How My Bike Put $32,000 in my Pocket

I ride a bike because I’m on a mission to save the planet. Oh, and it’s just plain fun.

But my bike has also saved me a ton of money.

That’s why I invested so much in it. And it shows.

It gets attention (not just from my dog).

Sometimes people ask me how much my bike cost.

I tell them $500 originally, but when you add up all the upgrades and maintenance, I’ve probably put something like $4,000 into it over the years.

That’s when I get The Look.

You know, the one that says “what are you, freakin’ crazy?”

After several of these encounters it dawned on me: some folks don’t even know what a bicycle is!

In their minds, it’s a toy.

And a grown man who rides one, especially a pricey red one with a giant skateboard stuck on the back, is obviously an overgrown child on a midlife bender.

I get laughed at.

But now I’m laughing… all the way to the bank!

Let’s back up and look at what I spent on my bike over time:

Now, you may be thinking, what else could I have done with all that money?

What if I took that $4,000 and did something sensible, like invest it in the stock market through a professional brokerage?

Wow! I would have made nearly $9,000! That’s a 6.6% annual return.

Well, except, of course for the taxes and fees.

I guess I was pretty foolish pouring all that money into a bike.

Or was I? That was just the cost side.

Now let’s look at the benefits.

  • I replaced the seat and handlebars for comfort.
  • About ten years ago, I bolted on an xtraCycle so I could haul groceries, passengers, and even wooden boards way too long to fit in a car.
  • I maintained it and replaced some stuff that wore out.
  • Just recently I spent $700 adding an electric assist that about doubled my daily range. Now I can bike 40 hilly miles and still have enough energy to go dancing.

Can you see how all these upgrades have made it possible for me to use the bike a lot more often?

And here’s the key point: when I ride my bike, I’m not driving a car.

Let’s break that down. The federal reimbursement rate for cars is about $0.50 a mile. This is the real incremental cost of operating a car. It includes depreciation, taxes, license, registration, gas, maintenance and insurance, all of which have at least some dependence on miles driven.

Every year I’ve owned this bike, I have ridden it at least 40 miles a week. That adds up to 2,000 miles a year, or $1,000 a year in car costs I didn’t have to pay. Minimum.

It gets better.

Because I had such a kickass bike, I didn’t even own a car at all for four of those years. Ka-ching! According to Kelley Blue Book, that saved me at least $5,000 every one of those years. Because that’s what it would have cost me to drive a used economy car.

For a late model car, that figure comes to $8,000 a year.

Assuming I would only drive a cheapo car, and adjusting for inflation, here’s how that looks:

Right. I crushed the stock market!

And I got paid to save the planet. Tax-free!

The best part? You can do even better.

Because, hey, I just blundered into this because I love the sound of wind in my ears as I zoom up and down hills (OK, so maybe I am still a kid inside).

But knowing what you now know, your whole family can ride quality bikes and ditch that 2nd or 3rd car.

That would save you … again, adjusting for inflation …

(ready for this?)

$78,000 to $123,000 over 20 years. Per car!

Just look at how that kicks the stock market’s butt!

(Reminder: red line’s the Dow, green is me, yellow and purple are you; yes that’s you, kicking my butt!)

And that’s just the immediate cash savings. You’ll also add healthy years to your life, have fewer sick days, and do wonders for the planet.

Which is awesome because what’s the point in saving big money if either you or the planet or both are not around long enough for you to enjoy them?

If you’re even remotely serious about growing your cash, you must own and ride a bike.

Because it’s not a freakin’ toy…

…it’s your best investment vehicle!


   Hot Tip!  If you’re in the market for a bike, Fall is a great time to get one at an end of season close-out. We’re talking discounts up to 30% at many shops and manufacturers. That’s a quick way to put yourself hundreds of dollars ahead of the game.


Your Turn: Did you ride a bike last week? Let me know in the comments.


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In this 30-minute 1-on-1 video call, we’ll determine exactly:

  • How much money you can save by going green.
  • How many more active years of life you can expect from this lifestyle.
  • Which 2 lifestyle tweaks will do more for you and the planet than all other choices you can make combined.
  • What you need now to make these changes and start reaping these benefits in your life.

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