Here is a quick list of some of the things that I enjoy (in no particular order):
Riding my bike
Talking to my wonderful girlfriend on the phone
Listening to podcasts/music
Here is a list of things I don’t particularly enjoy:
Driving when I don’t need to
Sitting in traffic for 45 minutes to drive 15 miles
And lastly here is a list of things I have to do:
Get from my house to work
Biking to work kills 7 birds with 1 stone! I do feel bad for all of the birds, but I shall continue to bike into the office. There are clear health benefits to cycling, and clear cost to driving, but there’s much more to it. Imagine you’ve had a long/stressful day, would you really be stuck in awful bumper to bumper traffic as you slowly creep home, or destress in the warm California sun with a nice breeze?* Now try to relive one of those days where you drank way too much coffee for some reason and you’re bouncing off the walls. Your options are to be behind the wheel of a big metal box with a twitchy foot, or hop back on your bike and try to break your record for getting from work back home. The latter of both of these scenarios sound much more appealing to me!
* your location may vary
Here are some stats I’ve compiled from my own commute over the past year:
I work from home on Fridays, so 4 possible commute days per week, so my bike commute ratio has only been about 26%. This is mainly because my commute is on the longer side (15 miles each way). So while I’m not the most hardcore, rain or shine, every single day, ride or die kind of bike commuter, I absolutely stand by it as a healthy/frugal/enjoyable alternative to driving. I firmly believe that if I lived closer to work, I’d bike in more frequently. For example, a 4 mile each way trip biking in daily would be equal to only one day now, so my weekly commute mileage wouldn’t change in comparison to my current 1x per week average. Also I’m fortunate to have a shower in my office that I can use to clean up before staring at my computer screen for 8 hours.
Now back to the stats! As you can see, I’m only biking in 25% of the time, that isn’t much, just once a week! But look at the savings from a monetary and time perspective! Firstly, we’ll discuss money. As you can see, I’ve saved 30.6 burritos in just one year (roughly ~$232)! And this is only in the price of fuel. If you use the IRS calculation (which takes into account not only fuel, but also vehicle depreciation and general maintenance) of $0.52 per mile, since I’ve not driven 1,763 miles (roughly the distance from Las Vegas to Chicago), I’ve saved myself nearly $1,000. If I did this for 20 years, and invested that $1,000 annually and got a return of 8% (using low cost index funds of course), my $20,000 would turn into roughly $50,000. And this is definitely a lowerbound, as this is only dollar savings from vehicle operation and depreciation. This doesn’t even count other factors such as reduced lifetime medical costs not incurred due to having a more active lifestyle, or the potential money that could be made doing money making activities with the saved time. Also, you could argue that there are costs of biking, like getting a bike, and general maintenance such a tubes, chains, cassettes, tires… but as someone who is already a cyclist, I’d be biking these miles anyways after work hours, so this isn’t necessary for me to include in my calculations when calculating savings. However, this will obviously not be the case for everyone. But for me, it has doubled not only as a convenient method to get to work, but also as an extremely time efficient way to fit in daily exercise.
And with that, let’s discuss the fantastic time savings benefits that come from biking to work (even if as infrequent as once per week). My commute is 45 minutes by car each way, and roughly an hour each way by bike including lights. Total time is only 30 minutes extra, but if I didn’t bike into work, I’d bike 2 hours once I got home anyways! So for me, every minute not spent in the car, is a minute saved! This is very helpful on any day where I have a busy evening, but especially on any given day in the fall/winter where the sun sets earlier. Ideally, I do all of my riding while there is still daylight. Saving 90 minutes each day with the only trade-offs being waking up a few minutes earlier and dealing with a bit of cold in the mornings (which became much more tolerable once I got a quality pair of winter gloves and a nice beanie to cover my ears). In my first year of this habit, I spent 3.6 less days in a car. That’s over half of a week, or roughly 1% of the entire year!
To realize the benefits of bike commuting, I’m not recommending you sell your car and bike in each and every day, regardless of weather conditions, but rather to simply realize that there are huge benefits to even biking into your place of work occasionally. The short term and long term benefits are practically immeasurable. Definitely something worth considering!
Do you bike to work, or is this making you consider it? Let me know below!