Yesterday marked the 100th time I used a bicycle to get to work rather than a car. Since July, I’ve ridden at least twenty times per month (Well, until I took a week off in October).
On the list of benefits: That’s about 100 gallons of gasoline not burned. That’s a lot of carbon not combined with oxygen and pumped into the atmosphere, but even more important… well, let me tell you a little story…
I was southbound on Los Gatos Creek Trail. I had just crossed a street when a guy flagged me down and gave me a little handbill, explaining that it was to complete an online survey about bike trail usage. “Awesome! Thanks!” I said, taking him aback just a bit with my enthusiasm. I took it as an opportunity to be counted, perhaps to influence the electorate.
Once home, I took the survey. I entered which trail I spent the most time on, how I thought rangers could best spend their time, and stuff like that. Included were questions about why I use the trails in the first place. On one question I told them I primarily biked to get to work. Later it asked why I biked instead of drove. There were plenty of good options, but health wasn’t one of them. I guess commuters aren’t concerned about their health. So I was forced to choose the second-most important reason I rode.
It came down to two choices: to save the environment or to save money. I talk up the environment a lot, and I believe, but I had to be honest with myself. I’m a cheap bastard. I clicked the “save money” option.
… even more important, I’ve saved several hundred dollars in gas money. It will be a long time yet before I save enough to pay for the bike (and also, I suppose, before I save enough gas to offset the energy required to manufacture the bicycle), but I just have to keep at it.
And my calves are looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.
It really surprised me how much money I saved by bicycling instead of driving to work over approximately two decades. It would only be slight hyperbole to say that I retired on the savings.