This is a blog post about cycling to work. A few years ago I never imagined that I could write something like this. But then I made the change.
Famous money blogger Mr Money Moustache famously writes about how he ditches his car in favour of cycling everywhere. I remember when I started reading his post, I was thinking, “yeah, good but”. Well at that time I was living in Taiwan with young kids. To my credit, I actually used public transport a lot. The weird thing is that I actually walked and cycled a lot more living in a city of 2.7 million people than I did when I returned to the suburbs of Canberra.
Back in Australia, I had dreams of using my electric bike to go to work, but then I got my kids a rare place in the childcare centre at my work. I know some people who can cycle 20+km on hilly routes with two young children, but for me, that was a bit too much.
So I didn’t cycle. And instead, we did daily car commutes. My butt kept getting bigger and I was too exhausted to do much exercise when we finally got home. So I made a same city tree change and moved to inner Canberra.
When I calculate the move in terms of dollars and cents, there is probably no discernible benefit. I had paid off the mortgage in my home, and I had rental coming in from my granny flat. From a financial point of view, I was better off staying rather than moving to a more expensive apartment with body corporate.
But sometimes (oh, and as a money blogger I hate to say this), it isn’t always about the money.
Yep, some things such as health and wellbeing are even more important. Ever since I started cycling to work last April I have felt so much better. This is not my imagination: my Dad noticed it when we went skiing together last August. I am not a super fit person, I have no dreams of being a triathlete and sadly I still struggle with weight loss. But if I can cycle to work, anyway can.
I believe that this new cycling routine is adding years to my life.
That said, while I am not financially better off from moving to a more expensive area, I do save money on transport – which is what this post is all about.
I now live 6.5km from work (7km if I take a scenic route). This is what my daily commute looks like:
First I cycle with my kids to school. it is a bit hard to get them out the door, but they have lots of fun.
Then I cycle along with uni students along a pleasant bike path through a park. I kind of feel like one of the crowd. Then I go through the city centre on a dedicated bike path. It is relatively quick and I am rarely stuck with traffic. Over a footbridge, I get to look on all the cars stuck in traffic, reminiscing about how that used to be me. “So long suckers,” I think to myself as I puff up the bridge and over to connect with the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.
I then cycle along the lake. The first glances of the lake always makes my heart sing.
Then I cycle over a second bridge, enjoying a view of the National Museum of Australia and Black Mountain.
If I am running late I take a short-cut past the historic Hyatt Hotel and then cut past the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canadian High Commissions. A short cycle up the hill past Australian Parliament House and I am at work.
If I have more time I like to cycle along Lake Burley Griffin past the National Library of Australia and Questacon, with views out past the Australian War Memorial. Some days I am lucky (or unlucky as it usually means I am running late) to enjoy the sounds of the Carillion chiming as I cycle past.
I usually cut in past the National Gallery of Australia and cycle up past the Department of the Environment/Old Parliament House to the (former) National Archives building. From there it is close to Australian Parliament House and onto work.
On days when I get up super early, I go the long way through Telopea Park and around next to Kingston Foreshore.
I haven’t been cycling much over the last week as I was unwell last week. When I stop cycling, even for a short time, I really notice how unfit I feel.
Well, how much does it save me by cycling? Well, I save up to $12 a day in parking (note: this is the maximum – I previously had cheaper rate leasing from a nearby church but I will use the maximum for now). I also save a bit of hot water as I take showers at work. I save $20 a week as I cancelled my gym membership. I noticed a dramatic decrease in my petrol consumption. Although it was only a short commute to work, but cycling nearly every day I reduced my petrol usage by over half – I save at least $100 a month. I also have been able to extend the need for having the car serviced by around nine months; because I am not using it as much there is much less mileage. I am also extending the usage of my car in general. My Dad is taking over my car in May, so I only have my car for a few more months in any case.
This is how much savings stack up:
|Parking $12 a day for 48 weeks||$2,880|
|Gym membership savings||$1,040|
|Hot water savings||$150|
To this, I would add that my health and immune system over winter last year was better than it had ever been. While everyone at work was down with the dread Aussie flu, I was healthy. Of course, I am not totally immune: after bragging about how I never get colds anymore I suddenly got sick late last year. That said, I know that I took a lot less sick days last year because overall I had a lot less colds and viruses.
My Giant bike cost $320 secondhand. It was in great condition and did not need much servicing. I have had a few flat tyres, which my lovely Neil has fixed for me. He tells me not to ride over bindies:)
Do you cycle to work? If so, how long do you cycle and do you enjoy it?