Cost / Savings of riding a bike.

Discussion in 'General' started by abcdpeterson, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. abcdpeterson

    abcdpeterson Well-Known Member

    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?”
    “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.
  2. Lugnuts001

    Lugnuts001 Well-Known Member

    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.

  3. abcdpeterson

    abcdpeterson Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. mtbiker278

    mtbiker278 Biotech Researcher

    If someone was really a stickly they would factor in fuel (food) costs :)
  5. Lugnuts001

    Lugnuts001 Well-Known Member

    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.

    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.
  6. abcdpeterson

    abcdpeterson Well-Known Member

    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:
  7. 99HXCivic

    99HXCivic Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. Parasite

    Parasite Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    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.
  10. smsimpson83

    smsimpson83 MPG Rookie

    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.


    Proud owner or a 60cm Surly Long Haul Trucker with a rack, panniers, lights, and a sweet brooks saddle.
  11. chief302

    chief302 Well-Known Member

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

    degnaw Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. chief302

    chief302 Well-Known Member

    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)
  14. fuzzy

    fuzzy Mild hypermiler

    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?
  15. chief302

    chief302 Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. abcdpeterson

    abcdpeterson Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. chief302

    chief302 Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. Hadi

    Hadi Well-Known Member

    I was able to amortize the cost of my bicycle in two and a half months, and that's just in fuel savings ;)
  19. jhu

    jhu Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. abcdpeterson

    abcdpeterson Well-Known Member

    almost 3 mile walk to work.
    I'm impressed, my feet would give out after 1 day of that.

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