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.

  • Dr Z May 27, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Great article and Excellent website! I have just started reading your blog but have been reading FI blogs for several years now, and yours is one of the best that I have seen. If this blog was a stock I would invest all the money I save riding a bike!!

  • DP October 15, 2011, 8:41 pm

    Great stuff. I actually do ride my bike to work most days, but I’m still not 100% — I’ll drive when it’s raining, for example.

    But I’m totally open to going for it; I was just wondering what the more hard-core bikers do when work requires professional attire. Take all your suits to work and leave them there, then change on arrival? Or ride to work in the suit (seems like that’s what they do in Holland).

    Also, where I live now it’s a totally flat ride to work (and desert climate), but I may move to a city with hills and 99% humidity all summer long. Again, I want to bike 100% if possible, but if I tried riding in that kind of weather I would arrive soaking wet. What do the hard-core bikers do in that kind of scenario (again factoring in professional attire at work)?

    • Nicolas Igersheim December 21, 2011, 10:03 am

      I bike to work in France, where I am supposed to be attired in suit + tie.
      Since my commute exceeds 20 minutes and I usually build up a sweat after that lapse of time, I keep suit and ties at work and take one clean shirt with me every morning. Of course, when I ride my pedelec, I can ride in the suit since the effort is near nill

      Very nice blog by the way

      Wishing you a fair wind in your back!

      • Sean S from VA March 7, 2017, 8:34 pm

        replying to an old comment, but since they have a premier location on a premier post i feel obligated.

        Electric bikes are a relatively recent innovation. MMM himself has written some nice comments on them but he came to biking early and never lived the car-commute life in the suburbs of new jersey, like i did *shudders at memory* .

        To us suburban car clowns (in my case a reformed-suburban-car-clown) what he says is impossible but it is NOT with the help of an e-bike. They will allow you to literally wear a suit to work over a 5-10 mile commute, in a medium hilly area and not break a sweat. I define medium hilly as +/- 300 ft elevation over 6 miles which is what i ride everyday (6.4 miles +358/-240 in one direction) checkout google maps it will tell you the elevation change if you select biking.

        E-bikes are an amazing invention and if you live near a dealer they almost always have a favorable rental scheme to try. Even our local small 30k town has a bike shop that rents ebikes with a credit towards purchase. People get hooked and love them. If you can replace a silly car commute where you accelerate 5000lbs of steel to carry your 200lb body with basically any other form of transportation it will be good for you.

        E-bikes are the shit, check them out. I have a prodecotech x2 i paid about $1200 for and at $0.50 a mile my short 13 mi/day commute is a favorite time of day, saves me $6/day, and paid for itself with 100 work days of riding. I also get my groceries with my sweet bike trailer which i didn’t even calculate because it makes so much sense i don’t even need to justify.

        • Robyne July 7, 2018, 8:25 am

          My husband recently bought a e-Bike because of a hip replacement. A regular Bike caused him discomfort. The added help from the electric assist has allowed him to ride more often and further. Great improvement to bike industry.

    • Th October 22, 2018, 1:21 pm

      Riding in business suit is what we do here in Copenhagen. Nobody changes after a short ride (short being less than 30k or 20 miles)

    • Renee July 11, 2020, 9:02 am

      Can attest to this: summer in Atlanta, GA (thus speaking for the SE United States where our summer air is a sauna) + lots of hills = inevitable drenching of sweat. I wear clothes I plan to sweat like a horse in (workout clothes) when riding to work, while keeping my professional work clothes in my panniers. I also have a travel-sized bottle of soap, deodorant, etc. bc wiping down after the ride is inevitable. Keep my shoes at work. It helps to hang up clothes to dry during the day. They’ll be nice and cool when you put them back on for your ride home! ;)

      • Renee July 11, 2020, 9:04 am

        Rolling the clothes, I’ve noticed, prevents wrinkling. Plus very space efficient.

  • Alex T October 18, 2011, 9:47 am

    As DP said, but with Ottawa winter climate.

    How do you protect your bike from salt and corrosion? What kind of bike equipment (tires) do you use?

    What kind of clothing and gear would you wear in winter riding as well, and where would you get it?

    • BC March 6, 2013, 10:01 pm

      A little late but maybe someone else has the same question and will find it helpful: I would just start googling things like, “winter bike commuting” which will help you find sites like this one: http://www.icebike.org When I moved back to the US carless a few years ago, and got my first “real” job, my parents wanted to buy me a nice watch. I asked for studded bike tires for my winter commute instead. They also make bike lights that are as bright as car headlights, etc. As for salt and other de-icers on the road, wash and rinse your bike regularly. They get on your car too and it’s a lot cheaper to repair the bike corrosion than replace the rotors and pads on your car (trust me I know, I live on a mountain pass). I also made cheap but nearly waterproof Panniers out of rectangular 5 gallon buckets (also easy to google). Cheap, durable, and effective for carrying that extra change of clothes; I got to be known as “Bucket Biker Becca” around my small town : ) Weird and proud of it.

      • Johanie February 23, 2023, 3:51 pm

        Never to late!
        I never thought it would be possible for me to do bike to work in wintertime, but know… you may have just convinced me! Thanks for the idea of the 5 gallon bucket too! But mostly, thank you for taking the time to leave your comment :)

  • Andrew October 26, 2011, 8:41 am

    Great post. I bike down great bike trails and into DC a few times a week, and it saves me $8/day (the cost of riding the metro). All of your other benefits are also seen–I feel happier and healthier. And the crazy thing? I can actually get to work just as fast as when I take the metro, and faster than I could in a car. Bikes rock.

    For winter time I wear bike gloves, a neon jacket, a scarf, and honestly, I just put sweat pants over my bike shorts. Yes it may look dorky, but it keeps me warm! As long as the streets and paths are clear of snow and it’s not pouring rain, I’ll be biking.

    And I have saddle bags that fit my work clothes neatly folded inside. I shower and change at work. If I have to wear a suit, unfortunately, I am forced to metro in.

  • Agent9 January 11, 2012, 5:16 pm

    What if I live in a city where it isn’t safe to ride a bike? Bikes are not allowed on sidewalks and there are no bike lanes. Basically bikes are supposed to compete with cars for road-space. Add notoriously bad drivers to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

    There was a flash mob movement that used to get 40 to 50 riders together to commandeer roads but that seems to have died down recently.

    • MMM January 11, 2012, 7:17 pm

      From what I can tell, such a city DOES NOT EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES OR CANADA, except in the minds of non-bikers. As soon as you let go of this expensive illusion, you can start living a much better life. I’ve also heard people say this about every city I’ve ever lived in or visited with bikes – and of course it was never true.

      You don’t need a sidewalk or a bike lane to ride a bike. You don’t need a street with no other cars. Drivers are statistically very equal in skill in all regions of the country according to the Insurance Institute and NHTSA.

      You just need a bike, and the curiosity to poke around on Google Maps and in real life to find a safe route to get anywhere you need to go.

      Still, I would enjoy being proven wrong. If anyone can name an unbikeable city in the US, I’ll study it on the map and read about it on cycling discussion forums.

      If necessary, I will travel there myself, strap a camera to my head, and record myself biking between any two points in the entire city just to prove how easily it can be done.

      • Agent9 January 11, 2012, 7:48 pm

        Thanks. I’ll take you up on that offer. I’ll email you the details through your contact form.

      • CanuckExpat March 19, 2012, 9:28 am

        If it helps any, I can tell you about a city that statistically has the second worse drivers in the US (http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/DC-Baltimore-Have-Nations-Worst-Drivers-102133594.html), stifling heat/humidity in the summer, a reputation for crime, and generally bad roads (pot holes, etc.), and not much in the way of dedicated bike infrastructure. And believe it or not, you can (and I have) happily bike year round, get where you are going fast and safely, and get some scenery and exercise while having fun.

      • Brian June 5, 2012, 3:31 am

        Agreed. And I can offer comments from bicycling in Bangkok for the last year (where I live). Most people think it’s crazy to ride a bicycle here because of the traffic. But, guess what? The poor people who have no other means of transportation do it all the time.

        This is a great web site. Thanks for writing it.

      • Phil October 13, 2014, 8:59 pm

        I rode my bike across the US in a zig zag where the wind will take me fashion, and I can attest that the place Agent9 is describing is called South Carolina. I’ll probably have nightmares tonight having thought about it now. I know this post is hella old, but I’m just saying.

        • GregK October 14, 2014, 11:30 am

          Even if South Carolina is the worst place in America to ride a bike, you can still ride a bike there. Here’s a list of a dozen cycling clubs throughout South Carolina.


        • Renee Puvvada July 11, 2020, 9:07 am

          Can agree that parts of the SE United States are pretty biker unfriendly. It mostly the people, not the environment, that are opposed to the use of alternative transportation (not just bikes, but public transport, scooters, anything not a car or huge honkin truck).

      • Seanishness May 8, 2015, 12:21 am

        I live in a city that surrounds one highway. No bike lanes and no sidewalks. I wish I could believe you, but while all drivers are of roughly the same skill, some cities are not used to seeing cyclists on their roads.

        A cyclist actually dies every few years trying to bike on our highway because of a 55 mph speed limit and no passing lanes.

        • Jeffthehat November 15, 2021, 5:33 pm

          I’m in a similar situation. I live on a two-lane highway with a 55 MPH speed limit and no sidewalks. The nearest grocery store is 5 miles a way. I have also lived in Bangkok, where the average temperature is 95 degrees and traffic deaths are high. I don’t think this advice is as practical as Mr. Moustache lets on.

          • Mr. Money Mustache November 16, 2021, 8:16 am

            Hi Jeff – I agree, your living situation doesn’t sound great right now, but maybe you’ll have better luck next time you move if you have the criteria of cars-optional transport in mind. Because it’s always my #1 criteria (I would not buy a house or even live in a city/country that required me to use a car on a regular basis), I’ve always had the great “luck” of being able to walk or bike for most of my errands.

            • Jeffthehat November 17, 2021, 7:07 pm

              I’ll keep it in mind. Working through the blog for the first time, a lot to chew on :)

  • KB January 29, 2012, 8:02 am

    What about us suckers that live in the suburbs? Commuting to work would be a 20 mile bike ride for me……on highways and narrow bridges. Wish I could! I could bike to a grocery store though…so I’ll have to think on that!

  • JaneMD February 6, 2012, 11:21 am

    We’ll see if this prevents me from putting our foldable bike on Craigslist. My husband bought it three years ago and never used it. We live on a second floor apartment without a garage and I already bundle my car trips.

    However, I did think about it and have made a list of six places that don’t always get in my bundled trip because of their opening times. I will be willing to try using the bike for those places this spring. (9 months pregnant is not going to be the time to try.) I’ll update you in a few months about how this works out.

  • Julia K. February 25, 2012, 10:15 am

    I’d like to bike my three-mile commute, but safety is a concern.

    Not only am I aware of the shocking costs of driving, I am also aware of the shocking dangers of driving. Car accidents are common and will often screw you up forever. If the news reported on car accidents and their consequences like they do on intentional violence, people would drive a whole lot less.

    Biking is an improvement on cars as far as cost, but I’m guessing not as far as health, when you factor in that the likelihood of getting injured is even greater than if you were in a car. My friends who bike in DC frequently report tumbles and even broken bones.

    So basically, I’m scared. I’d love to be proven wrong, though – do you have statistics, maybe?

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 25, 2012, 12:47 pm

      Hey Julia – don’t worry! It is safe to start rolling on your bike right now. I’m collecting some statistics on this for a future article.

      For now, you should be aware that while biking deaths are slightly higher than car deaths per mile, they are drastically lower per hour. And even more importantly, the health benefits from biking regularly are so insanely large that they greatly outweigh the tiny increase in crash risks. You extend your absolute lifespan by 5-10 years, extend your healthy years of life by much more than that (by eliminating a decade of dementia/wheelchair/nursing home stuff). All at the expense of adding only a few more thousandths of a percent of a freak accident. It’s excellent math.

      I can add some anecdotal evidence to counter your friends’ anecdotal evidence too if you like: After 30 years of extremely frequent biking on public roads, year-round, in climates which include snowy winters, I have had zero injury-causing crashes caused by falling, and one collision with a car (entirely preventable and my own fault) where I broke an ankle. Total distance covered: somewhere over 30,000 miles. Total wealth gained compared to driving: somewhere over $150,000. Improvement in lifestyle and happiness: at least $10,000,000 worth.

      • Julia K. February 29, 2012, 9:00 am

        I biked to work yesterday for the first time! The roads to work have fairly wide shoulders and are frequently biked, but I was still surprised at how safe I felt, much safer than my previous neighborhood.

        Driving to clients is sometimes part of my job, but I anticipate being able to bike to work about half the time. Thanks for the encouragement, MMM. :)

        • Jay March 18, 2012, 10:50 pm

          Welcome, Julia, to the great world of bicycle commuting! I’ve biked to work for several years, and aside from financial benefits, there are also some very real physiological gains.

          First off, you’re going on a bike ride before work! It can be relaxing and a great way to clear your head, while waking up your muscles and getting your blood moving to start the day! Much better than sitting in a car in traffic.

          Secondly, you will want to start meandering on your way home. This is one of the best parts of owning a bicycle! Discover some different neighborhoods or markets, or challenge yourself to take a slightly different route home every day for a week. It’s fantastic, the things you start to see. Old parks, a footbridge, a funky antique shop, or a new café that just opened. You never know!

          I’ve also noticed that biking has indirectly affected my free time in a healthy way. I’ve found myself spending much more time outdoors, biking down to the park with some friends for frisbee or spikeball, rather than hanging out in front of the t.v.

          As a new biker, maneuvering the roads, potholes, signs, and signals can be pretty tricky. You see things in a very different light, and it can take some getting used to. My two recommendations are to get lights and a helmet. They’ve definitely come in handy for me. This is a very useful site, and the front page has some great illustrations of common car-bike collisions and how to avoid them. http://bicyclesafe.com/ Really good things to be aware of.

          Welcome, and enjoy your ride!

      • Clemens September 6, 2012, 10:52 pm

        I really start liking your blog.

        Here’s one thought that is also behind the “Critical Mass” flash mob: The more people start riding their bikes on roads, the safer it will get for the individual biker as car drivers will get more aware of and more used to bikers. (Otherwise statistics would be horrible for Amsterdam, Stockholm and various other European cities), and the people responsible for road planning might actually start accounting for the needs of cyclists…

  • SG February 28, 2012, 10:35 pm

    I really like most of everything this blog has to say, but this just gets under my skin: “Unfortunately, as a side effect they destroyed the whole fuckin’ world.. and made most of us dangerously obese too.” It really is getting old hearing people bashing cars and using them as a scapegoap for the sole reason behind global warming. Now people are blaming cars for their diabetes? Ugh. Have some accountability for your own actions, seriously. Cars are a great utility, source of fun, and more emissions friendly than ever. Be it electric or gas or both, they’ll be around forever in some capacity so we’d better figure out how to avoid letting them trick us into being morbidly obese. Disclaimer: I’m a gear head, my new car is a 1999 that cost about 6% of my annual salary when I bought it, and even though it’s February, the last time I went biking here, around metro Detroit, was less than a week ago.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 29, 2012, 8:50 am

      Whoa there bike friend, we might be more in agreement than you think!

      I also think cars are awesome, and fun, and useful, and I’m a car nut too. I even own a couple of cars myself. So it’s not the cars that are destroying the world – it’s our car culture.

      The tendency of people in the US to drive even the most ridiculously bikeable errands, and to voluntarily live 20+ miles away from work and then drive back and forth every day by car, and to drive big cars and trucks without really needing them. That leads to a ridiculous amount of pavement covering our cities, and that plus their emissions is the part that is destroying the world.

      As for the lack of physical fitness – you’re right again, it’s not the cars, it’s the car culture where people literally won’t get on a bike to save their own lives.

      I also agree with your comment: “we’d better figure out how to avoid letting them trick us into being morbidly obese”

      So what’s the solution? In my opinion, you’re looking at it right now. We don’t need to ban cars or create red tape.. we need a blog that gets people excited about biking again, so they’ll make that choice out of their own free will. One of the biggest reasons to do that is the fact that bike riding makes you surprisingly rich.

  • Daniel March 11, 2012, 11:22 am

    If you can’t (or won’t) bike, don’t forget the bus! I’m living somewhere way too far to commute by bike (saving 100% on rent by living there, so the math works!) and I used to drive everywhere. I save $125 a month by driving only as far as the nearest park & ride (still too far to bike).

    When I move out on my own, I am either going to sell my car altogether or only use it when I visit my parents. I will bike, walk, or take the bus everywhere!

    • Garrett August 7, 2016, 11:48 am

      How far is too far? What is the distance between you and work? An electric/part electric bike could be workable in that case, depending on distance!

  • GregK April 10, 2012, 3:19 pm

    Really awesome article. I’ve been reading this blog voraciously for the last few weeks, and just got around to reading this seminal work!

    I just acquired (for free) an old Royce Union road bike. It needs some TLC before I start commuting/errand running with it, so I’m taking it to a local not-for-profit bike workshop here in Buffalo, NY. I’m expecting my costs to restore the bike to come in somewhere between $50 and $100. The frame itself seems to be in great shape, so I expect to get many years of use out of it, despite its age!

  • Emily D June 15, 2012, 7:50 am

    Just started reading your blog from the beginning, and I was inspired to ride my bike to work this morning! I have about a 9 mile ride each way, and usually I take the bus which works out to about the same amount of time spent commuting. But I felt so much more productive on the bike!

    And I found out that my job will actually PAY me to commute by bike to work. Sweet!

  • Mariska September 11, 2012, 8:16 am

    As a Dutchie, I can say how things work in the Netherlands:

    – most people just cycle through the rain. Some have extra gear on (but mostly it gets sweaty on the inside). We get wet. So what? It’ll dry up. We even cycle when it’s snowy (in Scandivia you can get spikey tires). We just suck it up and adjust our speed to the weather. (which is why Dutch women do not like to wear skirts or high heels and don’t do anything fancy with their hair, saves money too!)

    – we leave our bikes outside when we do not have a garage. Everyday. This is why we ride second hand bikes.

    – Most Dutch people would have no problem cycling for 30 minutes to get somewhere on a daily basis. Per ride. I would say that lots of Dutch people cycle everyday about 1 hour to 2 hours a day for transportation (bringing children to school, cycle to work or train, groceryshopping, picking children up, getting them to soccer etc).

    When it’s what you’re used to, you don’t even think about it. You just do it.

    • InfoJunky September 19, 2012, 5:33 am

      Hi Mariska,

      You forgot to mention, and this will come as a shock to other world citizens, we have more bikes than inhabitants in this fair country.

      People also may like to know about the ‘therapeutic’ side of biking . You de-stress on the way home if you take the scenic route (it’s longer…so what ? ) saves a lot of time and aggravation with other people. It’s works for this biker.

      And the list goes on and on…

    • Suzanne December 13, 2014, 6:52 am

      I love how we are from all over the world comparing biking experiences. I live in Japan and people here are serious about biking. There are the surfers in my beach neighborhood who ride their boards to the beach in a side carrier on their beach cruisers. There are the mommies taking kids to school (usually one a front child seat and one in a rear child seat and once in a while there’s also an infant riding on mommy’s chest). There are even specialized bikes with integral child seats for transporting multiple children. Other times, a family outing will have kids and parents riding together in duckling fashion.

      The dangerous riders in the cities and neighborhoods are those who ride one handed while carrying an open umbrella in the rain. This has recently been banned by law, however, people still do it as we pretty much police ourselves here.

      There is a growing number of commuters who bike between 30 minutes to an hour to work. I know because when I was driving to work, these same bike commuters would pass me time and again and be at work before I would. Commuters bike in all kinds of weather in the latest (high end) bike wear, goggles, masks, helmets, etc. People stash extra clothing at work or carry in saddlebags. We are starting to get dedicated bike lanes in my locale, although they really aren’t necessary. Vehicles of all sizes are used to sharing narrow roads here and because our speed limits are quite low, we have few aggressive drivers (except for a few cab drivers late at night). If there are sidewalks, they are usually generous enough and about twice as wide as many sidewalks in the States. Many neighborhoods don’t have sidewalks and traffic is slow, so pedestrians, bikes, mopeds, etc. all share the pavement. We are religious about following crosswalks and traffic signals and are careful never to hit even a hair on someone. I am biking more and more now that I am retired and love that I can ride to the city, park my bike in a supervised bike garage all day for 100 yen (less than $1.00). I had been taking the train ($5.00 round trip) or when taking a car, limited my self to only stores that had free parking in the suburbs. Parking in Tokyo and surrounding areas often costs more than the shopping, so we mostly take the train (fast, safe and reasonably priced), but I have found new freedom doing my errands and routine appointments by bike. Except for a pencil skirt or kimono, I’ve seen every type of clothing worn on a bicycle here (I have seen kimono wearers riding mopeds, however). One more comment about my biking experience here — It is safe to bike 24 hours a day so after a hot summer day, I can always take a late night ride to the supermarket that is open until midnight to do my shopping.

    • Jadzia August 14, 2019, 12:49 am

      Replying to this comment after many years. One of the most surprising sights to me upon my first visit to Amsterdam was that ENORMOUS bike parking lot by Central Station. Also, if you’re a pedestrian, it’s important to watch out for the cyclists! I constantly felt like I was going to get run over (and kept yanking my not-always-observant kids out of cyclists’ paths). Still adore Amsterdam, though. Am trying to figure out how to bike in my small French village–the bike path is under construction for the next 10 months, leaving cyclists, cars, buses, and trucks to share 3/4 of the road with no shoulder on either side and yes, it does scare me quite a bit. It’s going to be awesome once it’s done, though.

  • hands2work September 16, 2012, 6:02 pm

    Oh My Dear MMM, I am so happy to report that after reading this post several weeks ago I did some research. I found the safe way to get to the closest shopping center that has a craft store and a grocery store as well as a bunch of fun restaurants. I got my sweetheart on board. Today we set off on our first adventure outside the neighborhood. We biked to the center and he sat outside in the shade to guard our bikes (no locks yet) while I went inside and bought some yarn for a baby afghan I’m making as a gift. Then we went to the grocery store and I waited outside with the bikes and picked up litter while he went in and bought a loaf of bread. Then we were headed back home when we noticed a bike shop. So we left both the bikes outside by the window while we went inside to price locks and other accessories. They had 3 bike trailers ranging in price from $350-$550. We went back out and biked home. Time spent? 1 hour. The weather was perfect, the company was wonderful and we had a great time. Once home I went online and checked craigslist for a trailer. Within half an hour we were on our way to pick up our used bike trailer for $50!!!! Now we can get more groceries or crafting supplies or pick up dinner! I also plan to use it to pick up litter in our neighborhood and on the nearby bike trail. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Nancy September 24, 2012, 1:00 am

    I live in chicago, and I have two kids, age 8 and 5. I find it very hard to imagine what biking looks like with them. We also live in a condo building with extremely l limited storage area. I know it sounds like Im making a lot of excuses, but I just dont see how it would work. Also, I have broken both of my arms biking (as a kid) and frankly, Have little confidence in staying uninjured, especially given weather/traffic conditions in my city.

    • GTArea May 22, 2014, 4:58 am

      I live in Toronto with 3 kids. We live in a house, but no garage. We sold our cars a couple of years ago and replaced one of them with a bakfiet (no offense MMM, I hate trailers. We got a great deal on it.) The kids have their own bikes, but some trips, I give the kids a lift in the bakfiet. Groceries are done on the same bike. The 5 year old is a bit slow, so he tends to get a ride in my bike more often than not. We live in the suburbs, so we get some reactions but it’s been working well for us. The kids know the drill and we get a lot of talking in.

  • hands2work September 24, 2012, 8:44 am

    We were able to find a cheap bike trailer on craigslist and made our first foray to the grocery store yesterday. VERY empowering. It made me so happy to save money, get exercise and be green while doing a normal errand!!!

  • Matt F October 9, 2012, 2:27 pm

    I love the bike idea and have been trying to figure out how to do it here. Unfortunately, three people have been killed biking in the city I live in this year (whole metropolitan area has 600,000 so statistically pretty safe until you realize you only see about 1 bike a week here). Also, the road I would need to ride is 45 miles an hour speed limit, 6 lanes and has no shoulders or sidewalks. It is the only road that works because I have to cross an interstate. i know it is possible, but it sure looks like a dangerous way to save a few bucks. Any good suggestions?

    • Mr. Money Mustache October 9, 2012, 2:45 pm

      How about linking us to a google map of the approximate start and end locations? It has helped other readers who wrote in with the same problem..

      • Matt F October 13, 2012, 12:35 pm

        I searched quite a bit on google maps for some possible route alternates. I found a path through an industrial park (lots of european companies) that has a bike route and makes the commute a total of about 8.5 miles each way. I will have to ride on the sidewalk of a 45 mph 4 lane plus turn lane commuter road for about a mile (I will walk the bike across the interstate overpass on the sidewalk).

        In true MMM fashion (I am up to October 2011 in the archives now) I am getting a 20 yr old road bike from my dad (free) that just needs to be cleaned up/new tires etc.

        Road the route today to try it out, a little harrowing on the sidewalks but I hope that improves with practice.

        Love the blog so far, thanks for responding and giving me some encouragement to make it work. I live on the coast in South Carolina, so it may not be a year round thing (hurricanes and crazy summer humidity) but I figure every bit helps.

    • Ian Turner June 16, 2013, 7:50 pm

      My only suggestion is to put the risks in perspective: Bicycling is healthy! It is good for you! The health risks of cycling, when you add them all up, do not even come to 1/10th of the health benefits of cycling. Studies put the benefits as high as 100:1.

  • Joe C December 19, 2012, 5:40 pm

    When I lived in Florida for 9 months this year, I bought a cheap used bike on Craigslist and used it to explore all over this new area I found myself in! After a while, I even started riding it to work (~5 miles each way.)

    I couldn’t believe how amazing it was! Yes I had to wake up a little earlier and get home a little later, yes I had to pack extra clothes (thank God I was able to shower there), but it felt amazing! My co-workers couldn’t believe I had the willpower to do it 5 days a week. But these were also the same co-workers who had no problem paying $10-12/day for lunch out on the town. Talk about being plugged into the matrix!

    Now I am back in my hometown area of upstate NY, and living in a very rural area. I have 2 jobs, one of which is work-from-home, the other is only a half-mile away – an easy walk. So, no more biking, but managing to keep those gas costs WAY down :)

  • Ole January 12, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Hi there,

    here in germany we have a lot of handmade high quality frames. 4000$+ are frequently met. I was wonderering if even those high-priced bikes fit into MMM-Conecepts? The problem is, that I need a custom frame because of my uncommon body proportions. They give you 15 year warranty on the frame and have best bike parts included (Rohloff gear shift, magura brakes, etc.) – although 4000$ are quite a lot. Low-maintanance and warranty worth the money? What do you think?


    • Sar May 20, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Hey Ole. Not MMM (and late to reply), but here are a couple thoughts. I’m planning to buy a ~$1500 bike, because I want one whose which has a weight limit suitable for my obese body weight. I imagine I will have to change the handlebars for my short arms, too. Sometimes, you just have to buy what fits you (ask anyone with weird feet about that), and you will just have to accept a longer payback time. But in my opinion, for you it’s better to buy the bike that fits, rather than getting a repetitive strain injury, or having bike control problems. If you are comfortable on the bike, you will actually use it. If you buy a bike that doesn’t fit and you end up hurting every time you use it, it won’t be used.

  • John February 13, 2013, 5:04 pm

    I felt funny about losing my desire to buy a BMW (which i’ve always wanted before) after bike commuting to work year round for the past three years now. I think this is the first blog that I’ve seen this mentioned. My wife and I became very close in getting one and have made arrangements with the salesperson, but, decided on the very last day that we are not the luxury-car driving type so we did not show up on the car dealership. Thank you. I’m not a complete outlier and its a normal feeling.

  • Lexi March 27, 2013, 9:57 pm

    You are totally right on this: “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.”

    My grandparents are 84 and 90 and still regularly bicycle 50-100 miles every week!

  • Kevin H April 9, 2013, 11:08 am

    Lots of inspiration on this blog!

    It’s time to rekindle taking a bike from my home to our dairy farm. Oh how lazy I’ve become, it’s less than 2km! I guess when you seem to stay naturally slim (for the time being) you find excuses not to.

    Then there’s the drive from my rural home to “downtown”, that’s roughly 15 km each way. No doubt a breeze for many, daunting for the “normals”. Even if I park just 5km uptown I can bypass the majority of idling at the traffic lights. Oh the things to think about.

    Bring on the constructive peer pressure. ;)

    • Ken Wetherell December 30, 2014, 9:27 am

      Hey Kevin, here is some constructive peer pressure. :)

      First, a question: Is making some of your trips by bike still on your “things to think about” list or are you out there doing it? Our fictitious and wise friend Yoda might say, “Think not, Kevin. Do or do not!”

      Your body will adapt and you will love it. In my case, hills that were exhausting when I first started commuting by bike are now child’s play. The feeling of going all over the place, often 20-50 miles at a stretch, with my own body power, is amazing and it keeps getting better. My bathroom mirror is happier with me too as I now run close to my target body weight and 20 lbs lighter at 49 than when I was 39. I’d guess my wife likes this better too. There are so many benefits as noted in the comments to this post.

      Investing is health is so important and yet so often ignored by so many. I recently saw this great made-up word: Wellth.

      Do it, Kevin!

  • Trisha April 12, 2013, 3:36 pm

    Hey, MMM, how do you keep your bike trailer from being stolen when you park it at a store or other public place? Is there a particular lock you like to use for the bike and trailer? Thanks!

    • Mr. Money Mustache April 12, 2013, 4:34 pm

      You can use any lock you like (cables work well), but where I live, people generally don’t steal stuff so I don’t lock mine up. Especially bike trailers: if you think of the profile of a thief, those aren’t usually the type of people who are interested in stealing such a thing.

  • Rick Roberts May 1, 2013, 9:44 am

    I go by e-bike. It allows me to get where I need to go without getting so sweaty, and I am able to haul more (dogs, groceries, firewood, etc) in my trailers. I justify the extra expense of the e-bike because I don’t have a car (gas, insurance, maintenance). I bike year round. It’s awesome.

    • Todd Carnes February 5, 2014, 3:18 pm

      What do you mean by “e-bike”?

      • Csepei G August 8, 2014, 4:27 am

        An Electric bicycle, with an integrated electric motor and a rechargeable battery, with a usual 37 mile autonomy and maximum speed of 15-20 miles/h. For more details try Wikipedia ;-)

  • Andrew May 20, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Agreed! Bikes are the secret to heath and happiness, just ask a Dane. More cycling inspiration can be found at:



    Happy cycling!

  • Margaret June 2, 2013, 7:10 am

    EEK! Just took my bike out today do to a test run riding to work. I live 3.3 miles from work and after reading this article decided to give riding a bike a try. Bought a good used bike on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago and took it out at 7am this morning. Okay, so it took me 22 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to get back. But man I can’t wait for my endurance to build up. I haven’t exercised in about 6 months nor ridden a bike in about 3 years. Lots of hilly roads and I had to actually stop and lay down in the grass about 5 minutes from my house cause I got so weak and lightheaded I couldn’t stand. Wow am I out of shape…and I was mostly on the 1st and 2nd gear.

    Will my lungs build up endurance too? Feels like my throat is burning…I normally have a hard time even walking outside in the winter too much because of this burning sensation. I am a wimp!

    Any help, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • BC June 3, 2013, 10:51 pm

      Margaret, just keep at it and pace yourself! It will get easier. Make sure you are well fed and well hydrated before you go and bring a water bottle with you, that will help, but even in just a few weeks it will feel easier. They say it takes 21 days/reps to build a habit, if you give it 21 days, it will be a habit and you’ll be noticing it getting easier and easier. Good luck!

    • David Post March 25, 2014, 10:16 am

      I found that it took me about a month to go from Zombie legs every morning at work to not even noticing it. One thing that helped me was to stop trying to push myself so hard every morning. I went from 18 minutes to 21 minutes on my commute, and now after nearly three months I can ride it in 15-18 minutes depending on the weather.

  • Bike Hater (sorry!) June 18, 2013, 2:54 pm

    So… just started reading this blog a few days ago. I hate to say it but I absolutely hate biking. I wish I didn’t. I can barely do it and, even though I know I could physically learn how to do it (and have tried several times over the years), the thought of biking causes me immense anxiety. Yes, weird, I know.

    Alternative suggestions? I used to walk a lot and take local transportation. That’s all I can really think of in place of biking at this point.

    • Fuzzhead August 7, 2013, 9:31 am

      You could try rollerblading! =D

    • Sar May 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

      You could use a tricycle, a “bike car” (four wheeler like a Rhoades Car), some recumbents.

  • Karl August 16, 2013, 2:42 am

    Another fantastic article. Although this is all common knowledge to me, it is so refreshing to read an article that is so correct! I sold my old car in late 2007 and haven’t owned a car since. I’ve been cycling since selling the car and made a conscientious choice to learn how to DIY bike maintenance and repairs and live a simple, low-cost, free and easy, bike-oriented life (e.g. close cycling distance to work and friends).

    On average I spend around $800-1000 AUD per year on bikes, equipment, clothing, repairs, bike tools etc. I prefer to either buy second hand from cycling-enthusiast forums, buy in group-buys and buy high quality gear that might cost a bit upfront but will be far more enjoyable and durable to use over the long haul instead of something cheap and nasty.

    I’ve had six bikes in as many years, three of them I restored, used for a while and eventually sold at a tidy profit. One was stolen, which was a good thing as it taught me a lesson as to how to correctly secure a bike when parking it in a public area (hint: It involves some rather heavy and expensive D-locks and cables, plus making your bike look unattractive to thieves).

    Now that my major bike purchases such as a new touring/commuting bike, clothing for all seasons and conditions, and tools has been taken care-of over the past few years I really only have to continue with normal maintenance and replacement of consumable parts (of which last longer if kept clean and maintained, saving money and potential hassles). My average yearly costs in the future will be in the order of $150-200 for the basics (replacement chain, replacement brake pads, replacement bar tape, oil, degreaser etc) to keep riding every single day of the week to wherever I might need to be. I’m saving around $30 a week alone by not using public transport, let alone what it would cost to own, run and maintain a car for daily commuting and transport.

    If you want to get your finances and health in order, plus reduce your pollution emissions at the same time, then I’d strongly recommend to start cycling instead of driving and to ‘think bike’.

    I know, it’s a shameless plug, but if anyone is interested in information, tips, product reviews and general advice for practical cycle commuting and cycle touring then have a look at my website: http://velophile.com.au

    Any questions or suggestions feel free to send me an email or leave a comment on the relevant article and I’ll see what I can do to help.


  • Shawn Gossman October 14, 2013, 7:52 pm

    Great post! I too am proof that cycling saves you money and helps to make you rich. I loved reading your article so much that I decided to write a response blog post to it which I have linked in the website field. :) Thanks for the post!

  • Frugal Zen October 15, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Many years ago we were gifted a bike trailer because the child it was bought for was now too big. It was missing an axle part and by the time we found a way to manufacturer the part (no longer available commercially) our youngest was also too big for it. Thankfully we’re terrible procrastinators and it sat unloved in our garage for several years. Now, rather than being the dope who’s selling it for $50 bucks on Craig’s List to some clever Moustachian, it will finally be put to good use. Moving kids around it just one small part of the life of a bike trailer – now that my eyes are wide open it’s really going to get a workout. I’m looking into ways to reinforce the floor so it can better distribute the weight of coolers. Grocery shopping in summer heat or freezing winter temperatures requires protecting the food. Lettuce doesn’t travel well here in January just as yogurt would spoil in July. I try to leave the grodery erand for last but with a 20-30 minute ride I still need to protect things in extreme weather.

  • Dena Maddie January 3, 2014, 8:56 pm

    But I don’t have a working bike right now….

    JK. There’s actually a really cool bike share program in Austin called the Yellow Bike Program that teaches volunteers how to build a bike and in exchange for your time and hours you get to build your own bike from scratch. Talk about self sufficiency!

    I don’t think Ford or GM has the same program….

  • Nigel February 20, 2014, 4:33 pm

    I used to live in Tokyo, and bikes are the way to get around the immediate neighborhood – everyone is on them, including little old ladies and cops. It is actually hard to find a place to park them near train stations. When we visit my wife’s family in Tokyo and go out somewhere on bikes with my 75 year old mother in law, I have to bust my ass to keep up with her.

  • Bicycle Mama March 22, 2014, 7:46 pm

    Yep, couldn’t agree more! And aside from saving money, biking is just fun. Add to your list of reasons why the bike is the Greatest Invention of All Time that babies love riding around on a bike, too! It’s so much more fun than being stuck in a car seat. You can talk to your baby on the bike and the baby can look at everything. And you exercise even more because you drive around the extra weight of the baby! It’s a win/win situation for everyone.

  • Simona Palen May 2, 2014, 5:23 pm

    I would love to bike, but due to my physical disability and related surgeries, I can no longer use a regular bicycle. But, I’ve been looking at some specialized bikes that don’t put stress on my hips and knees like the traditional bikes do, unfortunately they are in the range of $4K-$6K for the base models, from what I’ve seen (and I couldn’t get a used Trike due to necessary custom changes to accomodate my physical needs). Would it be worth investing this money in something that expensive? Or should I just focus on having an inexpensive, efficient vehicle instead?

    • Mr. Money Mustache May 3, 2014, 3:07 pm

      That’s a pretty interesting question. I guess it depends on how much other outdoor stuff you already have in your life. A bike of that price would pay for itself (in terms of car miles displaced) if you rode it at least 2-3 miles a day on average. But the health, happiness, and mental benefits of cycling over car driving are many times larger than the financial benefits.

      Since biking around town is probably the core of my own health, I’d pay $100,000 for a bike if I had to, rather than being stuck with a car as my only transportation. But if you already feel you have a good life and get an hour of good walking or other outdoor stuff each day, the bike(trike) addition might not fit your own needs.

      • Simona Palen May 8, 2014, 5:16 pm

        I’ve been thinking about what you said, and I don’t get enough excercise (I’m able to walk only very short distances). I feel this would empower my independence, and this would be a great addition to my life in many aspects. I will make this purchase, but only after I have the cash in hand, and after I am debt-free. I’m going to do it the “mustachian” way :)

  • Marianne May 12, 2014, 3:40 pm

    I’m reading this blog from the beginning, but I still wanted to comment that I year-round commute on my bike in Whitehorse, Yukon. This past winter it happened that I was also pregnant and I can’t tell you how awesome riding in (sometimes super, super slowly) has been to my overall health and well being, physically and mentally. And also it was fun when I’d make it in on my bike on days when my fitter, un-pregnant co-worker didn’t bother cycling, haha. It’s possible to ride conservatively and safely in most conditions (I’m risk averse and want this baby to come safely on his own terms). I don’t ride in fresh snow or in windy winter conditions due to snow drifts because it is too much work and no fun, otherwise, I’m out there. Once I didn’t like the conditions halfway so I stopped and put my bike on the bus. I think the key is to start riding in spring and then just…don’t stop!

    • Mr. Money Mustache May 12, 2014, 8:39 pm

      Yeah! Thanks for the inspiration, Marianne. There’s a certain MMM reader who lives in Southern California who insisted that one must quit all forms of cycling for the entire nine months of a pregnancy. Your tale sets things straight.

      Mrs. MM also rode a bike right up until the point where the giant kicking baby belly was getting in the way of her pedaling legs. Then she started riding again a month or two later when the little guy was out causing trouble in the real world. Then he started riding a bike (a little late, at age 5) and now is just about to hit 1000 miles on his “new” bike.

      • Marianne May 12, 2014, 10:10 pm

        Thanks for your comment, lots of pregnant women ride all over, it’s always nice to hear of more. And Meh, it’s irritating when people comment on whether I ‘should’ be riding because it calls in to question my ability to assess my own risks and my own abilities, and also questions my commitment to a healthy pregnancy and baby! Duh, no one is more invested than me! I’m a little over 7 months pregnant now and looking for a comfort cruiser for upright riding, to accommodate the belly and take strain off my wrists. The sun is high, the riding is fair and it just feels really really good to move so freely.

        • Staci June 20, 2015, 8:20 pm

          Hi Marianne- This is a year late but possibly a help to someone else. I too need/want to ride in a fully upright position due to a neck injury. I just bought the Specialized Expedition Sport Low Entry for women and had the guys at the shop turn the handlebar stem around so I am completely upright. I love it. All this time I thought I didn’t like biking- I just didn’t like the forward position….

          • David Lawlor January 8, 2016, 3:21 am

            HI, I’ve had acdf surgery to 2 levels in my neck and I feel your pain. I need to be upright also with perfect posture to avoid the aching neck and tricep, symptomatic problems with radicular pain. I walk to work though, probably 2 kms and go for a leisurely ride after work with my wife and for shopping errands etc.

        • Kristin September 20, 2017, 1:36 pm

          Thank you!! I’ve been bike commuting almost exclusively for the past two years, but stopped about a month ago after the combination of my OB asking me to stop and my coworkers constantly shaming/scaring me about how dangerous it would be if I fell. I desperately need some exercise, though, and driving to work is super stressful (biking is actually faster for the two mile trip), so maybe I’ll pick it back up for this last month of pregnancy. (Maybe during my maternity leave, I’ll compile some stats so I can better argue my position in pregnancy #2!)

          • Anonymous February 19, 2018, 10:19 pm

            I loved biking while pregnant throughout the year (I had studded tires in winter, so it felt safer than walking). I even biked to the medical centre the day I went into labour with my elder son—although I don’t recommend that because a friend had to rescue my bike(!) My doctor supported my decision to bike too. With my younger son unfortunately I couldn’t bike. My obstetrician told me any type of exercise would put me at risk of hemorrhage with my placenta previa condition. I’m waiting for my younger son to get old enough to be in the bike trailer now. I think he has to be a year.

  • Tyler Fuller May 31, 2014, 1:01 am

    Classic post! I hadn’t even given 5 seconds of thought to bike commuting to work, since 2007 I’ve had a work vehicle with gas paid for. I quit that job and took a much more tolerable (some may say enjoyable) position working with the public (auto and residential glass), however I lost my company vehicle, and of course ran out and bought a car to commute with.

    Not going to lie, I love driving to and from work in my luxurious Acura RL instead of a optionless work truck, with all the options one could think of and leather…

    What is your opinion on commuting 16km each way, with hills? Is this a simple (why not, do it!) or am I being a bit too ambitious?

    I really like the idea of exercise while commuting, as I am also trying to lose weight… being a brand new Dad I don’t plan to go to the Gym after working 40 hours a week…


    • Jonathan August 15, 2014, 10:22 am

      I’m a 50 lb overweight father of three who is trading in my daily commute riding in a paid off 15 year old car for a 14.5 mile each way bike ride instead.

      Half of my ride is on a bike trail which is pure bliss, and the other half alternates between a sidewalk along a busy city street and 45-55mph country roads with thin shoulders to ride on. Not so much fun.

      I rarely have time to exercise when I get home from work so it’s time to start fitting it into my commute. It was an hour and 8 minute ride in this morning, and I’m not sure exactly how my legs are going to get me home tonight, but I’m in a great mood at work and I know things will get easier as it develops into a habit.

      • lizzie August 15, 2014, 1:24 pm

        That’s awesome—good for you! I’ve been riding to work for the past four years and I LOVE it, but I’m not nearly as badass—I only have a 4 mile commute and I don’t do winters. Like you, I get to work in a great mood and I have to keep myself from annoying other people by evangelizing about it. Keep up the great work!

        One thing I’ve been thinking of to mention to anyone who isn’t in a position to ride to work or just doesn’t want to make the change. You can still make a difference by being a considerate driver and by advocating for bicyclists, even if it’s just as simple as defending their right to use the road whenever you may happen to hear someone complaining about them being in the way. Where I live, I’ve noticed a big change in culture from when I used to ride regularly (back in my 20s) to now. It used to be so much scarier and unpleasant, but drivers have become much more courteous and conscious of bicyclists and it really makes a huge difference to me. Riding is so much more pleasurable now. So even if you’re not biking, you can make it easier for others to make that choice. Thanks to those of you who do that already!

  • Nichole Barnes September 22, 2014, 7:03 pm

    I am in no way affiliated with this company but I recently added one of these to my bike and LOVE taking my 10-year-old daughter everywhere on it. Between this and my cheap bike trailer I was able to get rid of my car. Though it was worth sharing for those of you with older kiddos.


  • Dan October 2, 2014, 1:19 pm

    So, I REALLY want to bike to work. Unfortunately, I have such a hard time practically doing it. So according to Google maps, the drive is ~14 miles each way. That distance doesn’t frighten me too much. The problem is the roads. The first half of the trip is city riding, and I feel fairly confident that I can find a route that would be practical and relatively safe. The second half of the trip goes outside the city limits. The road I drive down is a divided highway with a 55mph speed limit, but cars go 60-65mph in the morning/afternoon. The road does have a decent shoulder, but there is a lot of broken glass there. If I try to go a less traffic route, the distance is a mile longer (not a big deal), but those are just 2 lane roads with less of a shoulder and a 55mpg speed limit.

    Unfortunately, I’m not looking to move any time soon. Even though the commute is annoying, I like living in a neighborhood with friends. I do work from home one day a week, and if my department ever gets their act together, I’ll be working from home three days a week.

    • Jonathan October 2, 2014, 1:47 pm

      Hey Dan,

      Have you tried biking the route yet to get a feel for what it’s like? I’ve recently started occasionally biking into work, and I have a 15.5 mile commute each way. My first four miles is on a four lane 35mph road where I ride in the middle of the right most lane. Then I get a nice stretch of 3.5 miles on a bike trail along a river. That’s by far my favorite part. The remaining 8 miles of the ride in is on roads with 45-55mph speed limits, but there’s a 2-4ft wide shoulder on 5 miles of it and not a lot of broken glass, although some parts are better than others. The remaining 3 miles is on a 55mph road with no paved shoulder, but there is very little traffic and I usually only have 5 to 10 cars pass me on that stretch.

      I am still extremely careful while biking, but it’s far less intimidating to get out there after I did it the first time. Your commute definitely sounds like it has a lot more craziness to it though. I’ve only been getting myself up early enough to do the ride in once a week, but I’m planning to improve and by next Spring I’d like to be riding in everyday that doesn’t have Thunderstorms in the weather forecast.

    • Carrie October 2, 2014, 2:00 pm

      Hi Dan – Your commute sounds very similar to what I did for several years: 16 miles, about half on a country highway where 55 was more like a minimum than a limit, some big trucks, and in the dark about 1/3 of the year. Although it’s not the most Mustachian approach, it gave me a lot more confidence to gear up. I got very serious front and rear lights, a lot of reflective clothing, everything available to give me a slight safety advantage. As a lot of people here have said, it came to be a part of my day that I treasured – not that I don’t also treasure the very easy 2-mile commute I now have. Enjoy and stay safe! Carrie

  • Saddlemeyer November 22, 2014, 10:49 am

    Bike maintenance tip:

    Next time you take your ride into the shop for minor surgery, see if you can WATCH the mechanic while he/she performs the repair (YouTube is also a fantastic resource). I’d struggled through changing blown tubes in the past, but seeing my local mechanic do it – and absorbing his flawless technique – has imbued a $12 – $17 silver lining to what used to be an altogether frustrating experience.

    On the same token, patch kits are indispensable and can keep a tube alive for years.

  • Dave November 28, 2014, 11:01 am

    I live in Ireland (Dublin) and have been commuting by bike on a 20km round-trip every day for the past year, and it feels fantastic. A colleague makes the exact same trip by car, and in the city traffic I’m consistently faster on the bike, about 30-35 minutes.

    I’d also like to point out the excellent bicycle maintenance videos here, made by a cool guy in Canada:

    I wonder would anyone out there have some cold-weather cycling tips to share. Now that the weather’s getting icy here, I’m on the lookout for ways to stay safer on the roads!

  • SAM L December 4, 2014, 6:52 pm

    Dear MMM,
    I live in Northern Michigan where it frequently gets below 0 in the winter months, and I would have a 11 mile commute to work in the early morning. I realize it would save me a lot of money however, it just does not seem practical. Unless I move closer to work which would cost me even more money.

    • Jonathan December 5, 2014, 7:25 pm


      There will be some good days in there (hopefully), depending on how far north you live, where you could take advantage of the weather being in the 20s and 30s. I live down in Lansing and I’m planning to try and commute 16 miles each way at least once, if not twice a week this winter. I haven’t ridden in anything below 25F yet, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

      That said, get some studded tires if you’re going to go out. I wiped out 3 weeks ago on black ice and bent the front fork of my bike using my normal road tires. It was frost/ice on a wooden bridge, but there’s no way I could see it in the dark of the morning even with my light.

  • Zayd January 6, 2015, 8:45 pm

    One day soon this 24 year old will learn to ride a bicycle.

  • Spinner January 8, 2015, 4:33 pm

    If you feel biking in your city is unsafe, write, ask, campaign for protected bike infrastructure!

    I bike commuted for the last 12 years before I retired, sold the car and lived car free (saved a packet, lost wieght, enjoyed life more!). I’ve seen the biking infrastructure in Canadian and US cities improve enormously over the past 7 years. In my city you now see unaccompanied kids on bikes and biking mums with their toddlers on skoot bikes year round in the dedicated AAA tracks downtown. I pass them all the time on my way to shop (with my free-from-Craigslist trailer), go to the movies, opera, theatre, beach.

    I only travel by train/bus/ferry/bike, so I take my vacations where Amtrak goes and choose my destination based on whether I can take my bike or easily access a bike share/hire there and how safe the bike infrastructure is for riding around. For those of you considering a (very low cost, very enjoyable!) vacation of this kind let me recommend a few places with grade separated bike tracks:

    Downtown LA (just a few tracks right now, but lots more on the way in 2015)
    Palm Springs
    Vancouver, BC
    Portland, Or
    San Diego (though getting from downtown to the beaches isn’t at all safe)

    Anyone got any more they can suggest? Booked for Santa Barbara in a couple of weeks. Fall, am planning on San Fran (tho not for the biking), Denver, Chicago, NYC, Minneapolis then home. Anywhere else I should go to spend my (biking) tourist dollars? Worth me coming to your city or town?

    FYI am 62, female and not a person who feels particularly confident biking in traffic.

  • Jenny in Oregon February 18, 2015, 1:57 pm

    I live in a VERY biker friendly city (outside or Portland OR), at the top of a very steep hill. I have three kids. I live in the suburbs and work downtown. I have a cruiser bike. I am intrigued by the idea of riding my bike to work, or at least to the park and ride to get on Transit to get downtown. I grew up in a small town and when to college in Montana. I don’t know how to ride a bike in the city. I’m so nervous to buy all the stuff to do (which I don’t even know what I need, a bike, a helmet, locks, special clothing or a band for my leg, specific laptop bag?) and then being to scared/bad at it that I couldn’t do it. I know a lot of people ride in the city all the time. My commute to work would be a lot more downhill and back to the suburbs would be UP UP UP hill and the idea of it is so intimidating. Where do I start?

    • Greg February 19, 2015, 3:19 pm

      Hi Jenny!

      I live in Portland, and bike commute to work.

      I would start small – definitely just ride to transit and back to start. In fact, I would probably recommend taking some rides on the weekend to get comfortable (it’s going to be nice this weekend!). Scope out your route and see how it goes. Stick to the bike-friendliest streets.

      As far as gear goes, let’s minimize your upfront investment. You definitely need:

      * A lock (I recommend a u-bolt cable combo. Read this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html)
      * A bike (though I think you could stick to your cruiser at first)
      * A helmet
      * Lights if you’re going to be riding after dark or in the rain.

      As for clothes, I would stick to either regular old workout clothes / active wear, or if you’re not worried about getting sweaty on the way in since you’re going downhill, just grab a rubber band for your pant leg. For your laptop, I just throw mine in a backpack. Some people prefer messenger-style bags, but I find they shift around too much.

      A few rides and you’ll feel like a pro. Anyway, it’s required. You can’t live in Portland, be a Mustachian and NOT bike!

      Hope this helps! Happy cycling!!!

  • Dawn February 21, 2015, 6:54 pm

    Some cities just aren’t bike friendly. I live in New York, Long Island actually, and in the days following Hurricane Sandy I tried to use a bike just for some errands. There were long lines for gas and it seemed like the responsible thing to do. Plus, I got myself all pumped up for the “new way” I was going to do things. I thought I would save money and lose weight and maybe even graduate to riding to work once a week in the summer which was still months away. Anyway, my experience was horrible, with people “buzzing” by as close as they could get in their cars, honking at me and calling me mean (very mean) names. I’d like to point out here that I was riding in the far right lane on the correct side of the street and there was another lane right next to me (2 in each direction). People in this obnoxious, self-entitled county are just assholes.
    So call me weak but, I gave up. My self esteem was taking a nasty beating and I was afraid I might get seriously hurt.
    All of this was a flashback to 1990 when I was trying to commute by bike. I lived in the Bronx and worked 5 miles from home. I was younger, faster and riding by the rules. And I was nearly killed daily by drivers who were intentionally getting close. After about a month of this, a UPS driver intentionally ran me into the parked cars on the side of the road. He angrily told me I had no business riding in the street. A person who drove for a living didn’t know it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk in NYC if you are older than 12.
    So I’m one of those people who would like to ride a bike more often but, I just don’t have it in me anymore.

    • Mr. Money Mustache June 20, 2015, 9:12 pm

      Wow, pretty scary stories! Just a week after you wrote that comment, I headed out to NYC myself and spent a day touring Manhattan by bike on busy streets with a friend. Plus the Central Park loop and the trail going along the river up to the giant Washington bridge. We didn’t have a single rude driver incident, and we were SERIOUSLY mixing it up with traffic at times.

      So at least Manhattan has become polite – you can expect this attitude to spread to Long Island in the near future.

  • Honey March 18, 2015, 9:40 am

    So mmm, I just picked up my bike yesterday, and am finally getting back into the swing of riding everywhere. (I used to do it ALL the time as a kid and teen) However, I live in a very rainy part of Washington. Any tips on keeping things dry, ie the bike, me, and my stuff? I’m thinking a nice pair of rain pants would be in order. Thoughts?

    P.S. Thanks for the encouragement to get a bike. I’ve been putting it off for way longer than I should have.

  • VR April 29, 2015, 6:26 am

    Just bought a new bike two weeks ago, a Corratec Cyclo-Cross with disc brakes. It’s been about 7-8 years since my last time on two wheels and my condition is bad (I mean really bad, especially lung capacity), but after thinking about it for over several months I thought it was finally the right time to get back on the saddle.

    Cost was huge as it would have covered a used car of some sort, 1400 euro with all the accessories, but I think it will be worth it. I can get in shape and my lungs are getting stronger by every kilometer which should help in the gym also. I can leave the car parked in the shelter and save about 150-200€ per month in gas and upkeep costs. So the bike will have covered its costs in less than a year and the next 9 years or so are pure profit :)

    So far it has been great, the cyclo-cross manages well enough on asphalt and very good in the wild, as long as there is a trail/path of some sort under the wheels. I can also carry my tent and sleeping bag with me in the summer and camp on the shores of Lake Saimaa :)

  • Scott May 4, 2015, 2:10 pm

    If you haven’t already read the history, this page http://bikeleague.org/content/mission-and-history from the history of American Wheelmen is quite cool.

  • Nicole Dean July 9, 2015, 12:38 pm

    Dear MMM,

    I would love to ride a bike to work every day. According to google map my work is only 3.9 miles away from my home. However, in order to get to work I would have to take US-319 S, which is a busy two-lane highway with a normal speed limit of 55 mph. I do have to take my 11 months old son to daycare every morning. It seems dangerous to drive on a two-lane highway with a baby. I don’t think this option works for me. Advise?

    • GregK July 10, 2015, 7:42 am

      Hi Nicole! You probably don’t want to ride on a 55mph road if you can avoid it. Can you share your home and work locations? No need to share a specific address. Maybe nearby cross roads?

      We Mustacians are pretty good at finding bike friendly routes!

      • Nicole Dean July 10, 2015, 8:10 am

        Hi GregK,

        I live on Steaphon Drive, Thomasville, GA and work downtown Thomasville on East Jackson Street. I couldn’t find any back roads, but that doesn’t mean they do not exist.

        Thanks :)


        • Rick July 10, 2015, 10:57 am

          I’ll start:
          1) Head south on Hall Road, then turn right on 319.
          2)As soon as you get past the intersection with the Thomasville Bypass, pull onto the grassy part of the shoulder (if you have have a hybrid bike or something with chunkier tires than a road bike).
          3) Then cut through the stadium/school parking lot and then right on Pinetree Blvd.
          4) Left on Patterson St. which turns into Clay Street.
          5) Go down Clay Street as far as you need to, then go south on one of those little streets that run to East Jackson Street.

          So this does put you on 319, but for less than 1/4 mile and the cars might be slowing down at the light.

        • Rick July 10, 2015, 11:05 am

          Actually, I like this more:
          1) South on Hall
          2) Cross 319 where there is a break in traffic.
          3) Cut through the parking lots of Walmart and Waffle House
          4) Cross Thomasville Bypass at Colonial Dr., again when there
          5) Cut through the JC Penny parking lot.
          6) Take the smaller streets like Remington Ave as far as you need to go.
          7) Go North to East Jackson on one of those little streets.

          Looks kind of like this: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Steaphon+Dr,+Thomasville,+GA+31757/30.8524017,-83.948441/30.849028,-83.9548135/30.8527031,-83.9580428/@30.8666285,-83.9520776,2634m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m11!4m10!1m5!1m1!1s0x88edb6372dcfca0b:0xf73364b94ce2b1ed!2m2!1d-83.9487897!2d30.8832937!1m0!1m0!1m0!3e2

          • GregK July 10, 2015, 11:26 am

            Rick, I like that a lot! Similar to my suggestion below. I would cut up to Sally Street, though, as Remington is not really a small street (check out street view).

        • GregK July 10, 2015, 11:22 am

          I like Rick’s suggestion. I think you might be able to get a bit trickier:

          1) Head south on Hall Road
          2) When you get to the end of Hall Road, cut through the WalMart parking lot to Colonial Drive
          3) Turn right on Colonial, and take it across Thomasville Bypass into another parking lot
          4) There appears to be a trail (check out google maps with Google Earth view turned on) that will let you cut across to E Pinetree Blvd
          5) From there you can use Sally Street, or cut up to E Jackson, depending on where you work.

          Here’s another alternative. This one takes you a good distance out of your way (brings your ride up to something like 7 miles total, depending on where exactly on E Jackson you work), but you’re never on any “scary” roads:

          1) Head NORTH on Hall road
          2) Cut over on Sanford, then Fredonia, then turn left on County Line Road
          3) Take County Line Road / Glenwood Drive right into downtown

          I also highly recommend reading ALL the blog posts on the Smart Moves page of the Commute Orlando blog:


          Hope this helps!!

    • Rick July 10, 2015, 11:54 am

      Keep in mind that it’s okay to add a little length to buy some more safety. I cross the same 4 lane road twice (York Road in Towson, MD) in order to avoid biking on it. It adds maybe 1/2 a mile to my commute, but for that I get to spend most of my commute on quiet streets without a lot of traffic.

  • expatinAMS August 4, 2015, 7:12 am

    Hi from Amsterdam, MMM and Mustachian Community!

    I’m a US expat (originally from DC) living in Amsterdam. Back when I was living in the states, I would have never considered biking and my method of commuting. Silly me- to think I used to spend $40 a week riding the metro when my bike ride would have been the same amount of time, and free!

    Since moving over here, I only bike (and walk), and I commute the 15k each way to work happily riding my bike and listening to audio books. Even if it’s pouring down rain, I’m still happier when I get to work every day than I EVER was after commuting in DC traffic. It’s totally a culture-shift/mindset thing- I forget it’s even weird until I mention it to my friends/family back in the states. Everyone bikes here- yesterday I even spotted a woman loading her cane in to her front bike basket before riding away, and it’s very common to see Grandma’s and Grandpa’s riding along on trikes (3-wheel) bikes.

    Keep up to cycling crusade and spreading the good word! Our wallets, waistlines, and global environment thank you :)


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