About six months ago I wrote an article called Spending Money to Make Money. While this adage is used at the most inappropriate of times, I actually believed that I had found a way to make money by first spending it. On top of that I would be enjoying the hell out of it too. Sounds too good to be true? Let’s see what’s what!
I bought a brand-spanking-new road bike to both commute to work and ride in my free time. In the past I rode my old mountain bike to work every now and again, but the thing had gotten so old that it nearly fell apart – well, it actually did fall apart when my fork broke on a downhill track. Because I’ve always wanted a proper race bike, my eyes fell on the Trek Madone 2.5.
Without going into detail on how awesome it is – because trust me, it really is a speed devil – I can without a doubt say that this two-wheeled marvel has topped my wildest expectations. I even crushed my goal of at least 50 bike commutes with it during the past months.
At the moment my bike enjoyed a little under 4,000km of road time with only the chain and tyres needing replacement. Of course, I had to make a ton of additional purchases like maintenance tools, cycling kit and proper lighting for the dark autumn and winter days. This machine really does require a running tab.
However, spending on expensive hobbies is an integral part of financial independence in my book, within reason of course. You should never cut back on things you love in order to save more at the end of the month – that’s just silly.
All in all, the non-financial part of the equation can’t get any better. It’s been a blast!
Nevertheless, things aren’t always black and white. So let’s also take a look at the financial aspect of my experiment, because that’s what it’s ultimately all about.
The fact that I don’t own a car is a massive financial advantage since the luxury of having one parked outside your front door usually costs around €400 every single month in Belgium. On top of that, I also receive €0.21 for every kilometer that I cycle to and back from work. Sounds like a massive win-win, right? It seems that way, apart from the fact that my commute to work was already completely free because my employer pays for public transport.
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
|Clothing and safety gear||-508.54|
Whoa, that’s a massive negative number! Seems like the experiment isn’t turning out great, now is it?
Actually, it’s going rather well all things considered. On top of the initial purchase price I had to buy into a lot of one-time things like clothes and lights, as mentioned above. The actual running costs of the bike are only about €140, or 10% of its initial cost, which isn’t too bad with 4,000km on the clock.
And it gets even better!
Currently I receive an average of €96 every month from my employer for my 64km total daily commute, but that’s only for two days. From February onwards I’ll be cycling to work every single day – or at least I’ll try to.
As a result, I’ll boost my cycling renumeration to a whopping monthly €240! That’s more than a 10% increase on top of my regular monthly salary or a full two and a half days of extra work hours logged. The mind, it truly boggles. Even with increased maintenance costs, I’ll come out ahead by the end of 2016.
The best part about all of this is the fact that I basically get to enjoy my hobby for free. Furthermore, my road bike has been an excellent purchase health-wise. I’ve never felt as physically fit, eaten as well – did you notice the increased grocery costs in my monthly income and expenses reports, ha! – or slept as deeply as I have over the past few months.
So I don’t mind the fact that this experiment nuked my 70% savings rate for 2015 one bit.
Have any of you guys made the switch to commuting by bike, or just ditching your car in favour of your bike in general? If not and if you hope to do so, maybe you’ll find inspiration in Australian vlogger Cycling Maven, who puts out daily videos on his cycling-centred lifestyle – highly recommended!