Why cycle commuting to work is better than driving alone…

Slowly over the years, my bicycle commute has grown a longer and a little more consistent. It started with five miles each way a few times a month and now I’m proud to say that on a good week, I put almost 75 miles on my bicycle commuting to work.

Bicycle commuting has always been a fun way to get to work and now with the rising price of gasoline, it’s starting to become the sensible option.

Because the commute to work has become a steady part of the week (25 miles round trip), it’s easy to see that all those miles can add up pretty quick. Let’s say I drove to work by myself every day. I figure that’s about $5 in gasoline (20 mpg at $4 a gallon). Now, in addition to that I cross the Golden Gate Bridge every day. Let’s add another $5 (it’s $4 with Fastrak), but this makes the math easy. That’s an average of $10 a day and that doesn’t include any maintenance for the car itself.

$10 a day times five days a week times 50 weeks a year. (Math gears spinning). That’s $2,500! Whoa! Not to mention that’s post tax. Now we’re looking at over $3,000 easily. And let’s not forget that I still haven’t factored in car maintenance. Although insurance, parking, car payments, etc. are pretty much fixed and independent of how much you drive, that will increase that number even more.

Okay…realistically, I’m not going to give up my car. And as much as I want a hybrid, I think driving less is more practical.

So we’re looking at a good $3,000 pre-tax that I can work with. Let’s say I ride my bike on average of two days a week (more during the sunny months and less during the wet ones). And those other days I find people to carpool with to work (it so happens that I’ve found three other co-workers to carpool with). Now that means that I drive on average 1.5 times every other week.

So some more mental math here. 1.5 times every other week is 0.75 times per week. That’s $7.50 in gas and bridge tolls per week. Wait! The Golden Gate Bridge lets you cross for free if you have three or more people during commuting hours. Now it’s $2.50 per week. Multiply that by 50 weeks and you’re looking at $125 a year.

Wow! From $3,000 to $125. Maybe that’s not enough to make you rich, but it adds up quickly.

So there you have it. Reason number one. It saves you money! And if you carpool it saves you even more. There are plenty of other reasons too, but it’s getting late and I have a bicycle commute to do in the morning. Stay tuned.

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