They say time is money, but when it comes to transportation, the fastest way is not always the most frugal. It may take a little longer to get where you’re going, but once you consider the little bonus savings biking can provide, it can definitely be worth it.
Riding a bike will help you avoid tolls, parking fees and repair costs. It’s even easier to appreciate the savings by learning just how much cars cost to operate. According to AAA, a medium sedan driving 15,000 miles costs $8,604 per year or 57.4 cents per mile. Forgoing a car completely saves thousands of dollars, but you don’t have to go car-free for the savings to add up.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week for overall cardiovascular health. Knock this out with a daily commute or post-work ride and you won’t need that expensive gym membership anymore.
Biking for recreation is fun, but so is biking for errands! And it can save you even more money. Having limited cargo space—say, two panniers instead of a large car trunk—helps one be more mindful about food purchases. Buy just what you need, ignoring those impulse purchases, and watch the savings add up.
On a recent bike camping trip to a nearby island our round-trip ferry fare was $16.40 versus $36.80 had we been in a car. And our campsite was $7 instead of $15-25—not to mention the car sites were all taken while there was plenty of room at the hiker/biker site. Visiting a more metropolitan area? Bike rental is less expensive than car rental and allows you to appreciate the sights at a slower pace.
Madi Carlson is the Board President of Familybike Seattle, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting bicycling as a means for moving towards sustainable lifestyles and communities. She runs Seattle’s Kidical Mass, a monthly ride for families, and is the author of “Urban Cycling: How to Get to Work, Save Money, and Use Your Bike for City Living” (Mountaineers Books), an easy-to-navigate manual for bike commuting–including commuting with kids. Find more or her writing here.
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