How many ways can you save time and money by cycling?

It may be stating the obvious but using a bike as your means of transport really can give your finances a boost. What’s perhaps less obvious, but actually no less accurate, is how much time you can save too.money-in-broken-piggy-bank

Save money on transport

Cycling is by far the most efficient way to get around for the majority of city dwellers in terms of time and cost. Every time you choose your bike over public transport or your car, you are saving money.  For ease of comparison, we’ve done some educated estimates to compare the cost of using the tube and cycling to travel to work in London.

An annual travelcard for zones 1 to 2 is currently going for £1,320. Swapping for a bike equates to about 15 km round trip each day for most people (estimation aided by TfL’s geographically accurate map of of the London Tube and rail lines).

Assuming you are cycling into work 15 km each day, 5 days a week, all year round, you are looking at around £100 bike maintenance cost at most. For that amount of cycling, you will probably get yourself a quality bike along with accessories all for under £400. So for your first year of cycling into work in zones 1 to 2, it’s fair to say you can be looking at a saving of £820! And of course it only gets better from hereon in as you don’t have to buy a brand new bike every year.

If you are travelling between zones 3 and 4 or 2 and 3 instead, your annual travelcard for the tube is cheaper at £988. The practical distance you cover in these zones is around 10 km round trip each day. The bike maintenance cost for the year will be proportionally lower at around £66. Let’s make the (possibly sweeping) assumption that you are less keen on spending as much money on bikes and accessories as well, so might spend £300 altogether. In this scenario, you are still saving a whooping £622 in the first year!

Time is money
By: cea +

Time is money, so save time with cycling

Beat the traffic jam with cycling. Depending on where you live (and this is mostly true in cities), cycling can often get you to places much faster than motorised vehicles can. You don’t even need Bradley Wiggins’ legs or lungs! You can often access shortcuts not open to motorised traffic for an even more tranquil journey.

How about all that time you spend waiting for a train or bus? Without a doubt, using that time getting physical exercise on your bike is of much more benefit. The added bonus is that you are more in control of your journey; you can start your journey whenever you feel like it, know how long it’s going to take and no one will go on strike on you.

Give your health a boost

All the evidence shows that consistent, weekly exercise benefits the health of both body and mind. It’s a great option to combine your commute with exercise, thereby killing two birds with one stone, or you might just want to soak up the endless scenery as you zip along a country road.

Cycling is also a particular favourite for those looking for low impact exercise to limit aggravating overuse injuries from running and squash, for example.

Low cost hobby

You can spend as little or as much money as you want on your bike and cycling specific clothes and accessories. However, going out for a cycle ride costs you nothing other than your own energy! There’s no monthly membership, entry fee or any obligation to use any consumables.

Cycle to Work scheme

Who would have thought you can get tax free transport every day? Your employer just needs to have signed up with the Cycle to Work Scheme. You will then have a budget to purchase your bike and necessary accessories such as lights, locks, helmet, etc which will all be tax free! For exact details and eligibility, visit their website.

What to do with the saved money?Current Logo Blue

What you do with the money you’ve saved is up to you, obviously. You could buy more bike stuff or you could sponsor a bike with the charity we are supporting: The Bike Project. They fix up second-hand bikes and donate them to refugees and asylum seekers. Some of the bikes that they receive go on to be sold through The Bike Shop to ensure long-term sustainability. A bike is also donated to a refugee or asylum seeker for each bike sold. Pass on the cycling love, people!

Challenging ride blog 3: Got lost, get unlost

You’re in the middle of a long, challenge ride and realise you’re completely lost. What to doRoad Sign
next? In this modern age where everything is smart, connected and can run out of battery, here are some tips to use minimal mobile data and technology to find your way back home.

Prioritise your objectives

The approach to getting unlost depends on your priorities. Do you want to avoid a gigantic mountain range, do you want to finish the ride before sunset or are you so tired that you need to find the shortest or quickest way home? You may wish to find your way back to your original route, though sometimes it’s better to make a diversion altogether.

There’s no silver bullet solution so it’s best to anticipate the likely difficulties you may face before you set off so when you’re really tired, you’ve already got a rough idea what to do next.

Resources

Most of us nowadays have a smartphone that has a GPS. You may want to think about getting an app where you can cache maps so you can use it offline to limit data usage (especially useful when you’re abroad). Keep an eye on the phone battery life though. Depending on how lost you are, you may need to ration your phone battery over a long duration to get yourself home.

You can of course ask people for direction. However, be wary – they may only drive so when they say the next village is about 20 minutes away, that might be an hour of cycling!

You may sometimes find pinned up maps outside churches or village halls on a noticeboard. They probably won’t be able to guide you to the finish but might get you to the next settlement where you can find more resources to help you out.

In the wild

By: Luis Pérez

Until we learn how to talk to migrating birds which have an amazing sense of direction, we’ll need to resort to more mainstream methods of finding north . What if you haven’t got a working smartphone or don’t have a compass? There are a few reliable methods to find north but you’ll need to have a paper map on you for reference (or only intend to ride in a general direction).

This is just to show you how little you need to find your way (but if you really think you’ll use these methods, you’ll need to research them further). In the daytime, you can use a stick and a couple of stones to find north but you need strong enough sunlight to cast a distinct shadow and it will take you over 15 minutes each time to get a relatively accurate reading. A better combo is to have an analogue watch and a line of sight of the sun; there’s an adjustment you need to make depending if you are in the northern or southern hemisphere.

After nightfall, you can still find your direction and it can be surprisingly easy. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, the North Star (Polaris) will point you north while, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross constellation will point you south. Having said that, if you’re in the UK, you’ll have to hope light pollution or cloud don’t get in the way first.

Route planning

To minimise the chances of getting lost in the first place, check out our guide to some resources to plan your ride. It’s useful to have a plan B which involves cutting the ride short or taking the train (though this does make for an easy way out that could tempt the less hardy into ditching their own challenge).

Hopefully, you won’t have to resort to reading constellations but it’s a good trick to have up your sleeve. A not so useful tip but a comforting backup plan is to have the stamina to just keep riding.