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money in your pocket

October 5, 2010

it's money in your pocket...

Last week, my husband sent me an email with this link. It’s a little calculator that tells you how much money you are saving on a daily basis by riding your bike. You enter your daily mileage and what would otherwise spend on parking and – voilà – you can hear that little cha-ching sound of money collecting in your wallet.

Want to try it for yourself? Check out the savings calculator here and read all about the methodology behind it.

I entered my numbers and was told that I save around $3 a day. Not bad – that’s about $84 a month. Of course, this doesn’t account for the fact that I likely wouldn’t be paying for parking on most days because I’d be catching the bus or getting a lift from my husband. But in theory, were I to drive to work and pay for parking, this is what it would cost. Instead, I spent about that amount on a one-time payment for this bike and am reaping the benefits of a happy and healthy commute.

And with fall here and the beautiful weather we’ve been having, I’d gladly pay someone $3 a day to keep riding my bike. Forget the savings argument, how about these views…

fall is here

beautiful leaves

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2010 14:05

    The leaves are already so pretty there! Even though we have cooler weather currently, fall tends to come quite a bit later here. The temps are supposed to be back up to the the low 80s by the weekend! Sometimes it seems as if we go straight from summer to winter in the South :)

  2. October 5, 2010 14:17

    I enjoy your mix of bikes and style – it’s something for me to aspire to. :)

  3. October 5, 2010 15:21

    These views are indeed very nice.
    I’m sure you start the day in a good mood after your ride to work.

    How I love autumn!

  4. October 5, 2010 16:15

    Yeah, for me, I would be riding the bus as well (and was before I got a bike), and thankfully my bus pass (which I no longer have) was largely subsidized by my employer, so I was only paying about $200/year instead of I think something like $800. If I were driving, I would be paying $150-200/mo to park at work (plus spending money on gas). However, my employer pays me $50/mo (approximately, it’s usually every month+1 week or so) to ride my bike to work, so besides, as you say, a much more pleasant morning experience than either driving or taking the bus, I also get a monthly bonus.

    As a side note, because of a number of incentives which my employer offers, both for simply riding your bike to work, and also for participating in sort of lifestyle coaching about eating and being active, the bike parking always looks like this:

    And they keep adding more and it fills up. Also as a side note, it was just announced that our health insurance premiums are going down this year, because so few people used their insurance last year (that is, people were not sick and didn’t require hospital visits), and I can’t help but feel like all those bikes contributed to that.

    • October 5, 2010 16:32

      Wow, Dave, that sounds awesome! Your employer is such a visionary :) Why don’t more companies think like that? And I can’t believe you get an actual financial contribution for riding your bike.

      It’s nice to hear stories like yours. My husband has been dealing with the opposite. They moved to a new building at his work and they are still (months later) arguing to have their gym equipment moved from the old building to the new one so that people can work out during their lunch break. Those opposed are arguing that making a gym available allows people to ‘slack off’ by taking more than their allotted break for ‘personal’ tasks. (Mind you, there was a gym available at the old building and it was just fine). My husband was trying to point out much of what you said – healthier employees are better workers, are more energized, and take less sick leave.

      It also doesn’t help that a “smoker’s hut” was one of the first things to go in outside of the new building. So smokers have a place to go but those who want to do something healthy do not.

      Sigh… if only all companies thought more like yours, Dave. One more reason why we need to move to Portland! ;)

      • October 5, 2010 16:49

        Well, don’t get the idea that it’s like that everywhere in Portland – there is still plenty of the “why would we spend money on that?” feeling around the city as a whole. I got lucky. But still, there is a growing awareness of the benefits that come from having people not driving (another incentive for my employer to try to get people to not drive is that we are located largely on top of a hill, and space is in short supply, so car parking is EXPENSIVE), and being more active.

        There is bike parking popping up all over the city, and in the evenings around the neighborhoods and restaurant/shop areas, it’s starting to be the case that you see more bikes around than cars. The simple mass of people choosing to ride bicycles I think is forcing things to change much more quickly than any political processes, which are nearly non-existent and take forever here – our infrastructure and policy is hardly changing at all, except for a lot of bike racks being installed.

    • October 5, 2010 23:59

      Quite a few employers in Atlanta offer subsidized transit passes, some even paying the full monthly pass amount, however, unlike Portland, not nearly as many people take advantage of it. The same employers usually offer free or very low cost parking to employees, so most people figure why bother with the hassles of using public transit. The idea of cutting congestion by making it more difficult/expensive to park in the city just isn’t catching on here.

      We also have an organization called the Clean Air Campaign though that will pay people $3 a day for using a commute alternative (transit, walking/biking, carpool), up to $100 for a 90 day period. It entices people to at least think about ways of getting around other than driving alone, even if they don’t continue on a daily basis after the 90 day period is up.

  5. October 5, 2010 18:59

    Your outfit is super cute today, I love your blouse! Luckily my employer gives us the option of a free bus pass or free parking pass every month, but I wonder if I could ask them about doing neither and getting the $$ on my paycheck! The bus passes run them $85/mo and parking is $120/mo… I took the bus pass and rode it a few times this year (we had a record rainy September with flooding, so some days the bike was just not gonna happen!)

  6. October 5, 2010 21:33

    Beautiful Views – priceless! Hope you continue to enjoy the crisp fall weather. On the east coast, I just want to sing “Rain, rain go away!”

  7. October 6, 2010 00:36

    Gas prices have got to go up before more people will first think about mass transit or cycling before even agitating for bike parking or infrastructure. The environmental and “good for you” arguments only go so far. It’s the impact on pocketbooks that really matters. But I continue to advocate for cycling by being on my bike. Plus it’s just so much fun!

  8. October 6, 2010 01:59

    Ha – so true! I’ve never thought about it like that before. What would I pay someone for the honor of getting to ride my bike every day? Gosh, that’s like someone asking a ransom for my cat. What wouldn’t I pay?? But how cruel to demand the payment!

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