What Do You Mean “You Don’t Have a Bike”?!

Mustachianism has many facets.  It’s a lifestyle and a fake religion all in one. And it is packed with an unlimited number of deep and interesting nuances, which is why you and I still have something to talk about after 13 months of this blog’s existence and 224 published articles.

But if I had to strip it down as far as possible, down to just one single action, and I wasn’t allowed to talk about anything else, the choice would still be simple: “Ride a Bike”.

It’s a simple concept which expands to an infinite degree as you think about it more, which we’ll do in just a few paragraphs. But by understanding how important this core concept is, you’ll understand why I get so excited at moments like the one in the following story:

I was outside talking to one of my neighbors last week. We were making the usual small talk, discussing the beautiful weather we’ve had this spring, the minor hardships with keeping our lawns and gardens green in the absence of rain, and various other across-the-driveway filler chitchat.

Then the topic of gas prices came up. This girl was hoping that we would not see further increases in the price of gasoline this summer, since her budget was already stretched tight.

I expressed some appropriate fake sympathy, but emboldened by my secret life as Mr. Money Mustache, I decided to at least see how this unsuspecting person would respond to a taste of Mustachian advice.

This particular lady recently bought a V8-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, and she happens to work at a company that is exactly 0.5 miles from our street. Yet she drives to work – every single day.

“You know, I only have to buy gas every 2-3 months for my car, because I just bike everywhere. With your work less than a 5 minute bike ride from here, have you ever considered walking or biking?”

“Yeah! I’ve noticed how you guys always bike, and I think that’s pretty cool”, she said. “Yeah… I should really bike to work. It’s just that, you know, I don’t really have a working bike right now”.

I’ve had nearly the same conversation with many people in recent years, so I’ve learned to remained calm on the outside when I hear excuses like this. But inside I could only scream “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T HAVE A BIKE!?!?!?

The concept is so foreign to me because it is so illogical. How can anyone with sufficient mental capacity to pass a driver’s test, or indeed to dress themselves in the morning, not realize the folly of living a life that includes a working car, but no working bike?

Bikes are virtually free, and require no insurance, registration, license, parking spaces, or any other hassle. They are so easy to own, and so incredibly useful and beneficial, with absolutely no drawbacks whatsoever to ownership. And yet somehow, there are adults out there – millions of them, a majority of them in the US – who don’t even have a bike.

My neighbor is paying thousands of dollars a year to idle around town in a 300 horsepower truck that gets 12 miles per gallon in the city, even while her body is crying out for extra exercise that it is clearly not getting enough of.

Even crazier is that there are readers of this blog who are sort of on board with leading a more natural and rich lifestyle, and are interested in the idea of maybe trying a bit of  bicycling someday, but just haven’t gotten around to it because, you know, they don’t have a bike, or they have an old squeaky one with a broken gearshift or some flat tires. Or perhaps they have managed to convince themselves that their car-based lifestyle is justifiable, and maybe that bike fanaticism that Mr. Money Mustache displays can just be ignored and they’ll just follow the rest of his advice, while ignoring the bike parts.

It’s time for this silliness to come to an end. You must ride a bike. We all must. It’s not a weird fringe form of transportation that only people in Portland and Colorado do. It’s just simply the way we all get around for moderate intra-city distances.

The reason this rule is so hard and fast and set in stone, is that the bike secretly does more than just getting you around town. If it were as simple as multiplying your bike miles by 50 cents and saying “Therefore every twenty miles you bike saves you ten dollars of driving costs”, it would be a purely financial decision. Then you could weigh biking and driving against your other lifestyle choices and come up with a balance that still lets you save 50-75% of your income, ensuring financial independence at an early age. But no, biking is not just about the money.

Biking is also more than just a form of exercise. If you follow my advice and start biking around when convenient, you’ll find that you end up cycling for perhaps three hours a week.  You could say “that’s just the same as visiting the gym for three one-hour cardio workouts each week. If I do that, THEN will you get off my back about the biking?”

Nope, I still won’t get off your back, because it’s even MORE than the money and the exercise.

A bike-based lifestyle is an all-encompassing change for the better. It’s like rolling back the past hundred years of humanity’s clueless paving-over of the surface of the Earth, without having to sacrifice a single benefit of modernization. It’s like shedding all of the stress and responsibility of adulthood that have crusted over you and going back to being eight years old again.. without losing an ounce of that golden power and freedom that comes with being an adult.

A bike is really an automatic life balancing machine, passively creating harmony in your life better than even the bossiest life coach could hope to do. You’re automatically forced every day to venture just a tiny bit out of your Comfort and Wussiness Zone. Suddenly you are blessed with the opportunity to use your mind and actually strategize just a bit each time you venture out… “How will I dress for the weather?”… “what will I be carrying with me?”.. “what food and drink will I require for this journey?”.

With the tiny daily overhead of this planning, you become a more thoughtful person in general. The Edge of the Planner starts to creep into the other areas of your life: “I heard this new TV show is really good. Maybe I’ll relax and watch a few episodes… WAIT.. on second thought, maybe I’ll look at my to-do list and use this time for something ELSE! Aha.. I see I was supposed to look into re-financing my mortgage. I hate making those calls, but I’m going to do it. I’m a PLANNER now, no longer a passive observer of life.”

The challenge of biking also automatically limits the amount of time you spend uselessly circling the retail establishments of your town: “Do I really need to go out to the store to pick up that bottle of shampoo today? It’s a pretty long ride, and I’m going to need to go tomorrow to get bananas anyway. I’d better put it on tomorrow’s list. And I’d love to check out the shoe store someday, because I love just browsing through the shoes.. but that’s way on the other side of town. Surely there is something else I could do closer to home that is more valuable.”

All from just a 25 pound collection of aluminum and rubber you can lift with one arm. Becoming a regular cyclist really is that good – conduct your own interviews with bikers if you think I’m just making all of this up. They will agree – cycling is being Alive.

So when it comes down to the excuse of “I just don’t have a working bike right now”, you can see why I become so frustrated. Not biking because you don’t have a bike is like letting the excrement pile up on your bathroom floor because “I just haven’t flushed the toilet recently”. JUST GET A DAMNED BIKE!! IT’S SO EASY!!! It’s too important to let laziness prevent it from happening!

How to Buy a Bike:

This is an area where MMM readers will rightfully diverge, depending on their expertise and interest.

My own recommendation: the important part is not where you get the bike, or how much you pay for it, it is simply that you have a reliable, working bike at all times so you never miss out on any possible riding opportunities. The cost of even a moderately expensive bike is tiny compared to the benefits it will bring, which is why I think it’s fine for people to buy brand-new bikes from a local bike shop or from an online store like Nashbar or Performance bikes, if that will increase their chance of having a working bike sooner.

Cautious beginners don’t need to mess around trying to find values on Craigslist, and they definitely don’t need to buy a $20 bike at a garage sale, hoping to someday get it working well despite having no mechanical knowledge. These people need a instant gratification bike that will work reliably for long enough to get them hooked into the biking habit. This is a machine they will hopefully spend many hours riding every month, so it’s important that it works smoothly, comfortably, and does not fail at its job of getting them around.

As your skill with mechanical things and your interest and experience with bikes increases, so does the value of looking for used ones. Some retail stores like Play it Again Sports, and community sharing websites like Craigslist, can prove to be a gold mine in this area. And the best used bikes are often found by asking your most bicycle-savvy friend where they would get a used bike if they were shopping.

This guide by MMM reader Bakari Kafele provides a nice tutorial on how to shop for a used bike: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html

When shopping for a new bike these days, I use an even simpler algorithm:

I look for a bike in any of the overlapping categories “city”, “commuter”, “hybrid”, or “road”. I want something with a MSRP in the US of at least $500, indicating a reasonable level of component and frame quality. And at that point, I just sort by features and price.

Case study 1: My current “city bike”, a K2 Astral 3.0, was purchased new in 2008. It was an end-of-the-model closeout at Nashbar, so the price had dropped from $580 to $300. Yet the bike is lightweight, stiff, and solid as a rock. And with about 4000 km on the odometer so far (2486 miles), the distance from Los Angeles to Washington DC, it has needed virtually no maintenance at all – a few flat tube change-outs and regular chain lube. The benefits and cost savings provided by this bike over its four year lifespan to this point have been almost immeasurable – many times its purchase price already.


Case study 2: Mrs. Money Mustache is still riding her 2002 Schwinn Moab mountain bike.  This was near the top of the Schwinn line back in its day, as the components are thoroughly kickass and it is as light as a feather. She bought it at full retail price from REI at the time – almost $900. But the bike has now served her through years of commuting to work, dozens of harsh mountain bike trips in locations from the Rockies to the Pacific, towing our son around town in bike trailers for the past five years, riding to and from the Crossfit gym for the past two, while racking up over 5,000 miles on its odometer. How much maintenance has she required for this virtual bike ride from our home in Colorado to somewhere near the tip of South America? … once again, virtually zero. Chain lube and inner tubes. The odd twist of the gearshift cable adjuster knobs to keep the shifts aligned. She’s still rolling on the original set of cracked stock Michelin WildGripper knobby tires!

So the point is, while bike maintenance is fun and many bike shops provide free tune-ups for life, in reality you will find that a good bike does not demand too much from you. You simply hop on, and it rolls you quickly to your destination. One mile every six minutes for beginners, and a mile every three minutes once you  have a swift bike and more seasoned legs.  Factoring in the shortcuts, faster parking, and freedom from traffic jams, a bike is often faster than a car for getting around an urban or suburban area. Adding in additional considerations for cost, health, and the environment, it’s simply the only reasonable way to get around.

The final word: a short inspirational video on what it feels like to be part of the Bike Culture (click the expand button once it’s playing – there’s some beautiful photography in there):

How Bikes Make Cities Cool – Portland from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

A few reasonable bike choices from today’s market (updated August 2019):

Schwinn DSB women’s/step-through bike  (full-featured with aluminum frame plus disc brakes for $240!)

Schwinn discover hybrid (a great cozy city bike including fenders and rack, aluminum, $289)

Schwinn Vantage F2 (fast and light/aerodynamic sturdy ultracommuter bike with higher-range components, very similar to the Fortified bike that I ride, at a still-bargain $600)

* the last two affiliate links, so this blog will benefit if you end up buying them. But it doesn’t affect the price to you, and don’t let it bias your decision – shop around and get the bike that’s right for you. Just get a bike!

Update: Here are 30 more reasons to heed Mr. Money Mustache’s advice and start cycling your ass off.

And finally, if you REALLY like people telling you over and over that you must ride a bike, here’s the Original MMM bicycle Article, and here’s the Biking to the Grocery Store one.

  • Gerard September 6, 2012, 8:38 am

    Okay, after reading you guys all this time I finally bought my first-ever “real” bike (i.e., not $99 at Canadian Tire), and I have to say, I totally should have done it sooner. It’s so much faster and easier. I wasn’t very mustachian about the purchase (bought it new at a bike shop — I don’t trust my ability to spot problems with used bikes), but still, it’ll pay for itself after another 104 journeys. Now I have to sell my sweetie on getting one…

  • Richard Guy Briggs September 18, 2012, 7:26 pm

    Here’s a handy web calculator on the economics of using a bicycle:

  • embarrassed September 20, 2012, 3:03 pm

    Okay, so this is really embarrassing but I’m an adult who never learned to ride a bike. I really want to because it looks like fun and I want to become a Mustachian badass. Any advice for me on how to learn/what bike I should buy?

    • Richard Guy Briggs September 20, 2012, 7:47 pm

      Oh, that one’s easy! Get a recumbent trike! I got one more than a decade ago when I was 35. They don’t hurt me the way upright (upwrong?) bikes do and they’re way more fun than a regular bike anyways!

      Here’s mine:
      and here is the full writeup:

      No more excuses, get out there and ride!

    • Garrett September 20, 2012, 9:56 pm

      I like recumbents and I like trikes (especially if you can rig them up to carry some groceries) but I don’t know if that will satisfy your desire to learn to ride a “bike”.

      If you live in or near a big city, there are probably adult beginner bike lessons that you can take. If you don’t, I’ve read articles about learning to ride as an adult so I’m sure you can Google lessons.

      The basic process is to lower the seat as low as you need so that you can comfortably sit on the seat with your feet flat on the ground (some will even take the pedals off). Then you start by just pushing yourself around a parking lot with your feet on the ground (no pedaling). After a bit, you should be able to push and glide. Then get comfortable with gliding and steering (steering will be primarily through leaning, not through turning the handlebars). Once that is comfortable (after a couple hours to couple days), try pedaling with the seat in the same (low) position. Later, you can move the seat back up to the correct position.

      Regarding bikes: I would look for a “comfort” or “hybrid” bike. These tend to have more upright, more comfortable positions. There’s even a style of bike (I forget the exact name) that places the pedals forward of the seat to make it easier to touch your feet to the ground when you stop.

      • Richard Guy Briggs September 21, 2012, 5:57 am

        The bike to which you refer in the last sentence it called a “crank forward”, “semi-recumbent” or “ground-reach” bike. See the Wikipedia definition for some brand ideas.

      • embarrassed September 21, 2012, 11:30 am

        Wow, thanks guys great advice. I’ll definitely try it out.

  • Chris October 2, 2012, 10:23 am

    I should just stop reading MMM posts about bikes. They leave me feeling defensive and frustrated. Despite having either walked or ridden my bike to work almost 90% of the days that I have worked the last two years.

    Some of us live in car dependent rural places. DH and DS1 (ten and a very avid biker) rode their bikes on the gravel road between our house and my in laws one day this summer (about a three mile round trip) and they both said never again. It was no fun. Not because of boneheads in cars, but because it is very, very effortful to ride on the loose round rocks interspersed with large sharp quartz rocks. Anyway the odds of me (a way less enthusaistic biker) riding the 8 mile round trip to the nearest town is near nil.

    I guess I will have to find my badassity elsewhere. Like chopping my own wood for heat, growing my own food, and drying all my clothes on the clothesline.

    • Garrett October 2, 2012, 3:51 pm

      That’s unfortunate that it was so unpleasant to ride on the gravel. I own a road bike and a mountain bike so I know that tires make all of the difference on that type of surface.

      If you were interested in trying it, you might look into some sort of hybrid bike or light mountain bike (upright position and more comfortable) with wider, slightly knobby tires (for traction on the gravel) and maybe a little front suspension and a shock absorber in the seat post to help smooth out the bumps. Such a bike should do pretty well in the gravel without being overly heavy or uncomfortable for long rides, and you could probably find one for a reasonable price. Although, if it is especially loose, deep gravel it wouldn’t work very well (at least until the cars pack it down).

      Good luck finding your own expression of badassity :-)

      • Chris October 3, 2012, 9:27 am

        The bike I do own is actually a mountain bike with front suspension and despite the fact that a commuter bike would have been a better better purchase for me most of the time I have ridden in the past 15 years. DS also as a mountain bike. DH bike is a crazy contraption that started is life as a high end mountain bike circa 1995 but has had more road like tires added to it over the years.

        The problem is the big piles of deep loose gravel that both ag equipment and regular car/truck traffic make at nearly every intersection or driveway. They are serious momentum killers.

        But we are having roast guinea hen and homemade apple pie for supper tonight. Dh helped me dispatch of it this am before he left for work and it is brining right now in the fridge. Country life has its rewards.

        • Garrett October 3, 2012, 9:40 am

          Oh yeah, those loose piles are no fun at all.

          I grew up in the country and my neighbors had guinea hens. Those suckers were always so loud (along with their peacocks) that I wished I could kill and roast them. I think I’ll have to live vicariously through your dinner! :-)

          • Chris October 3, 2012, 9:45 am

            The loudest one was the one we butchered and it was definitely not an accident ;)

            • e November 18, 2012, 7:03 pm

              Raised around both guineas and peafowl. I was actually glad the coyotes got those!

              I live in a rural area also and yes, loose gravel roads and bikes don’t mix. So I enjoy the bike posts and realized that while I can’t do this particular activity, I can find other ways to cut my driving down. For example, grocery shopping once a month instead of once a week or combining with other families here to take turns running errands.

  • The Taminator October 3, 2012, 1:32 pm

    Inspired by your blog I’ve been commuting to work by bike for a couple of months now. It’s a simple, fast 10 minute ride. I’m in Toronto and have never been a winter rider but this winter I’m going for it!

  • Cheryl October 6, 2012, 5:50 am

    Just found your blog today and have enjoyed reading through a stack of posts, the bike related ones particularly.

    My husband rides 26km/16 miles each way to work 3 or 4 days a week – he takes the car the days the kiddo has karate after school and does the shopping then too. It takes him 45 minutes per trip but even in winter when he has the option to take the car he still prefers the bike (we don’t get snow but it’s still pretty cold!).

    I’ve just bought myself a new (secondhand) bike, someones ‘old’ racing bike – I can lift it with 2 fingers and roll along at 15km/h with the odd foot movement. It’s a beautiful thing.

    I’ve spent more time on the bike in the last three weeks than the rest of this year combined – it helps that the bike came with a bike computer so I know exactly how fast I’m going and how far. Spending quite a bit of time seeing just how fast I can go and have got to the point where I’ll roll back home at the end of a loop and think, I’ll just go around again…

    Tried to get my son on it the first week, no interest (he’s 13, on holidays and enjoying quality xbox time) but he decided to take his bike out one gorgeous day, tried my bike out the next and has been out on it every day since, so we’ll be sharing it for a while, looking out for something bigger than his old BMX bike in the meantime.

    This is my first road bike, so it took a little getting used to, but got back on the hybrid to keep him company and found it really odd and hard work in comparison! I wish I’d bought a road bike years earlier – pretty sure I’d have spent more time riding.

  • Jexy November 9, 2012, 8:19 pm

    I just wanted to say that I love your bike posts. My husband and I just moved to Hawaii, and our car took three weeks to arrive. So I used that opportunity to convince him that we both needed bicycles! I now ride my bike about 80% of the time that I’m going somewhere on base. And my husband has ridden his bike to work twice this week. Next step is buying a trailer or baskets so I can bike 100% of the time on base. So thank you for opening my eyes to all the advantages to biking!

    I would, however, like to inform you that here on Oahu, we are required to register our bicycles with the county for a $15 fee. They keep our serial numbers and descriptions on file, and if our bikes are ever stolen, the county will assist us in getting our bikes back. But without insurance or gas costs, I’m really not complaining about the $15 registration fee!

    • IAmNotABartender April 3, 2015, 5:03 pm

      Plus, the fee is reserved for building and maintaining bike infrastructure, so I also have no issue with it.

  • Mark January 18, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Moved to an urban area, so I did have to get a lock, but I’m back on the bike. Only did 3 miles today in order to ease back into it. Planning on 12-15 total tomorrow. 6 out in the morning and 6 back at night to go hang out with friends during the day.

  • fee January 21, 2013, 1:36 pm

    Is your neighbor a teen or younger? I wonder, because you first referred to her as a “girl” and later, “lady.” A friend posted this link and I visited it because I’m all about bikes. Maybe you’re preaching to a unique subset of prior readers, but I can’t really imagine this turning on someone who is not already into bikes. Do you generally accomplish much persuading by mocking people, belittling them and using people as a negative example? (your neighbor, the “girl” who drives everywhere and “could stand to lose some weight”?)

    Something to think about when you are trying to attract new readers or even just encourage people to try something new is your tone. As they say, you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Coming from someone who hasn’t driven a car for anything more than road trips in about 6 years, I find your preachy tone to be obnoxious, and just what we DON’T need in encouraging more mainstream folks to give bikes a try.

    • Mr. Money Mustache January 21, 2013, 1:52 pm

      Thanks for the blogging tips, fee. But you’ll have to apply them to your own pro-cycling website rather than mine – Mr. Money Mustache only enjoys writing in his own style – mocking, preaching and all.

      If it’s any consolation, it seems to be working as the blog readership keeps growing and it has helped mint thousands of new cyclists since this post was written.

      Maybe certain people respond well to a half-joking kick in the ass after all?

      • Cheryl January 21, 2013, 3:23 pm

        Plenty of people have positive role models and know all the benefits of cycling but still don’t do more than tut at themselves about dusting off the bike soon – a kick in the arse is often needed.

        I found this really funny, because I’m currently lying in bed with a broken collarbone, after coming of my bike (downhill at 53km/h, my best speed yet, unfortunately) and the 5 people who’ve said to me “are you going to get back on the bike?” in worried tones are all non riders who own dusty bikes. Two have since told me that they’re probably giving up riding, it’s so dangerous.

        From bike riders, on the other hand, I got variations of “Bugger, that’ll slow you down for a bit” and queries as to which hill it happened on!

    • IAmNotABartender April 3, 2015, 5:10 pm

      MMM is the reason I’m on a bike after 14 years of being off one (and never having biked far). Now I do most of our grocery shopping by bike, and my wife joins me for rides to the farmer’s market or into town / to the beach.

  • Micah January 22, 2013, 3:14 pm

    I know this is an old post but maybe y’all can help. We live in an area where there is nothing close to us and we regularly drive 15-20 miles to get to stuff.
    For example: It takes my husband 30 min to drive to work and back. He is in the army so he goes in at 5:30, does PT and to save gas he started showering at the gym and just going to work.
    Twice a week my oldest son, who has special needs, has speech therapy. It takes 20 min to drive to the therapy office. He is going to be starting occupational therapy soon and I don’t know if he will be at the same office or another therapy office.
    We go to church twice weekly and that’s 10-15 min away.
    Then we have regular trips to the grocery store 15 min away. I try to buy enough to last us 2 weeks but we are a family of (soon to be) 5 and all boys, they eat a lot.
    So, all that to say..we’re moving this month. Haven’t found a place yet.
    Should we try to find a place closer to my husbands office and the therapy place or find a place closer to stores and such?
    With 3 young boys (4 and under) how could I manage the logistics? I’ve looked at cargo bikes for years but don’t know if I can justify the cost..

  • squashroll February 4, 2013, 3:44 pm

    That was a fun video. I spent the first 20 years of my life in Portland; I noticed not one drop of rain and all dry streets in those shots. A more realistic view would have been slogging through the ever-present rain whilst a TriMet bus blasts through the 3inch-deep puddle right next to the rider. Been there.
    Portland is a relatively safe place to ride a bike.
    I live in the Seattle area now and can say with some authority that commuting on a bike around here is a risky proposition. I have a 17 mile round trip to work that I will only ride in solid daylight (read: summer). I stay to neighborhood streets as much as possible. The final leg is a 1.5 mile gauntlet of 4 lane industrial road where the commuters are trying to skip the jammed freeway on the last part of their commute. There is absolutely no room for a cyclist unless you hop on the unoccupied sidewalk, where my head spins like the exorcist trying to avoid getting hit at driveways and intersections. If you stay in the street rage full motorists pass you w/ 6″ to spare at 45mph; the semi trucks are especially bowel-moving. there is simply too much traffic to ‘take the lane’. Frogger comes to mind… I have been hit hard 2wice by motorists, both times while riding the correct direction IN A BIKE LANE. Been riding since I was 6, and am well aware of all the ‘rules’ a cyclist should follow. I LOVE to ride, and will continue to commute occasionally, but I am painfully aware of the risks involved. I do not consider it a safe activity.
    As a caveat, I should add that the ride to my local grocers, shops, gym and library is pretty mellow :)

    • squashroll February 11, 2013, 2:06 pm

      I feel complainypants about that last post. So, I decided to bike commute in the cold/dark/rain once a week instead of ‘waiting for better weather’ (an excuse). Last week’s ride was slightly miserable, but left me with the good feeling of accomplishment. :)
      Thanks for the inspiration, MMM!

    • Jeremy March 5, 2013, 10:07 pm

      If there is one thing I miss while on the road, it is riding a bike (in Seattle, no less.). I had a similar length ride, but was able to do the majority of it either on bike trails or side streets

  • Amanda February 24, 2013, 6:18 am

    I bought a bike yesterday and therefore I will be kicking wussiness to the curb. Thanks MMM!

  • Kiwano March 19, 2013, 9:28 pm

    Am I to understand that Mrs. Money Mustache has been riding the same bike for over a decade, and still hasn’t needed to replace the brake pads?

    Having built my own bike up from an unfinished frame and associated components, I’m something of a sucker for keeping it running really smoothly. That said, I also tend to be too lazy/busy to do as much maintenance as I’d like, but I have some added wear from salt and sand in the winter. Anyhow, here goes:

    – clean and oil the chain (and the pivots on the derailleurs) maybe every month or so (more in winter, less in summer)
    – replace the chain annually (every spring, as soon as I figure that there won’t be any more road salt, and I have a punch in the face saved up for anyone who would call a fresh chain in the spring “hedonic adaptation”, as wonderful a feeling as it may be)
    – clean all the other moving bike bits with rubbing alcohol, and relubricate them (when replacing the chain because it makes the new chain work better and feel better)
    – replace the brake pads about twice a year
    – fix a flat every few years (i built the bike with flat-resistant tires because it’s too easy to confuse road salt, pulverized ice, and broken glass in the winter, and fixing flats in the winter is no fun)
    – rebuild the wheels with new rims every 5-10 years
    – touch up the paint every fall, and through the winter to keep salt off the frame (steel frame; as log as i stay on top of this task, the frame could easily last 3-4 times as long as an aluminum frame would; the expected lifetime of an aluminum frame being about 15-20 years)

    which still isn’t that much more work than what you mentioned for your bikes. Maybe this can be taken as an illustration that even in Toronto’s horrible brine-soaked winters, riding all year doesn’t add that much maintenance cost or hassle..

  • snider March 21, 2013, 7:28 pm


    Bicycles: check.
    Profanity: check.
    Mustaches: check.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 22, 2013, 7:15 am

      That is fantastic. I started to wonder if it was making reference to the MMM militant insistence on Biking for All, with all those Mustaches and Middle Fingers. But it looks like was made a year ago by an LA company called Sausage Films, who has never heard of Mustachians.. yet. The coincidence is amazing.

  • Giddings Plaza FI March 27, 2013, 10:31 am

    To answer your question, I don’t have a bike! I biked through college and beyond, in wicked cold Madison, WI. I permanently got sick of it. But, I want to live a sustainable life, and, I don’t want to own an expensive, pain-in-the-butt car. So I do carsharing–this is truly changing my life!

  • CH May 13, 2013, 6:11 pm

    Hey MMM – would be great to have an updated list of:

    “A few reasonable bike choices from today’s Nashbar and Performance Bike website”

    (The links no longer work. Understandable, since the article’s old.)


  • Albert May 22, 2013, 1:10 pm

    I do have a working bike, but I only ride it for exercise. I live so close to the downtown (ca 1 mile) and our city has such a good public transport system that I usually end up walking or hopping on a tram. It doesn’t cost me any extra since I have to have a public transport pass anyway for commuting to work (outside biking range, I’m afraid).

  • Kira May 26, 2013, 10:20 pm

    This website made me feel a whole lot better about my ability to bike to work given my lack of athletic prowess – http://www.flattestroute.com/

    For me FlattestRoute showed a way I hadn’t even considered, which is actually more direct than the route I go by car.

    • squashroll May 27, 2013, 4:23 pm

      Excellent link, Kira. This website will probably help a lot in optimizing routes: i live in a hilly area. :)

  • Max Schneider June 6, 2013, 9:03 am

    Ha ha I thought you meant you had no bicycle. I was baffled. But of course you do. So do I, but I don’t have a car. I disagree that a bike is so cheap (i ride mine a lot and probably spent more on repairs and spare parts in the 11 years the old one served me until the frame broke) but it is definitely a lot (a lot) cheaper than owning a car. And so much more fun!

  • Debt Blag June 9, 2013, 12:24 pm

    I’m a huge fan of bikes no matter where you live. If your home is in place with public transportation, the bike really opens up news part of the city. If your home is in a place without public transportation, you get to laugh at people stuck in cars

  • Ben Alexander June 10, 2013, 2:16 pm

    AUGH! Riding a bike is my hobby as well as how I get around a pretty bike-unfriendly area (so people know me as the “bike guy”), and people come complaining to me all the time about their bike’s flat tire, or “broken shifter” (slightly off barrel adjuster) or some other complainypants wussy-ass excuse.

    Seriously people, a quality used bike can be had for three tanks of gas ($150), a complete overhaul of the worst pile of junk in your garage can be had for two ($80-100) and if you are like 90% of middle-class people, your almost-new bike you bought ten years ago can work perfectly for 30 minutes of your time or less than half a tank of gas to your local bike shop.

    I can’t go around punching people in the face, but this particular excuse for not riding is the one that tempts me the most. If you are too much of a lazy wuss to ride, just admit that and don’t fish around for me to offer to repair your bike for you so you can put it back in your garage (next to the $30,000 SUV)!

  • Grant June 11, 2013, 8:53 am

    I continue to follow the comments on this thread as possibly the one frugal thing I find easy is riding my bike ;)

    Even for us that are keen on cycling, there are improvements we can make. We have owned a cargo bike or box bike for almost 5 years, but had stopped using it for 2+ years – in hindsight I think because our twins were born and too small to ride in the box (plus the gears weren’t working well, so it was not “easy”). I bought a trailer when they were born, and made good use of it (when they were on 2 naps/day, I could get 1.5hrs exercise in one of their naps by taking them on a ~25km ride – including a significant hill!), but a bit after they turned 2 I found it less convenient as one of them was prone to falling asleep in anything with wheels, and the trailer is just too damn comfy!

    I had been suggesting we sell the cargo bike, but my wife convinced me that we should have one more go at using it before selling it off. I too the BBQ cover off it, brushed off the cobwebs, and started using it. I was frankly amazed. The kids (twins now 2.5, older daughter 5.5) absolutely love it – unfortunately there is only 2 seatbelts! I find it way easier than getting the kids in and out of the car to do errands (eg instead of reluctantly bundling them into the car to go to a single supermarket, I am happy to drop in to the green grocers, the supermarket, the healthfood shop, etc as you park immediately out the front and there is not an arguement about getting in and out!) I did a bit more research on tuning a Sturmey Archer internal hub and have identified a couple of spots that could be causing the problems we have been experiencing (learning stuff, woohoo!)

    It has completely changed my perspective on cycling. I am not what you would call an uber-fit dude, but compared to the “normal” car-driving commuter, I would be considered something like hard-core. I didn’t know how to ride slow. I was always happy to mix it with traffic, hold my lane, and was very critical of anything suggesting that a cyclist wouldn’t want to be on the road. However, the simple truth is that you CANNOT ride fast on a cargo bike (especially with most of a weeks groceries, a case of beer, plus 2 you kids in the box!), and by god it is civilised! Not raising a sweat means you can associate with “normal” people without being selfconscious, or indeed not-selfconscious but offensive anyway! It has changed what I essentially consider to be valid cycling, and made me more aware of the fact that perhaps people don’t want to be lyrca-clad or stigmatised, but that doesn’t mean they cannot ride a bike.

    It has also changed my habits regarding where I go and how I get there. When I was in the car I would think “well, I might as well go to the shopping centre 10km away”, but now I am super happy to stick within ~5km of my home – where I am less likely to spend unnecessary time and money on things I don’t want or need :)

    If anything, I have found what could be considered a downgrade in my cyclist cred to be absolutely liberating. I don’t need special shoes, or clothes, or stamina, or a die-hard approach to traffic – I just utilise a vehicle to fulfiil my requirements with the least hassle.

    The only realy risk I face now is to be labelled a hipster, but my fashion sense (or lack there-of) will eliminate any sugestions of that!

  • Lora June 14, 2013, 12:37 pm

    I didn’t have a bike when I started reading your blog a few weeks ago. Now I do. I even got it for free! Having not biked since I was a kid (which was, ahem, QUITE a few years ago) I’m taking some time to get used to it again – especially getting the courage to ride on busy streets. So I’m not doing all my errands on it yet. Still, it’s a change for the better. Thanks!

  • Otis July 6, 2013, 2:27 pm

    I am car-free completely, and commute by bike pretty much everywhere I go, but I don’t think it’s very polite to put down someone else’s choice to drive a car. For some people, biking isn’t fun. Why would you do something that isn’t considered fun if you have a car that can do the same thing twice as fast with minimal effort?

    I agree with you, but some people don’t have a bike because they don’t want to ride a bike. To each his own.

  • Richard Thornton July 25, 2013, 10:47 am

    You really need to introduce yourself to recumbents — either the two or three-wheeled variety. Of course, there are trade-offs with any bike style, but maybe a recumbent’s features are just what you (or someone else) needs.

    I go everywhere on my Easy Racers Gold Rush recumbent with its 77-year-old engine. It is still very fast and used as well for grocery and sundry other shopping trips.

  • Pranav Pandit August 14, 2013, 9:21 am

    Another reason why you should bike is Physics. If you love physics and maths, it is unforgivable for you to not ride a bike. Back when I was learning about mechanics, it was so much goddamn fun to test out the theories while riding a bike. Sometimes I took it too far, but bikes are not as dangerous as cars even if you fall.

    I have a job (consultant) that has me moving from one place to another every 2-3 months (sometimes to sparse suburbs), so if anyone has an excuse to not own a bike, it is me. But I do, everywhere I go. I buy them when I reach and sell them when I leave. Sometimes I have to get the cheap ones at Walmart, but any bike is better than no bike. Bikes feel like freedom. There is no joy comparable to the wind in your hair while you twist around corners and outsmart car drivers.

    More than the savings, what is important is the essence of biking, of having that link between effort and reward contantly present (and it is disappearing so quickly these days, with people whining about pay when they hardly do any work all day).

    The best things about humanity are the language, the internet, and bikes.

    • Doug August 18, 2013, 10:56 am

      Wow, sounds like something I would say. I have also moved around, although not as much as you have, but usually managed to get a bike. At one place I lived I bought one for $12 at a yard sale, got 2 free ones out of the garbage (some work required) at 2 different locations, and borrowed one at another location. It belonged to the landlord’s son, who moved away and left the bike behind. All I had to do is fix a flat tire and was good to go.

      You’re also right about bikes and physics. Even a tiny little econo car weighs about 15 times what I do, so it’s inefficient moving all that extra weight around. By contrast, the bike weighs considerably less than I do and is thus far more efficient.

  • Glen-stache September 10, 2013, 2:53 pm

    I’ve been an itinerant bike commuter for a number of years, but it had dropped off after a move to a location further from work (don’t care for the longer commute, but she is worth it). So I ended up driving more, feeling lazier and, spending less time doing the things I enjoyed. Then, this summer I found out that my employer would, in concert with a Federal program, reimburse me for bus fares on my commute to/from work. Now, I regularly do the bike-bus-bike commute and am saving at least $75-80/month on commute costs, getting some fresh air en route, and get to do some pleasure reading on the quite-nice commuter bus during the middle leg of my commute. Once I got my system dialed, the commute ended up taking only about 5 minutes longer than sitting in traffic putting wear and tear on my vehicle… and I arrive much more relaxed.

  • Renaité September 12, 2013, 7:02 pm

    You caught me. I’m now looking on craigslist for a nice used bike so I can at least start doing grocery runs on it. I’m about 15 miles from work now but I hope I can work up to it! I’m slightly terrified of plows, but fair-weather biking is at least a start! (Buffalo NY)

  • Eric September 24, 2013, 7:31 pm

    Back here in Duluth we have never had it so good. The city is building mountain bike trails to the point I find myself riding a new trail about once a week. We’ll have over a 100 miles of wooded single track soon. Pretty sure that will give us the most city single track in the US, maybe the world. I sold one of my cars, and bought the bike i’ve been drooling over for years. Then the local ski hill opened the chairlift and already has 3 DH trails all professionally built by IMBA or Flowline. LIfe is good and Biking has saved me so much money in gas I’m gonna buy a fat tire bike for the long cold winter. And… I’ve lost 30 pounds in 5 months and could be in the best shape of my life. If you are gonna buy a bike, just tear the bandaid off and go for the one you really want. You’ll end up buying it in the long run anyways. You’ll spend less time drinking. Less money on stupid crap you don’t need. And more time living. Getting in the shape you wish you were in. People will think you are insane for spending that kind of money on a bike. Do not care what others think. Just do it. It will change your life, bank account, and health both physical and mental. Do iT!

  • Stephen September 27, 2013, 5:28 am

    I’m really surprised the amount of distance you get out of things, both your bike and cars. I recently changed a tyre on my bike as it had worn through the rubber into the kevlar belt in places, and it was no where near 4000k. Same with my chains, I’m lucky to get maybe 2000k out of one in the summer months, that’ll drop to sub 1000k in the winter months because of all the salt on the roads.
    Letting it go longer is a false economy, chains replace for ~20-30, compared to the cost of replacing the chainrings and cassette which can run well into the hundreds.

  • Karl October 15, 2013, 7:36 pm

    This is one of my favourite articles and I have shared it around with a lot of friends and family. The further argue the point I recently wrote an article on my website titled “How to: Become an unimaginably frugal bike-riding superhero” which was inspired by my own financial security due to cycling as transport and also by MMM!

    To cut the story short, I’ve been saving at least $2,700+ a year by cycling to work instead of owning and using a car. This figure will be higher in future years too as I’ve now bought all the bikes, accessories and clothing that I need to ride all year round. All I need to spend now is a couple of hundred each year on replacement parts and insurance.

    Link here if you are interested:

    Ride on!

  • BD November 7, 2013, 8:29 am

    Your comment about being faster with a bike than with a car reminded me of ’08, when I had broken my arm by doing something really stupid on my bike. Anyway, for some weeks I could not use my bike, so I commuted the 5km by car.

    Time to work by bike: 20m
    Time to work by car: 30+m

    I was so happy when my arm was all right again!

    Bonus: with my bike I always crossed a park, every morning, every evening I passed “my” rosegarden there.

  • Megan February 14, 2014, 1:10 pm

    Just reading the comments here make me look forward to the day my health situation and doctor will allow me back on my bike again…

  • Señor Stubble May 5, 2014, 8:33 pm

    When I found this blog a couple months ago, I was the target audience – eating out 3 meals a day plus Starbucks and expensive snacks, 4 motor vehicles between my wife and I,no bike, money stored primarily in savings and chequing accounts while also having student debt… No, I’m not kidding. It only took me an article or two before realizing that the only logical course of action was to get down to business. Yes, I’m talking about punching myself in the face. In between bouts of face punching, my wife and I have managed to make coffee at home to take to work daily, eat breakfast at home daily, pack lunches daily, eat dinner at home most days, pay off the student debt, put money into index funds, make Craigslist out friend, and we’ve been remarkably consistent and on the same page so far. But as this very poignant post makes clear, to truly tilt the scale towards mustachianism, it’s going to mean finding a bike I can ride, and actually using it. It’s next on the list.

    • AnthonyFrance May 6, 2014, 8:05 am

      Hey Señor Stubble, nice to read about you realizing your faults and taking charge – those are the stories I like best. Because they remind me of my favorite movie, MATRIX, when Neo wakes up from his sleeping chamber, and discovers a new life. In a further scene, Cypher says to the agent “Ignorance is bliss”. IMO, the Matrix itself is actually all the advertising/marketing that surrounds us. It’s the main tool for keeping us in a trance, working the endless treadmill that turns the gears of “infinite growth” and eternal insatisfaction. I prefer to be aware of my decisions and feel in control of where my money is going – preferably not into junk food, inferiority-complex-compensating SUVS and foreign oil when possible.

      I live in France (which may seem like the third world to most americans) but, apart from our bad diesel obsession, we are able to live as well (if not better) as in th US with a lot less energy.

      I must admit that I am still considered as an alien by my fellow frenchmen – I have replaced my 2nd car with an electric bike & kid trailer, since nearly 2 years,. I use it for shopping, collecting the kids (2yrs&5 yrs) from school and for my daily commute (3 miles – location location location!). Financially it works out to about 350€ ( about 500$) a month in savings. That’s how I sell the concept to people: feel like giving yourself a 350€/month raise? Lose that 2nd car, dude!

    • Señor Stubble June 1, 2014, 9:50 am

      After a few failed attempts to get a bike in working order, a week ago I was successful (though I have yet to acquire a helmet and bike lock). I’ve taken a couple short rides, replacing walking with biking, and I enjoyed the time savings, just getting from A to B faster. Also, I’ve kept track of the number of times I could realistically replace driving with biking in the four weeks since I originally posted. Four times, or about once per week. Since those all came up in the three weeks without a working bike, I have yet to actually replace a drive with a ride.
      Interestingly though, I feel like my neighbourhood just got bigger. Now, with a bike, I might make more middle distance trips that are too short for driving but that, with limited time, I might not have walked to either, and stayed home instead.

      • Hoerwolle June 2, 2014, 12:30 am

        Gratulations, Senor Stubble! For me the speed is also an important factor. In my hometown I am even faster by bike than by car, since the inner city is either blocked, too full or very low speed. And with my bike I enjoy zipping past people in their cars, waiting, wasting gas and nerves :-)

        Just get that bike lock quickly – you are holding yourself back! Jump on your bike, ride to a bikeshop and buy one! And then enjoy your freedom!

  • JBear May 8, 2014, 12:30 pm

    I’m a year-round bike commuter in the upper midwest, (take that, polar vortex!) and a bike shop employee. I’m all for getting more butts on bikes, but buying used can be tricky. My city has a pretty rampant bike theft problem, so getting something off of Craigslist might be problematic. If there are non-profit bike shops that take donated bikes to re-sell, this is probably the better route.

    Regardless of where you get your bike, yearly maintenance in the form of a tune-up at a qualified shop is a good idea. While most bikes will keep running as long as you have air in the tires, other problems can arise. If you’re a full-time rider, cables, chains, tires, and cassettes all wear out, spokes break, and wheels come out of true. All of these things should be easily remedied for around $100-150, parts and labor. Often times, it’s cheaper to get it all done at once than piecemeal.

    Compared to the yearly cost of running and maintaining a car, it’s practically nothing! :)

  • Lily May 24, 2014, 9:45 pm

    MMM, thanks for the idea, although you do tend to couch all your advice as “You must do as I say or you’re a fool.”

    I loved biking as a kid. When I finally have to leave my hilly country home in the middle of nowhere, I’ll look for flat terrain and become the old lady on the bike. For now, though, I’m keeping my big land yacht so I can live through encounters with terrified deer, drunk guys in trucks, and the occasional tree that seems to move into the middle of the road.

  • bob May 27, 2014, 6:58 am

    I live near public transport, so it’s more convenient to take the bus or the train to work. As for exercise, I prefer doing it in front of a DVD to maximise my entertainment efficiency scale (whereas on the bus I can also read, thus further maximising the scale). When I retire and no longer need to balance my time, I’ll probably start riding/running/walking everywhere.

    Nonetheless I do support riders, especially in this extreme bike-hostile city (there’s been incidents of drivers deliberately bumping riders, and even the occasional nutjob in the news who slams on his brakes in front of a group of riders!). Any mention of “cycling” on a news website will see the comment section devolve into a battlefield between Driver and Cyclist. (The only cool-headed people will be the Public Transport Takers.)

    Due to our frontier past and tiny population, we also have a strong McMansion culture (many people prefer buying big houses 50km away from work, than live in a small apartment 5km away), which correlates with the pro-car and anti-bike attitudes.

    The government doesn’t help – usually infrastructure funding gets put into building more roads.

    But meh, that’s life sometimes. I think attitudes will change as petrol becomes more expensive (it’s almost $1.50 a litre now, and likely to rise)

    • Doug July 9, 2015, 9:45 am

      Wow, you must live in a city where most people have far more money than they know what to do with. Once again the vision that comes to mind is of a hydroelectric power plant with all the sluice gates fully open, to the top of their travel, to dump all that surplus water down the spillway.

  • Parker June 3, 2014, 10:33 pm

    People either get it or they don’t. I’ve been bike-commuting for 20 years. I find it a rare person who actually understands the true economic, social, psychological, and health reasons for biking.

  • Eldred June 5, 2014, 11:19 am

    Ok, I’m re-visiting this again. My current commute is about 13 miles, and it takes me about 15-20 minutes by car(mostly freeway). Cycling it would take me about an hour or more. So instead of losing 40 minutes of time, I’d be losing 2+ hours. That’s a problem when I have places to be in the evening(bowling). But since this is summer(almost), I’m not in any leagues, so the time getting home isn’t a problem. The problem now is lack of fitness(energy) to even be able to do the distance on a daily basis. So here’s my plan – on a weekend(too busy THIS weekend, though), I’m going to try to ride to my office and back, and see how long it actually takes. Granted, there won’t be as much car traffic to threaten me, but it will give me a good idea of what I’m facing. And, since I need to lose about 50 lbs, any effort will help. So to that end, I’m stating a public goal:1000 miles on the bike by October 1. I haven’t decided yet a number of commutes or commuting miles out of that 1000 yet. Maybe I’ll take suggestions… :-)

    • Bakari June 5, 2014, 11:26 am

      Since you have a really long way to go, and not a lot of experience yet, perhaps a way to make the transition easier would be to drive half way, with your bike in the car, find a suitable place to park somewhere between work and home, and ride the rest of the way.
      Then after work, ride back to the car and drive home.

      You still cut car miles and fuel use, you get exercise, but you don’t lose a full 2 hours each day, and your lgs have a chance to get stronger gradually instead of just being sore and overuse stressed from going from nothing to 26 miles in one fell swoop.

      As you get stronger and faster and more confident, you can park further and further from work.

      • Eldred June 5, 2014, 1:32 pm

        Good idea, thanks! I used to do that when I worked at the University of Michigan – drive to a mall on the outskirts, park, then ride my bike from there to the dorm my office was in. I’ll just have to find a good parking place. The route suggested by flattestroute.com is different than my normal drive, so I’ll have to drive that route and look for parking.

  • Luke McCarthy June 11, 2014, 2:41 pm

    I bought a brand new Dahon folding bike a couple of years ago and rode the crap out of it with an 18 mile round trip commute (I don’t have space to store a full-size bike so I had to opt for a folding one). I do miss riding it but ever since my accident (I broke my foot when I fell off and got run over by another cyclist) I have been discouraged and eventually gave it up.

    I would always be exhausted arriving at work/home which at first was refreshing but I started to really dread the 45 minute cycle every morning. I thought it would get easier the more I cycled, it did a little at first, but I seemed to plateau at some point. Looking at my RunKeeper records the average speed at my peak was about 12 mph in the downhill direction and 10 mph in the uphill direction. Any tips for building up stamina?

    Reading this blog (I am reading every article in chronological order) has made me seriously consider going back to cycling. The bike needs a bit of work – the brake pads have worn down to nothing and need replacing, the handlebars have gone wonky and need fixing somehow, the chains needs cleaning and re-greasing, and the broken gear shifter could do with repairing too.

    How long can you make inner tubes last? I used to go through at least 1-2 new tubes every month and my attempts at repairing them invariably failed so I just bought new ones every time. My cycle route did tend to go through places where drunk chavs like to hang about and break glass bottles so that didn’t help.

    I am lucky that I can go most of the way along a canal away from the danger of roads. I’ve heard they’ve tarmacced more of the towpath now since it used to be mostly an uneven muddy path full of puddles and loose stones when I last rode it. It should be a much easier and smoother ride now for my bike which wasn’t really suited to such rough terrain!

    • Garrett June 14, 2014, 12:44 am

      Wow, that’s a pretty impressive commute on a folder.

      Regarding the stamina, there are definitely workouts that you can do. You can take longer rides (which would make the commute seem easier and get you in better shape). You could do laps on hills or even lift weights to improve your strength. You should definitely look into stretching post-ride to keep yourself limber and improve your recovery.

      You may also want to consider your nutrition. If you eat healthy foods, you may lose some weight and recover quicker. I know that I could spend several thousand dollars to buy a super light carbon fiber race bike and save a few pounds, or I could just lay off the junk food and drop 10lbs and save some money. This may not apply to you though. And make sure you’re getting enough rest between rides so that you don’t burn out.

      A final tip to help with the exhaustion might be to simply slow down a little. Seriously. Taking an extra five minutes on the ride in or out might mean the difference between being exhausted and having a nice ride.

      However, since you did ride a lot (and likely were in good shape), it may mean that you’ve maxed out the speed of the folder. I know you’re short on space but maybe there are some unconsidered options for hanging or otherwise storing a full sized road bike. A full sized bike would certainly offer a more aerodynamic riding position than the folder.

      Regarding the tubes, I think my tubes typically last a year or more but I don’t have as many issues with broken glass. I’d suggest looking in a bike store. There are several products that could help including puncture resistance tires, strips of puncture resistant material that go between your tube and tire, and leak stopping gels. I think some companies have actually looked into solid-foam filled tube-less tires that have no air to leak. If you look for thorn or puncture resistant bike tires, I’m sure you’ll find something that’ll help.

      Best of luck on getting back into it!

      • Luke McCarthy June 20, 2014, 2:18 am

        I got the bike fixed up and took it easy this morning. I still managed to get an average speed of 11.75 mph. I’ll probably just bike it 2 times a week for now and see where I go from there.

        • BD June 20, 2014, 2:23 am

          Yeah, you go! :)

          I hope you enjoy your bike a lot – I know I do and it lead me to ride it everywhere I can!

          • Luke McCarthy June 20, 2014, 2:33 am

            Yeah it feels good to be back on the bike even though it was a bit chilly this morning (in June – welcome to England!) and it wasn’t as far as I remember. In fact my numbers were a bit 0ff – it’s actually 6.8 miles each way (13.8 miles round trip). So not really that bad actually.

  • Jack July 21, 2014, 1:52 pm

    For about the cost of a tank of gas (much less than that if you drive a crazy bigass SUV), you can have your unused, neglected squeaky bike tuned up by a professional at your local bike shop. Find a good independent bike shop and patronize them regularly. Get to know the mechanics. Put a couple of bucks in their “beer fund” jar. A well-tuned, smooth-shifting bike is worth its weight in gold. And get out there and ride! Make a habit of running errands of 1-3 miles on your bike. It pays off in so many ways.

  • Kera McMiller August 18, 2014, 1:11 pm

    About a few weeks into joining the cult, I started analyzing every aspect of our life and I’m slowly making improvements. My husband is mostly carefree and lets me handle all the money budgeting and investments. He handles negotiating better rates on utilities, insurance, and internet service (He is very good at beating them down.) Recently, I began to drop very obvious hints that I wanted a bike, that it would save so much money and keep us in shape. Well, he decided I could not get a bike unless he also got one; He will not allow me to ride around by myself. He does not think we are in a position financially to buy two bikes at this time (He seems not to understand that we spend close to $400/month on our vehicles in gas). At this point the discussions turns into, well if we can’t get bikes yet, we will walk everywhere feasible and therefore he must come with me. We walk everywhere we can within a two mile radius of our town-home and I think he will soon give into us investing in some bike transportation and trailer for those trips to the grocery.

    I love my husband very much, And I know he loves me too. So I know he will give in sooner or later. He knows whats best. (To make me happy. And I’m happiest when we save money)

  • Aaron M September 9, 2014, 12:02 pm

    The link to the 30 reasons to ride is broken. Here it is:

  • Erwin October 3, 2014, 8:08 am

    Still reading from the start – but came across this video today, and well -Bikes for the win!


  • Cara October 11, 2014, 3:41 pm

    Great article, you almost converted me to the world of bike riding. Then I remembered I don’t own a car and walk everywhere I can and take the bus if i cant (total spend $10 last month). Purchasing a bike I didn’t need wont help the mustache cultivation very much!

  • Kristin October 11, 2014, 8:25 pm

    Before finding this blog, I got a cheap bike from Walmart last year when I moved to a quiet suburb with trails and less congested roads. I’d been keeping it at work and just riding around the campus or on little trips from the office into town. It’s just a little coaster bike with a basket in the front. I already had a helmet, so with the bike, a lock, front and rear LEDs, and a portable folding bike rack for the car, I spent about $150 total. I didn’t think the bike was fancy enough to actually make use of in a real way, and I hadn’t ridden a bike in the United States much since I was a child.

    But since I started reading this summer, I’ve gradually been riding the bike more for small errands or for my short commute (5.6 miles round-trip if I use my car; slightly different for the bike route). I’ve grown to like my town more seeing it that way, and I found a quiet trail through the woods that goes from near my place to near my work. Now I’m thinking if I count each mile as 50 cents, then my bike will pay for itself when I’ve ridden 300 miles. Anything over that, the bike is paying me. So far I guesstimate I’m up to about 150 miles, counting the casual riding last year. It’s encouraging to see the bike I already had start to earn its keep.

  • Amanda M. October 12, 2014, 5:23 pm

    ” …by asking your most bicycle-savvy friend where they would get a used bike if they were shopping”

    I recently moved from West Virginia to California for my job. While in WV, I wad a bit afraid of riding a bike because of the narrow winding roads of my hilltop neighborhood. Right before I left, I decided I wanted a bike for the pancake flat (by comparison) area that I wad moving to. I knew that my friend’s husband had a connection to a big bike shop in VA. So I asked him to keep his eye out for good deals on used or past model bikes. Two weeks later, my friend texted me a picture of the bike his connection had found for me. A person who had brought this bike in yearly for tune ups was getting a new bike, and gave the old one to the shop. The connection tuned up the bike, determined if anything needed replacing (which I would pay for), and met my friend’s husband to give him the bike. I got a totally free 8 year old, $450 when new, bike for nothing but putting my desire out there. They even gave me a helmet and a lock. It was fantastic.

  • Christy November 11, 2014, 9:20 am

    Omg, the analogy of excrement piling up on the bathroom floor almost had me falling off my chair. Which wouldn’t be convenient for my 7-month-pregnant body. But it would have been worth it.

    (This isn’t the most useful comment in the MMM comment-world. Just an appreciative one.)

  • Jan February 10, 2015, 4:31 am

    it’s realy fun reading post like this from the states.
    I’m from europe and living in the country with the most bikes per person.
    i’m from the Netherlands with 18 million bikes and 17 million people that are a lot of bikes.
    My family of four has seven bikes.
    I bike to work even when it’s freezing or raining.
    My son of three can ride a bike and 26% of all movements in our country is done by bike.

    Biking is cheap fun and healty.
    So people in the states buy a bike and get started!!!

  • Michael February 26, 2015, 7:24 pm

    All of the links to bikes are broken


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