The (Low) Cost of Bike Ownership


In 2011 I got a bright green Strida bike for my birthday from my parents. The Strida is a folding bike, designed in the UK. My friend Dan Thompson suggested it. In the picture, it's the one on the right.

I've been riding this bike, year-round, since then (I live in Ottawa, so I cycle in the snow). I named her Stacey Pilgrim, and she's finally died, so I got a new strida (the yellow one on the left, named Knives Chau).

I had Stacey Pilgrim for six and a half years. But now she's totaled, and I'll save her to harvest parts from when Knives Chau needs them.

I've been collecting receipts for bike supplies and repairs since, so I can roughly calculate how much it costs to own a bike.

Over this period, including the cost of the bike, I spent about $4066. Divided by 6.5, that means that bike ownership, for me, costs about $625 per year.

I started biking seriously at about the same time as we got rid of our car. So what I'm interested in, primarily, is the cost of bike vs car ownership. But the number I reported above does not count extra costs for busses, Uber, taxis, and car rental that I wouldn't have done nearly as much of if I'd had a car. Also, my time is valuable, and often bikes take more time than taking your own car (this isn't always so--bikes are somewhat immune to traffic jams, and parking never takes time for a bike). However, it's also important to note that this extra time is also exercise, which is great for you. Also, some of these receipts might have been for repairs of my wife's bikes, and my other bike.

Does $625 per year plus Uber sound like a lot? Car ownership is estimated to cost, all told, about $8,000 per year. That is, if you're a car owner, for, say, 20 years, that is what you'd pay, on average, per year.

So I think bike ownership is a pretty great deal.

Welcome to Knives Chau my new bike!

You can get a Strida in Canada at Strida Canada West. Makes a great stocking stuffer.

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