143 comments

Anti Automobile April – Conclusion

april_fullYou might have thought that I’d forget to check up on you as Anti Automobile April came to a close. But here we are, on the first weekend in May. How did you do? Did you track your driving last month, and maybe even drive a bit less because of it?

I did, and here are the results:
Family Road Trip Driving: 1115 miles
Local Clown Driving: 13 miles
Walking: 107 miles
Biking: 111 miles

In the measure of “miles traveled by car”, we had a gluttonous month, because the MMM family happened to be in the middle of a big Southwestern road trip on April 1st. That night, we had to drive from Moab, Utah to Zion National Park, and the next day on to Las Vegas. And eventually, it was necessary to travel all the way back home from there.

But after that, the month was more respectable. Only two car trips were taken, for a total of 13 miles. They were both Clown trips, in the sense that they were within city limits and thus within biking distance. But at least they involved the whole family traveling together, and they were areas that are a bit of a stretch for little MM to ride to, especially since time was tight on those days.

There was some fun in it for me: we had a series of weekly record-breaking snowstorms in Colorado (Although this is normally a warm time of year here, you will still occasionally get beach weather in January, or deep snow in May).

During one of these storms, I happened to need groceries, so I threw on some snow gear and hooked the bike trailer up to my burly old full-suspension mountain bike. As the garage door rolled up, I was greeted with an apocalyptic blizzard: strong winds, huge flakes everywhere, and a deep crust of snow and ice on all surfaces. It was going to be an interesting ride.

The two miles to the store were no problem: downhill, on roads mostly melted due to the fact that it had been 70F just one day earlier. But inside the grocery store, I was confronted with amazing sales on many of my favorite foods. Obeying my own food shopping algorithm, I bought an enormous quantity of heavy stuff (85 pounds of it, as I discovered upon weighing it all at home). While this normally presents no problem for the bike trailer, I wondered how I would fare in the deep snow.

On the way home, I always cut through the park and ride along the creekside bike path. But halfway through, I discovered it had not been plowed, and the snow was getting deeper as I rode. I shifted down a gear and pedaled harder. The bike trailer’s narrow tires dug into the snowdrifts and presented increasing friction.

Eventually, I was in the lowest of my bike’s 27 gears, spinning the rear tire and pedaling with every bit of energy I could muster, shooting out steam clouds of breath, and moving slower than a very leisurely walking speed. My front tire slipped out, and I had to put my feet down and stop. And there was still a mile of this bike path left to travel. Snow was melting on my cheeks, icicles were hanging from my beard, and the 85 pounds of groceries were mocking me from behind the clear plastic window of the trailer.

I thought about you, and what you would think of me if I gave up. “Does Mr. Money Mustache talk about Badassity, or does he talk about Wussypants Convenience?” I asked myself.

“Am I going to go home and whine about this bike ride, or am I going to feel like I kicked some serious ass when I make it home from this?”

I waited for my breathing and my heart rate to recover. I looked around at the snow falling into the rapids of the creek, balancing on the tree branches, and floating straight down from the white abyss onto my face when I looked up. It was beautiful to be out here alone, when everyone else was safely hiding in their houses and cars. Even with ice on my cheeks, I felt warm, healthy, and even a little bit badass. I forced the bike and trailer to start moving again. The drifts were shallower as the trail progressed. I climbed the final 100 foot ascent to the neighborhood where I live. And rolled back into the luxury of my warm, dry garage, victorious.

storm2

icechain

That’s what the Anti-Automobile mentality is really about. It’s not about me whining, criticizing, or making America feel bad about its love affair with cars. It’s about all of us winning.

 

(For bored voyeurs, here is the full table of my transportation tracking for the month):

DateCarWalkBikeComments
4/1/201318010Moab, UT to Zion National Park (camped this night)
4/2/201316530A night out on Freemont Street
4/3/2013060Tour of strip (took bus)
4/4/20137050Trip to Hoover Dam, hiking around dam, meetup with Mustachians
4/5/201340020Las Vegas to Fruita, CO (camped this night)
4/6/201330020Fruita, CO to Longmont
4/7/20130210Biking with boy, Grocery trip with Mrs. MM.
4/8/2013082Biked son to school, then walked all day for construction project
4/9/2013023No school, cold weather. Biked to friend's house.
4/10/2013052some fun plumbing work today on the addition
4/11/2013052more construction
4/12/2013054Construction play, toured new house and made offer today.
4/13/20136210Drove family and bikes to lake for running/biking lap
4/14/2013026Store errands, helped a friend with some electrical work
4/15/2013015Ultimate Blizzard Challenge trip to store
4/16/2013026
4/17/2013024Library and errands, tiny bit of work
4/18/2013052Big work day
4/19/2013052Big work day 2
4/20/2013013Visited friend across town, drank too much beer today
4/21/2013036Nice morning walk at the creek, mega weights workout, afternoon biking with boy, grocery run in evening.
4/22/2013053
4/23/2013064
4/24/2013036
4/25/2013033
4/26/20130310lots of biking, bit of work
4/27/2013727Clown Day: Movie and birthday party at a park (family was already tired from biking to the other side of town in the morning to watch Mrs. MM run a 5k race!)
4/28/20130103Many errands around town today
4/29/2013034Work day
4/30/2013034
Totals1128107111
  • Executioner May 4, 2013, 4:31 pm

    I didn’t bother keeping track of my bicycle stats for April. My life is already pretty anti-automobile as it is. I did drive to the office one day in April, but all of the other days I rode my bicycle in. Bring on anti-automobile May!

    Reply
  • Simple Economist May 4, 2013, 4:33 pm

    Awesome update, I was just going to start checking in on everyone. We too have been tracking our mileage this month. It was a great month biking (only 4 ‘clown trips’ ) and we did a long bike race which actually makes the normal hill climbing and grocery treks a lot easier. I think my favorite part of the month was at the bike race and passing a lot of the out of shape people on their carbon fibers with our old school steel rodies. I’m taking it a little bit further this month with the same idea of keeping track of all of our driving to try and figure out exactly where our waste is. I would encourage ‘punch you in the face’ bike articles at least twice a year to keep lazies (that I can sometimes be) reminded and motivated. I’m looking forward to Anti-Automobile April next year. That pic of the bike in the snow is pretty sweet.

    Reply
  • Mark Ferguson May 4, 2013, 4:37 pm

    We have had a crazy spring in Colorado. At least in the spring the snow melts quickly and I can get my golf fix in. I am a realtor and investor and not driving would be nearly impossible. I drive about 25,000 miles a year rain or snow. Every Monday I drive about 200 to 300 miles doing property inspections.
    I also love cars with a passion and that makes it even tougher. I’m hoping my rental investments will continue to do great spin can afford my dream cars someday.

    Reply
    • Heath May 6, 2013, 10:42 am

      Wow. This comment… it struck me (hard!) as very different from the normal Mustachian input.

      First: golf. As far as I know, golf is a sport that consumes massive resources in the form of water (to grow acres of grass) and gasoline (maintaining acres of grass), not to mention the sheer volume of usually high quality property that it’s taking up. Maybe I’m wrong on this one? Plus it’s expensive! It seems like there are a lot of other fun sports which take you out into nature, without the extreme overhead: aka Hiking.

      Second: dream cars. Even if we assume we’re not driving these dream cars excessively (probably not a safe assumption), the production of said cars ALSO consumes massive amounts of resources. And really, how many cars do you need? I personally can only drive one car at a time. :-)

      So I guess what struck me as ‘far afield’ of Mustachianism is the complete disregard for the impacts of one’s consumption. In fact, I would argue that this is THE core value! But at least he’s here to learn how to save money by lowering OTHER forms of consumption :-P

      OK, end of semi-pointless rant.

      Reply
    • Heath May 6, 2013, 1:09 pm

      A relevant quote from MMM himself:

      “But even more significantly, you wouldn’t want that car regardless of your wealth. I could line my driveway with those things without going into debt, but holy shit, the very idea of even a quarter of that amount of money going to such an inefficient, uncharitable, environmentally unfriendly cause as a fast car just makes me want to pick up the thing and throw it into a metal recycling facility to reclaim its wasted resources. Money is not purchasing power – money is the freedom to live life and to do good in the world, and regardless of where you live, it must be respected properly.”

      In this article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/28/prospering-in-an-anti-mustachian-city/

      EXCELLENT!

      Reply
      • Mark Ferguson May 14, 2013, 11:34 pm

        There are many people who have passions for many different things. I have loved cars since I can remember, my parents were not car people so I don’t know why I got the bug. I think they are works of art and beautiful(not all cars of course). Cars bring great joy to many people and can be an incredible amount of fun. I guess if charity and helping the world is only defined as directly giving money to people than cars would be considered a waste. But if making the world a better place involves making people happy and enjoying their lives more than cars play a huge part in the US and around the globe. Not just for the people who own the cars, but for race fans, car show fans, and the kid on the corner who sees a Ferrari for the first time in person.

        As far as golf versus hiking, I am a very competitive person. Golf is the most challenging sport I have ever played and is one of the most relaxing activities at the same time. Again to tell someone their hobby or passion is worthless because you don’t happen to like it is not my philosophy.

        I understand wanting to save money on thing that are not important to a person, but quitting something that makes a person happy and is a person passion does more harm than good in my book.

        My philosophy is to be as happy and successful as I can be. If I can do that then I will have much more to give and contribute to others. Monetarily and emotionally.

        Reply
        • Heath May 15, 2013, 10:27 am

          Hmmm, I think you misinterpreted what I was trying to say, probably because I didn’t structure my points properly and fully. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pursue your passions, or that nobody should play golf because I don’t like playing golf. I agree that I’d be a Total Asshat if I said those things. Let me give it another shot…

          I too think that cars are works of art, and find great appreciation in observing, understanding, and even driving them! Some of them are incredibly beautiful, and should be praised as such. But I also recognize that cars, while totally awesome to admire, are incredibly wasteful. This has led me to live with either one car (previously), or no cars (now). Granted, my decision to live with Reduced Levels of Car is largely financial, but it’s also based on the GUILT I feel over owning and using something so wasteful. As a (poorly chosen) metaphor, I pick doughnuts. I love doughnuts. They taste amazing (‘cars are beautiful’). But they also kill me a little bit if I eat too many (‘cars destroy the world through inefficiency’). Thus I try and keep my doughnut intake at Very Few to None. And when I find myself desiring to eat as many doughnuts as I can afford, I recognize the bad impulse and stop myself. I eat other things instead, and derive my eating pleasure from those. Just like I use other alternative modes of transportation (bike, bus, carpool) to happily get around. And yet my love for the beauty of cars remains intact!

          MMM himself LOVES cars and motorcycles. He thinks they are So Damn Cool, and has strong desires to buy fast motorcycles and Tesla roadsters (he mentions this constantly). But he makes a conscious decision to NOT indulge himself at the cost of his future dollars, and the future of our environment. This is a Good Thing.

          See MMM’s recent Curing your Clown-Like Car Habit for more details: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/

          On to the subject of golf. I’ve personally never played golf, but I’ve heard it’s incredibly fun, incredibly challenging, and can be a great competitive sport. Tons of people love it for those reasons. I get it! If I had the opportunity, I’d probably play golf once or twice, just to see what it was like and enjoy myself. But just as with cars, you need to consider more than just the ‘fun’ or ‘beauty’ of an activity. You need to consider it’s impact on your future (high cost), and it’s impact beyond the scope of yourself (shit-tons of wasted water, gas, and resources). Just as with Fast Cars, there are alternatives to golf. You could take up rock climbing, like I do. Trust me when I say that it’s incredibly challenging, and can be as competitive as you make it. Though not very relaxing, I admit. Or, if you don’t like cardio, you could take up darts. Or, if you like grass based sports, you could try something like horseshoes or ring tossing or croquet or ultimate frisbee (more cardio), and the list goes on and on and on forever. They all take up much less resources (some less than others), but they’re valid alternative hobbies. Most of those might seem Lame to you, but just that doesn’t mean all of them will! Go explore :-)

          Anyway, hopefully I’ve explained myself a little bit better. The moral of the story is this:

          Passions are not fixed things which we must indulge to maximize Personal Happiness, even at great cost. They are flexible activities that we can consciously choose for ourselves. Choose wisely.

          Reply
          • Mark ferguson May 15, 2013, 11:11 am

            Heath, awesome post. I mean that. Thank you for taking the time to explain your thoughts. We do have different philosophies. I try to make better desicions based on their effect on the environment and our world, but I don’t make the absolute best desicion. My daily driver is a 2010 Audi s4. I can afford it and have plenty left to invest. It was the best option for me when considering fuel efficiency, speed, all wheel drive and comfort. I drive 30k miles a year so I want to spend that time in something I love. I also have an 86 Porsche 928 and 91 mustang 5.0 convertible with a supercharger input on 10 years ago. I’ve never bought a new car and even buy card out if state to get the best deal. I love the Porsche and mustang but don’t drive them much and they were very inexpensive.

            As far as golf it also gives me a chance to spend time with my father and brother in laws. I have always played sports, tennis, basketball, baseball, football, and hiked frisbee golf etc. nothing compares to golf for me. I know it uses a lot of water, but also provides a lot of grass, trees and open space.

            Reply
            • Grant May 15, 2013, 3:58 pm

              I am currently loving the process if reducing my car usage as much as possible, but if money was no problem, I would own those cars! Very nice!

              Reply
          • Mrs. Money Mustache May 15, 2013, 12:06 pm

            Heath – I think you’re awesome. This was my favorite quote from your comment: “Or, if you like grass based sports…” Haha! Love it.

            Many people don’t consider the environment at all when making purchases or pursuing activities. For us, it is a HUGE part of the way we live and the decisions we make. It’s always nice to hear that it is extremely important to others as well. As far as the environment goes, much more important than the particular car you drive, is how much you drive.

            Reply
          • Amber May 4, 2014, 12:41 pm

            +1 :)

            Reply
        • Heath May 15, 2013, 10:28 am

          Holy crap that was longer than I expected. Sorry for the Wall of Text!

          Reply
  • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies May 4, 2013, 4:42 pm

    “toured new house and made offer today”? Definitely looking forward to hearing more about this if possible.

    I’m still getting the hang of riding, but I’ve done to/from work twice per week so far, and next week the weather is looking gorgeous, so I’m going to attempt 5 days in a row. Compared to MMM, I am a wuss, and I admit that. But for me, this is huge.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 4, 2013, 5:06 pm

      We didn’t get that house, unfortunately. The housing market has become crazy in my `hood this spring, to the point that every house gets multiple offers and sells at some insane price, often higher than asking.

      Reply
      • Mr. PoP@plantingourpennies.com May 5, 2013, 7:33 am

        Same thing for us in SW Florida. We have the cash, but the prices are silly.

        Reply
      • Marcia May 5, 2013, 8:36 am

        Same here in Santa Barbara. Bad for my friends who want to buy a house. Good for my coworker who is selling her house. Hopefully good for us so that we can refinance. Just 3 months ago, the comps were too low. Right now, it’s looking better.

        Reply
      • Amicable Skeptic May 5, 2013, 7:26 pm

        Maybe it’s nearing time to put the rental house back on the market?

        Reply
      • TheHeadHunter May 6, 2013, 1:43 pm

        Bro, enough with the biking ;-)

        Yeah, driving is terrible, I hate it too, but at least it won’t cause my peepee to break :

        http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/cyclingworkouts/a/BikingImpotence.htm

        Oh, and I know it’s not guaranteed, but I’m not going to play Russian Roulette with my dingding!!!

        Reply
        • Sister X May 6, 2013, 3:29 pm

          I think the key words in that article are “on a poorly fitting bicycle saddle”. If you get a proper saddle that fits you, you shouldn’t have any problems. Also, if you’re childish enough to use the terms “dingding” and “peepee”, you probably shouldn’t be driving anyway.

          Reply
          • TheHeadHunter May 7, 2013, 3:32 pm

            The troll is right, I should have said Cock.

            Reply
  • Giddings Plaza FI May 4, 2013, 4:52 pm

    I made it through April on about 20 clown car miles–all car sharing. OK…wait, I also got a ride from a friend, so let’s call it 25 miles. A lot of clown miles, but MUCH less than I used to drive when I owned a car. http://giddingsplaza.com/2013/03/01/goodbye-saturn-sl1-hello-carsharing/

    Reply
  • Grant May 4, 2013, 4:55 pm

    And with v-brakes no less! You’re a braver man than I! :)

    Great story. I do wish it snowed in Australia!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 4, 2013, 5:08 pm

      Yeah, I just call those ‘brakes’, since I’ve never had a bike with any other kind :-)

      Reply
      • GregK May 5, 2013, 10:56 am

        Certainly you’ve had the even lower-tech center-pulls! That’s what I’ve got on my ride right now, though I’m considering upgrading to V’s.

        Reply
        • perthcyclist May 12, 2013, 5:41 pm

          He probably wasn’t going fast enough to really worry about the type of brakes he has…. badass though and also made me wish it snowed here. I really do need to go someplace where it snows for the riding int he snow experience!

          Reply
  • plam May 4, 2013, 5:19 pm

    I was just wondering if you wear a helmet while biking. I used to always wear a helmet, but I’m less convinced of their utility now. Both of the bike crashes I’ve had wouldn’t have been helped by helmets: one was a single-vehicle accident when I wasn’t paying attention and rode off the pavement and did an end-over-end on a slope; the other was when I was on the street and a car passed too close to me, knocking me off my bike. There’s even evidence to suggest that “passing too close” is more likely when wearing a helmet.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 4, 2013, 7:01 pm

      I think they’re a good idea. I do wear a helmet when doing inter-city rides and mountain bike trails. And the little boy always wears one. Cruising around our quiet neighborhood when heading down to the Indian Buffet or to the local grocery, I’ve been known to slack off.. but don’t tell anyone!

      Reply
      • plam May 5, 2013, 3:05 pm

        In general it probably doesn’t hurt to wear a helmet (except when cars risk compensate for you), but I do think that it’s bad policy to require helmets: it may reduce cycling rates, which makes cycling more dangerous.

        Reply
    • Cheryl May 5, 2013, 8:28 am

      It’s possibly only the crash where you land on your head that a helmet is essential, but you can’t predict which ride that’s going to happen on! I’m very pro helmet, due to landing on my head(helmet)/shoulder this year – it’s a whole different thing to to a sideways or rolling crash.

      Reply
      • CALL 911 May 5, 2013, 9:32 am

        Cheryl is right on. Helmets, seat belts, life jackets, they’re all the same. You don’t need one, until you need one, and nobody can tell you when or where that will be.

        Reply
        • Dee18 May 5, 2013, 12:48 pm

          Wearing a helmet part of the time is like trying to time the market. :)

          Reply
          • FiveSigmas May 5, 2013, 6:58 pm

            Hah! That’s not a bad analogy :-)

            Reply
        • Grant May 5, 2013, 3:31 pm

          The difference between helmets and seatbelts is there is empirical evidence supporting the claim that seatbelts save lives, the same cannot be said for bike helmets, and as mentioned by Plam above, mandating helmet use has the effect of making people perceive cycling as dangerous, and results in a reduction of cyclists. The one factor that has been shown to make cycling safer is having the so called critical mass of cyclists.

          Mandatory helmet use also makes bike share schemes a failure.

          Full disclosure: I always wear a helmet when mountain biking, and the only time I haven’t worn a helmet on the road that I can remember is while test riding my cargo bike around the block yesterday.

          Reply
          • Amicable Skeptic May 5, 2013, 8:00 pm

            To claim that there isn’t empirical evidence that bike helmets save lives is just silly. There have been lots of studies showing this (the most conclusive and also controversial being this one http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2716781 ).

            I don’t totally disagree with your point that mandating helmet use may make people perceive cycling as dangerous, but I would change your claim that “The one factor that has been shown to make cycling safer is having the so called critical mass of cyclists.” to the more limited and accurate “One factor that has been shown to make cycling safer is having the so called critical mass of cyclists.” and maybe back it up with a citation.

            On to anecdotal evidence, I personally know one person who would have been seriously injured without his helmet, another who was in a coma even with her helmet (she’s since recovered but without it she almost certainly would have died) and my friend’s brother is still in the hospital in critical condition after he was hit while not wearing a helmet. I have yet to need my helmet, but I wear it pretty much every time I go out.

            Reply
            • grant May 5, 2013, 9:28 pm

              Sorry, but that example does not prove “helmets save lives”, it does suggest, and indeed it is fair to say, that wearing a helmet can improve an outcome, but of the people who died, you cannot claim to know if a helmet would have saved their life, and of those who survived, again, its possible they would have survived without the helmet. Also, it is a very small sample size.

              With seatbelts, however, they have a huge pool of data to draw from, not to mention experiments involving cadavers and pig carcasses. Seatbelts DO save lives.

              You might find this interesting:
              http://theconversation.com/ditching-bike-helmets-laws-better-for-health-42

              Reply
              • Dave May 6, 2013, 8:46 am

                The helmet debate is super common among cyclist groups. Some good research has been mentioned here, but the conclusions being drawn from it seem a little funny.

                The relationship between more cyclists (the “critical mass” notion) and cyclist safety is valid–and it actually provides a logical basis for why wearing a helmet is the right choice today.

                If more cyclists = safer cycling conditions = less need for a helmet, then fewer cyclists (the current situation) = more dangerous cycling conditions = more need for a helmet.

                Further, if you or I are going to ride a bike to the store and are deciding whether to wear a helmet, we’ve already decided to be a cyclist and it doesn’t matter whether mandatory helmet usage would deter some other people from cycling. It also doesn’t matter too much whether a larger body of research on helmets would show them to improve preservation of life and health by 85% or 15% or some other figure. What matters is that modern bike helmets are well-designed, highly-effective devices that do actually improve health outcomes in accidents where a cyclist hits his/her head or neck. All research has shown that on some level, and it also just makes sense. This, coupled with the extremely bad outcome of accident-related brain injury vs. the extremely low inconvenience of wearing a helmet, make wearing a helmet the best choice you or I can make.

                If you argue that wearing a helmet isn’t an “extremely low inconvenience” (pardon that awkward phrase), I humbly suggest you try out a higher-quality helmet. The difference is huge. While I hate to advocate for buying something expensive when there are cheaper alternatives, my many years of experience have shown that expensive helmets are wholly worthwhile for regular cyclists, since they weigh next to nothing and look and feel much better than their cheaper counterparts. I’ve had a Giro Atmos (bought on steep sale) for a couple years, and regularly forget it’s on my head. It doesn’t even mess up my fancypants combed hair when I wear it on my commute.

              • Grant May 6, 2013, 2:22 pm

                Replying to Dave here – ran out of threaded replies :)

                I completely agree, and as I mentioned earlier, baring the extremely occasional post-maintenance test ride or similar, I always wear a helmet.

                But that doesn’t mean helmet use should be mandatory, an anything that may discourage bicycle use is a bad thing.

                I’ve never seen any campaigns to implement mandatory helmet use while driving a car, and you are more likely to get a head injury when doing that!

              • Grant May 6, 2013, 2:29 pm

                Oh, and yes for buying a slightly more expensive helmet.

                They all have to meet the same safety standard, but as you pay more they do it with less material :)

                If you are looking for a bargain helmet, check for a drug-cheating TdF team – their colours tend to go on sale!

              • Dave May 7, 2013, 7:51 am

                @Grant: Genius! How have I never thought of buying the helmets/gear in drug-busted team colors?! I bet some stores must practically give that stuff away.

            • Ian Turner May 24, 2013, 1:15 pm

              Would you wear a helmet while riding in a car? While walking on the sidewalk? While taking a bath? If not, then you might want to think about why you wear a cycle helmet, since these other activities are about as risky as riding a bicycle.

              See e.g. here:
              http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0001457596000164

              Reply
              • jflo August 1, 2013, 11:15 pm

                Funny thing – occasionally my husband picks me & my bike up at the metro station when I’m to tired to ride 3 mi uphill that’s the last part of my commute or we’re heading somewhere else. He always laughs when I still have my helmet on in the car (I forget it’s there). But it does seem weird that I only use it for cycling, especially given the crazy SoCal drivers.

                Helmet laws may be bad, but as one who had a crazy cyclist slam head-on into me that left a dent in my helmet, glad I was wearing one (still suffered a concussion).

    • gr8bkset December 27, 2013, 11:28 am

      Speaking from first hand experience, I was feeling good one day riding my bike home after sailing and looked down at the front wheel for a couple seconds as I accelerated. When I looked back up some one had put a heavy construction sign in the bike lane and it was only 15 feet in front of my speeding bike. I swerved and braked to avoid the sign and ended up doing a roll-over crash landing on my forehead. I pulled myself dazed and sat on the curb and after five minutes inspected my helmet. It had sustained a 1/8 crack where my forehead would have been. I think I would have sustained brain damage had it not been for my helmet.

      For those who still think that wearing a helmet was optional, think of how much pain and suffering your family would have to go through if you had a similar crash without a helmet. Their pain and suffering and time spent taking care of you would not be optional.

      Reply
      • Ian Turner December 28, 2013, 8:23 pm

        Actually, a cracked helmet is evidence that the helmet did /not/ help prevent a concussion. Styrofoam helmets are supposed to compress, not crack, in order to reduce the acceleration experienced by the brain. It is possible that without your helmet, you would have suffered some painful head injuries, but not a concussion or skull fracture.

        More details here:
        http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1209.html

        For me though, and more relevant than discussions regarding the effectiveness of cycling helmets, is the reality that cycling is a relatively safe activity. The risk of head injury is about the same per hour as driving or taking a bath, and about the same per mile as walking on the sidewalk. But nobody seriously argues that we should wear helmets when driving, bathing, or walking. Why should cycling get picked out for special treatment?

        Reply
        • Mike August 27, 2014, 4:49 pm

          If the risk is the same per mile as walking, then that means it is 4-6x higher per hour, is that enough to wear a helmet while biking even if you don’t while walking?

          Reply
          • Ian Turner August 27, 2014, 5:24 pm

            Perhaps, but if you proceed with that analysis you discover (as I noted in my earlier comment) that the risk of head injury per hour is about the same for cycling as it is for driving or bathing, so if “risk per hour” is your preferred metric, you’d be forced to argue for helmet use for those activities also.

            Reply
  • Miser Mom May 4, 2013, 6:15 pm

    Paying each of my boys a quarter per mile for biking instead of driving has made a huge difference to us. This past month, we’ve biked to dentist appointments, drum lessons, and doctor’s appointments. Today our whole famiy biked 17 miles (to my husband’s bicycle race and back).

    Because I live only 2 blocks from my office, I walk more often than I drive, so pretty much the only reason I take the car has been to drive my teenage boys to their appointments. Paying them to bike might seem like a cop-out, but the financial incentive has made the switch from car to bike a lot easier for our family. And I’ve been surprised how much they love it — the boys often give me a run (or a bike) for my money. Woot!

    Reply
    • Grant May 4, 2013, 6:44 pm

      I totally support bribery in child rearing. We have recently discovered that our 5yo will do most anything for 10c, so she is now participating in many of the household chores. I like the idea of payment per mile (or in our case km), and now that she is riding a proper bike I think we might give it a go. he’ll, I may even encourage myself like that!

      Reply
  • Rebecca May 4, 2013, 7:24 pm

    Thanks MMM for inspiring me to bike more! This month I made one trip to the grocery store (2.2 miles each way) AND today biked to the Little League park for my shift at the snack bar (2.8 miles each way) On the way home I stopped at the store for a few items we needed. It was fun, challenging, and my snackbar co-volunteers were amazed at what a novel idea it was. There aren’t even any bike racks at the park – I had to lock my bike to the chain link fence!

    Reply
    • Rob aka Captian and Mrs Slow May 7, 2013, 2:08 am

      that makes two of us, we just did a move (god I hate moving) but that’s to his blog a lot of thought went into how can we reduce our car dependance. BTW funny I would read this post as today was the first day in new place and the Wife took the S-bahn (public transportation) to work, and I’m about to bike to the vet and then to the store

      Thanks MMM

      Reply
  • Mario May 4, 2013, 8:21 pm

    My numbers were easy to track because I live in New York — I drove 0.

    OK, I could have taken a taxi, but didn’t even do that.

    To go along with the theme, I did try to ride the train less, by combining any evening errands that I had to take care of with a run to that place and a run back (or walk, if that errand involved carrying something heavier). It helps that I was also training for a big race that I’m running in a couple weeks :)

    Great idea for a challenge. Thanks!

    Reply
    • citybadger May 6, 2013, 12:12 pm

      Same here 0 miles driving and 0 miles in cabs. But also 0 miles on a bike. That will change this month with the bike sharing-program coming online. Are you looking forward to it?

      Reply
  • Joan May 4, 2013, 8:43 pm

    Writing from Toronto (walking and TTC for me is easy). Riding in a car inToronto is NOT a luxury at all!

    I’m curious about how you maintain your bike in the snow and salt. Insights and secrets would be appreciated! Thx

    Reply
    • Gerard May 6, 2013, 7:25 am

      Funny, Toronto is one place where I would describe car ownership as a huge luxury, in that there are so few things for which a car is needed and so many potential problems and expenses associated with car ownership. I live in Toronto part-time, I have lots of family and friends here, and I honestly don’t know a single person who owns a car.

      Reply
  • Lauren May 4, 2013, 9:33 pm

    Just popping in (relatively new reader) to say that I love the bike evangelism. My coworkers all think I’m nuts because Houston is too hot/humid/filled-with-inept-and-angry-drivers, but starting every day with a nice bike ride to work is a little bit addictive. Your blog is motivating me to expand to running errands and doing other short trips sans car.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 5, 2013, 7:46 am

      YES!! The first cyclist in Houston! ;-)

      Thanks Lauren – things like this are really about setting an example and building up a critical mass of bikers. I don’t know how many people have told me that NOBODY bikes in Houston, so they can’t do it either. But this condition is only true until somebody does it. (You!)

      Reply
    • GregK May 5, 2013, 11:01 am

      It’s definitely addictive. It’s hard to describe the feeling to someone who hasn’t done it (like me, a month ago), but it’s like you aren’t really participating in your morning if you take a car/bus to work. Something is taking you there. It used to take me the first hour or so to really wake up after I got to work. Now that I’m riding in, I arrive ready to go!

      I’ve read that people who bike-commute in to work are more productive. Now I believe it.

      Reply
      • jflo August 1, 2013, 11:19 pm

        Well said. Participating sums it up.

        Reply
    • HappyFund May 5, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Hello fellow Houstonian bike enthusiast! It’s true. Houston is too hot/humid/filled-with-inept-and-angry-drivers! I’ll also add that the roads are terrible and sidewalks sometimes nonexistent. Despite this, you and hundreds others choose to still navigate sans car. That is true badassity!

      Reply
  • Sam May 4, 2013, 9:34 pm

    I lost my driver’s license so I couldn’t even cheat and use car share :)

    Walked, biked or bussed everywhere.

    Reply
  • Huck May 4, 2013, 11:17 pm

    Only counting work commute, of the 22 days I worked in April:

    - I rode my bike 7 days…I partly blame the slushy spring in CO.
    - I drove 3 days
    - I worked from home 2
    - The rest of the days I did bus/bike combo.

    My commute is 15 miles each way

    Reply
  • John D May 4, 2013, 11:56 pm

    549 driving, 67 biking, 24 walking. The bulk of my driving was 40 mile round-trips to an orchard I’m rehabbing that required hauling tools and branches. Without that it would’ve been 182, and 150 of that was a road-trip to the big city. All of my biking was work commutes and it was really a lot more than I expected.

    Towards the end of the month I got a rear rack and milk crate for more cargo capacity, and I can see adding panniers soon. I’m actually oddly excited to pedal down to the local homebrew store next week and buy the grains for a batch of beer and then haul them home in the crate.

    Reply
  • Sophie May 5, 2013, 12:57 am

    I don’t bike (yet) but my little household drove about 30km at the most in April :-) walking and public transport are a way of life and I find it hard to believe that people actually drive to and from work every day. Sounds like hell to me.

    Reply
  • Clay May 5, 2013, 1:02 am

    Finally took the plunge and actually own a bike now. Crazy I know. Been riding to work every day and to the gym. Which means I only drive on the weekend to visit my parents about 45 miles away or to the grocery store, about 15 miles away.

    Maybe one of these days I’ll get a bike trailer and try to make it to the grocery store but honestly the roads scare me, have to get on the freeway.

    Reply
    • GregK May 5, 2013, 11:05 am

      Hey Clay — MMM has suggested before that people who think it’s hard to get to work or the grocery store post the approximate locations they’re getting from/to, and readers can scour the map to find an easy/safe route. You have to get creative sometimes, and maybe go out of your way a bit, but you can usually find a better route than the one that first comes to mind. The more biking you do, the better you get at optimizing, which is why it’s a good idea to ask the MMM community. You can post here or in the forum (ask a Mustachian).

      Reply
  • Dom May 5, 2013, 3:00 am

    Bike: 0 miles

    Walking: 200 miles

    41 miles per week to work and back, walking into town & for pleasure on the weekends.

    Car: 0 miles

    Haven’t used the car since about 5th January. The battery lives under my kitchen table and only gets installed on ceremonial occasions.

    Reply
    • Debbie M May 5, 2013, 11:50 am

      Interesting. So it sounds like your work commute walk is about 4 miles each way, which might take an hour or more to walk. I’m wondering what you do on your walks. Look at things? Plan your day? Work out story lines? I often read while walking, which is not the safest way to go about things I suppose.

      My job is about 3.5 miles from home, but it always takes me more than an hour when I walk because I get distracted looking at things.

      Reply
      • Dom May 5, 2013, 1:21 pm

        Debbie,

        that’s right – 4.1 miles. Current record is 53 minutes and 37 seconds, but more usually about an hour.

        What do I do whilst walking? Well, I’m an electronics/software engineer, so I nearly always have some work-related problem that I’ll be thinking about on the way to work. Sometimes I’ll use the time to have a chat with my parents (work-provided cellphone with 1500 inclusive minutes per month, so a properly Mustachian way of keeping in touch). Either way, I find it’s a great way to arrive at work awake and alert.

        Reply
        • Debbie M May 5, 2013, 2:13 pm

          Thanks, Dom!

          So, problem solving and socializing. Makes sense.

          That’s a pretty good clip, even at your average pace.

          Reply
  • FRP May 5, 2013, 3:47 am

    Biking: 0
    Walking: Who knows.
    Driving: ~500 miles. (448 miles of commuting.. wow..)
    Fuel cost: ~$20.00 (500 mi / 80mpg * 3.25/gal..)

    Forgive me, I managed to break the crank arm off my bike and my commute is still a rediculous 28 miles per day (though the house is ten minutes by bike from the University for my better half.)

    In my defense I’m a fairly healthy 26 year old with two functioning legs and perfect weather to deal with…

    Reply
    • John Iskra May 5, 2013, 9:03 am

      Hybrid? How are you getting 80 mpg??

      Reply
      • FRP May 5, 2013, 12:48 pm

        Yep ’03 Honda Insight!

        Reply
        • John Iskra May 5, 2013, 2:12 pm

          How are you getting 80, though? It’s rated at about 50:

          http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/18313.shtml

          Reply
          • FRP May 5, 2013, 2:35 pm

            Mindful driving. Like MMM said, “Thank goodness I don’t get those shitty mileage figures estimated by the EPA, or my gas bill would be ridiculous!” The federal tests do not operate the car in the most efficient manner they only attempt to represent what the average, mindless consumer gets while texting and force feeding themselves quarter pounders.

            Consider this: My commute is a 50/50 mix of 30-40mph city traffic with lights and 45-65mph highway driving. Here is a picture of my fairly accurate if a bit pessimistic fuel consumption display built into the car..

            http://imageshack.us/a/img203/2413/0325131401.jpg

            With most of my driving in the 90-100 range the occassional short trip around town may return 60 or 70 bringing my averages down into the 80s. Driving in this manner costs me 2-5 minutes a day over the course of my commute. I’m not distracted, uncomfortable, doing anything dangerous nor am I holding up traffic. There is an art to it but it becomes very addicting.

            Reply
          • Jamesqf May 6, 2013, 12:57 pm

            Because the ratings are crap? Or better to say, the ratings are modeled after the behavior of the average – that is, minimally competent – driver.

            FWIW, I’ve put about 115K miles on my 2000 Insight, averaging 71.4 mpg driving in pretty mountainous country, over 8000 ft passes, occasional dirt roads, etc. I bought it with about 50K on it, and the previous owner(s) had averaged just about 50 mpg.

            Reply
            • FRP May 6, 2013, 1:14 pm

              Are you rollin with the original battery?

              Reply
              • Jamesqf May 7, 2013, 12:06 pm

                Original traction battery, yes (but see below). Original 12-volt battery, no. This is just a normal car battery, but – as I found out the hard way, playing the stereo while stuck in a 3-hour jam – it has to hold a charge, or the hybrid system doesn’t work, and the car won’t start.

                I do have two traction batteries, because I like to tinker with stuff. An older battery may need to be “rebalanced” every couple of years – a time-consuming process in which each individual “stick” is discharged & recharged – so I swap batteries while doing it.

    • Chris C. May 7, 2013, 11:57 am

      You are not forgiven for having a long commute. I would challenge your commute against mine. I don’t have any clue how long my drive commute is since I stopped driving in January. I currently bike 11 miles each way with a 30 minute train ride thrown in to shorten the time. It would be approximately 25 miles each way by bike, which I have happily ridden.

      Distance is not an excuse for anything as surely someone out ther (me in this case) has a farther commute.

      Reply
  • woodnclay May 5, 2013, 5:00 am

    Brilliant! I love the biking in the snow part – very inspiring!

    Does the garage door open by muscle power and not electricity?!

    Reply
    • woodnclay May 5, 2013, 3:37 pm

      Inspired to calculate my mileages:

      Family Easter Holiday Driving: 230 miles
      Other driving that isn’t local: 90 miles
      Local Clown Driving: 0 miles
      Walking: 31 miles plus lots of little bits
      Cycling: 49 miles

      I normally cycle more when my son is at school.

      Small town, UK

      Reply
  • Melecio May 5, 2013, 5:12 am

    For the time being, I can’t avoid making 600 miles/month by car (75 mi x 8 trips). Except that, I completely avoid using the car, most of the time I walk. Recently, following mustachian advice, I’ve attached a pair of panniers to my bike and I’ve started using it for my grocery trips.

    Reply
  • Tommy May 5, 2013, 5:48 am

    Haven’t done that much this month, quite alot of work at school. So not much time to do clown driving really, and i commute with bus. Price for the bus are about 70USD. Please keep in mind that i live in Norway, so 70 USD is “nothing”

    Clown driving: 10km (A friend did drive me to the bus. Had to go for a weekend trip with airplane. Used car/bus to get me to the airport
    Biking: 94km according to Endomodo
    Bus: 800-900km

    Total cost: 76USD
    Alternative car cost: 603USD
    Money saved: 525USD

    Multiplie with 12 (months) and then the “35 rule” 220.500 USD! That’s an insane amount of money, even for Norwegians ;)

    Reply
  • Sam Silvers May 5, 2013, 6:03 am

    DH has been biking to work in South Florida heat and crazy tropical storms (damage is often worse than hurricanes believe it or not) for a year now because of Mr. Money Voldemort. Approx. 25 miles round trip. He looks like a clown as he wears flashing LED lights, reflective vest, helmet and a mirror attached to his glasses. Almost got hit by a car three weeks ago and ended up with a broken arm. When I drove him to the ER we passed a huge accident on the interstate with a body in the road. DH said, “That could have been me if I’d driven to work. I’ll keep biking.” And after reading the entire MMM blog, I still support his biking habit. So, thanks – our family life is actually much saner and simpler with just one car – even sharing a car now due to his broken arm keeping him off the bike isn’t that bad. (and the broken arm was minor as far as fractures go.)

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 5, 2013, 7:38 am

      I’m very impressed with your husband, Sam!

      He has a good point – many people in this country equate bicycles to danger, but the stats just don’t bear it out. Biking is safer than driving if your goal is longevity or a healthier life – because the health benefits are so much greater than the risks. If you factor in the life-years saved by earning financial freedom sooner, it’s an even bigger win. A bit more on that here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/

      Some more statistical food for thought:
      - in the last year, about 1.5 million different people have visited this blog
      - every year, about 11 out of every 100,000 people die in car crashes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year)
      - And thus, every year 165 people who have read this blog, DIE in car crashes!
      - Even among perhaps 250,000 hardcore regular readers, we will LOSE 27 of them every year due to car crashes (unless we can save some of their lives by having them drive less).

      Can you imagine the incredible tragedy of twenty seven people dying that way? The torn families, the funerals, the packing up of their belongings from their now-unneeded closets? And yet the statistics tell us it will happen. If not today, an MMM reader will probably die in a car crash within the next week or two. Cars are not particularly safe places to hang out.

      And thus, I hope people will not give too much weight to anecdotal stories about people getting injured or killed on bikes. Yes, it happens, and yet, it is sad. But safety decisions are better made with statistics than fear.

      Reply
      • Sam Silvers May 5, 2013, 8:42 am

        Totally agree & thanks for the stats look at it – due to our professions (medicine) we’ve both seen a lot of death and destruction from motorcycle, car and bicycle accidents – but have seen more in cars/motorcycle accidents than bicycles by far! Plus it beats getting fat (can’t cure obesity by buying a bigger pair of pants!) Most of our friends are like, “well, ya’ gonna quit the insane biking now?” DH’s answer is, “when it’s my time, it’s my time.” And that they understand (b/c they’re all in medicine too-guess we are a bunch of realists b/c of what we see)

        Reply
        • Jen May 6, 2013, 3:44 am

          On the other hand, those who are not comfortable with biking (like myself, who lives in a very busy metropolis) have a plethora of healthy alternatives.
          First, of course, is walking. I walk to work, to do groceries (with a pull-bag on wheels), and pretty much to many other places.
          Another one is a kick scooter. I just recently bought one (German Hudora) which is high quality, light, foldable and has a carrier strap. Great for distances that take too long to walk and is completely sidewalk-acceptable! Works best on empty sidewalks (applies to 99% of the US cities). May have to dismount and carry in busy areas.

          Reply
        • GregK May 6, 2013, 7:16 am

          There are lots of great statistics here:

          http://www.bikesbelong.org/resources/stats-and-research/statistics/safety-statistics/

          Perhaps my favorite: “In London there has been a 91% increase in bicycling on the capital’s main roads since 2000, and a 33% reduction in bicyclist casualties in roughly the same period.” -Geffen, R., 2009

          Reply
        • Art May 9, 2013, 2:38 pm

          Probably because more people drive a car/ride a motorcycle than ride a bike?

          Reply
          • Art May 9, 2013, 2:39 pm

            My comment was addressed at Sam Silvers

            Reply
  • Dan May 5, 2013, 6:28 am

    I started bike commuting in April and was able to get in about 240 miles. The longer commute changed my perspective on short trips as well. I felt silly getting in the car to drive two miles into town when I can easily bike it.

    I’m getting about twenty miles a day over some seriously hilly terrain. I travelled a week of the month for work or I probably could have done some more – planning to keep it going. Great exercise for a software engineer like me and my kids think I’m a total badass!

    Reply
  • CashRebel May 5, 2013, 6:42 am

    Sometimes I think of this blog when I have the option to slog through a blizzard to the train to get to work, or give up and drive with the rest of the clowns. Once I frame the decision like that, I always just put on some warmer clothes and make it happen.

    Reply
  • Andrew May 5, 2013, 6:45 am

    Oh dear, do I detect the most clownish car trip, the ridiculous “drive to bike?” When I see all those clowns at our local park driving tiny distances to bike on The Official Bike Path ™, I used to ask myself how hard a face punch MMM would deliver…

    Props on the blizzard biking however, that reminds me of biking to work during Sandy.

    Reply
    • Kudy May 5, 2013, 8:44 am

      Hah! I was wondering how common this is… every weekend on my ride to the gym/store I see the big SUVs with bikes loaded onto racks, headed a few miles down the road to the path – insanity!

      Reply
      • Gerard May 6, 2013, 12:25 pm

        I love that “on my drive to the gym” part!

        EDIT: Oo, sorry, I read too fast, it’s actually “ride to the gym”. Damn, I thought you were saying “drive to the gym” as a joke!

        Reply
  • Marcia May 5, 2013, 8:34 am

    Okay, that is really, truly, badass!

    Reply
  • Marcia May 5, 2013, 8:38 am

    Well, at the very end of April, I biked to work for the first time in 1.5 years. So…it’s a start!

    Reply
  • Debbie M May 5, 2013, 9:40 am

    Family Road Trip Driving: 517 miles
    Local Clown Driving: 210 miles
    Straight Walking: 5 miles
    Biking: 0 miles
    Public Transport/Walking: 154 miles

    The clown driving mostly had 2 clowns in the car; I drove 13 miles by myself, plus 46 in trips to the dentist and 12 to a restaurant in trips that would have been my myself if the other car weren’t in the shop. These trips were 6 or 12 miles each way, not super clownish.

    I knew I wouldn’t be riding my bike–I just did this challenge for the learning experience. I learned that one of my favorite grocery stores is closer than I thought (1.9 miles)–easy biking distance if we figure out a good way over the freeway. I learned that most of my trips are over 3 miles, and most of my non-work-commuting trips are over 5 miles. I learned there is a good bus between my new dentist and work but not home. I learned that sometimes the recommended biking routes are shorter than the recommended driving routes (when there are no good driving roads that are direct). I learned that I take mass transit almost as far as I take a car, even now that I accompany my boyfriend on most of his millions of grocery shopping trips, just as an excuse to be with him.

    I already knew I don’t like biking to work because I prefer reading during the commute than exercising during it. And I already knew I want to own a car because I value locational independence as much as I value financial independence. My friends keep moving further and further from the center of town, and they are nevertheless worth keeping. I normally walk a bit more when I don’t have plantar fasciitis, but I seem to be able to walk fair distances non-destructively if I use a walking stick.

    A new store is opening this summer easy biking distance (with no freeways) and we’re already planning to bike there. Who knows what will develop after that?

    Reply
  • Judie Ashford May 5, 2013, 11:49 am

    DH and I are 70, and he has cancer and I have painful sciatica. We are both retired, so commuting to a job is not at issue, but when DH was still working, he commuted on his bicycle 95% of the time. Formerly he biked almost everywhere, but the cancer put a stop to that – too much bone loss to be safe. So now we drive almost everywhere. Even so, yesterday I put a mere 12 gallons of gas into our 22-year old Mitsubishi sedan, having last filled up at the end of February, 2013!

    Reply
  • Jamesqf May 5, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Dunno about anti-automobile April, but if you shift a few days, I had a no-buy-gas April. The Chase credit card had a 5% cash-back deal on gas the first quarter, so I filled up both vehicles the last week of March. Filled up the Insight again on April 28th: probably could have stretched it a few more days, but I was driving right by the cheap station. The pickup still has about half a tank.

    As for putting the bikes on the vehicle and driving someplace to bike, I do that, partly because I get bored riding the same old places, but mostly because I’ve never figured out how to keep two dogs safe on a busy road.

    Reply
  • Jacob@CashCowCouple May 5, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I still don’t have a bike, but I walk a good amount. With one car, we just choose not to travel unless it’s a necessary occasion. We’re averaging about $60 per month in gas, which isn’t great but isn’t terrible. I’m hoping the bike miles start to climb once we move in 3 weeks and grab a used bike.

    Reply
  • Johnny Moneyseed May 5, 2013, 1:02 pm

    I feel like the snowstorm bike ride could have been mitigated by having a small stockpile of food at the house. That seems pretty hardcore and ridiculous to travel in those conditions. It would have been impossible to ride on a day like that around here. People go mental when it rains and they lose all of their driving abilities. It’s so bad here that they cancel work sometimes when it rains. I’ve been on the lookout and I’ve seen a few more people traveling by bike, but it still seems impossible to me, especially when I’d have to tote around 2 kids with me.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 5, 2013, 10:14 pm

      Johnny: are sure your last name isn’t Complainyseed rather than Moneyseed?!

      I always make a point of doing something outside when the weather is at its most ridiculous, just so I can feel like it’s not beating me. Of course we had a stockpile of food already, but I just needed certain fresh ingredients for my habit of luxury eating.

      What better way to earn a good meal than by biking through a deep blizzard with high winds?

      As for the feasibility of this ride in your area: it would be equally easy, not impossible. People say the same thing about how bad the drivers are in their city.. IN EVERY CITY! INCLUDING LONGMONT, AND EVERY OTHER CITY IN WHICH I HAVE LIVED!!

      Your job is not to repeat this cliche. Stop thinking about what the other drivers would do, and decide what YOU will do: ride a bike.

      Reply
      • Johnny Moneyseed May 6, 2013, 1:43 pm

        I’ll definitely be doing the biking this from now on as far as the grocery shopping is concerned. Right now I’ll admit that we live a little bit too far from work and the grocery store, but we’re moving into our new house in less than a month and we’ll be renting out our current house. Less than a mile to the grocery store, ohh yeaa! I’d be a clown for sure if I were making that trip by car. The work commute isn’t going to happen though. Even if it were possible for me, I would have to trail my kids (both under 2 years old) and there are points during the commute where the road narrow, and the shoulder and sidewalks completely disappear yet the traffic speed doesn’t change from 50 MPH. I’m perfectly okay with risking my life, and if we didn’t have kids I’d push for my wife to commute-by-bike as well, but we aren’t going to risk their lives. Does that make sense?

        Reply
  • mbk May 5, 2013, 1:24 pm

    No car here. And didn’t even board other’s cars. I am glad I am living in bike-friendly city.

    Reply
  • Elise May 5, 2013, 4:24 pm

    An on-and-off reader, here!

    I totally missed AAApril! Ack!!

    I’ve been planning my bike commute to work on the back-burner for weeks… missing this awesome challenge is giving me a kick in the butt to put my bike plan into action NOW, no excuses.

    I’ll see other Minneapolis morning bikers on the paths tomorrow :)

    Reply
  • Eliot May 5, 2013, 6:35 pm

    Great tail end of summer here in Christchurch, New Zealand.

    160km bike on 9 days, 75km walk on 15 days
    535km driving on 16 days (313 family road trip + 222 local)
    Most clownish drive – 56km by myself to visit a friend after dark, I still felt bad about it.

    Reply
  • George May 5, 2013, 6:40 pm

    damn, we had alittle snow in April here in Pennsylvania but nothing like that.

    In fact most of the month was Wonderful, and I welcome the beautiful weather and sunshine.

    Anyways, I know it went good because I fired up the car a couple days ago and it reeked of old stale gasoline; it seems the car doesn’t get much use these days.

    Reply
  • david May 6, 2013, 12:47 am

    you left out the most important statistic…..what was mrs mm’s 5k time?

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache May 6, 2013, 8:55 am

      Haha! My time was 28:00 even. I had only run once in the last several months, so I was happy with it. :)

      Reply
  • Lacraia May 6, 2013, 1:06 am

    I stumbled upon this blog thanks to medium.com, which is a wonderful site for those who like reading and writing.

    I like the mood and down-to-earth-attitude of Mr M. I’ve seen there’s been quite some talk about using the car less, and try to go by bike as often as possible. I’d like to add another possibility if you only need the car occasionally: sell it. Now, I live in Sweden so my costs may differ from the general North American person, but I discovered that selling the car and relying on bike and public transportation saved me 2,000 SEK (300 USD) per month! I had an old car from the 1990′s and did most of the service myself. I can imagine that the costs for a newer car would significantly more. I still need a car occasionally, but then I just rent a car. A weekend costs less than 700 SEK (100 USD) so I can rent what feels like a brand new car three weekends per month and enjoy a newer car and no services for the same price as owning a car. But in reality I only need it once a month. If you can adjust your life to use your car rarely: go rental; it’s cheaper :-)

    Reply
  • Jen May 6, 2013, 3:30 am

    What’s a V-brake? :)

    How about a series of posts about bikes and their maintenance for newbies like myself? Would be extremely helpful in choosing our first serious bike for some serious riding.

    When I was in grad school in the USA, I used to commute to school by bike (just 1 mile each way). It was a $50-dollar K-Mart bike. All maintenance I did was occasionally pumping tires. It lasted the whole 5 years, did the job (got a bit rusty here and there), and I passed it to my neighbor when I graduated. Would love to know how to choose my next bike and how to take good care of it.

    Reply
  • Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce May 6, 2013, 6:23 am

    I’m really glad you followed up on the AAA, MMM. I have yet to purchase my bike, and was planning on a road bike since I want to run a few triathlons (got the swimming and running down)…so I have been saving. The mountain bike seems like a great idea (especially since I spend summers in Vermont), but I think I would be the huge wussy in the storm. What to do…what to do…??

    Reply
  • Paul May 6, 2013, 8:36 am

    I had forgotten about Anti-Automobile April, but last week, for the first time, I biked into work every day! 10 miles each way, so 102 miles total in 5 days. I definitely feel the difference!

    Reply
  • JaneMD May 6, 2013, 9:52 am

    I biked zero miles in April, but have biked 5 so far in May for a trip to the gym, library, and mall. We also bought the bike trailer from Nashbar and two children’s helmets for the kiddos. Right now I’m using a fold-up Schwinn bike 1 speed. I would go more expensive, but I’m just doing it around town. Anyone have any suggestions to make it less painful.

    Oh, also, we’re hoping to get pregnant sometime this year so any articles or suggestions on biking while pregnant?

    Reply
    • Jessica May 6, 2013, 10:53 am

      Just get on and go! If biking was harmful for pregnancy there would be no kids in Holland or Denmark. Here in Sweden its a recommended form of excersise while pregnant, especially if you have pain in your pelvic/pubic seams. Maybe getting an upright bike will help you bike well into your 40th week!

      Reply
      • JaneMD May 6, 2013, 1:16 pm

        I was looking for more practical advice than that. I’m clearly a biking beginner who is just starting out – or I wouldn’t own a 1-speed fold-up bike. Right now ‘going’ is hard enough. If someone said – ‘my wife/self biked 5 miles a day through her pregnancy and we had to make adjustment x-y-z’ or’ buy recumbent bikes and fit with trailer at website Z’. The forum didn’t have anything on biking while pregnant – I checked. And since all the bicycle aficionados were congregating here, I figured I would ask.

        Reply
        • Grant May 6, 2013, 2:44 pm

          I had read a story of a woman who cycled every day of her pregnancy, including to the hospital to give birth, but I can’t find it now unfortunately.

          This was a nice read:
          http://simplybikeblog.com/?p=6655

          My wife had hip issues and found it too uncomfortable to ride not long into her pregnancies (especially with the twins!), but most articles I’ve read say something like (prefixed with consult your physician..) if it feels good, do it… But just be aware of changes in balance, stay hydrated, and don’t over heat

          Reply
        • Sister X May 6, 2013, 3:57 pm

          I second what Grant said about being wary of changes in balance and monitoring your hydration. As someone just leaving the first trimester, I’ve had no problems biking so far. The only thing is that I get winded very easily right now and that’s a common problem. I just bike a little slower than I used to, but not much.
          My friend (who’s on her 2nd pregnancy now) said that the first time around she biked until 7 months with no problems. Even then I think she quit mostly because it was summer and she was overheating (which can divert blood away from the baby and be bad). Maybe we should start a forum discussion on this?
          For myself, I’m planning on biking right up until the snow falls next autumn (likely either late Sept. or early Oct., so when I’m about 8 months along) and then quitting only because of balance issues on the ice. I’ll switch back to walking.
          I also recommend starting some prenatal yoga early on, since it’s helping me adjust my balance as my stomach starts growing. (I’m not getting round yet, I just look like I’m getting fat! :)

          Reply
          • JaneMD May 7, 2013, 10:50 am

            Oh, I was going to say that despite my failure to bike, our family does not drive at all from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. We also have 3 playgrounds within a mile of our house so we easily log 30 stroller miles a month.

            Reply
  • Kio May 6, 2013, 11:14 am

    I am truly impressed (though not surprised) with the badassity you displayed during the epic snow storm! Our stats weren’t too great for April; we went on a road trip for a friend’s Bachelor party (coincidentally, also to Moab). Also, I am just learning to ride a bike (yes, at age 26! My mom insisted it was too dangerous growing up…..), and I am still trying to feel less awkward on the road.

    But, the good news is we have dubbed this month “Mustachian May.” There is a beautiful bike trail from the bus stop to my job which runs along Left Hand Creek. I am hoping I will be confident enough to start commuting only by bus and bike this month!

    Reply
  • Jasmine May 6, 2013, 11:46 am

    Car: 160 miles (a weekend trip to hike in a state park near Capitola)
    Bike: 0 (my knee injury is still preventing me getting back on the bike)
    Bus: too many to count
    Walk: avg 1-2 miles a day for me, Hubby averages 4 miles a day to work and back

    Of course, we get killed on rent living in San Francisco proper, but you can never say a car is necessary!

    Reply
  • Danny May 6, 2013, 11:48 am

    Out of 21 working days, I had 15 by bike, 6 by car. That’s 417 bike miles, 133 car miles (biking is a longer route to find safe bike lanes). I intentionally take Fridays off to have fresh legs on Saturday in case friends want to go on a long ride, I’m sure to take a lashing for that by some.

    I didn’t track weekends but did go on a 37 mile route one Saturday for recreation. I’m sure I had some clown miles for Home Depot trips in there as well though.

    For those on the Strava biking app tracking miles, they are doing a “May Massive” bike challenge, which is perfect to keep up the motivation.

    Reply
  • Renee S May 6, 2013, 2:13 pm

    MMM,

    Since you have moved to bigger and better servers (is that the term?), I can’t see your pictures on my RSS feed…

    does anyone else have that problem? is there any way to fix it?

    thanks, mmm!

    Reply
  • Carl May 6, 2013, 2:34 pm

    We haven’t owned a car in forteen years.
    In April I hired a car to go to the garden nursery to buy some bags of soil (10 miles) and a friend drove us home one evenining ( 2 miles) otherwise we didn’t even sit in a car.
    In February we took a taxi home from the hospital (3 miles).
    Other than that I don’t think we have used any car at all this year.
    Of course living near the center of a middling large German city we have excellent public transport and nearby shops and bikes too, but it was a conscious decision to live in a place where a car is irrelevant.
    No more having to watch where we are going, no scraping ice, no unexpected repair bills – what a relief!

    Reply
  • Sister X May 6, 2013, 3:37 pm

    This really has nothing to do with Anti-Automobile April and everything to do with the fact that, until yesterday, I didn’t own a car but I did discover this month that there is nothing–NOTHING–that will make you feel badass faster than biking to a baby ultrasound appointment. :) When I showed up there was nowhere to lock up my bike so I had to drag it inside. When I asked the woman at the front desk if there was somewhere I could store it she gave me this terrified look and said she’d have to ask. The nurse who came around the corner just then laughed and said that she’d never seen that before. When I told another pregnant friend of mine about it she said, “Wow, now I need to bike to my appointment, just to see that.” :D

    Reply
  • Jen Scaffidi May 6, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Hey there,

    While I am nowhere near BADASS, I wanted to throw my feedback into the mix.

    The simple act of tracking my miles this month made me drive less and walk more (I don’t have a bike).

    More importantly than that, though, I ended up thinking about my driving habits overall, and chose to walk instead of drive whenever possible. That was a nice change for me.

    Thanks for the push!

    Reply
  • The Stoic May 6, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Sold my 2003 4×4 F-150 with Triton V-8! I’m down to a motorcylce, walking, and using mountain bike. It’s only been two weeks, but so far I’m liking it.

    Reply
  • Emma Lintott May 6, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Avid reader and reside in Fruita, Co. Hope you enjoyed your visit here. VERY bikable town with some of the best mountain biking in the nation!! Hope you hit the trails.

    Reply
  • Grum May 6, 2013, 11:01 pm

    I thought of you last night, as I got a puncture, half way into my 17km bike commute home from work, dark, raining, 8deg C. Yep it’s winter and metric here :-)

    Annoying, but no biggie, I always carry 2 spare tubes. Wheel off, tube out, new tube ready, try it, pump pump, nothing. No inflating happening. At all. Hmm, unusual. Lucky I have a backup. Try that one, pump pump, nothing. At all. Check pump, working fine. So, two failed spare tubes, cause yet to be determined.

    Anyway, there I stand in the cold and wet, temporarily defeated. For a moment, I considered reaching for my cellphone to call my partner to come get me when she finished work. But wait! How badass is that? How could I explain this to MMM? Must get home under own steam at all costs!!

    Rack brain, and suddenly remember I have a friend who lives close by. Walk 5 mins with broken bike. In dark, cold, rain. Brrr. Friend not home, but wife is. After strange look, allows me access to garage, where spare tubes abound.

    Replace tube, reassemble bike, ride home. Light fire. Drink beer. Tastes extra good tonight!

    Reply
  • Linda May 7, 2013, 1:43 am

    The photos were an epic ending to a brilliant post! I laughed when I saw them – so much WIN!

    I managed to replace a few car trips this the past month with cycling instead, better than most but a long way to go! They were some of the best and most memorable experiences of the month.

    Memory 1 – cycling down a hill seeing a wall of rain start coming down in front of me, and getting completely soaked. I’m not sure why that felt so liberating.

    Memory 2 – being outclassed by an elderly gentleman riding his bike while I drove to buy groceries. The next week cycling instead to the same area, and passing the same guy – I smiled at him and he gave me a salute/wave in return.

    Reply
  • Dorothy May 7, 2013, 8:29 am

    I did 26 on foot, 30 by bike and 360 on the bus. I mostly use a combo of bus/bike/walk to get to work, and for the last two days of the month I was brave enough to put the bike on the bus’ bike rack and cycle the last mile in to work as well.
    I only drove by myself on six days of the month to get to work, and we had out of town visitors that we drove around with – total car miles were 640, but divided by passengers who rode each trip it comes out to 360 passenger miles.

    Reply
  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets May 7, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I didn’t write down anything, but I did carpool (for free) somewhere between 5 – 7 days last month. This month it should be closer to 20 days of carpooling. Biking to work for me would be inefficient, though I can def. see the value in conquering the commute with my own power. We planted ourselves about 15 miles away from where I work, and though I enjoy my job, I wouldn’t mind finding something a bit closer. Riding a bike 5 miles (or less) to work would definitely convince me to get off my duff and get to riding. For now, the time lost is not worth the pride gained from cycling to work.

    Reply
  • Mark May 7, 2013, 1:50 pm

    A little late to the party here, but did you not have to laugh to yourself as you realized passers-by would think you had your kid(s) in that trailer? I can’t stop laughing about it.

    Great story.

    In my Anti-automobile April, I:

    - Stopped driving to work, and started walking (5 miles round trip per day, plus a mile or two at lunch time for good measure).

    - Bought an old Trek 820 for $110, and a bike trailer from my neighbor for $40.

    Thanks for an entertaining post.

    Reply
  • Fred Patel May 7, 2013, 7:12 pm

    April was a very good biking month! Living in New York City without a car makes it quite easy. Now religiously biking to work and reducing my commute time down to 12 minutes driving up the bike lanes on 1st and 2nd avenue. I was inspired by the many stories and now my wife and I ride along the East river on weekends.

    Albeit quite a ways off, I’ll want to secure rain and thermal gear for the winter months. Definitely want to tap into some inner badassity to see if I can maintain the trek all year round.

    Reply
  • Jeff May 9, 2013, 6:54 am

    You do look pretty badass on that bike.

    Reply
  • Mason May 10, 2013, 9:33 am

    Does this include mileage on your work van?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 10, 2013, 10:25 am

      Yes! The road trip was actually made in the minivan, and there was no work mileage since all my work these days is within bike-trailer distance :-)

      Reply
  • Darnell Rosen May 13, 2013, 7:00 am

    Hi Mr. Mustache, I have just been turned on to your wisdom. I have a job that is 65 miles from my house… ugh. I commute 4 days a week. I have a car that has 3 years left of payments on it and I owe 14000. While I am looking for a job closer to home what should I do about the car? Continue to pay payments, sell and break even and buy a beater? The car is a 2010 with 62,000 miles on it.
    The man without a mustache.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 13, 2013, 7:48 am

      In general you want to drive a car that you can afford without a loan – regardless of the commuting situation. Switching over to a 2001-2005 or so might be a reasonable compromise (you still need a pretty reliable car if you are driving that much, unless you are mechanically inclined).

      But, great job in general: you figured out that the commute is the biggest problem. That 520 mile-per-week commute is costing you $13,000/year of after-tax money, plus another $13k of your free time! It’s hard to get ahead when this much life energy is immediately flushed down the toilet before you even get a chance to invest it.

      Reply
  • Kris May 15, 2013, 6:47 pm

    I found this blog in May and have been reading old to new. Made an exception and read this one tonight! I have started biking to work again thanks to your blog. Campus is only 1.4 miles from home. I come home for lunch as well. Good exercise and beautiful spring flowers in SW Michigan.

    Reply
  • Ian Turner May 24, 2013, 1:47 pm

    If you are only driving a couple times a month, at what point does it make sense to just sell your car and subscribe to a car-sharing service?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache May 24, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Good point, Ian.. For me, it would totally make sense financially to sell both vehicles and find a way to do car-sharing.

      The only reason we don’t do it is because we lead a huge, excessively decadent lifestyle (as detailed in other posts) :-)

      If money were a concern for us at all, one or more of the cars would probably be among the first things to go.

      Reply
  • Ronda May 1, 2014, 10:15 am

    I am sort of in awe at this whole biking business. I rode bike for pleasure all the time as a kid, but since entering adulthood, it is a rare thing. That may be partly because I have spent most of my life in the country with the nearest neighbor being at least 1/2 mile away and all stores, schools, and businesses many miles. I find it interesting that you choose homes on the basis of biking distance–such a foreign idea to me, when my main consideration has always been space and privacy! I wonder if you think it merely a foolish extravagance to live in the country? As I said, I am intrigued, but actually find the idea almost otherworldly! :) So very different from anything I’m accustomed to!

    Reply

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