Get Rich With… Bikes

Hey there.. welcome to the first edition of my new “Get Rich With…” series.

In these articles, we’ll analyze a bunch of ideas, both new and old, to see what kind of impact they can have on your life. (Hint: the impact will probably be a huge positive one, since these are all of my favorite moneymaking ideas).

And this edition is about the good ol’ fashioned Bicycle.

The bike will probably turn out to be the best thing ever invented for humankind. It has taken us a long time to realize this, but at last there seems to be a permanent cycling-for-transport boom that is making its way even to the US, with bike trips increasing by hundreds of percent in all major cities in recent decades.

You see, bikes were invented before they were truly needed – when the world was sparsely populated. When cars came along, they seemed like an improvement on bikes, bringing us great speed without any effort at all.

Unfortunately, as a side effect they destroyed the whole fuckin’ world, and made most of us dangerously obese too. With a new understanding of these side effects, the bike seems like an increasingly appealing alternative.

The fundamental reason for the bike’s status as the Greatest Invention of All Time is its unique combination of simplicity, efficiency, and incredibly powerful health benefits- interestingly enough, exactly the opposite attributes of a car which is complex, inefficient, and horrible for your health due to the stress, inactivity and the cramped seated position.

With just a few moving parts, bikes are simple enough for most people to maintain entirely on their own without paying a mechanic.

And they are efficient in multiple ways: bikes weigh only 20-30 pounds but they can carry ten times their weight in rider and cargo. They convert a slow human with a walking speed of 3.5MPH into one of the fastest creatures on land, with an easy cruise of 15MPH and a top speed of over 40MPH on level ground and 50+ downhill for athletic people.

And the side effects are incredible.. vigorous biking can consume 1000 calories per hour, meaning you can burn off an entire pound of fat in one big 3 hour ride. This kind of exertion pretty much fixes up all the rest of your body for free too, clearing your arteries, polishing your kidneys and teeth, and giving you clean stylish hair and a better sense of humor, all after the first ride.

But another side effect is that bikes are good for your wealth. To start with the bare minimum: any mileage you put on your bike instead of your car saves you about 50 cents per mile in gas, depreciation, wear and maintenance. From this savings alone, doing a couple of bike errands per day (4 miles) in place of car errands will add up to $10,752 over ten years.

But the benefits are greater than that, of course.

Once you get into bicycling, it may grow on you. You may be able to go without a car, or you might find, like me, that having an expensive car is no longer useful as a status symbol to you. This would allow you to keep a less expensive car (saving another $30,000+ over ten years).

You might find that biking around becomes a source of leisure as well as transportation. This would displace other more expensive leisure activities. Driving to the stadium to watch a monster truck rally with the family ($100) could be replaced by biking along the creek path and wading around in the waterfalls ($0). Replacing even $10 per week of paid leisure with free biking would net you another $7680.

Then there are incalculable things like health and productivity. But you know what? Fuck it, let’s be bold enough to calculate them here:

By riding to work instead of driving, you are boosting your mood and your mental focus. This allows you to work smarter and longer. It also makes you better looking. These factors will allow you to earn at least an average of 5% more than your unfit counterparts would after various raises and job switches kick in. For a worker at the $50,000 annual level, this is a $2500 per year boost ($37,500 after ten years with compounding).

Then there is the reduction of doctor visits and prescription drugs which will benefit you when you are older. This is a large future sum, but let’s estimate the net present value to be about $1000 per year ($15,000 over ten). And we haven’t even gotten into the effect of greater health on your overall enjoyment of life.

Bonus: How to Make a SUPERBIKE

I’ve been a bike evangelist since childhood, but only recently did I discover the way to make your bike even MORE POWERFUL – with a BIKE TRAILER! In 2007 when my son was old enough to start riding around with me, I bought a trailer like this one* from Amazon. This revolutionized my biking life, because suddenly my wife and I could get the little lad to most of the close parts of town with no car! When you leave the kid behind, these trailers can also carry a massive $150 load of groceries, or even a bunch of stuff from Home Depot like a few cans of paint and some light fixtures. I’ve put over 1000 miles on this trailer since I bought it, meaning it has saved over $500 in car costs alone.

(Note: if you don’t need to carry kids, go for an even more affordable grocery/cargo trailer like this one)

The final issue to address is the “But I can’t ride a bike in my city/climate/physical condition/age” excuse that 99% of people over 12 in this country seem to cough up.

The answer is, in 99% of these cases: WRONG! Amsterdam is chilly and rainy, and this is how the bike scene looks there. In Hamilton, Canada, I rode year-round to get to McMaster University, through a dense downtown area in snow up to a foot deep. It was awesome. In Asia, the streets are packed with 90-year-old-ladies zooming along on cruisers with panniers full of chickens and such. If you are too heavy to look good on a bike right now, start biking and you soon will not be. JUST GET THE BIKE and you will see.

So, if you grow a big Money Mustache today and go out and get yourself a good city commuting bike – either visit your local bike shop of if you are an online-only shopper  try one of these – then here’s what you will have in ten years:

  • reduced mileage: $10,752
  • less expensive cars: $30,000
  • cheaper leisure: $7680
  • increased income: $37,500
  • reduced medical: $15,000

    Total: $100,932

That’s in only TEN YEARS!! A pretty good return on the investment in some thing you can find for about $300 on Walmart online, eh??

* – Except I got my bike trailer on sale for about $80.. check your local Craigslist too

** Note – all multi-year figures are scaled to assume a 7% growth of the savings, if you had invested them instead of spending them on cars. But this effect is fairly small over 10 years. It gets bigger the longer you bike.

  • Jane August 14, 2015, 12:43 pm

    I own a bike and I ride to work every day. I love it, and it does save me $130/month for metropass. But. Winter in Toronto starts in November and ends in April. You say here you biked all through winter. Well I tried. Didn’t end well. I usually go through the parks, where there is no winter maintenance. Going through the main roads is dangerous in the best of weather, let alone dense snow.

    So, I don’t exactly see how I can bike year round, which means bike economy is only available to me in summer month.

    Do you have any recommendations? And hacks I missed?

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 19, 2015, 10:17 am

      Right on, Jane! If you ask someone who actually bikes year-round in lakeshore Southern Ontario, you’ll find out the hacks you need to get it done if this is what you want. I did it when I lived next door in Hamilton 20 years ago – all I needed was a mountain bike with good knobby tires, and fenders. I used any surface I could find to make the 5km journey to the university each day – roads, parking lots, and sidewalks. (Hamilton didn’t have the great bike lanes back then that it has now).

  • Mr. Frugal August 24, 2015, 9:56 am

    Mr. Money Moustache,

    I am considering buying a bicycle and riding it to work. What are your thoughts on an electric bike? (Not a scooter, but a battery assisted bike). Any recommendations on a brand to buy?


  • Bill September 18, 2015, 2:55 pm

    My inner pedant wants to point out that what you would recognize as a bike (chain drive, pedals, equal size wheels) was invented only a few years before cars were. Late 1800’s. H.G. Welles famous War of the Worlds included bikes because they were so new.

  • CrystalC September 30, 2015, 6:17 pm

    I just discovered your blog from listening to the So Money podcast with Farnoosh Torabi and I love what i’m reading so far. You are an inspiration to me! I also would like to begin to bike to work, but I live in a big city and frankly I’m scared. I commute 3.2 miles both ways and there is heavy traffic. I also work in a large building and I haven’t seen anywhere to store my bike throughout the day. For reference I live in Mid-City Los Angeles near West Hollywood where there are few to no bike lanes. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • Barton November 30, 2015, 6:38 pm

    Hello MMM,

    Thank you for all you helpful tips.

    What if my employer pays for me to take public transportation in NYC Year around as well as car service. Also my employer provides me with really good health insurance. I am also in good physical condition (not over weight at all).

    Thanks again,


    • Mr. Money Mustache December 1, 2015, 8:52 pm

      If you’re not driving a car, you are off to a good start. But if you’re sitting on public transport to get to work, you’ll need to get your two hours of outdoor exercise some other way – maybe you already run or walk or lift weights or work outside?

      Being non-overweight is only the start of good health.. you also need resistance and cardiovascular training. It’s efficient to combine the cardio part of this with your commute to work, which is why I always avoid public transit if I can.

    • Linda July 27, 2016, 4:55 pm

      Barton… Have you talked to your Human Resources department to see if your company might also compensate you in some way for bicycling to work. Maybe you can get the program started for your company.

  • Doug December 28, 2015, 6:49 pm

    Despite being 4 years, 8 months old, this topic is still getting comments so now it’s my turn. My bike odometer just turned over 1000 miles (or 1600 Km) for this calendar year. That may not be anywhere near the mileage MMM puts on in a year, but for me it’s a record and something I’m quite proud of. Keep up the good work, MMM, of encouraging us out here in your audience to leave the car at home and get out biking more.

  • Grant January 3, 2016, 11:16 am

    Hi MMM

    I don’t recall how I stumbled on to your site but it is one of my favorite reads in the morning.

    I am fortunate enough to live on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada. I gave up my SUV lifestyle along with my ego a few years ago. I commute by bicycle for nearly everything. As well, if the trip is too far, I will place my bike on the front of the transit bus and unload it at my stop. It is so efficient and my health has never been better. Our bike lanes are pretty good here and improving every year. I don’t have a bike trailer yet however it will be my next investment. I have been using panniers however I can definitely see the advantages of a trailer.

    We do receive a fair amount of rain through-out the year and it is not a problem. Simple rain gear squashes any excuse for not commuting in the rain and as my sergeant in the army would often say: ” If it ain’t rain’n – It ain’t train’n”.

    Thanks for your awesome and inspiring articles.


    Comox Valley BC

  • Doug January 19, 2016, 10:35 am

    I’m mildly surprised that there’s not an article about walking. Don’t get me wrong, I use my bike for a lot of trips and it definitely is the most efficient form of transportation (from one engineer to another). A lot of times, though, walking can be a lot more pleasant than biking in traffic in some places or when it’s cold. Plus I think it’s easier to socialize with your spouse or friends walking over biking. You’d be surprised how far you can go if you just have a little patience and go with somebody to talk to. It also helps to simplify your life and shrink your circle. We get a decent amount of our errands done without ever having to touch any mode of transportation more complicated than socks and shoes. I think walking might be a good alternative for potential Mustachians who don’t really get as much enjoyment as others out of biking.

  • Chellian January 21, 2016, 1:06 am

    So I’ve been reading Mr Money Mustache for over 2 months now and have started learning to build up my frugality muscle. I am proud to announce that as of today, my muscle has increased in size; today I rode my bike for the first time since I was a teenager. To top it all off, my partner is getting me a very reasonably priced bike trailer from his work, after a random aside asking him if they sold them and if he knew of any good ones, he professed that the store he was working at had one left that was old stock that hadn’t moved, and that it could be discounted to… $30! Guess who now has no more excuses to fire up the gas guzzling car to get the groceries, you guessed it, this girl.
    *I’m working my way through the 2013 posts but came back specifically to post on the first bicycling post that inspired me.

  • Doc Money Beard March 4, 2016, 9:26 am

    Mr. Money Mustache will love this one observation from my families recent travels around Europe: Outside of the train station in Basel, Switzerland, there is a two story parking structure for … bikes! I think there was maybe 10 total car parking spaces and hundreds of bikes piled up across both floors. I immediately thought of this blog.

    • Doug July 14, 2016, 8:57 am

      I saw a similar bike parking structure near the railway station in Amsterdam, but this one had 4 levels, if my memory serves me right.

  • Ashley May 12, 2016, 11:39 am

    I was pretty excited about the idea of biking to work when I moved to LA. Unfortunately, I had no idea how dangerous it was here. I live right in the middle of the city (Mid-Wilshire) and work on the west side (Century City). The commute from home to work is one of the most dangerous in the country due to non-existent biking infrastructure and Angelenos’ inabilities to drive mindfully. I resistantly wound up buying a used car since it was too dangerous to bike. I honestly don’t even feel safe in my car and I’ve been hit twice since buying it last summer!

    You can check out this article that talks very frankly about the dangers: http://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/the-ride-of-way/. This guy is lucky because he doesn’t live in the city center, so he can avoid some of the bs once he’s out of the center (but not all). Thankfully, the city recognizes all of this and is trying to take action and make it more bike-able. I recognized that using buses would be dangerous and difficult due to the serious homeless problem (they sleep and live at the bus stop benches and are often violent) so I chose to look for a silver lining and found a neighborhood so walkable that I wouldn’t really need the car for anything but driving to work (except during the part of the year when the sun sets before I get home from work).

  • Angel May 19, 2016, 6:32 am

    So Hello all, I am really new to this but loving everything I am reading….
    Here is my question/concern: I am 54 in fairly good shape, live in a large city (Las Vegas) and live about 20 minute car drive from work. Not really willing to move closer as where I work is one of the most crime ridden areas. I am willing to try biking to the grocery store. Again 54 and traffic busy so I am a little scared people are getting hit by cars all the time here that being said I refuse to live in fear, how do I do this without …I am not sure seems like a scary risk. I want the positive benefits though :)

  • karen May 19, 2016, 11:25 am

    Not sure if this will be seen or not since the post is older, but I’m wondering if you modded the bike trailer, and if so, how. Remove the seat/s? Reinforce the floor? Thanks!

  • Naia June 5, 2016, 9:09 pm

    I haven’t biked seriously since I was a teenager after a painful fall on a gravel road and I’ve never biked in traffic and am afraid of it. My commute is from State Rd at Creek Rd in Pennsylvania to the University of Delaware. Although it can be biked along major state roads, I would like to start out small if possible on streets without too much traffic. Can anyone give me some input on if this seems possible, or what might be the most easy route to begin with?

  • Darren June 10, 2016, 5:56 pm

  • Heidi July 9, 2016, 1:17 pm

    I am starting to bike more and more but honestly I am scared. Maybe it is a freak thing but I have seen 5 people hit in the last 10 years on bikes. I have to do a 1 mile stretch on a 50+ mph road and I am just a nervous wreck doing it. Last week a motorcycle git hit by a car and both died on the stretch of road I have to take. Would love any advice.

  • banyanbat August 3, 2016, 8:41 am

    Wonderful article. And yeah bikes are really our friends when it comes to saving money and health :). But I would like to share my a bit different experience here. By all means bikes are really awesome and I love riding them too.. but for now I have been doing even without them :P:

    We live in downtown Toronto in an apartment and not a condo (its actually towards the end of downtown and really a nice community) :). And we do all my grocery by walking to the grocery stores. For the records, we do not go to the high end grocery stores, we go to a reasonable ones which are about half an hour walk from my place (We go to two places to get good deals, fresh veggies and some Indian grocery).

    We bought a $20 kart. We shove all kinds of loads into it so far…. I would like to mention a few for records :) …watermelon, 20lb bags of rice, wheat flour, large bags of onions/potatoes :). My office is at a 20 minutes walk so it gives me a 40 minutes walk daily.
    For walks, summers and winters are alike. We also enjoy the walks while we stock up our grocery.

    As we rent an apartment and have a minimalistic setup at home, I only spent $69 once on an IKEA delivery :P. Probably when we need more things from distant places, we will think of upgrading to a bike like MMM.

  • Mr FOB October 1, 2016, 5:10 am

    Thanks MMM, for this inspiring post! And indeed, we love to cycle in The netherlands! I do it every day, no matter what meteo is doing.
    Funny thing for the Dutch amongst us: the reduced mileage brings us about 1.6x more financial benefit than the US guys and girls. That’s because driving a car in the Netherlands is so much more expensive than in the US. For the Dutch amongst us: I calculated this using reference data from NIBUD (National Institue for Budget Education) for a small to intermediate car. And compared that to MMM’s numbers. Which might be for a bigger car; than the comparison is even more to our advantage, so let’s keep on cycling us Dutchies!

  • Hoppy October 29, 2016, 10:11 am

    MMM, I know this is a 5 year old post, but I wanted to let you know that this post was a significant motivator in getting me to start biking to work. I recently celebrated my 4th year of biking to work. Thanks to biking, I sold a car, and I have saved at least $6,500 and have enjoyed biking. I wrote a bit more about my experience in this forum post: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/4-years-of-biking-to-work/.

  • Doug January 10, 2017, 2:53 pm

    I broke my 2015 record of 1600 Km. In 2016 I put on 1666 Km (or 1035 miles) on my vintage Raleigh bike, all on short trips around the city. It’s amazing how a short trip here, and another one there can all add up to such a total distance.

  • bdr February 28, 2017, 10:45 am

    It’s been almost a year since I first read this article, and it was the ass kick I needed to cycle commute full time. So thanks, MMM. I had been a fair weather bike commuter to that point, but no excuses anymore.

    To those who are worried or anxious about cycle commuting year round, I’ve picked up a phrase that’s worth repeating:

    “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing/equipment/attitude.”

    My city (London, ON) has a highly variable climate with cold, snowy winters with multiple freeze-thaw cycles and stupid hot, humid summers. As long as you have the right gear and the right attitude, none of these conditions can stop you. For example, at the start of this winter I found an old, used mountain bike fitted with studded tires. Those little guys have saved me innumerable painful falls. I can ride over a slick sheet of ice or hard packed snow and be more stable than on my two feet.

    Anecdotally, I report improved energy, physical fitness, and overall well-being from my daily 22k round-trip commute. I’ve experienced no illness this year aside from a small cold this past fall. As a scientist, I have to qualify these claims by saying I don’t have double-blind clinical trials as supporting evidence, but take it as you will.

    All that to say I appreciate this blog, and please keep delivering much needed face-punches, MMM.

    • Doug April 16, 2017, 11:30 am

      Another MMM poster here from the Forest City. I don’t have the dedication to riding that you do, as I do very little winter riding, but make up for it with plenty of riding during the warmer months. No parking available during those summer events at Victoria Park? No problem if you go there on your bike!

  • JFountain March 15, 2017, 9:59 am

    I’m a 25 year old Georgian, a recent grad, and I’m so thankful to have found this blog. I just recently dusted off my bike (That was given to me for free) and learned the safest route to work. Within one week, this habit of biking has infected my roommates. I didn’t preach to them. I just did it. Now my roommates are more health conscious and riding bikes to work or to the store. I found it to be an encouraging and affirming first step towards financial freedom.

    Keep up the good work MMM,


  • Matthew in Michigan March 21, 2017, 10:59 am

    Hey MMM,
    I know this is an old post of yours, but do you still ride the bike linked in this article? It looks like it’s still $299! I’m a bike nerd myself and put on quite a few miles annually but pretty much all recreational on my kinda pricey MTB. I want to start cutting down on car clown driving and do some errands by bike so I want to pick up something cheaper in case of theft and more efficient than a fat tire! Iv’e checked CL and that Nashbar bike is a better deal than a lot of used ones. So just wondering what you think of the quality, would you buy it again?? Thanks

    Matthew in Michigan

  • Frctl March 24, 2017, 10:59 pm

    Hello! I’ve been reading your blog a lot lately, even turned some of the posts in an audio file to listen in school or on the train.

    Can you give advice for getting rich with a bike without actually being able to ride one. I was diagnosed and had a surgery for epifisiolisis. I cannot do any sort of sports. Even running is a problem. I recently turned 18 and i have no intention of really getting a car because i navigate through walking, doesn’t matter where how far my destination is. Well if it’s another city i just take the train cause city to city buses are 250% more expensive.

  • Mark April 12, 2017, 9:51 pm

    Great article! May I report, the Nashbar link on this page is dead. Here’s a link that should work instead.

  • Mustafa April 19, 2017, 11:59 am

    When every place around you involves traversing busy main roads with no side walks and no other people biking in traffic, it just isn’t practical or safe to try to ride a bike in traffic.

    • Mr. Money Mustache April 21, 2017, 12:17 pm

      When the air which immediately surrounds your mouth and nose is filled with poisonous gases, it just isn’t practical to use your lungs to take breaths.

      So what do you do? Keep holding your breath, or move to an area that is actually hospitable to humans?

      • Nitin November 25, 2017, 12:12 am

        Got a good chuckle out of this. Looks like MMM still occasionally runs the stiff bristles of his mustache through older posts to sweep away sukka comments like this one :)

        After having had a crappy Walmart bike for a couple years that I rode on and off half-heartedly, I’m now serious about turning into a badass biker and get myself a bike that I’ll want to ride. Have been reading up on MMM’s bike posts and weighing my options on whether to go with a local bike store or Nashbar.

        Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • Kevin October 18, 2017, 7:25 pm

    i’m coming back to this post after undergoing my own bicycle revolution. a little more than a month a half ago i returned to school after spending a summer doing field research. having binge-read MMM the previous spring, one of my first priorities upon returning to campus was getting a bike. now let me start by saying that by no means was i out of shape, certainly by conventional standards. my field research among other things requires me to walk hundreds of kilometers over the course of the summer with a pack in tow. when i returned to the south i weighed an average-for-me 156 lbs (and i’m 5’9″, so already fairly thin by modern standards). after a month of starting this bike habit, which entails a measly 4km in each direction per weekday, plus maybe a handful of kms for weekend excursions and grocery runs, i was astounded to find myself under 150 lbs for probably the first time in ten years. i did not even realize that I had pounds to lose on this body, let alone that it could be as easy as a single lifestyle change. if i advertised these results for a new diet, i’d be rich in no time flat. and it’s not just the weight loss. there is now a legit six pack where an unobtrusive but unexciting belly used to be and a layer of muscle tone all over that wasn’t there before. i’ve been going to the gym on and off for most of my adult life, many times for far longer than 6 weeks at a time, and i’ve never gotten any kind of change like this. and i love that fitness is now built right into my daily life. no need to sacrifice blocks of my week to drag myself to the gym, although there is nothing wrong with doing that as well. and it absolutely kills me to think that every hour of the day, there are people in that gym riding a STATIONARY bike, an activity that scarcely makes any sense given the existence of real bikes and the reality of killing two birds with one stone and banking hours of life.

    and of course, i’m getting around far faster than i was previously (i have not owned a car), including public transit, and without the annoying wait times. truly remarkable invention a bike is. count me among the believers.

  • Nitin November 25, 2017, 12:11 am

    Got a good chuckle out of this. Looks like MMM still occasionally runs the stiff bristles of his mustache through older posts to sweep away sukka comments like this one :)

    After having had a crappy Walmart bike for a couple years that I rode on and off half-heartedly, I’m now serious about turning into a badass biker and get myself a bike that I’ll want to ride. Have been reading up on MMM’s bike posts and weighing my options on whether to go with a local bike store or Nashbar.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • Brian January 15, 2018, 5:37 pm

    Hello MMM and community,

    I realise this is an old post but I’m new to the site and I figure all info is welcome! This will be an essay, so bear with me…

    Not that long ago during a period of wholesale upheaval in my life (new city, new job, new house, relationship breakdown) I made the choice to not buy a car at all. I was already quite fit and had biked on and off all my life, and I wanted to get back more completely into cycling. So after 18 months of being car-free, here are my observations:

    1. I made the initial investment to purchase a reasonably flashy carbon fibre road bike, because I wanted to get into reasonably serious road biking as well. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a light, nimble bike – it makes cycling that much more pleasurable, compared to buying an old clunker and not enjoying riding it.

    2. With a bit of planning it is surprising how many trips can be done via bike. For example, once a week I travel across town to a particular social event. By bus, it takes about 1hr15 in each direction, and I have to change buses. By bike, I can make the same trip easily in under an hour. Add in a bit of time when I arrive to get changed and tidy myself up and at worst it has taken me the same amount of time (it is usually less), except I saved a few dollars in bus fare and got some exercise. This is also where a nice bike has an advantage, in that longer trips become faster.

    3. A common excuse against cycling that I hear is “but I’ll get sweaty/messy/etc”. My answer: if I am going somewhere where I will be carrying a pack of some kind, then I simply pack a few more bits (comb, towel, deodorant, etc) to tidy myself up at the end. My workplace has showers, lockers and changerooms so it simply means I substitute making myself presentable at home in the morning to doing it at work when I get there. And if it is really that important to you, get an e-bike to remove the sweaty effort.

    4. If all else STILL fails and cycling is simply not an option (for instance: going out to dinner and it is raining) then grabbing an Uber for those once-off occasions is still cheaper than car ownership costs.

    5. And if you just *have* to use a car then many cities have car sharing schemes, where you can utilise a car for a couple of hours for just a few dollars. Alternatively, ask a friend to help you out by driving you and reward them with a nice coffee and cake cafe stop – you get company and cheap use of a car, they get a nice social outing and a warm fuzzy glow from helping a friend!

    6. As I live alone I find that there are very few shopping trips that I cannot do where I can’t fit my purchases into a backpack or panniers. Worst case scenario, I need to do two trips. Again, a bit of forward planning can help here by doing things like stopping by the supermarket on my way home (extra time expended: a few minutes) and grabbing a couple of bits that I need so that you don’t have to try and get everything in one go.

    7. Another worthwhile investment is in proper cycling clothing. I suffered through my first winter commuting to/from trying to make do with ‘regular’ clothes, and sweated through summer in t-shirts and shorts. Learning my lesson, when the sales in cycling shops came up I went shopping. By utilising end-of-season sales from online sites based on the other side of the world I was able to purchase top-flight winter riding gear at massive discounts just as my local seasons were coming into winter, and vice versa for summer gear. I can now cycle in any conditions, from sub-zero driving rain (cycling in the rain, in the correct gear, has a pleasure all its own) to scorching summer, in complete comfort, which also means I have no excuse not to get out in it. A good winter cycling jacket for instance transforms the experience – example: Castelli Espresso 4 jacket purchased at 60% off – I almost wish for cold weather just to wear it!.

    Looking at the figures, by cycling to and from the savings in not paying bus fare paid for my bike in about 18 months (less if you include non-commuting trips). Let’s say two years in total to include cycling apparel. Taken over the 10 years that MMM often calculates, I am obviously way ahead without even considering not having to pay the costs of car ownership, plus of course the health and exercise benefits.

    Additionally, I reckon that within the first 6 months of serious bike transport I saw more of the city than people who had lived there all their lives but went everywhere by car. I’ve learned all the back ways, the bike paths, the shortcuts, the tracks that follow waterways or go through bits of bush, the hidden neighbourhood ponds, the bits where wildlife lives, local shopping centres, out-of-the-way statues and memorials….

    My several cents worth in praise of the humble bicycle!

  • Adam Zerner February 11, 2018, 4:03 pm

    It seems that bikes vary in price a lot. Like, from $100 to $6000. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on what sort of price range a typical Mustachian should target.

    My initial thoughts are that a typical Mustachian will be riding their bike _a lot_. So maybe it makes sense to buy a more expensive bike that is more durable. And a typical Mustachian will also be riding their bike relatively long distances, so maybe it makes sense to purchase a more expensive bike that will be lighter and faster, saving you time.

    However… the differences in prices are so drastic! A $3,000 bike can’t be _that_ much better than a $400 one, can it?

  • gr8bkset April 16, 2018, 8:22 am

    A few things I learned from over 20 years of biking to work:

    1. If you struggle up hills, get the bike shop to put in lower gears so you can maintain optimal cadence.
    2. Flats are a pain. Install puncture resistant tires and liners.
    3. If distance is long, drive or bus part way, then increase ride distance over time.
    4. You don’t have to ride everyday, but ride at least twice each week to maintain muscle conditioning.
    5. Electric bike conversion kits costs as little as $500 and can provide just enough boost to make difficult rides fun.

  • Rebe June 20, 2018, 11:15 am

    Can you believe I didn’t own a bike, or even know how to ride one, until this year (age 23)?? And it was this blog that inspired me to get around to doing it after years of having it on my bucket list. Thanks for this post. It’s opened up a whole new world to me. Turns out cycling is really, really fun.

  • Doug December 29, 2018, 11:49 pm

    This year I broke my previous records, biking 2068 Kilometres, or 1285 miles. Again, it’s amazing how the distance of all those short trips adds up.

  • Yu March 17, 2019, 11:45 pm

    Hi Mr. MMM,

    This is soooo late, but I figure I ask. You recommended a $299 bike. What do you think the a very cheap one, $100-$200 from target? Do you think they are too cheap and I should invest in more quality? Thanks!

    new fan


    • Mr. Money Mustache March 19, 2019, 8:54 am

      It depends on the bike, but in general this is an appliance you will be using every single day, so having parts good enough to function reliably is quite valuable.

      As of early 2019, there are some great deals on the online version of Walmart, believe it or not. Search for “Schwinn Bike” or “Schwinn Multi-use bike” and get any of the more expensive options (which are still under $250 in the US, often with free shipping).

      • Dave June 18, 2019, 1:25 pm

        I can confirm Walmart bikes are decent. I just bought a mountain bike that I’ll be riding all year here just north of a far away northern area just 1/2 north of Toronto Ontario canada

      • Jason June 21, 2019, 7:39 am

        Also a bit late here. I feel I need to add that if at all possible please support your local bike shop. They are going to get you on the bike that is best for your needs and it will be better quality and it will fit you and it will be put together properly and you will be supporting a local business that in turn usually supports local events and community betterment opportunities. There are moral and ethical reasons to spend your money wisely not just on the cheapest item you can find. As a very experienced long time cyclist it is always worth it to buy something better quality than to save a little bit in the short term. Also there are ways to get good deals at local shops, buy old stock, haggle,ask to downgrade some parts as local shops will do all this for you. The only way I would ride any box store bike is if I got it for free and only after a thorough tune up.

  • Man Tan June 26, 2019, 4:57 pm

    Local bike shops are good for spares and service but their price are outrageous. Last yr I was looking to buy 2 mountain bikes that have full suspension. Checked several shops in Santa Cruz area and the cheapest ones were around $2500 each, plus tax. Got 2 Mongoose full suspension/disk brakes bikes from Walmart for $600, delivered home. Have put 50+ hours on both and they are fine. Local bike shops need to stop trying to fool people in “supporting” them. $5000+tax vs. $600 is not difficult decision for a financially responsible shopper.

  • Renee July 26, 2019, 9:15 am

    After 4ish months of biking to work…

    I basically replaced my workout regimen with just bike commuting. Awesome cardio benefits, but forgot about keeping other things in shape…lol. Suffering some bad posture and back problems bc I forgot people need to keep their abs and back strong too, heh. Just sprinkle in a 6-min abs/back workout after your bike ride home while you still have momentum and you’ll be so golden.

  • Ethan Alexander September 2, 2019, 8:01 am

    Hey MMM, love your content, and can’t stop reading. Started commuting 7-14 miles a day last fall and absolutely love it. Never driving to campus ever again. Faster, healthier, cheaper, and probably safer, not to mention more enjoyable.

    I’ll pursue the bike website you linked to but mostly wanted to give you a heads up that the links to nashbar.com are broken. I’m sure you’re too busy drinking delicious brews with the coolest of folk over at the coworking space, but figured I’d do my due diligence and let ya know!

    Thanks for all the wisdom.

    • Mr. Money Mustache September 5, 2019, 11:55 am

      Thanks Ethan, you are right – Nashbar itself has changed and been bought by another company. I recommend checking out Schwinn bikes on (believe it or not) the online version of Walmart. They have lots of great bikes that are not in stock at the store, at crazy prices and with free shipping. I have one at my house right now as my guest/ladies bike.

  • natalie October 22, 2020, 4:47 pm

    Any updated tips on looking for your first bike? I havent rode since I was a kid but am very open to bike commuting when I move to D.C. next year. Just no idea what to look for in a bike, thanks.

  • Rachel October 24, 2020, 9:34 pm

    I’ve got seriously bum knees and a less than great sense of balance. A gently used etrikc is my mode of transport. My etrike ran about $800 bucks, was easy to put together (20 mins, no tools) and the battery charges easily at my desk when I get to work. My 7 mile commute is now a piece of cake. The trike will handle about 400 pounds, so I hitch a trailer when I need groceries or to haul my laundry. I can use it in all electric mode, where the motor does all the work, or I can pedal on days when my knees can handle it. Best of all, no more taxis for this gal! – even on truly rainy or snowy days, my trike has fat tires to handle the conditions and save me big time!

    • Mr. Money Mustache October 25, 2020, 9:40 am

      That is a super impressive story, thanks for sharing it Rachel!

  • Frugster November 8, 2020, 2:07 pm

    I am a big fan of the bike too but there are 3 things this article fails to mention. One, get a good bike seat. Get something as comfortable as possible. Second, bring a chain and lock so no one steals your bike. Third, bring along an extra tire tube, tools, and mini air pump. You will need all this if you get a flat. If you get a flat, your bike pretty much becomes useless and you’re left waking with your bike and actually cursing at it.

  • Doug December 28, 2020, 10:22 am

    Another year draws to a close, and another record. This year I logged 2604 Km, or 1618 miles so far. And now the punch line, I logged only 2507 Km on my car. It’s been an unusual year, because of COVID 19. With a lot less going on in the way of entertainment pursuits I’ve done more recreational riding, so I probably won’t break this record next year. None the less, it goes to show you that you can follow MMM’s example and get out biking if you really want to.


Leave a Reply

To keep things non-promotional, please use a real name or nickname
(not Blogger @ My Blog Name)

The most useful comments are those written with the goal of learning from or helping out other readers – after reading the whole article and all the earlier comments. Complaints and insults generally won’t make the cut here, but by all means write them on your own blog!


welcome new readers

Take a look around. If you think you are hardcore enough to handle Maximum Mustache, feel free to start at the first article and read your way up to the present using the links at the bottom of each article.

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.

Love, Mr. Money Mustache

latest tweets