Published on July 28th, 2012 | by Sal0
Commuting by bike – it figures
We’ve crunched some numbers to come up with our calculated guide to commuting by bike. There’s definitely some racy little numbers here to inspire you to get cycling to work.
In the UK only 3% of commuters use a bicycle to get to work, yet around 43% of the population owns or has access to a bike and many of us live within walking or cycling distance. When you’re stuck in a car in traffic doing 5mph, you could actually be going faster on a bike, getting fresh air and exercise and saving money on fuel. And of course, you’ll gain the super power of irresistibility to the opposite sex, which comes as standard with Lycra cycle clothing.
The average driver spends £2,057 a year on fuel, not to mention MOT, service, repairs, insurance and tax, compared with the odd inner tube replacement you’ll need once you’ve got a bike. According to the AA, a new car worth up to £14,000 costs you £5,737.50 a year including standing and running costs such as fuel, tax, insurance and depreciation.
You may have to factor in other costs for commuting by car such as parking costs and toll roads/bridges. Also, unexpected costs such as parking or, heaven forbid, speeding tickets.
Public transport isn’t cheap (or free from unsavoury or unsanitary characters) either. A monthly bus pass for Swansea with FirstGroup costs £65.00 per month and a monthly train pass with First Great Western for a journey from Bridgend to Llansamlet costs a massive £101.40 per month.
We’ve estimated (using our fictional cycling cost calculator) that commuting to work by bike for a year will set you back at about £31.92 per month. We’d advise spending around £510 on a commuter bike. For this exercise, we’ll assume it’ll take a bit of a beating and will just last for three years (of course, if you look after your bike, it could last for a lot longer). We’ve also provided a rough calculation of bike running costs per year, assuming that everything will last you for two years.
Bike (3 years): £170
Replacement tyres/chain etc £20
Miscellaneous repairs (including cables, brake pads): £20
Total: £383 per year or £31.92 per month
To make things a bit easier on your bank account, if your company runs a Cycle to Work Scheme, you can benefit from the chance to spread payments out for bikes and equipment over an agreed time period.
Even at a leisurely speed of 10 mph, a 5 mile cycle will only take you around 30 minutes. With the Government advising at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week for an adult, you’d cover this in just two and a half days commuting (so a great excuse to lounge around for the rest of the week).
If you live a sizeable distance from work and travel by train or bus, you could always take a folding bike with you and use it for part of your journey (and to barge people out of your way on the train).
Brits waste a staggering £37million a year on gym memberships, exercise and slimming classes they never attend, according to research by online accountants Crunch.co.uk. The average adult also loses out on a further £303 a year on forgotten direct debits and £158 on unused sports equipment.
People are often put off by the prospect of rain making you arrive at work doing your best “drowned rat” impersonation. However, according to the Met Office it actually only rains on about one day in three in England (barring more rain in winter and occasional long, dry spells). And there’s a myriad of cycling clothing available to keep you drier than a nice Sauvignon Blanc.
Moderate cycling burns around 300 calories per hour, so half an hour there and back to work could mean a healthier you or a:
- McDonalds cheeseburger
- serving of Greggs cheesecake
- pint of strong lager.
(Not all at once, tho.)
If you give it a go, let us know how you get on. There might* be a prize for the most inspirational new commuting cyclist.
*or might not