14 September 2009

bike math.

a lovely bike spotted whilst in the UK

I was talking to Big Brother last night and I mentioned that I haven't taken the bus hardly at all since I got the folding bike two weeks ago. We started crunching numbers, and I was surprised to learn from Google Maps that my trips to the shopping street (2 miles round trip) and to the University campuses (5 miles round trip and 5.4 miles round trip, respectively) are really starting to add up. No wonder I am hungry all the time!

Anyways, once we got talking about it, I couldn't just stop there and found myself channeling the spirit of social history and making an Excel spread sheet. Here are the results- the sheer data of it all, as sent to BB:

"Per our conversation, I went through my calendar and my spending transactions to determine how many miles I've ridden since I got here. As of right now, I've ridden 94.6 miles since the Old Dutch arrived on 8/23. So tomorrow will make it 100 miles in 24 days- not bad. In the first 2 weeks of the month, I've done 65.8 of those miles, so I am on par for about 140 miles / month just for regular trips to school and the store.

For the whole time, that adds up to 56 one-way trips, which at $1.45 / trip via bus is a savings of $81.20.

I've spent about half that on extra food and beer compared to my usual habits before (not controlling for higher cost of living in an eastern city), putting ~$40.00 towards the value of the folding bike.

But add in the time saved from riding the bus (especially if I billed at my transcriptionist rate of $20 / hr, with an average bus round trip taking ~ 1 hour, whereas average bike round trip is 40 minutes) (making that $20 x .33hr saved x 28 round trips) for a savings (including fares saved) of $172.

So, more or less, the folding bike will have paid for itself in the next two weeks or so... not taking into account which bike I ride, just in general quantifiable savings.

Though now that I consider it, when I had a car-- my insurance quoted me at $155.00 for Philly. Add in my gas costs (going with what I spent last Sept.) of $35.00 and monthly maintenance of the car (towards oil change, car wash) of $20 and that's about $200 / month. Going out on a limb and saying that driving is not all that much faster than biking in this town (parking being a bitch) so no subtraction for time saved. Considering I planned originally to have bike and car here, I can totally add that to my savings towards bike cost, and when you include projected hypothetical bus costs (not paying for all modes of hypothetical transportation even though they are redundant) the folding bike will actually be paid off by like, Thursday.

Obviously, the numbers game is useless because (the math may be wrong, heh heh...) the physical fitness and mental health benefits and sheer convenience mean that bike has already paid for itself, but the statistics make it kind of gratifying now that I am spending basically $0 on transportation and instead of putting all those miles on a car or a bus, I put them on my legs.



Sigrid said...


Mom said...

Can't wait for the bikes to arrive in the household good shipment. Misawa is very bikeable so I am excited to join the ranks of bike commuters.