If you follow me on Twitter ( @dubtea ), you would have seen that yesterday that Bea had completed her first bike commute from our house in the Marigny to her office in Harahan. As you may or may not remember, she had quite a bit of trouble the last time she made the attempt last August. Considering the wreck and the confidence it seemed to destroy, I’m super proud of this big step.
The trip by car rolls in at about 21 miles, and is slightly longer by bike ( about 24 miles ) and bicycles are not allowed on the interstate. She basically rides through the Marigny/Quarter/CBD down Royal St./St. Charles Avenue, and cuts to Magazine at Lee Circle, taking that all the way down to Audubon Park and the Mississippi River levee path, which is free of cars.
She’s still using a Scattante Zonal road bike on load from a co-worker, but has her eyes on, nay, lusts for a 2008 Bianchi Dama Bianca Elena. Behold:
It’s not super-girly, it’s purple (heellllooooooo, she loves that purp), is a pretty decent bike, and perhaps most important of all, would be hers.
The problem is the budgets here at La Iglesia are a little tighter, and shelling out ~$1,500 for a new bike isn’t super fiscally responsible. Now I’ve been told by my friends at Bicycle Michael’s that if I were to provide them with the bike size, they’d hold one for her, which is great.
I’ve decided that as an incentive, I’d make some sort of log to help visualize her goal, and her status on earning the $1500 in blood (hopefully not), sweat (summer is upon us), and tears (again, hopefully not). I built a little system I’ve named “Gas Money Records“.
Sometimes I’m too clever for my own good.
Anyways, every day she rides to / from work, she enters the data and it calculates how much she’s saved. The part that I found most interesting was the breakdown of gas vs. maintenance. You end up sending about 10¢/mile on gas, and over 30¢/mile on oil, tires, maintenance, etc. I used commute solutions as a reference, and left out much of the expenses associated with driving: insurance, tax, parking, tolls, travel time, accidents, finance charges, etc. We don’t have tolls (except for the lousy West Bank), and if your car was parked at home you’d still have to pay taxes, insurance, etc.
Surprisingly, it costs her about $9 per day commute! This adds up to over $2,300 per work year! At that $9/day rate, Bea could pay for the bike in about 8 months (if she commuted by bike every day).
If you check it out, you can do your own calculations – leaving out the savings goal will show you what you’d spend in a work year commuting, or you can set a savings goal and see how long it would take you. It’s truly surprising how much can save by even commuting by bike once or twice a week. I don’t think I even need to touch on the health benefits of bicycle commuting.