If you know how to ride a bicycle, you probably already know that it’s great exercise, good for the environment and a lot of fun. But here are some fascinating facts about the financial benefits of cycling that may surprise you. And if you’re not already a cyclist, maybe you’ll be inspired to take to two wheels when you see how much money you can save.
1. The true cost of getting on down the road. According to AAA, the average cost for an American driver to own and operate a car was about $8,558 in 2016. In comparison, some estimates put the average cost of owning and operating a bicycle at $350 a year.
2. The four-mile rule. OK, so you’re not ready to compete in the Tour de France, but here’s an attainable goal for even the most novice of cyclists. According to a National Household Travel Survey, approximately half of all trips we routinely make by car are to destinations within four miles or less. Vow to make many (or even all) of those shorter trips by bike — and watch your wallet expand and your waistline shrink when you leave your car parked in the driveway more often.
3. Pedal more for insurance savings. Putting fewer miles on your car may also save you money on auto insurance. Some auto insurers offer discounts if you keep your total car miles under 5,000 miles per year. And new “pay per mile” auto policies — your premium is based on how much you drive — could really motivate you to leave the car parked in the garage and take your bike instead.
4. My gym membership has two wheels. The average gym membership runs $40 to $50 a month. So it’s not a budget buster, and it may be worth the cost — if you actually use it. But 67 percent of gym memberships go unused, according to StatisticBrain.com. For less than the annual cost of a membership, you can buy a decent new bicycle that will last for many years and save you money every time you use it (instead of driving your car).