Top Ten Tips For Cycling In A Recession

Although I know very little about the dark world of finance and just thinking about numbers induces a blinding fog in my brain, even in my ignorance it is clear that there may be trouble ahead for the world economy and the next few months or even years could be tough. But as my mother always says… ”Pessimists fond fault and optimists find solutions” and in these hard times it is not all doom and gloom, especially if you ride a bicycle.

Due to the rising price of petrol and diesel the CTC, a national cycling organization here in the UK, predicts an extra 1.25 million trips will be made by bicycle every day. After the last oil crisis, in 1979, when fuel prices rocketed, cycling increased by almost 40% and it looks like in the predicted forthcoming recession cycling is destined to boom again. The facts and figures speak for themselves.

A good bike costs £200; a reasonable car will cost around £5,000 and with the cost of motoring going through the roof, cycling can also save significantly on petrol costs. Statistics tell us that the majority of car journeys are made for a distances less than five miles and these distances are easily made on a bicycle. These short journeys have the highest costs, because cars are most inefficient at low speeds. It is estimated that leaving the car in the garage for the average commuter could save an estimate £74.14 ($150) per week (source: Cycling Weekly June 19th)

So we all know that cycling is the only real way to get around in this changing world, and the benefits not only benefit our purse but also our planet, but in these hard times of financial wows how can we save the pennies while staying in the saddle. Here at The Hungry Cyclist HQ we have been busy penny pinching and have come up with the Top Ten Tips For Saving Money while cycling through the credit crunch.

Top Credit Crunch Cycling Tips…

Share - Why don’t you share a bike with a housemate? Buying one between two of you makes more financial sense and and the cost of maintenance is halved.

Employer Bike Schemes - Encourage your employer to sign up to a bike scheme like Evan’s Cycles ‘Ride to Work’, which gives 50 per cent discounts on the purchase of a new bike through payments taken from your monthly salary. So you buy a bike overtime, under the shop asking price.

Free Stuff! - Join your localFreecyclenetwork, there are lots of offers of secondhand bikes and bike equipment – helmets lights, mud – guards, saddles.  it’s free, no money exchanges hands. 

Take The Bike, Not The Bus - How much could you be saving by cycling to work rather than getting public transport?  It could be as much as £100 – £150 a month! Also, cycling is often quicker, thus you’ll arrive at work earlier, impress the boss and get a pay rise!

Keep The Honest People Honest 
The biggest cost associated with cycling is the cost of having to buy a new bike because your existing one gets pinched. Over 50 bikes are stolen every day in London alone, but don’t be one of the depressing statistics; take the necessary precaution to lock-up in a secure way. Avoid leaving your ride hidden in a place where it could be lifted up and put in the back of a van. Buy a good lock; it is recommended to spend up to 10% of the bikes cost on a lock. Don’t make your bike look to fancy.

Locked wheel

6. LED Lights - For some reason many cyclists are reluctant to use lights, even in the dark? However, if you use the new LED lights, the batteries will last for hours before needing replacing. If you commute a lot in the dark, buy rechargeable batteries. The last thing you want to be doing in the winter months is skimping on lights, but shop around and you will soon be lit up like a Christmas tree and saving money.

7. Don’t Worry Expensive Extras - The truth is that reducing the weight of a bike, doesn’t make a huge difference to the speed of a bike. If you are racing Lance Armstrong over the Alpes, then these small gains are worthwhile to make, but for an average commuter it doesn’t matter so don’t feel obliged to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest carbon fibre components; you only make your bike more attractive to thieves.

8. Get Some Panniers - Using your bike is much cheaper than driving or getting the bus to work. If you add panniers to the back of your bike, you will increase its usefulness and range of situations where you can use the bike. Doing the local shop, dropping of books in the library, going to work. Make your bike work harder for you!

9. Basic Maintenance - If you spend a little time learning about bike maintenance, with a few tools and some WD40 you can save yourself loads of money. Bikes are simple beasts and a clean bike is a happy bike.

10. Lose pounds, while gaining £ - Cycling is a low impact aerobic exercise and is an excellent way of losing weight. Cycling can also be combined with shopping and commuting, enabling very busy people to find time for exercise. So cancel your gym membership, get on your bike and save a small fortune.


With thanks to Anna Beach of Arcola Theatre.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 at 10:18 and is filed under Bits for Bikes, Cycle Touring, Cycling in London. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. If you have any suggestions for saving money while cycling in these hard times lets hear from you. My list my well be a little slim…

  2. harrie

    when i was cycling in cambridge, a tip i was given to prevent theft was that you should always lock the back wheel of the bike to the lamppost, and to the main body of the bike, but never the front wheel. the reason being that the back wheel contained all the bits for the gears and such, and therefore were more lucrative than the front to steal. this person (a bike shop manager) said that if i bike is tied by the front wheel, the robbers can afford to only take the back wheel and make enough money off it to justify leaving the rest of the bike.
    i assume that gears and so on are still in the back wheel and therefore this still applies…

  3. And another…
    save money on puncture repair kist, time and oily hands on the way to work. Fit a couple of Joe’s No Flats tubes to your ride and the puncture repair kit will be a thing of the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>