I’d like to present to you a really cool article on how to cut costs on your commute. It’s a great guest post from EnergySavingGadget.net, which covers eco-friendly solutions to living, using the right kind of products. You can subscribe to their feed here.
We cover a lot of cutting-edge green products at EnergySavingGadgets.net. From the Tesla Roadster, an electric car that goes from 0 to 60 in under four seconds, to a hydrogen powered Honda motorcycle, green technology is advancing at breakneck speeds. But as fascinating as the new technology is, sometimes it’s the tried-and-true that produces the best “green” results. In that vein, we give you the bicycle.
Biking to work even one day a week will produce significant benefits for the environment as well as your pocket book and health. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits of commuter biking, and then we will provide some tips and resources to help you bike like Lance Armstrong (or at least like Fred Armstrong, my cousin). Finally, so we don’t disappoint the technophiles among you, we’ll show you some of the super-cool bicycles available today.
The Benefits of Bike Commuting
Environment: The average commute by car belches over 4,000 pounds of CO2 into the air each year, according to one study of New York City commuters. Biking to work just one day a week would reduce your carbon footprint by 800 pounds of CO2 a year, based on these figures.
Cost: Biking to work can also save a lot of money on commuter costs. These costs include the money you spend on gas, insurance, car maintenance and repair, and parking. According to one cost of commuting calculator, a 25 mile round-trip commute will cost you over $300 per month depending on your gas mileage, and that’s not including parking costs. The calculator is consistent with the AAA estimate that the average car cost is 52 cents per mile.
Fitness: Exercise benefits every part of the body, including your mind. Studies show that by getting the right amount of exercise, you can increase your energy levels and help improve your mood. Regular exercise will keep you fit and will make you feel better overall. Biking to work is a sure way to get the exercise you need to live a healthier, happier life. On average, depending on your weight and the intensity of the ride, you will burn between 400 and 500 calories on a one hour bike trip.
Your Commuter Bike Guide: Bicycle Commuting Tips and Resources
Kinds of Commuter Bikes
Over the last 20 years, bicycle design has changed dramatically, with bicycles today ranging from a few hundred dollars to well into the thousands. The good news is, you don’t have to spend thousands in order to get a bike that fits your commuting needs. Of course, you can use the bike that’s probably already in your garage, but if you are looking for new wheels, you should consider a folding bike or a commuter bike.
As the name suggests, folding bikes can be folded up to make them easier to carry and stow away. Folding bikes are ideal for shorter commutes, particularly if you commute to a bus stop or subway. With a folding bike, it’s easy to take it with you on public transportation and to store it out of the way when you get to work.
Folding bikes generally range in price from $125 to more than $2,000 for a Dahon MU EX 2009 (pictured above). Generally, the more expense the bike, the more comfortable it will be for longer commutes. Still, a good quality folding bike can be had for a few hundred dollars.
A commuter bike is a lot like a mountain bike, but with some significant advantages for commuting. Commuter bikes are lighter than mountain bikes, and they have tires better designed for riding on asphalt or concrete. In addition, the chains are typically covered to avoid getting your clothes chewed up. And unlike a racing bike, commuter bikes have higher handle bars, which make riding easier and which help you keep your eyes on the road.
As with folding bikes, commuter bikes range in price from the low hundreds to a couple thousand dollars. But a few hundred dollars will buy you a good bike. You can also find good deals on bicycles on eBay.
Finding the Best Route
The route you take to work in a car will probably not be the route you would take on a bike. If you live in or around a major city, it may seem almost impossible to find a safe route to work. But you may be surprised at just how ingenious people can be when it comes to commuter biking. In fact, there are several resources you can use to find an ideal bicycle route map for your trip. Check with your local city council or even your human resources department at work to see if they have a map of area bicycle routes. Many organizations have bicycle groups that meet once a month to ride and they would be able to offer advice as well. There are also online resources available that offer maps and route suggestions. Some online resources worth visiting to help you customize a route that works for you: Bikely, Map My Ride, Google Maps.
There are a wide variety of books and websites geared towards biking to work. Here are some additional resources that will help you on your journey.
- Bike To Work Book: The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit. This is a great book on bike commuting.
- Paul Dorn’s Bike Commuting Tips. Paul’s site is filled with great tips and resources for those biking to work.
- Commute by Bike. Offers beginner tips and equipment suggestions.
Super Cool Bikes and Pricing
As we promised, here are three high-tech bikes that may not be the most frugal choices out there (and perhaps may not be the best for commuting), but they are super cool! These are courtesy of Fast Company:
The Santa Cruz Driver 8
From the manufacturer — combining 8 inches of next generation VPP travel with a solidly built chassis that allows 7 inches of up and down seat adjustment and well thought out details like a super burly pair of long life, low maintenance pivots, a 1.5″ headtube, an 83mm bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts, and a 150mm spacing rear end with a Maxle thru-axle – the Driver 8 is a versatile, tough, fun loving, gravity fed wrecking ball. Retail: $2,200
From the manufacturer — The 2009 collection of Madones represents the most technologically advanced road bikes Trek has ever made. They’re designed to meet the demands of hardcore racers, weekend warriors, speed-junkies looking for the fastest, most balanced performance road bike on the market, and anyone who simply prefers the finer things in life. Retail: $9,130
Loring I-Motion 9 Build
From the manufacturer — Whether tooling around town, cruising campus or pedaling to the grocer, the Civia Loring offers supreme comfort, safety and utility. From its gently sloping top tube to its bamboo fenders and matching trim, the Loring is a study in elegance, simplicity and fun. Designed for short runs of five miles or less, the Loring carries up to 50 pounds of cargo while delivering an exceptionally balanced ride. The Loring features disc brakes and a three or nine-speed internally geared hub. Retail: $1,695
For more on how to save money on the road, check out these articles as well:
- Cut Gas Costs and Save $5,500 A Year
- Fuel Efficient Cars and the MPG Illusion
- Sick of High Gas Prices? Turn to Smart Cars or the Aptera
- Do You Know How Much It Costs To Own Your Car?
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