Friday, April 22, 2016

Nice Day for a Bike Ride

Biker Gremlin here to talk about bikes, not motorcycles but rather bicycles.  As I have stated before my job moved me from the suburbs to a downtown office (same company).  So what came with that was the very real annoyance of learning a new commute.  Well it turns out that annoyance is in fact profitable in terms of being able to save me money and return some time to my life.  So what is this new traffic pattern I deal with?  Well it is one of two things: it is either taking a bus to DC's Metro system (the local Subway, Underground, etc.) and riding that one stop or riding my bike.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and both are better than driving my car to work.

Previously, my commute involved an approximately 15-20 mile drive, depending on the route, which took 30 minutes to over 1 hour.  Due to traffic and every day life I was filling up my car about once a week, which costs $20-25 with today's gas prices.  That put my gas budget around $100 per month.  If you add in maintenance benchmarks; every 5,000 mile oil change and other services, the cost goes way higher.  Plus I was putting close to 15,000 mile on my car each year.  On top of that my car is new, and is still in the process of getting paid off.  So taking gas, monthly adjusted maintenance and state fees (registration, inspection, etc.), and car payments I was already out around $385-400 a month.  That does not include any major repairs, and I don't even drive a super nice car or large SUV; I drive a Honda Civic!

Fast forward to starting my new job.  Taking the bus to the Metro is an approximate cost of $6 per day, estimated because Metro's fees are adjusted based upon peak riding hours.  If I were to do that exclusively my monthly cost would be about $120 in transportation.  Sure you can still add on the car payment and fees, but now I only get gas once per month and have barely added any miles to my car.  So my money spent on transportation remains the same on the surface, but  now there is almost no need for major car maintenance.  It is clear how in the short term there appears to be no difference, but there will be in the long run.  (I also get home a little quick typically, and that time is worth $$$$$ in my mind.)

That brings us to today.  This week, like most weeks I plan on biking to work 2-3 days per week.  Round trip the ride totals 13 miles.  Its great, I save $12-18 per week and get my workout in on my way in and home; to be clear this is possible because I am able to use a shower at work otherwise I'd be a messy piece of garbage.  Over the course of a month this comes to about $60 in savings.  Even if I only did this in the warmer / sunnier months of the year (say 8 months), that equates to $480 in annual savings.

If my annual transportation cost is $4620 ($385 per month), I find that biking for 8 months at 2 days per week brings my costs down to $4140.  Going further, there is no reason why in the really nice months I won't bike to work 4 or 5 days week.  That will really pump up my savings.  Another interesting part of this savings is that I've had my bike since college, so there was no recent (within the last 4 years) cost added.  All my bike needs is air in the tires, occasional break maintenance, and a little bit of chain oil and I am good to roll.  Though I do wish it was a road and not a hybrid road/mountain bike...

All of this saved capital is going to do one thing - allow me to put more $ against our debts!

What ways do you look to save money and time in your every day life?  Anyone out there able to walk to work (the ultimate prize)?

Thanks for reading,

PS - I am not personally huge into cycling or things like the Tour De France.  Though those guys are pretty intense.

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