Think about it. That humble old tredley collecting dust in your shed has a unique combination of simplicity and efficiency, and all with truly amazing health and wealth benefits.
Interestingly, that would be the opposite of what you get with your car!
Simplicity – there are so few moving parts, they are virtually maintenance free. Modern bicycles are also incredibly reliable. I recently rode 2000kms over the some of the worst roads you will encounter without a single mechanical problem – not even a puncture. Remarkable!
Keep it clean, keep it oiled, keep your tyres pumped up and that’s about all you have to do to enjoy hassle free transportation.
Efficiency – A modern bike weights probably 10 to 12 kilograms. They can carry more than 10 times their own weight. They convert a human being who can walk at say 5 km/hr in to one of the fastest creatures in existence with an easy cruise at 20km/hr and a top speed of 50 km/hr (and a lot more if you are an athletic type).
And the health benefits are incredible. Go for a vigorous 3 hour ride and you’ve burnt half a kilogram of fat. That type of exertion will fix up most of your other ailments as well like hardened arteries, high blood pressure, risk of diabetes, brittle bones and it will give your kidneys a good spit and polish as well. Not to mention it will put you in a better mood. All after just one ride.
But the other benefit of the humble bicycle is that they are good for your wealth. Very good!
Let’s start with the basics.
Every kilometre you put on your bike instead of your car will save you about 80 cents in fuel, depreciation and maintenance (that’s about what the ATO allows people to claim against their tax). That means if you did 10km on your bike instead of your car each day that would save you nearly $3,000, each and every year.
Now the thing is, cycling has a way of growing on you. You might be able to go without a second car, or you might find like me, that having an expensive car is no longer the status symbol it used to be (although in my case the expensive car gets replaced by expensive bikes). For some of us, cycling becomes more than just transport but a source of leisure, or even holidays. Replacing even $10 per week in paid leisure with free biking saves another $520 per annum (and from my experience, that is a super conservative estimate).
Then there are the incalculable things like health and productivity. But here is a go at calculating them anyway. By riding to work instead of driving, your mood and focus are enhanced. It makes you look better too, which enhances your mood even further. You can work smarter and longer as a result. If you could improve your productivity by just 10%, for the average Aussie, that’s a benefit of $7,247 per annum. You don’t go to the doctor as much when you are fit either, nor is there the need for expensive prescription drugs. Let’s say that’s $500 per year.
So if you blow the dust off that bike, here’s what you could have in ten years.
Reduced car expenses - $29,200
Less expensive car or just one car - $30,000
Cheaper leisure - $5,200
Increased income - $72,470
Reduced medical - $5,000
Total - $141,870
I’ve just taken the annual number and multiplied by ten years. If you invested that money as you went and earnt say, 7%, you’d have north of $200,000. Nice!
And the great thing is most of us don’t need to outlay anything to start this strategy. Know why? Bicycle imports have exceeded car sales in Australia for a decade (1.4 million bikes were imported in to Australia last year). That means there is a very good chance that you have more than one bike in your shed already.
Did you also know that 30% of car trips are less than 5 kilometres in length? Now that’s a distance that virtually every single one of us can achieve.
So there’s no excuses. Get to it.
Is the bike the best thing ever invented? Your health and your wealth thinks so.