Posts Tagged ‘cycling’


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.


A winter resolution, update 2

May 23, 2009

I bought the panniers. Total cost including delivery, $207. Which is what people want for the same model second hand here. So I’m following my expensive item guideline — buy things that can be resold for what you paid.

So, total outlay (raincoat + panniers) so far is less than $250. $250 is the cost of a month’s bus and taxi fares, so payback time is by July, as long as I don’t pike…


A winter resolution, update 1

May 20, 2009

I resolved to equip myself better and bike more.

In the subsequent week and a half, I’ve ridden my bike to work more often than not, saving approximately $40 over usual expenditure.

Today I laid out $30 on a cheap raincoat from Torpedo7.

I’m eyeing panniers from one of the impossibly cheap UK online retailers that Jack suggested. It looks as though I can get the top of the line waterproof Ortlieb ones for less than two thirds of the local price, if they come back in stock. Once thoroughly kitted out, I’ll be setting myself the goal of four commutes out of five and a market trip on Sundays.


A winter resolution

May 9, 2009

A while ago I posted about getting around, and I may have given the impression that I cycle a lot.

Now that it’s got colder and wetter, this isn’t really true. When measured against hardier types, like Jack, I am a wussy failure of a cycle commuter.

So anyway this morning I was thinking about how I spend more than $20 a week on buses. And shamefully, almost $30 on taxis when I’m coming home late from capoeira class on a Monday and Thursday. (The Number 2 is infrequent after 8PM and it’s a long walk uphill from the bottom of Hapua to the top of Mt Vic, OK?). $50 a week is a lot of dosh to have leaking away: $200 a month, and (allowing for holidays) about $2000 a year. Even if I only save half that, that’s a pretty chunky saving.

I realised that two things are holding me back. First, I need a raincoat to deal with the cold and wet, and second, I need panniers or something equivalent to make it easier to shlep the workday impedimenta. My current backpack just isn’t up to holding work clothes, gym gear, lunch and random crap.

I have investigated improvising some panniers out of army surplus knapsacks, but the fact is that my crafty capabilities aren’t up to it. But that’s ok. Because it’s clear that if I can keep the budget for bags and raincoat under a couple of hundred, they’re still going to be a great investment. It looks as though that’s quite achievable, based on today’s online research.

Sometime this week, I’m going to order some panniers. I’m just waiting for a couple of retailers to get back to me. And I’m going to buy a raincoat. When I have, I will post about it. And then in a couple of months, I’m going to tell you how much I’ve used them.

This post wasn’t actually for your benefit — it’s for me.


Lateral thinking frugality

October 26, 2008

For some time I’ve been looking for panniers for my bike. When you get a bit warm, if you’re wearing a backpack your back gets all sweaty and yuk. The commuting cyclist needs panniers.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find any that aren’t expensive (starting around $150) and over-engineered, or part of a proprietary “system” that requires you to buy a special carrier to mount them. I am not touring the Andes by bike, all I want is something that’ll take a lunchbox and a change of clothes, for crying out loud.

So today I went to the army surplus store on lower Cuba St, and bought two very cheap canvas knapsacks ($32 the pair). I’m doing a bit of surgery on the straps, and shortly they are going to become my new panniers. I’m thinking I might not even bother stitching them – riveters are really cheap, and I’d quite like to own one.

Write your own moral below.