One Year of Biking to Work

August 2017 rolled around, and it marks one year of me riding my electric bike to/from work on a regular basis. Through the cold of winter to the heat of summer, I’ve ridden through most of the extremes we get here in southern California. I tried to stick to a schedule of riding four days per week, using the 5th day to rest and make sure my truck continues to work optimally. My daily ride is 8.69 miles each way, where as my driven commute is 10.5 miles each way (it’s faster to take the freeway). So over the course of the past 12 months (August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017), I rode my bike to work a combined total of 164 days. For comparison, I drove my truck to work a total of 62 days, and a lot of those were due to California getting a much wetter-than-average winter. I don’t ride in the rain, to try and keep the bike in as optimal shape as possible. Doing some quick napkin math, that means I saved 3,444 miles that would have normally gone onto my truck by riding the bike 2800 miles instead.

 

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Biking Home to Success – Part Two

e-bikeSo 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.

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Biking Home to Success

bicycling-to-workToday I learned something really cool about my job: You get paid bonus money to use alternative forms of transportation.

Let me go back a week though. Last week, I was wondering how I could save money by driving my truck less. It is an inefficient commuting machine, although it’s great at driving me out to the lake for a weekend of fun on the water. I thought about riding my bike to work. It’s just under 9 miles one way, uphill for about 95% of the route. While it’s feasible for someone with much more experience biking, and with an efficient road-centric bike, to me it seemed out of reach. I eventually dismissed it as impossible, and started day-dreaming about an e-Bike that would propel me up the hills without much effort on my part so I could arrive at work not covered in sweat. While an e-Bike would be cool, they are expensive. I could build my own from a kit, but I didn’t really want to mess with my perfectly functional bike’s current state. I may consider it in the future, but for now it’s off the table. We’re trying to save money, not blow more on something like this. (more…)

First Step: Becoming Frugal

I’ve recently been binge reading the Mr. Money Mustache blog. It’s all about frugality and saving now for a happy, leisurely life in the future. While we’re not yet to the point that we can start saving 70% of our income, we are working on other ways to save money. Hopefully we will be able to use his and other techniques to help us move ourselves to our future life in Utah.

trailerThis weekend was the first foray into our new biking frugality. After many, many articles read about riding your bike instead of taking the car for short trips, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I got my bike tuned up and running smoothly and Alex got a new bike. After the setback of her fracturing her radial head, we are back on top of this new biking kick. As mentioned before, this weekend was our first big test. I recently acquired a trailer for my bike so that we can transport larger necessities from stores and other sources. On Saturday, we toured our local neighborhoods with the trailer in tow, searching for bike accessories at yard sales. Although we didn’t find much, and it probably wasn’t worth towing the trailer for this trip, we did find a few goodies to make our biking trips better. Sunday morning we headed off to Costco with the trailer in tow and our new membership cards in pocket. While shopping, we loaded it up with tons of well-priced, bulk goodies. Everything sold at Costco is bulky, but we avoided having too many things to bring home by using the bike trailer as a hand cart. If it didn’t fit in the cart while wandering the store, there was no way to bring it home. It turned out to be a very good plan, and there was no issue zipping up the trailer and hauling it home. Even while browsing the store with our own cart, we had many comments from employees and customers about how it was a great idea, and how they love what we’re doing. I’m not exactly a social person by nature, but even I was a little excited to explain what it was and how it worked. I was a little wary that with a full cart holding something like 40lbs would be a little tougher to pull. It wasn’t. With the ability to switch gears, you can easily get the extra weight moving with minimal extra work. When heading downhill and hitting the higher gears, the weight actually seemed to be more beneficial by increasing my momentum for the occasional inclines at the other end of the hills.

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