|My Commuter On A Trip To Nashville|
I am considering a new bike for my commute and that made me wonder about the cost of my current commuter. The basic bike is a mid 90’s steel all rigid mountain bike. These are sturdy bikes, fairly agile, and the fat tires absorb the bumps found on most streets. My bike is a Trek Mountain Trail bought on Craig’s list for $75. I spent much more than that on basic upgrades. In fact it totaled $232 to get the basic riding the way I wanted it. This included a set of Shimano combination brake levers and shifters. This set can be switched from cantilever to V-brake mode. With cables and housing they were $35 which is great value for an upgrade. I got some Planet Bike fenders ($40) and switched to Tektro long reach v-brakes($24). I found some handle bars with a little more sweep and rise for only $13 and switched to ergonomic grips ($9). I picked up a saddle ($35) and BMX pedals from Animal ($16). Lastly I switched to city tires, Serfas Drifter ($60), but kept them in the 2 inch range.
So that gives me a nice riding bike with improved shutting and braking. The next need is to carry stuff. I added a Topeak Explorer ($25) rear rack, a small front rack ($18) and lucked out with a pair of Novara waterproof panniers ($100) when they were closing them out. I pack my office stuff (computer, etc.) in one and clothes, tools, and spare tubes in the other. When needed I can bungee a box to the top of the rear rack or to the front rack.
Lastly I needed to be seen and see. So I added lights. Lots of lights. $205 worth of lights. On the front I have a MagicShine 900 lumen ($100) headlight and a Planet Bike Blaze 1W headlight ($46). On the back is a Planet Bike Super Flash ($29) and a Cateye Reflex rear light ($30).
This gives me a grand total of $655 for my commuter bike. That is not cheap but it is not bad either. I save at least $50 a month in gas and around a $100 a year on maintenance (mostly tires, brakes pads and cables). That leaves $500 a year in gas savings which takes a little over a year to pay for itself in gas savings.
Thanks for reading and try to pedal to work.