, complete set of cables (minus one outer) and brake pads included in this so I do not see this increasing. So if i make my target of 10,000k this year I should be about $750 up.
This includes spares I have not used yet. However, it does not take into account the cost of my main bike, new wheels, servicing (before I knew better) - that runs closer to 30c/km. And, that does not include cycling clothes, tools, work stand etc.
However, my wife saves significant money by not taking public transport. Unfortunately, that is her money.
So we do save a bit of money, but certainly not a life changing amount.
I started adding up the costs a while ago after one of those magazine articles making the typical unsupported claim that cycling saves money, seemingly based on the premise that bikes are free.
I can't remember the numbers now, have to look it up at home. I know my current car (1993 subaru) is around 20c per km plus petrol, so 35c total. I think my last bike (giant flat bar) worked out to about 18c/km over 18,000 km. Need to check.
Including purchase cost - resale cost/estimated value but not clothing etc.
It would be possible to cycle more cheaply, but the expensive bits for bikes are so much nicer to ride with that I do spend a lot on the bike, whereas I'm quite happy with older cheaper cars and motorcycles.
+ saving on gym membership (unless you have that too!) and the intangible enjoyment of riding over bus/train or car.
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2 bikes is definitely better than 1.
(Unless your ma and pa who buy a hybrid, ride for a week then promptly never ride it again).
I have spares for nearly everything on my commuter mtb. Having just bought a road bike though for the weekend, I think I could have saved a lot buy just owning 2 bikes from the onset.
List of spares include:
Bars (1 of)
Shifters (1 pair of)
Disc brakes (1 pair of front and rear, bled ready to swap)
Stems (2 of)
Saddles (3 of)
Pedals (2 pairs of)
Front and rear derailleurs (1 ea of)
Cassettes (2 of)
Chains (5 of)
Wheels (1 set of with disc on the front)
Mudguards (1 extra front)
Last edited by waynohh on Wed May 20, 2009 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I reckon that most of the costs on a bicycle occur during the first 12 months. This would be the period in which a bicycle is bought, and appropriate accessories and equipment such as mudguards, racks, lights, etc would be purchased. During this period a new bicycle would be in for a service twice (the first time about 3 months after purchase once the cables have stretched). I went through lots of parts to find the ideal combination for my bicycle, and I'm still not 100% satisfied with it. The parts needed to complete the re-build of my Malvern Star come this weekend so I'll trial that bicycle next week as a commuter to see if things are much improved. I also have a Speedwell which needs some attention to become a ride-able machine again. (Doesn't help that its front wheel is missing 2 spokes and wobbles everywhere!)
Going to eliminate the evil that is derailer gears and going 100% epicyclic! I'll put up a sign on my garage door - derailer-free zone!
1. Malvern Star Skidstar Standard (Shimano 3-speed)
2. Speedwell Roadster (Sturmey-Archer 3-seed)
3. Dahon Classic III (Sturmey-Archer 3-speed)
4. Postie Bicycle (Single Speed)
5. Raleigh Utility (Single Speed)
Yup 100% derailer-free zone!
The first 3 are general purpose commuter bicycles the other two will be just there because I like them.
No, there are some good hills. About a 0.5km stretch on Brennan Street which I almost always have to take from a standing start. I tend to find that even with an 18-speed bicycle I tend to only use about 4 gears anyway.
Looked up my costs.
Came to 12c/km for the Giant Perigree over 4 years including depreciation (bought for $980, sold for $400)
My motorbike (GPX600) has cost me 15c per km, car 30c per km. So the bicycle is slightly cheaper, but not free!
The other benefits of cycling commuting are huge, but it doesn't save me much money, about $120 a year for the 4000km for me.
Depends. Once over the 12 months period and if you do reasonable distances, the cost of parts replacement/service becomes constant. It all adds up.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
10000km and I would probably need at least a chain, cassette, cables, 4 brake pads and a couple of tires. Particularly if you ride in all weather.
For me, that would be ~$300 from the US, apart from tires, and probably $50-100 more if I bought in Oz. I tend towards the cheaper chains and cassettes (BOTR SRAM) as well, although I don't skimp on cables, brake pads and tires.
That is about what I would spend on car servicing if, for example, the cost of a new clutch is spread out over X years etc.
I find the financial aspect here really interesting.
Can you really compare the km costs of a bicycle with the km costs of a car by including the purchase price and other buy-once-keep-a-lifetime items? Do any of the above mentioned costs per km for a car include the price for buying the car???
I also own 2 bicycles, one for touring / camping, the other one is a CRX4 for commuting. The commuter is now 3 years old and has 7600km on it. If I add up all running costs (reoccurring every odd km such as tubes, chain, cassette, brakepads, bike service...) the bike cost me only 8 cents a km, stable and regardless of the overall km.
If I add the purchase price for the bike and other once-in-a-lifetime-costs (such as helmet, tools, upgrades...) I am at 12cents per km. This value of course will go down with each km added.
I do not own a car and without a bike would need to buy weekly tickets for the train. In this comparison 53 weekly tickets for Cityrail (=1 year) would match ALL costs that occurred on my bike during 3 years!
I cant really think of any bike running costs that could be considered once in a lifetime. Everything gets replaced at some point, bikes and helmets included.
+1 -> > depreciation on a car + > service cost on a car + > registration + > issuance + > part costs (debatable I guess) +++
My experience with bike running costs is that for the first year they roughly equate to the running cost of a car. A surprising amount of that goes on clothing. I am about to drop the cost of a major car service on some lighting for the bike.
Maintenance costs are roughly equivalent. Although a lot more cyclists maintain their own bicycle's machinery who might feel uncomfortable maintaining a car's machinery.
The real savings are in depreciation, registration and insurance. The first year's depreciation of a car is more money than a good bike. Registration is of course $0, unless the SA Police get their way. Insurance is lower, how much so depending on how much the car and bike are worth.
The other factor is that riding a bike means that your car costs are lower. I've got a ten year old Mazda 121. But because it spends it's life not going anywhere it is in excellent order. It is fully depreciated. I don't need to upgrade it (in fact, the "bubble car" has become a minor classic so I'm hanging onto it because it looks cooler than any small cheap car I could buy new). It gets serviced about once a year. In short, cycling reduces your car costs to the standing cost of the car, not the running cost of the car.
So I've ended up well ahead financially from cycling because my car is only costing me registration and insurance.
But the finance is the least of it for me. Firstly, I am getting my fitness back. Secondly, the ride home tends to wipe the cares and stresses of work and I am a much better person when I collect the kids and we cycle home the last few blocks. Thirdly, I have rediscovered my city.
It's hard to work out what costs to compare. I included depreciation (purchase cost - current value or sale price) for both bike and car. Red book makes it easy to calculate for the car to some degree of accuracy. The bike I would have no idea except that I actually sold it so I included the actual sale price. I think that is the only bike I've ever sold so that normally doesn't work.
I left out registration and insurance for the car as they are km independent, and I have to pay it whether I drive them or not. They don't make a lot of sense as a km rate. I think it would add about 6c/km for the car and 15c for the motorbike, dropping to 3 and 5 if I actually used them for all the bicycle km I do now.
When I can do a 200km round trip in 2-3 hours on my bicycle I'll consider getting rid of one of the motor vehicles.
Of course the depreciation and service costs aren't totally km dependent either but at least there is some sort of connection.
Helmet isn't an "once-in-a-lifetime" item. Various indicators suggest a change is required every 7-8 years, some even suggests 3 years due to material deterioration.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Car costs vs. bike costs.
Seems some of the calculations are oranges and apples, ie. the purchase cost of the bike is put into the cost/km. Not truly a 'running cost'. Car 'running costs' don't include purchase price of the vehicle in any article I've seen. Running costs of bike should only include the food-costs of the extra calories you consume to ride your bike (if you do) since you have to eat anyway and the maintenance costs (including tires, tubes, patches, etc.).
Personally the cost per week is the best figure. It's easier to calculate, easy to relate to, and more realistically tied to your income. It also scales easily to per month, per day, per quarter, etc. I'd rather know that my bike costs $10 per week than $0.08/km. It's so much easier to budget for in this sense.
--Current rides: Cannondale Bad Boy 8 || Surly Big Dummy || Dahon Dash P-18
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