Cycling to work – save money, get fit

Last post I looked at the true cost of owning a car. Cars are expensive to run and tie up a large amount of money that could be used productively elsewhere.

My work is a short 4km commute away, but despite living in a small town, still can take a long time in peak morning traffic.

I don’t want to take the bus, as there are no dedicated bus lanes which just leaves me stuck back in traffic again. As well, after finishing work I have little motivation to hit the gym, especially in the heat of summer.

If only there was some way of spending less money, having a shorter commute, and getting fitter at the same time!

Enter the humble bicycle.

The mighty bicycle
The mighty green arrow itself.

Cost breakdown

I wanted a relatively cheap bike that I could recreationally take offroad once or twice a year. If I lived in a larger city I would have bought a cheap second-hand bicycle from Trademe. However, I’m a tall guy and wanted to get a bike to fit my size. In the end, I settled on the Green Machine pictured below from Avanti Plus Whangarei. This, along with a matching helmet cost $808.00. You could EASILY get an adequate bike for much cheaper.

Now let’s look at the cost of ownership.

No registration, no warrant of fitness, or insurance. Bicycles do get flat tyres occasionally so we can assume you need a repair kit $5.99 and a bicycle pump $39.99.

Lastly, let’s factor in $60.00 a year in repairs, maybe a new tube or getting the bicycle serviced.

And that’s it.

Time and health benefits

Another understated benefit of biking is never being stuck in traffic again. Instead of my commute taking 10-25 minutes depending on how close to 8 in the morning I leave, it now takes 10-15 minutes, dependent on how lazy I feel.

This Tuesday I passed 150 vehicles stuck in traffic!

The health benefits of cycling to work can not be understated. I’m not going to go into the details because we all know how important exercise is for our physical and mental health. Instead of paying for a car and a gym membership, I can get my 30 minutes push-play free!

Another benefit I’ve hardly heard mentioned is feeling more connected to the community you live in. You get a very different feeling from cycling through town than when trapped in your glass bubble.

What’s the downside?

Living on a hill sucks. Sometimes, especially during the heat, I really don’t want to bike. On the other hand, as work is downhill from home it is an easy ride and I don’t need to shower at work.

How I feel after arriving home after a 10 minute bike uphill #adventureracing


Wearing a bike helmet is another annoyance.

While biking home in the rain is strangely therapeutic, biking to work in the rain can be a pain. There’s nothing worse than having wet socks! I’ve managed to get around this by having a change of clothes at work and having waterproof pants and jacket certainly helps. However, having a backup plan could be a good idea (or just toughen up).

Overall, the experiment in replacing the expensive second car with a cool green bike has been very successful. I would absolutely recommend looking into cycling to work if you want to be richer, healthier, and cut your commute down!

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