Biking Home to Success – Part Two
So it has been a few months since my initial post on biking home from work. Since then, a lot has changed. After riding home for about a month during one of the hottest months of the year, I decided to go for it with the e-Bike. Much deliberation was involved, and after that, plenty of research. In the end, I decided to go for a pre-built e-Bike that would be covered under warranty in case anything were to fail. I took my time doing research and decided I still wanted to go fairly cheap. I found ProdecoTech and their newly released Phantom 400. It was relatively cheap compared to some other e-Bikes I investigated, both online and in my local bike shop. I’ve already written about the ProdecoTech Phantom 400 on my personal travel-blog, you can check it out if you’d like to read more details.
I’ve now been riding my e-Bike to work anywhere from three to five days a week, depending on how I feel. I’ve found that it is very efficient and I feel much better after a day that I bike than a day that I drive. Beyond the nuisances of dealing with oblivious parents driving their little snot-generators 3 blocks to school and not paying attention to others on the road, the commute is much more serene. I just plug my headphones into my phone and rock out on the nine mile trip. Anyway, this post isn’t about that, per se, but more about the frugality benefits of doing so. It has been 60 days since buying and receiving my e-Bike, and I have not filled my truck’s gas tank. I am still running on fuel purchased on July 30th for $46. I am driving significantly less than I was before, and enjoying life even more. I’m not about to go and sell my truck, since it’s still necessary for vacations and such, but not having to fuel up every couple of weeks just to drive to work has been awesome. In total, for the past 60 days I have averaged 76 cents per day to fuel my vehicle. If you consider that on the weekends I only rarely drive my vehicle and average only on working days on which I would normally drive (of which there were 43), it’s still only costing me $1.07 per day to fuel the truck. That includes a super long drive to/from LAX for a recent trip to Maui.
I have since received two months’ worth of paychecks that included the bonus cash paid to me by my employer for choosing an alternate form of transportation. I rode my bike 1 day in June, 10 days in July, and 19 days in August. At $2 per day, that comes out to $60 bonus cash towards my paychecks. It’s not a huge increase, but if I keep this up and average at least 15 days per month, just the bonus cash alone allows me to have paid off the e-Bike in 3.5 years. This does not take into account the fuel I would have bought for my truck. On average, before the bike, I was spending about $50 on gas every three weeks. That means I would be filling up about 17 times per year, for an estimated cost of about $900 with gas prices staying roughly where they are currently. Now that I am riding, I have gone at least 8 weeks on a single fuel fill-up (I haven’t finished this tank of gas yet). If I can keep this pace, that averages only 6-7 fill-ups per year. If we assume the gas prices continue to stay the same, that means I’d be saving 10 fill-ups at $50 each, or $500. So combined, with the savings of $500 in gas, and the bonus on my paychecks totaling $360 per year, I will have paid off the e-Bike in 1.4 years! Some might say that I forgot to include the cost of electricity I am using to charge that e-Bike nightly. I didn’t mention it because it barely nudges the numbers. Compared to the pre-eBike era, our electric bill has gone up less than $1 on average. In fact, our bill over the past three hottest months of the year has only been about 40% of our normal for this time of year. I would like to attribute that to our newfound ability to acclimate to the heat better, but more than likely it is the new windows in the house, as well as our use of a window A/C unit instead of the central air that has greatly decreased our energy usage. I may write more about that in the future; SCE provides a lot of very detailed information about our habits, and that may prove to be a good future post on being frugal.
Overall, I feel like the e-Bike was a great choice. I am in the best shape I have been in years. Don’t let people try to berate you on these things or call you a cheater. Just because your pedaling is assisted, doesn’t meant you aren’t getting exercise. You can still pedal as hard as you want, you just happen to go much faster and make the commute go by quicker. I feel great after my rides, with minimal sweating, and I am now able to ride my normal bike all around town without any discomfort. It’s just second nature now to hop on the bike when I need to go somewhere, and my legs start to get antsy on days I don’t ride. So now I am saving money and getting healthier at the same time. It’s a great choice, and I hope to see more and more people accepting it as part of their lives in the future.
Best investment ever? If not the best, it’s definitely in the top five.