Sport Cycling How riding a bicycle can save you money

How riding a bicycle can save you money

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It’s a fact universally acknowledged that Australia is a bloody expensive place to live or even, it now appears, buy a cup of coffee in.

This was highlighted to me the other day, when a dear colleague from work was forced to spend $5.30 on a regular cup of coffee (with soy milk) in a Melbourne café. Outrageous! Or, as she stated in an Instagram post, #overpriced.

It was also highlighted by the Deutsche Bank which released its report comparing the cost of living between countries across the globe recently.

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Their report, Mapping the World’s Prices, showed that Australia topped the list of the most expensive countries to live in, stating we have some of the costliest public transport, petrol prices and even running shoes (a pair of well-known branded ones cost around $US92.30 or $A119).

So with all this expense, price hiking and general high cost-of-living happening, it’s the perfect time for Australians to consider saving some money and riding a bike more – especially to work.

Let’s set aside for one minute, the fact that riding a bike has enormous benefits for your health and could lower your medical bills. That’s because you’re lowering your risk of diseases linked to a lack of physical activity like heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and cancer – all costly diseases to the individual in more ways than one.

Why battle the crowds on public transport when you can ride? Photo: Getty

Let’s instead look at the pure financial benefits of getting on the bike.

Consider this – the RACV’s latest Cost of Motoring report shows that a medium vehicle can cost anywhere from $217-$320 per week to drive (including the cost of financing the car, depreciation, servicing, registration, tyres and fuel when driving 15,000km per year) over five years.

These costs don’t take into account the cost of parking in the city, which as we all know costs a lot more than a cup of coffee – even a $5 one!

In fact, the RACQ’s recent study on parking costs show average costs of $64 per day in Melbourne’s CBD during the week, $75 in Sydney and $68 in Brisbane for off-street parking.

Then there’s public transport, which in Melbourne, costs $37.60 per working week on the Myki system for a full fare adult – more if you use public transport on the weekend.

In Sydney a MyMulti 7-Day pass for public transport is $48 for a full fare adult in MyMulti1 areas (it’s more expensive outside these areas).

Now consider the cost of riding a bike. A few years ago this was estimated at around $1000 a year (about $19 per week). Factor in CPI since 2011 when this was calculated and the cost is $1068.50 (about $20.50 per week).

This includes costs for buying the bike, and gear like a helmet and lock as well as regular maintenance to keep your trusty steed in tip-top condition (and joining a bike organisation like Bicycle Network for insurance and other benefits).

And you can park it for free! How beautiful is that?

It’s lucky then, that my colleague rides her bike regularly to work – not only does it mean she is working on her health but she can afford to buy an overpriced coffee at that café.

Melissa Heagney is Editor of Bicycle Network’s Ride On magazine.

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