Cycling has long been a popular mode of transportation for people around the world. Not only is cycling a fun and healthy way to get around, but it can also be a more cost-effective alternative to driving or taking public transportation. In this article, we will explore the economics of cycling and provide tips on how to save money while getting around
The cost of driving in the UK
One of the biggest expenses associated with driving in the UK is the cost of fuel. According to the UK government, the average price of petrol in the UK in February 2022 was 143.7 pence per liter, and the average price of diesel was 147.5 pence per liter. The cost of fuel can add up quickly, especially for those who have long commutes or drive frequently.
In addition to the cost of fuel, drivers also have to consider the cost of car maintenance and repairs. According to a study by Kwik Fit, the average cost of car maintenance and repairs in the UK is £205 per year. Regular maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations, can add up over time. And unexpected repairs, such as a blown tire or a broken radiator, can be costly and unpredictable.
Other expenses associated with driving include car insurance, vehicle tax, and parking fees. The cost of car insurance can vary depending on factors such as age, driving record, and the make and model of the car. According to the Association of British Insurers, the average cost of car insurance in the UK in 2021 was £453 per year. Vehicle tax is based on the emissions of the car and can range from £0 for electric vehicles (increasing soon) to over £2,000 for high-emission vehicles. Parking fees can also add up quickly, especially in cities where parking spaces are limited.
The cost of public transportation in the UK
Public transportation can also be expensive in the UK, especially in major cities. According to Transport for London, a single journey on the London Underground can cost between £2.40 and £6.00, depending on the zone and time of day. A single bus journey in London costs £1.55 with an Oyster or contactless payment, and £2.50 with cash. In other UK cities, a single bus journey can cost between £1.00 and £3.00, depending on the city and the operator.
Other expenses associated with public transportation include season tickets, which can be cost-effective for those who use public transportation frequently. According to a study by the Campaign for Better Transport, the average cost of an annual season ticket in the UK increased by 3.3% in 2021, to £3,106.
The cost of cycling in the UK
Cycling can be a much more cost-effective alternative to driving or taking public transportation in the UK. The cost of a bike can vary depending on the make and model, but a decent quality bike can be purchased for as little as £200. Maintenance costs for a bike are also relatively low, with regular maintenance costing around £60-£100 per year.
Other expenses associated with cycling include the cost of accessories, such as a helmet, lights, and a lock. These accessories can cost anywhere from £50 to £200, depending on the quality and type of accessories.
In addition to the cost savings associated with cycling, there are also health benefits to cycling. Regular cycling can improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall well-being.
Tips for saving money while cycling -
Cycle to work
One of the best ways to save money while cycling is to cycle to work. Not only will you save money on fuel, car maintenance, and parking fees, but you may also be eligible for a Cycle to Work scheme. This scheme allows employees to purchase a bike and accessories tax-free through their employer, making it an even more cost-effective option.
Plan your route
Planning your route before cycling can help you save time and money. Using a cycling route planner, such as CycleStreets or Google Maps, can help you find the most direct and safest route to your destination. This can help you avoid unnecessary detours and hills, which can save you time and energy.
Buying a second-hand bike can be a great way to save money. Websites such as Gumtree and eBay often have a wide selection of used bikes available at a fraction of the cost of a new bike. Just be sure to check the condition of the bike and ensure it is roadworthy before purchasing.
Use cycle schemes
There are various cycle schemes available in the UK that can help you save money on cycling gear and accessories. For example, the Cycle2Work scheme allows employees to purchase a bike and accessories tax-free through their employer, while the Big Bike Revival scheme provides free bike repairs and cycling lessons.
Join a cycling club
Joining a cycling club can help you save money on cycling gear and accessories. Many cycling clubs offer discounts on cycling gear and accessories for members, as well as group discounts on bike repairs and maintenance.
Take care of your bike
Taking care of your bike can help you save money in the long run. Regular maintenance, such as oiling the chain and checking the brakes, can prevent costly repairs down the line. It is also important to store your bike in a dry and secure location to prevent theft and damage.
Cycle instead of driving or taking public transportation
Cycling instead of driving or taking public transportation can help you save money on fuel, car maintenance, and public transportation fees. It can also be a more convenient and enjoyable way to travel, especially in busy urban areas where traffic and public transportation can be congested.
In conclusion, cycling can be a cost-effective and healthy way to get around in the UK. With the high cost of driving and public transportation, cycling can provide a much-needed alternative for those looking to save money on transportation costs. By following the tips above, you can save money while cycling and enjoy the many benefits that cycling has to offer.