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 optimsist 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 organisation 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)
Top Credit Crunch Cycling Tips…
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Free Stuff! - Join your local Freecyclenetwork, there are lots of offers of secondhand bikes and bike equipment – helmets lights, mud – guards, saddles. it's free, no money exchanges hands.
4. 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!
5. 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.
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.