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25/01/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

Cycling economics 101


Cycling economics 101

We had a chat with Nick Ferrari’s breakfast show on LBC Radio 97.3FM this morning about why Londoners should switch to commuting by bike. And it got us thinking about all the reasons why people should cycle to work rather than go by car, bus, train or tube.

Commuting by bike

Now obviously any cyclist would tell you about the joys of their morning cycle. Pedalling freely round gridlocked cars, sitting in the office still smiling from the endorphins whilst their colleagues are still grumbling about the latest signal failure, strike, roadworks etc. But there are other compelling economic reasons to cycle to work. So in simple terms here’s why you’re better off financially if you bike to work:

Cost of driving

Well this is obviously the most expensive way to commute to work (short of taking a chopper!) – factor in car value depreciation, road tax, fuel, parking and servicing costs. No one would claim to use a car as a money saving measure; it’s all about the “convenience”. Estimated annual cost at least £2,000 and climbing rapidly if you’re driving anything more than a second hand Fiesta

Cost of public transport (Travelcard)

Just to be really fair we will assume that the average commute is within zones 1-2. This means that the annual cost of travel is £1,104. This can seem worth every penny once it starts snowing! But you’re brave, you can handle a bit of snow on your bike to work and it doesn’t happen every year.

Cost of bus and tram only

It is possible that you might only travel to work by bus. A bus pass costs less than a full Travelcard at £712. We have been told there are trams in London, but nowhere we have ever been. However, if you see one you can use that too with your bus pass.

Cost of cycling

Let’s include all the possible costs to get started on a bike even though we estimate that there are almost 13 million unused bikes in the UK – so most people will already have access to a bike!

Good cheap commuter bike: £150

Helmet: £50

Lights (x2): £15

Locks (x2): £70

Annual service: £30

Total: £315

Cost of sweating

A common objection is not wanting to be sweaty at work and being the guy / girl that no one wants to get in the lift with when you arrive at work having travelled by bike. No problem, just join a nearby gym. Even once you factor in the costs of an annual gym membership at £35 / month so you can take a shower before work you’re still laughing. And let’s face it loads of people have a gym membership they’re already paying for but not really using. Possible additional cost £420 or less (after you’ve haggled with the membership guys).


Cycling is a very cost efficient way to commute. Even if you have to buy everything, sweat a lot, have no office showers and need to join a gym it still beats every form of transport. It’s just one more reason why you should let Boris nudge you onto a bike!

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