A winter resolution, update 3

June 24, 2009

Earlier: 1, 2, 3

It’s been a month since my panniers arrived. Since then, I have biked to work and back almost every day, in every weather, with the exception of two Friday nights when I knew in the morning that I had a high probability of being trollied in the evening. So I am well pleased with myself.

The total layout thus far has been $207 for the panniers, $35 for a carrier to fit them, and $32 for what has proved to be a quite adequate raincoat. I also needed a new chain earlier this week, and paid $60 to buy one and have it fitted*. I’m not sure whether that should count, but let’s say it does.

That’s a total outlay of $334.

On the other hand, in four weeks I would normally have used $76 worth of bus travel and $120 in taxis, so I am already more than half-way to payback time. I’m about to take a couple of weeks off with my daughter, so there won’t be any commuting going on, but even so, I should be in notional profit before the end of July.

On a non-financial note, my time on the way home, mostly uphill, has improved from 40 minutes to 30, so I must be getting fitter. I’m also enjoying sailing down Mt Victoria on the way in, which definitely puts me in a better frame of mind at the start of the day than a grumpy bus ride.

Verdict: WIN.

*Jack is going to comment and point out that a further investment in tools and cycle maintenance skills would quickly repay itself, and I won’t disagree.



  1. Quick! Do a cycle maintenance course at one of the community colleges before Rodney knobbles them all!

  2. Or should that be nobbles?

  3. Yeah, it’s an interesting one. Since I sold my car I reckon I’ve saved $250/mth. I now also live in town saving about $100/mth bus travel. Note, I’m also paying less for my place so it’s not even a trade-off.

    Finally, I bought my bike for $900 and to be honest, I’ve spent a good amount of accessories (from the essentials like a helmet, lights and lock to spare tyres, luminous clothes and tools). And even buying all of this extra stuff has still meant I’m _way_ ahead on the financial side 🙂

    Plus it gets me places quicker and I’m fitter too.

    Owning a bike is just the best thing ever.

  4. *cough*

    OK, so you should learn how to do basic maintenance. In all seriousness, if you’re using the bike as a commuting tool (and you should!), you’ll need to know how to fix anything that could stop you from getting to/from work. In practice, that’s fixing a puncture, adjusting your brakes, and joining a broken chain. None of that’s hard once you know how to do it, and provided you’re carrying the right tools (you do carry a pump, right?).

    In my case, as an independant contractor, the difference between being able to fix my own puncture and being 10 minutes late for work, versus having to wheel the bike to a shop, could be an hour’s salary. It pays for itself well quick.

    Good on you for keeping it up during winter, too!

    • actually, i haven’t done any of those things for 20 years, but i bet i still could.

      bicycle maintenance is both low-stress and (eventually) fun.

      it’s certainly easier and more zen than working with computers!

  5. Do you have good lights? I’ve spent about $100 on things that flash brightly, and it makes a huge difference to how much consideration other road users give me in low light. I put them on in heavy traffic for the same reasons.

    Again, money spent, but I figure it’s money worth spending if it saves me the stress or worse of having seemingly blind drivers not notice me.

    • I do, but I’m thinking about getting even better ones, particularly a good bright front light. With my reflective apron I’m quite visible from the rear, but I’d like a bigger brighter beam for oncoming traffic.

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