One of the best perks of bicycling for transportation is how much money you can save.
One of the great perks of bicycling for transportation is saving money. It's no coincidence that many people who bicycle for transportation follow budgeting advice from Dave Ramsey, Mr. Money Mustache, and You Need A Budget (YNAB). Several years ago, a bicyclist told me that while he liked The Dave Ramsey Show, "He doesn't go far enough. He should tell people to sell their cars and ride a bike." Dave Ramsey advises people to get rid of their car loans and pay cash for used cars, trading up as they save up. But with a bike, you can easily go much farther and dispense with the car altogether. You could be a car-lite, one-car, or even a car-free family.
The entrenched belief that a car is indispensable is on shaky ground now. The younger budgeters (Mr. Money Mustache and YNAB's bloggers) take a more radical approach to budgeting than Dave Ramsey does. Every expenditure is scrutinized; nothing is indispensable. It's not surprising cars don't make the cut. As expensive as even a used car is to maintain, an alternative yields substantial savings.
YNAB founder Jesse bikes to work and YNAB blogger Mark discovered that walking to work not only saved money, but he lost 25 pounds. Mr. Money Mustache calculates that riding a $299 bicycle can save you $93,432 over 10 years. His calculations don't require downsizing to one car or zero cars. If you did that, you'd see even more savings.
In fact, Mr. Money Mustache believes that the one step you can take that will have the most impact on your financial health (not to mention physical and emotional health) is to ride a bike. "If I had to strip it down as far as possible," he writes, "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”."
Bicycling brings peace of mind in many ways. The commute to work or running errands is meditative. Exercise has a powerful positive influence on mood. Driving is stressful, so biking instead of driving avoids that source of stress. And eliminating debt or increasing savings by reducing driving is a huge financial relief.