I sometimes meet people and act like I’m all green and environmentally responsible and whatever, but like I’ve said before, I am just very cheap. I do not like to spend money on things that are not fun, I find it very annoying. It just turns out that a lot of behavior that is motivated by being a tightwad is also good for the environment. My last car was an Oldsmobile that towards the end of my time with it seemed to cost me $1000 every couple of months for some sort of repair or another. I am sure the First Choice Motors guy had to cut back after I gave it up.
If you live in Morristown, it is very easy to get around without a car, and now there are zipcars at the train station, for times you really need one. Here’s my guesstimate on what it will cost you.
Bike: $1000 (Breezer Uptown)
Yes, that seems like a lot of money for a bike if you are a cheapskate like me. Yes, you can build your own or get a cheaper one, but I think this is a good commuter bike, and for people who don’t want to mess around with fixing a bike, it’s totally setup. I do not take care of it at all, and it has lasted 4 years.
Bike Repairs: $150
Flats, tuneups, whatever. I made this a little bit high, because since I don’t take care of it, now I need to get the internal gear hub replaced. If you plan on totally ignoring maintenance on your bike, I’ll stick with this number.
Zip cars rent for$65/a day or 8.50 /hour. Let’s say you spend 3000 a year on your car, just for gas and insurance. Maybe your insurance is less, but New Jersey is crazy expensive for car insurance. So for $3000, you can rent a zipcar for 352 hours a year, that’s 6 1/2 hours a week, if you go for an hourly thing, like you just need to drive to Route 10 and get the new GTA. Or if you rent it by the day, you could take the zipcar for 46 full days a year. You could use those 46 days to drive to work one day a week and drop off clothes, if you want to change when you get there. (I know 46 weeks is not a year, but I just gave you a European style holiday break).You apparently don’t have to fill it up, or anything.
If you do give up your car, I think you will not spend $3000 on a zipcar. I think I have rented a car to get around to local places about 5 times in 4 years. I’m only including it to make you feel better if you are nervous about giving up your car.
Special Biking Clothes: $0
You can go out and get fancy shoes and padded shorts and whatever, but who cares? If you are using your bike to get around town, you are not going that fast and you are not going to get sweaty. I’m sorry, you just aren’t. Ok, I guess I do have some raingear, but that was about $100, and you could take the zipcar on rainy days, so that’s part of the $3000 for car.
So that’s $4,150, for the first year. After that, the $1000 for the new bike is gone, and it is $3,150/year. If you only get the zipcar a few times, you can get down to much less than $500. I really have no idea what other people spend on their cars, but I cannot stress enough that if you switch to your bike how much cash it frees up. Seriously. I had a little bit of a sketchy credit history, to be honest, but after I got rid of my car, I was able to quickly pay off some old debt, and all my student loans and start my new money collection.
When my Oldsmobile left me, I totally intended to get another car, but just spend the summer on my bike. If you give up your car, and find it annoying, guess what? You can get another one! True fact!
Here’s another person who had a crappy Oldsmobile and traded it for a bike! If you want to trade your car for a bike and not pay anything at all, check out this New Belgium Brewery Tour de Fat.