Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Have you ever wondered how much it costs to drive a car? Not the monthly payments, although, that is a part of it. I mean all of the things that go into driving- gas, taxes, road maintenance, insurance, depreciation, parking fees....... it adds up super quick!

I started to think about this the other day when someone couldn't believe how much my bike cost. She was even more startled to find out I would buy my bike again if it were stolen. I have, as many of you know, a Batavus Socorro.

The original MSRP was $1799! I got lucky, and through a decision made by Seattle Bike Supply to not be the North American distributor for Batavus, I was able to buy my bike, new, for $999. I have since put about $350 worth of modifications on it (Brooks saddle, Bobike seat, Basil panniers, various other things...). When my husband bought the bike for me, he had just started a new job after 2 years of consistent work with inconsistent pay and we were pretty much broke. My old bike was no longer meeting my needs, so James decided our first splurge with a real pay check was my beautiful Bat!

Despite its price tag, and there are bikes out there that are way more expensive, it was a deal. Looking at my average daily riding since the beginning of the year, about 15 miles a day, I can expect to ride 5460 miles this year (my goal in January was 15oo!). After cruising over to Commute Solutions and using their calculator, I learned that to drive those miles would cost me $7403.76!! I still own a car, and so, I can not mitigate all of the expenses involved with ownership. However, according to the numbers on the calculator, just the savings in gas and maintenance for those miles, $1037, will pay for my bike!

None of this is new information, but it is illuminating. In this time of financial uncertainty, we would all be way better off if we rode more and drove less. Anyway, there are no snuggly moments in cars, which are priceless!


  1. !!!

    While we still own TWO cars* I can't really say I save a lot of expensese exept for gas and parking. RIght now, my change purse is SO FULL it's crazy. Since I never pay for parking. And I honestly can't remember when I filled my gas tank. Maybe mid august since I took a road trip. Yeah I fill up about once a month usually :-)

    (* yeah. the husband drives an hour each way each day so he kind of needs that car. I have mine mostly b/c he's gone about 80-90 hours a week. Although I try to make mine sit mostly. and since I own it outright I will keep it until it dies)

  2. Not to forget: less money spent on parking and the benefits of improved health, which are hard to quantify, but will save you much in the long run! Val

  3. The bike I've been riding this summer cost me $600. I have maybe $250 in modifications to it. People think I'm crazy to spend that much on a bike. I tell them:
    that's only two car payments.
    it's about the same as six months of car insurance.
    it was less than the cost of your tv.

  4. we have a double car garage but 8 bikes take up most of the room, we also keep 2 bikes locked up at the hosiptal where my wife works for the days where morning rides are traded for sleeping in.. the car is mainly for when things are cheap at costco... or when the cottage beckons... i figure that with the amount of money i save on parking from riding into the city i've saved at least as much as a pashley soveriegn each year... unfortunately coffee is still my daily cash grab...

  5. MV- sounds like we have the same husband : ) We are about to drive James' car into the ground (it passed smog by 1% so it is not going to make it next time) so he will inherit my Cabrio and I will be sans vehicle.


    Ethan- Your bike should always be worth more than you television : )

    Xn'D- I try not to think about how much money the various coffee establishments of San Francisco make off of me every year : D

  6. the bat rocks!! such a rad ride ;) and carrier of the colossus extraordinaire

  7. That smiling face hugging your waist looks like a priceless snuggle to me.

  8. When people balk at how much I've put into my bike through add-ons (at least 1/2 the cost of the bike itself), I too remind them of how much they spend on car payments. "You could buy my bike every three months for your car payment," goes a long way toward shutting mouths and opening minds (well, shutting mouths, LOL).

  9. I was also thinking... on how when people gasp at how much bikes can cost.... People spend some seriously insane money on cars. This is something I don't really get. I get the whole - comfort thing- you want to be comfortable and to fit in well. ( For me this means a tiny car actually- I hate driving my husbands boat) but the idea of taking a 40/60+K thing and zooming downthe highway at 80 mph seems crazy. The stupid car has a definite shelf life.

    We know bikes well loved last a long long time. My cargo bike cost a fortune. It was a total bougie splurge. People look at me like I'm insane when I tell them how much it was. But my re-sale value is excellent b/c there aren't many of them inthe US. And I'm not sure I would want to sell it when I no longer cart kids. I'll have it for a long long time. Who knows, maybe my grandkids will ride in it!