Mustache on the Move: Am I really the Most Badass Person in my Whole Town?

So the other Sunday I went out for some errands on the bike as usual. I had to hit the Big Box stores at the Eastern edge of town – Staples for an office necessity and Lowe’s for a specialized light bulb.

It was a beautiful day. Sunny with dappled clouds. Temperatures in the mid 70s. Very light winds. Fresh tree and flower smells in the air.

The bigbox store development I usually visit is right along the bike path that runs through the center of town – that’s why I use these particular stores. The path runs along a winding crystal clear glacier-fed stream which comes out of the mountains. It babbles and plays over a base of smooth round river rocks and sand, with the occasional little waterfall or stretch of rapids. As you whiz under the canopy of leaves formed by the tall creekside trees, if you’re going West, you can look up at any point and see the Rocky Mountains towering above you. Their tops are still covered with deep snow and ice, which is melting in the hot sun to provide you with all of this nice water.

So it’s a pretty darned nice path to bike along, and by riding on this path and the rest of the network of connected paths, you can get to most of the useful parts of my town, barely even needing to resort to the wide, quiet, bike-lane-equipped streets.

And yet when I got to the big box stores, I found the parking lot stocked with about 100 mostly-expensive cars.. but not a single bike in the virgin gloss-black bike rack system in the premium storefront bike parking area.

I racked my mind to figure out why this could be.

“Is it a workday? Maybe these people are all commuters from other towns, just stepping out for lunch? Nope.. it’s Sunday.

Is it the weather? Nope, fucking gorgeous out here today.

The hard-to-reach location? Nope, there’s the bike path right there. Maybe people in my town can’t afford bikes? Nope, these are all expensive cars, and in fact even cheap cars cost more than bikes.

Is this a special store only for people with special mobility needs? Nope, the people appear to be walking between the cars and the stores (and even that is surely only because the stores don’t yet allow you to drive right in and select items from the comfort of your driver’s seat).

After considering all the alternatives, the only rational explanation I could come up with, for the fact that I biked to the store while everyone else drove, even in the most perfect imaginable bicycling conditions, is this: Mr. Money Mustache must be the Single Most Badass person in Longmont, Colorado.

I know, I know.. it sounded surprising to me as well, but what other explanation can you offer? And more significantly, do you have what it takes to be the Baddest in YOUR town?

  • Rainbow Rivers June 24, 2011, 8:36 am

    I am always amazed how most folks I have met or became friends with were never willing to bike or walk anywhere, not even to the next door neighbors 50 feet away or a store not even a block away! THEY DRIVE and it totally drives me nuts! I have a hard time understanding how lazy so many americans have become and that walking to them may as well be some major epedemic such as leperousy or Black Death. So many stop me and hubby on our many mile hikes we do for enjoyment as in their minds if we are walking something MUST be wrong, ironically many of these types would also not know an honest hard day of physical work if their life depended on it

    • Emma June 28, 2015, 5:22 pm

      Bill Bryson writes a column about Americans driving for a UK audience, and it is HILARIOUS. We deconstructed the piece in an English lesson when I was 15. I couldn’t get the image of someone driving to their next-door neighbours house out of my head, and it still makes me crack up! You can find it in his book ‘Notes from a Big country’ – Highly recommended!

  • DMac June 24, 2011, 8:45 am

    Possibly these people are all purchasing items too big to be carried home on a bike? More likely they are lazy. That seems to be the case with most Americans.

    • Andrew January 3, 2012, 12:41 am

      Nope, can’t be that due to the invention of another affordable transportation innovation: the bicycle trailer.

      I’ve carried a small sofa on mine.

      I’m a raw foodist and haul huge wholesale cases of fruit around on my bike. I have a hard time believing that people require the space of a car, truck, or SUV with any sort of regularity.

  • B June 24, 2011, 8:55 am

    But, I live in Longmont. Oh well I have a lot of work to do to dethrone you.

  • Mr. Frugal Toque June 24, 2011, 9:21 am

    I’m pretty sure that as long as I live in Ottawa, I’ll always be out-Badassed by that guy who bikes to work in shorts right through the winter.

    • Richard Steel May 9, 2018, 11:24 pm

      I enjoy the challenge of biking through the winter in Ottawa’s -30C winters. Not wearing shorts, but my snowboarding helmet, goggles, and clothes. Still faster than walking or the bus and much cheaper than trying to find parking. We should whip out our moustaches someday to compare growth ;)

  • Kathy P. June 24, 2011, 9:27 am

    Well, mostly my town doesn’t have what it takes. In fact, I would assert that most places in the US don’t have safe (much less scenic) bike trails running through town. In my case, I don’t live all that far from several stores, including a Lowe’s, grocery/pharmacy, etc. but to get there on a bike would seriously risk life and limb. I would have to cross a very busy 5-way intersection that consists of a total of 12 traffic lanes plus turning lanes. No one in their right mind would want to negotiate that. Furthermore, if any of the town fathers ever suddenly became enlightened, I can’t imagine how they’d create bike lanes in that mess. And there are no reasonable detours around it.

    It’s just one more example of how far this country really has to go to really approach anything like a sustainable lifestyle. But heck, we just released a whopping (?) 30 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve. A whole day-and-a-half’s worth for the US. (We guzzle 20 million barrels a day in this country.)

    • Seth T. March 19, 2015, 2:07 pm

      I’m right there with you. I live 2 miles from work, but if I wanted to get there by bike I have to cross 3 major intersections (3 lanes going each and every way) dodge traffic coming on and off the interstate and if I want to stay in the right most lane that actually makes it over the interstate I have to start in the leftmost lane at the beginning of the whole debacle.

      I feel ashamed of my self for not biking such a short distance, but I’m not comfortable putting my life in the hands of so many drivers who aren’t used to driving around cyclists. That said I’m new to getting around on a bike, maybe I’ll get the confidence up to do it after I get used to riding less insane roadways.

      • Michelle March 3, 2016, 1:21 pm

        I used to live 2.5 miles from work and even got them to install a bike rack at the office, but I only biked a handful of times. My commute was nowhere near as dangerous as it sounds like Seth T’s is, but I still did not feel safe enough. It was incredibly frustrating. There are no crosswalks anywhere, and not even a sidewalk (or even a shoulder) to go the last stretch even just to a stoplight or somewhere it might have been safer to cross that last street. Otherwise, luckily, it was all residential streets, but that last spot was just very uncomfortable.

  • John June 24, 2011, 10:00 am

    They reason they have to drive their car is because it is really difficult to balance a 57″ plasma screen HD TV on the back of a bicycle, or the inconvenience of breaking a sweat while biking with a box of donuts and a 16 oz Starbucks coffee.

  • Daniel June 24, 2011, 10:09 am

    I didn’t know MMM was based in Longmont. Loyal reader here in Boulder!

  • MMM June 24, 2011, 10:16 am

    It is nice to read all of your thoughts about why various people do or do not bike. I was joking about my own toughness, of course, because there are many other bikers in Longmont (which is why we have these great trails nowadays). There was even a local night time bike rally/concert last week that gathered over 1000 bicycle riders.

    It is just that the percentage is still ridiculously small. In a perfect situation like the day described in this article (or indeed most of the other 299 sunny days annually in my area), I would expect a much higher bicycle participation rate – perhaps 50-90%, instead of less than 1% as I witnessed.

    @Kathy P – not everywhere is created equal, but I still caution against writing off bicycling so easily. Smart people bike in EVERY city, and they find workarounds to the really bad traffic areas. My apartment-to-university commute was a textbook bicycle-unfriendly one, but I found a way to do it safely. The attitude must always be “there IS a way, I just have to find it.”

    If biking is your priority for local errands, which it absolutely should be for all able-bodied people, you will find an ENJOYABLE way to get to everything you need to do in your city. The secret parking lot that lets you avoid a certain intersection, the quiet road that goes behind a grocery store. Bikes are quite magical in the city – they can go a million places cars cannot go, which gives you shortcuts and quieter routes than the cars are forced to take. I can do most bike errands in my 25-square-mile city faster than they could be done by car, since a car’s average speed in city traffic is actually well below 20MPH.

    One of the benefits of suburban sprawl is that it often creates ideal conditions for biking – low population density and plenty of low-theft places to put your bike in front of stores. And the distances created by suburban sprawl, 0-3 miles between average homes and retail clusters, while impractical for an impatient walker, are actually very nice cycling distances.

    • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple June 24, 2011, 11:40 am

      This is true. I can get to work on a bike path – probably the first 2-3 miles and the last 1/4 mile on streets, and the rest on a bike path. That adds a mile to my 10 mile trip, so I am usually lazy and take surface streets. At 7 am, it’s still safe enough.

      When it is dark for me or my spouse, we have a flashing light and a reflective vest, and we are MUCH more likely to take the quieter bike path. It’s slower, and darker than the streets with traffic lights, but you are also less likely to get run over.

    • Bakari Kafele June 24, 2011, 12:18 pm

      When I was a bike messenger, my company offered a rush delivery by vehicle guaranteed within an hour.

      Same pick up and drop off points, if it was small enough to be carried by bike, was guaranteed to be delivered within 15 minutes.

      That’s how much faster we were than the vans.

  • Heidi June 24, 2011, 10:25 am

    One reason people do not bike is they have children and do not have an adequate bike trailer. We bought a double bike trailer off Craigslist when our 1st child was 7 months old. It was a priority so that we would not have to buy a 2nd vehicle to commute 3 miles at separate times. In our small town of 1300 people-which is 1mi by 1mi-cars rule and I have yet to see another bike trailer.

    I would recommend a bike trailer be added to every baby shower list and all other items be eliminated.

    • MMM June 24, 2011, 11:22 am

      Wow Heidi!

      1: I think we can safely say you actually probably ARE the baddest person in your town because of the biking.

      2: Your last sentence is AWESOME. A timeless classic at the top of the list of classic Mustachian one-liners. I will quote you on that one for the rest of my life. Thanks!

    • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple June 24, 2011, 11:36 am

      I would only recommend a bike trailer if it’s a bike friendly town. When my husband was researching trailers and kiddie seats, he found that it is recommended for safety reasons that “your child should not ride on a bike on a street until he/she is able to propel it themselves”.

      I do see a fair number of bike trailers in my town, because we have a number of dedicated bike paths not connected to roads. We never purchased one, so our son has not been on a bike yet.

      We do, however, live about a 1-mile walk from a farmstand, a couple of grocery stores, restaurants, and a great park. He has complained about the 1 mile walk to his friends’ birthday parties at the park (and our friends thought we were crazy for pushing him in the stroller, but then were even more shocked to learn we don’t have a stroller. Yes, our 5 year old can walk one 1 mile to a park. And back home again.)

  • Naomi June 24, 2011, 10:25 am

    Here in Portland, I saw a guy on his bicycle carrying a full size Christmas tree. I thought that was pretty badass.

  • Kathy P. June 24, 2011, 11:23 am

    Mr. MMM, you’ll love this: “A nationwide analysis shows that towns where people bike to work are richer, fitter, and more successful in many other ways”
    Sounds pretty badass. http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/06/americas-top-cities-for-bike-commuting-happier-too/240265/

    • MMM June 24, 2011, 3:30 pm

      Nice article Kathy!

      Except I accidentally started reading through the comments at the end of that one and got pissed off again. Those anti-bike comments that appear after every mainstream article about bikes sure are annoying.

      “There is a toxic level of Smugness in this article”

      YES, we are smug about biking while you drive, because we ARE doing something significantly better than you! If you want to be better like us, you can ride a bike too and we will welcome you to our ranks!

      If not, and you still want to write anti-bike drivel, stop by the new Mr. Money Mustache franchise on Main Street for a complimentary PUNCH IN THE FACE!

      There, I feel better, even though that guy will never get to read this.

  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple June 24, 2011, 11:32 am

    Uh, you said it yourself. “Big Box Store”. People were probably buying too much stuff, or too BIG stuff to haul on a bike.

    I know that I rarely shop by bike because I try not to shop often and I end up with a lot of stuff. And. I live on a big hill. I hate to bike back up it.

    However, I try to bike to work 2x a month (that is not a typo, it used to be once a week, but my spouse travels two weeks a month now, so I can’t bike to work those weeks). And generally a few folks think I’m badass because it’s 10 miles. (But I only bike one way – I bike to work, spouse drives with his bike on the rack. I drive home, he bikes.) Our offices are a block from each other.

    We’d carpool, but we offset our working hours to better match the school schedule,

    • Matt April 24, 2015, 11:57 am

      If you and your husband both work so close to each other, why do you live so far away from work? Wouldn’t it make more sense to live closer to work and bike everyday, both ways, be more fit, and save on gas and other car-related expenses?

  • Timmy June 24, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I really wish you hadn’t divulged the L-town word. Making it sound too attractive too. I like keeping the secret. But… If you MUST entice people to immigrate here, I guess I prefer those with Mustachian principles!

    • MMM June 24, 2011, 3:17 pm

      I dunno, Tim. A city like Boulder or San Francisco can afford to be smug and not attract more people, because it is already overcrowded. But Longmont still has vacant commercial buildings left over from the 2002 tech bust, and too many people with raised mufflerless pickup trucks and noisy Harleys. It’s kind of two cities in one now – the growing progressive aspect, and the regular sprawl-as-usual contingent.

      We need just a few more natural-living, peaceful people to fill out our ranks to fill up this place a little and continue to vote for more bike paths. And either scare the old motorhead crowd away with our crunchy granolaness or price them out of the housing market by bringing our prices up a bit.

      • CeridianMN July 14, 2011, 2:09 pm

        My wife grew up in Longmont. I have to admit that while I am born and bred Minnesotan I am starting to long for the better year-round outdoor climate of the Denver area. Her parents & brother are in Monument, sister in Longmont (elementery teacher actually), and grandparents in Fredrick. Lots of child-watching help available as opposed to my parents who are older and have less availability, grandparents that cannot manage it, and brother/sister-in-law who we wouldn’t likely want to try to use for anything more than a movie. If we were about $20K lower on what we owe for the house I might start looking into a move…

    • Bakari Kafele June 24, 2011, 7:24 pm

      Reminds me of Hunter Thomson’s run for mayor of Aspen with the vow to change the name to “Fat City” to make it seem less attractive to tourists

  • Bakari Kafele June 24, 2011, 12:12 pm

    Its a lot more challenging here in the Oakland / Berkeley area across from San Francisco.

    But I think I may still be (at least among, if not THE) most bad-ass in town.

    Everyone bikes around here; but I seem to be the only person – out of a population of half a million – who skate(d) to work.
    10 miles.
    Each way.

    Usually while listening to music, and frequently singing and/or dancing along with said music. In traffic.
    Thats just how I roll
    (pun intended!)

    Unfortunately, that job decided they wanted all full time workers, and I have no intention of ever working full time again, so now I am just on call for covering the occasional sick day or vacation for the full time staff.

    • MMM June 24, 2011, 3:19 pm

      Nice visual Bakari. I wish there was a youtube video of you doing that – maybe to Michael Jackson’s “Startin’ Something”

      • Bakari Kafele June 24, 2011, 7:23 pm

        Why is it that sometimes your icon is GW with a drawn on mustache, and other times its just blank?

  • Tim June 24, 2011, 12:18 pm

    “As you whiz under the canopy of leaves formed by the tall creekside trees…”

    That’s disgusting. I wish you wouldn’t befoul the leaves like that.

    • MMM June 24, 2011, 3:18 pm

      Oh, come on. Whizzing in nature is part of the joy of being outside! :-)

      • libertygreen March 22, 2016, 9:19 am

        Also adds to the fertility of the soil…

  • Heidi June 24, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Starting someplace is really important. So, when we get to Main Street, which is also a state highway, we go on the sidewalk. Completely illegal, and there’s no way to forget that as my little 3 year old girl calls out from the trailer each and every time,”Mama, bikes aren’t allowed on the sidewalks, you’re going against the rules.” So, this is not the most bike friendly town as while it is small, it only takes one car to hit us. But, we cannot give in to the cars and must take a few risks in life (coming from me, a wimpy, conservative person who generally judges risks/benefits in every category) to show the need for bike paths.

    Since no one has said it yet, another reason no one is biking is climate control. I’d like to read a Mrs. MM post on biking as a women without the crutches of high upkeep hairstyles and fashion.

    • Kira July 9, 2014, 4:29 pm

      I always thought biking on sidewalks wasn’t allowed either, but I just read a page published by my state and it specifically stated bikes can use sidewalks. Not sure if individual cities can override that, but I might be more inclined to start bicycling knowing I can use the sidewalk since I’m not in an especially bike friendly area.

  • Frugal Vegan Mom June 24, 2011, 2:20 pm

    Hey Happy Friday MMM. But then again that traditional concept of “Friday” doesn’t really matter in your world, does it?

    Just wanted to say how much I liked your blog since I first started reading, but haven’t had nearly enough time to comment, even working *only* 3 days a week and taking care of my 4 month old babe.

    This whole working thing sucks even more a$$ when you’re a parent.

    Your perfect day in your Frugality As a Muscle post sounds like mine too. I’d much rather bike than drive. And we are currently scouting properties to buy for rentals in our neighborhood.

    Cheers to everyone living more simply, having more time to relax and enjoy life!

  • Madison June 24, 2011, 2:28 pm

    Nice! I felt like a bad-ass biking home from Home Depot with 10 foot long boards strapped to my bicycle. You get some very strange looks, let me tell you.

    You are totally making me want to move to Longmont. Off road bike trails? Kickass! Some of my streets I’m lucky to have a shoulder to ride on.

    • Rainbow Rivers June 24, 2011, 3:01 pm

      I use to use a small cavelier for hauling up to 3 pigs at a time ( we rented a farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for awhile) goats, and filling it to the brim even for scrap metal runs…… I really would not recommend a bike for hauling pigs……………..a cavelier was far bad enough! LOL but in places where I lived people would drive a block away just for a gallon of milk and loaf of bread………really just plain lazy there , just as easily walked or biked to when it is only a block away!

    • MMM June 24, 2011, 11:23 pm

      10 foot boards is definitely badass. I’ll carry a long plastic pipe or the like (HD is only 2 miles from my house), but admit to resorting to the construction van when there is dimensional lumber involved.

  • hickchick June 24, 2011, 3:00 pm

    I’ll do you one better. I was the only person to ride my bike to a lecture about peak oil. Everyone else drove. Sigh…

    • Bakari Kafele June 24, 2011, 7:21 pm

      Had the same experience, going to a rally against oil wars.

      • Kira July 9, 2014, 6:31 pm

        Oh, the irony…

  • Chris June 24, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Joining you. What kind of baddass bike should I consume? I was thinking Trek 7.5 fx (hybrid) or the Trek 1.1 (road bike) both around $700 new. What do you use MMM?

    • Bakari Kafele June 24, 2011, 7:20 pm

      Way too many variables to recommend any one bike.

      How do you plan to use it? How much experience do you have? How far will you ride a day, how much stuff will you haul, on road or off, will you ride in bad weather, how much maintenance are you comfortable doing?

      Shop by type, features, weight, and components, not by brand. I strongly recommend looking at used bikes first (a used bike shop if available) but if you do get one new, definitely go with a local bike shop (they’ll make up for a slightly higher price with advice and usually a few months of free repairs)

    • MMM June 24, 2011, 11:15 pm

      Hi Chris! Glad to hear you are into bikes as well. Those both sound like nice machines, although you don’t have to spend $700 these days to get a good one. My main bike for the last few years is a K2 Astral 3.0, which was only something like $300 during a clearance at nashbar.com in 2008. I’ve got about 3000 km of city errands on it so far and I love it. I also have a moderate level road bike and suspension mountain bike for the trails.

  • Matt June 25, 2011, 5:47 am

    I couldn’t take it anymore. I picked up a bike off craigslist.

  • Ellen June 26, 2011, 5:23 am

    What, you live in Longmont? I know another badass person in your town, well I’ve never actually met her (I live in bike heaven – The Netherlands) but I’ve read her blog for ages: http://www.walkslowlylivewildly.com.

  • Kevin M June 27, 2011, 10:27 am

    Some of my neighbors drive to our clubhouse/pool in our subdivision. It is literally 4 houses down the street from us and our street is a circle. I am at the top of the circle, clubhouse at the bottom, so I am one of the farthest away. I cringe whenever I see someone drive down there.

    Your town sounds awesome, I wish we had bike paths (or even bike-able streets) like that. Part of it is our fault – we picked a house in a subdivision, but the town is basically built for cars only. Even to get to the grocery store I’d have to either ride on the sidewalk or on a narrow, busy 2 lane 35mph road. I may try it anyway!

  • Here to Help June 29, 2011, 5:39 pm

    When I lived in the suburb, I was a drive your car everwhere type as well. Maybe it’s the way our society is and seeing no one on sidewalk makes us feel uncomfortable about walking or the fact that everything’s so far away in the suburbs.… who knows. Then I moved to the city. Now, I walk to the market, walk to get a haircut, walk to get lunch, etc. I love it. First it was a block, then 3, then 5, and it’s not as bad as I thought.

    I told my wife and she refused to walk more than a block. Now, she loves it too. I think it’s the initial hestitation b/c we’re so brainwashed into thinking we have to drive. After couple times of walking/biking, you find more enjoyment than driving.

  • Mr Writing III July 4, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Just discovered the site. Great article. It’s refreshing to see sissy indoor workers from urban areas starting to adopt practices that most of us poorer rural people have been doing for decades. : )

    • MMM July 4, 2011, 4:34 pm

      Hey, I grew up in a relatively poor and rural area too, sukka! And at least half of my life’s work has been mostly outdoor-based. The office worker stint was just a cushy intermediate period :-)

    • Travoid July 21, 2011, 2:42 pm

      I can attest to MMM’s claims, I still live in said small town. I’ve got to start livin’ more Moustachian, especially since my wife was just laid off, and we have another baby on the way! I’ve been sucked in by the siren call of consumerism for too long. I’ve grown fat and weak-minded… must get stronger with the use of moustachian principles!

      • MMM July 24, 2011, 11:04 am

        Oh Hello there, Mr. Travoid. Glad to see a comment from you here!
        I am excited to see some Mustachian changes happening up there in the hometown as well. You are an absolutely prime candidate for dramatic change and the happiness that comes with it. It will seem difficult at first until you gain strength. But strength will come and will triumph over the excusitis, you will be amazed.

        Your first assignment, start walking to work. After one month of success, report back ;-)

        If you want to double down for a mega-boost, also sell your Fancy Motorcycle immediately, before it is too late in the summer to do so. You can always replace it later, with a less costly bike, once your kids are old enough to ride with you and once your mortgage is paid off. This is what I told myself when I sold my own motorbike 3 years ago. When I did the math, (insurance, cost of capital, depreciation), it was costing me about $75 every time I rode that thing. For you, the number is probably much higher because of Ontario’s expensive insurance and your fancier bike.

  • CeridianMN August 17, 2011, 1:46 pm

    So as I rolled into Longmont heading to my sister in laws place last week I found myself worried that MMM would see me and feel sorry for me driving my 2009 T&C Limited with the trim turned gold. I actually wished I could hang a sign on it explaining that it was bought used, and just a couple days after they “golded” it (we liked it better before they did that). It was an executive lease-back, so the 4K miles it had on it that resulted in over $15K in savings were likely no worse than what any normal driver would do. It is planned as a “lifetime” car which will see our kids as far into their school career as possible (they are 1year and 2.5 years). Oh, and it is paid for.

    Then I thought it unlikely that MMM would see us anyhow since she lives on the SE corner of town, and we would be travelling from there to Fredrick and back. Except we also went to the bridge for great grandpa’s 100th. And visited sister in laws school on the west central side of town. And saw two people who were looked to definatelybe bikers instead of drivers in our travels through town.

    So MMM, if you saw a dirty late-model expensive mini van with MN plates and bikes hanging off the back, please recall the usual “in debt to their ears” judgement that even I struggle not to pass on similar people. We are in a state of positive net worth based on our balance sheet, our income is more than expenditure every month, and we are getting better every day.

    • MMM August 17, 2011, 2:06 pm

      West Side Central baby, you were right in my ‘hood. You mighta seen me – big black bike, subwoofers in the wheels rattling everyone’s windows, Money Mustache hangin’ off to the sides so wide that it sweeps the leaves out of both gutters simultaneously.

      I’m like a Big Cloud ‘a’ Dust and Bass / coming straight at yo’ face/ making all the Consumas Run and Hide / behind their X5s and S8s!

      Damn right I be watchin out for Fancy Car Posers / Passin’ Judgement on each one of ’em

      Sukkas scared to go out in their cars now / Lest Triple M be makin fun of them!!

      • Chris September 22, 2011, 12:51 am

        LMAO! Word.

  • Kristin October 11, 2011, 6:56 am

    I used to be the baddest mofo in Longmont, but then I moved to Boulder, where I became one of many badassers. I guess you’re it now!
    Seriously, though, it always surprised me how few people utilize the gorgeous trails that Longmont has to offer.

    • Redeyedtreefr0g October 1, 2012, 9:15 pm

      I love them!! 4.6 miles of beautiful scenic awesome, 4 times a day from my apartment to the school buses and back. <3!

      I admit, I'm too much of a wussy to contemplate 15 miles one-way out to the east terminal on Weld County Road 13… how do you become THAT badass?

  • DP October 30, 2011, 12:34 am

    When in the pursuit of baddness, it can be fun to try to challenge friends and family to pursue the same. My brother and his wife were visiting us this evening, and around 9:50pm the ladies both remembered some grocery need for tomorrow’s dinner, and the store was closing in 10 minutes (and would be closed tomorrow). So my brother and I decided to go make the purchase right away.

    We went out the side door, and he turned right–towards his car. I turned left–toward my garage, where I keep the bike (but not the car). He was surprised, but followed me to the garage. I invited him to ride my wife’s bike, and we both raced to the store, made the purchase before closing, and made it home without cracking the eggs.

    • Mathx November 4, 2011, 12:32 am

      .. and you had more fun doing it than driving, and a story to remember probably for the rest of your life when you think of your BIL. (until you ride with him every day for everything, then it becomes no big deal :)

  • Kathy P. December 7, 2011, 10:33 am

  • Diana L April 8, 2013, 2:41 pm

    I was surprised to see a lack of any contrary points of view.. because of that, I’ll offer my own:
    In response to, “After considering all the alternatives, the only rational explanation I could come up with, for the fact that I biked to the store while everyone else drove, even in the most perfect imaginable bicycling conditions, is this: Mr. Money Mustache must be the Single Most Badass person in Longmont, Colorado.”
    I would like to point out that the most badass residents were probably at home using the light of the sun to work by, while they were sawing down trees for their future lumber needs (or replanting the ones from last month); reusing paperclips instead of staples, using digital copies instead of printing, using skydrives instead of additional hard drive space, etc.
    Those people are probably laughing at the fact that you rode your bike to the store, the same way you might laugh at someone who says they saved money by going to multiple stores in the same trip instead of driving home between each stop.

    • Mr. Money Mustache April 8, 2013, 5:49 pm

      You’ve got me there, Diana. I obviously lose quite a few points by visiting the big box stores in the first place. But the people who took their cars there lose more :-)

    • Kira July 10, 2014, 12:12 pm

      It’s been a while since I looked into it, but storing items in the cloud actually has a negative environmental impact due to the massive and numerous servers involved.

  • Kris May 6, 2013, 8:48 pm

    I discovered your blog last week. Reading from the beginning! I have pumped up the bike tires and will bike to work tomorrow – only 2 km one way, but I come home for lunch.

  • AA June 3, 2013, 11:00 am

    I have a question – I am pretty short. Like just over 5′. So, I’m thinking my chances of finding a used adult bike for someone my height might be difficult. 19″ or 20″ kids bikes, however, are up for grabs for $20ish all over the place and at my height would probably be perfectly usable.

    Is it important to get an road bike, or do you think I could get away with any old thing I could get my hands on? Even though I am female, If I went with a kid’s I would probably try to get a boy’s bike – I don’t think I could get away with pink and white with streamers in the bike rack at work! :-)

  • Edward March 23, 2014, 4:46 am

    Hi MMM,

    I found your blog about two years ago when I was researching ways to cut back on expenses. At the time I lived about 12 miles from work, a bit far to ride a bike but we did have a bus so I started using a combination of bus/bike to commute to work. One of my benefits at work was a free bus pass so my commutting expense was almost zero. I bought a bike trailer and started doing all of my errands and shopping my bike. I moved my work location closer to home and have ride my bike to work everyday. My wife and I had two small cars and I only occasionally drove mine so we just decided to sell it and have one car. Just wanted to thank you for the inspiration. Thanks! Edward

  • ben May 11, 2014, 6:38 pm

    I’ve been a biker since 14, delayed getting my license til 21, routinely biked more than drove even after I added a motorcycle to my bicycle, and even biked 27 miles each way from Cologne to Dusseldorf for work.

    I will say this, one must have thick skin to eschew driving. It is seen as a negative, for whatever reason, often projection on the part of the mocker, but it can be tough to go from non biker to biker. I still say do it, but be prepared for some hard times from friends and strangers alike.

  • Juanita September 3, 2014, 12:19 pm

    things I feel badass about:
    Using my debit card not my credit card to pay for things.
    Taking my crazy boxer dog out. Free entertainment but not really. He costs me about $60 a month but he is also our home security.
    Going to the cafe and getting free refills on tea and not ordering food. Feels like I went to the gym. This is a triumph because I used to order food each time.
    Coming in below budget maybe with 20 to spare. I love keeping a 20 in my wallet when its extra.
    Putting my freelance company on my resume with a link to my portfolio, because I did it myself.
    Not having a car payment.

  • aleksandar November 9, 2014, 4:41 pm

    I am happy that I live and work in the same building because my city is not bike friendly.This footage is on a nonworking day.Enjoy :(


  • Val November 26, 2014, 10:41 pm

    My grandmother lives in a small town in Illinois, one with a charming town square with a gazebo surrounded by quaint shops and cafes. It’s about a half-mile walk along tree-lined sidewalks. Every time we visit her and walk to the square, people stop their cars to lean out and ask if we’re lost or if we need a ride. If you aren’t walking a dog being on the sidewalks is suspicious.

  • Sagebrushmama December 20, 2014, 8:48 pm

    I love biking everywhere, though the high desert in rural, oil-producing Utah is a tough place to do it. For the record, I live only .75 miles from work (by choice) but I bike there year round, in -16 F to 100 F, even while pregnant. I biked in labor, though I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Bee December 25, 2014, 9:31 pm

    I just Googled ‘Boulder, Colorado’ to see what you are making such a fuss about… WOW the place is stunning, why wouldn’t everyone ride their bike around there!

    • JP February 22, 2015, 6:43 pm

      No kidding. That trail system sounds wonderful! I might be ready to move.

  • Ickis April 15, 2015, 8:57 am

    Clearly they were all buying refrigerators.

  • Miranda July 30, 2015, 11:40 pm

    I feel badassity when I am cruising at a nice clip on my bike on the way home passing a mile of cars waiting in our small-town round-about back-ups. Secretly smiling inside!

  • Colewideworld February 17, 2016, 4:04 pm

    So my first thought immediately after reading “and even that is surely only because the stores don’t yet allow you to drive right in and select items from the comfort of your driver’s seat” is WOW, WHAT AN AMAZING STORE IDEA! Americans would totally buy into that. I could become rich off of this idea alone… :)

  • Proto 'Stache February 25, 2016, 4:21 pm

    I love riding my bike, started doing it again after about 15 years away from biking a couple of years ago. Just found this blog a few weeks ago, and you inspired me to ride 4 times a week to work (instead of the two I was doing). Other travel is either public transit or the occasional carpool…I live 7+ miles from work, in San Francisco, so plenty of hills… Now I need to think about other ways to save, & learn about investing…thanks for the example!

  • Winslow July 28, 2016, 5:12 am

    MMM, this takes me back to my Colorado days . . . my wife and I lived in Superior from August 2007 to December 2009 before we moved here to Oahu . . . I worked at Partech in Boulder and then with the Boulder Police Department. When I worked at Partech, I would commute 22 miles a day by bike. There were two nice downhills on the way to work, and then those same downhills became mean uphills on the way home. South Boulder Road and then McCaslin Boulevard . . . I can still feel myself biking that route. It also reminds me of good times when you mention the St Vrain. I clearly remember hiking back into the Indian Peaks Wilderness and watching a portions of the St Vrain’s headwaters flow directly from the snowpack – one of the most beautiful sights in nature.

  • Jacob July 28, 2016, 1:37 pm

    Maybe the people in this story value their time differently than you do. Perhaps they have a child that is sick so they need to return home quickly. Or maybe their in-laws are in town so they are in a hurry to grab a few items from the store. Perhaps their friends are waiting for them to meet up for a few beers and a game of hacky sack. Or maybe the people driving these cars work two jobs so they can earn enough money to retire early and they don’t have the extra time to pedal all over town.

    As someone who has been a life-long saver, I appreciate many of your ideas. But the level of self-righteousness in some of these posts is unbearable.

    • Mr. Money Mustache July 28, 2016, 3:58 pm

      You’d better quit reading right now Jacob, since this post is from 2011. There are five more years of self-righteousness coming if you don’t type in a new URL to that browser – quick!

      As for my fellow Lonmontians – absolutely, I’m SURE some people have perfectly good, valid reasons to use their cars to go to the store. The other 99%, however, have been trained like lemmings to use 4000 pound gas-powered racing wheelchairs to get around town even for 1-mile trips. This blog is here to start the retraining process.

  • EarningAndLearning April 11, 2017, 4:35 pm

    Oh how you make me laugh MMM!

    Thanks for yet another chuckle — I’m having such fun increasing my financial IQ & badassity (best word ever)!

    Between this article & the car-clown one & more of your humorous but SO TRUE writing, I really SEE the insane car-centric culture all around me. Thank you for this perspective shift, and the resulting behavioural shift: way less driving, no more aimless or recreational driving (the old me: “I’m bored, let’s drive to that town 1 hour away and go for a coffee” !?!?), and I’m back on my bike for the first time in 1.5 years (yikes, please don’t scold me! No excuse except laziness!).

    I’m working my way through your posts from the earliest days, I’m still way back in 2011 (wish I’d discovered u then!!) I’m thoroughly enjoying them & the comments as well! Thank u!

  • Simon January 19, 2018, 9:34 pm

    recently I’ve been riding my bicycle to go surfing, 8km each way and 80m of elevation to climb on the way back . There are a handful of other surfers on bicycles, but only kids too young to drive and adults who live in the neighborhood (they can’t be going far coz they arrive in their wetsuits) so I guess I am the badassiest surfer in my town….

  • Anonymous June 20, 2018, 7:26 am

    I BADLY want to commute the 13 miles to work (each way) by bike, but i don’t see a good/ safe route and I’d love to get some thoughts from the MMM community on how to do this.

    Currently costs me around $30 in gas every 10 days or so in my ’12 Hyundai. The gauge says I’m getting 28mpg.

    I live in central NJ, no bike paths anywhere, tons of traffic. starting in zip 08816 ending in 08873.

    • Mike Pouch October 10, 2019, 11:46 am

      I live in the Philly suburbs and commute 11 miles each way to my office (10973). There are no bike lanes and the roads are generally not friendly to bikers.

      My solution was to buy an eBike which allows me to go 25 mph through the areas that I would not feel safe biking otherwise. I use full petal assist when biking to work (while wearing a shirt and tie) so I don’t arrive at my office sweaty, and change to workout clothes and use minimal assist on my ride home.

      Funny enough – during the school year, biking is often quicker than driving because I zoom by all the people sitting in traffic.

      I’m the sole biker in my entire office complex – an expansive lot with 12 or so multi-floor office buildings. Hell, I’ve never even seen another commuter biking during my 40-minute commute. There are not even any bike racks at my office, so I get a premium spot chaining up to the handicap sign right out front!

      I bought a Ride1Up 500 City and a number of lights, locks, and misc. accessories – the whole setup cost around $1,400. I estimate that the bike will pay for itself within a year in reduction of gas usage, car wear and tear, oil changes, and insurance – not to mention the hard-to-estimate future medical expenses avoided from all the exercise I’m getting (and without having to carve out extra time to work out!).

      So that’s my suggestion for you!

      • Mike Pouch October 10, 2019, 12:21 pm

        **I use pedal assist when biking and petal assist when picking flowers. I should have used the former above.

        Also, I should note that I have no affiliation whatsoever with Ride1Up – just a very satisfied customer.

  • conner August 10, 2018, 12:02 pm

    Mr Money Mustache, I have a proposal. Since you have established above that you are in fact the most badass person in Longmont–probably all of Colorado–and in light of your readership numbers and recent rise to stardom, it might be wise for you to hire a bodyguard. It just so happens that I am highly qualified for the job! This of course has nothing to do with the fact that I am a huge fan and like to ask a lot of questions… Let me know, I am on the hunt for a job and this could be a win for both of us.
    Bonus: I like to work out and build things, so you would have a workout partner and labor assistant.
    As far as salary, I don’t need a lot…just enough that I can live on 25% of it.

  • J Giezi September 17, 2020, 3:21 pm

    Mr. Money Mustache, I have truly enjoyed reading through your blog (got recommended to it by a personal finance course on Udemy, the instructors really love you) and you have inspired me to be more active with my bicycle! I also really enjoy a solid walk to anywhere, even if it takes me three times as long because, c’mon, I KNOW I spend an inordinate amount of time (some days) doing nothing overly important.

    That being said, I was curious as to the general daily weather in your area in the summer time and if you’re region has a a flatter terrain. I am currently living in Nashville, TN, and GODS, it’s terrible hills everywhere with summer’s being 90 degrees plus majority of the week with (usually) 80% plus humidity. I don’t currently live in a house with A/C, and even if I did, riding for even a mile with an empty backpack in those conditions leaves me a sweaty mess (seriously, a really terribly sweaty mess) before I can reach my destination. Then I get off my bike an sweat some more. And I’m in fairly decent shape, I just run hot all year round.

    Do you have any suggestions? Do you ever come across days like this in your area??? I want to not depend on my car more and more, but good lord, the summer’s here are just….so many expletives….just the worst, man. I don’t know if I’m missing a secret to it or not (aside from straight up moving, which I low key want to do anyway, I’m a northern by birth and only moved here 6 years ago).

    • Mr. Money Mustache September 19, 2020, 8:30 am

      Two words: ELECTRIC BIKE!!

      Check out Radpowerbikes or Ride1Up – for about $1500 you can have those problems of hills and heat solved for life. And the time you spend out on the bike will build your physical fitness so that you will soon not care or notice those two factors nearly as much.


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