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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Another thread had a very brief discussion of operating cost per mile hidden among a humongous pissing contest over various internal combustion engine vehicles. Without getting into another pissing contest over autos, what is your operating cost per mile for your bicycle and what type is it? How did you come up with the cost per mile? I saw a post saying it was 28 cents per mile but that seems far too high when fuel is not being purchased. I'd like to see details on what it's costing folks to operate various types of bikes.

If you are including the purchase price please include details on that as well to show how it's affected the cost per mile versus direct cost per mile to operate the bike.
 

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I have been riding my bike since I found it on the side of the road nine years ago. I have spent about $140 on parts, $50-60 on lubes and soaps, and maybe $150 on tools.

Non-summer riding I probably do 2-3 miles a day (small town commute). Summer riding I do 30-50 mile rides but they are less frequent, probably comes out to about the same. So maybe 1000 miles a year?

With that rough estimate its about 4 cents per mile so far.

edit: forgot to say what type. Its a schwinn mountain bike from circa 2000. I'm assuming it was originally purchased at Target.
 

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I would say my Cannondale has probably cost about a buck a mile. My newest bike about three dollars per mile ridden so far. The tandem wins at an easy eight dollars per mile.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How are you arriving at that figure as an operating cost per mile? Is that saying that it cost $2293 per mile to operate an Acme model 12 or whatever since it cost $2293 to buy and it's only been ridden one mile so far and then saying it's $229.30 at 10 miles and $22.93 a mile at the 100 mile mark etc.? I realize a bike almost always has to be purchased unless it's a gift or found but since a good bike should have an infinite lifespan if properly cared for that shouldn't affect the cost to operate it although it is a part of the total cost.

Things like tires, chains, lubricants, saddle etc. that eventually wear out and have to be replaced to keep the bike on the road are what I was wondering about. Maybe I should have said direct operating cost per mile.
 

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Why would a person care or worry about something like this? I am enjoying riding my bike and for the few cents it cost to ride one why would I worry.

Not trying to be rude just saying I have more to worry about than how much it cost to ride a bike.
 

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George, I think the point is to show how much you are saving over operating a car for that same distance. If you only rode your bike, this number has a great amount of significance.

LBD, if you just want to calculate the cost of consumables, that makes my figures quite a bit lower. :) Excluding my BMX bikes, the cost to purchase or build some of my recent rides have ranged from $279 to around $8k. Once you get past the purchase price, they are virtually free to operate.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not worried about it at all, just curious, as stated, for the cost differential. My van costs 44cpm (cents per mile) to operate based on 72k miles per year (it's a commercial vehicle). My 3 straight trucks cost 67cpm to operate based on 90k miles per year. I obviously can't use a bicycle in place of a commercial vehicle but am quite interested in operating cpm of any sort of vehicle.

I presumed it would be less than a nickel a mile to operate a bicycle, perhaps even less than a penny a mile, for wear items. I have no way of knowing how many thousand miles a bike can last although I'd think a quality frame would last for several score thousand miles making the purchase/build cost of the bike only a penny or two a mile over it's lifetime. Just a curiosity that I hoped would spark some interesting discussion.
 

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OK now I understand. I guess having a company truck and not being able to use a bike for all the things I would like makes me think different. Only time I get to ride my bike is early in the morning before I go to work so i really never thought about operating cost. Come fall when it cools down around here I will be putting alot more miles on my bike.:thumbsup:
 

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2007 Trek 6500. Original cost of about $600, $100 for disk brakes, $100 for a set of tires. With tubes, tools and other small things it should come to about $925 (IIRC). With about 2500 miles on it I get $0.37 per mile.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Since the 6500 is good for a lot more miles the $600 original cost can't really be divided over the 2500 miles currently on it though can it? What's a reasonable expectation for mileage lifespan of a bike frameset? I realize that unless one anticipates never riding again when their current bike is worn out the replacement cost has to figure in though.

Besides the frame, what's the lifespan of things like the gearsets, chains, brakes, tires, etc.? I presume tires/brakes/chains are the most common wear items people replace. Is that correct? Thanks for the responses so far. It's an interesting discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, anything could be stolen at any time however that doesn't change the operating cost per mile but rather changes the overall ownership cost doesn't it?
 

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After figuring up the cost per mile for my motor vehicle, based on at least 3 web sites with the information and the cost per mile for my bicycle, the differance is $0.34 a mile. I figure when I ride I am saving or making $0.34 a mile for not using my motor vehicle. And I only figure I am making/saving money when I commute or run errands on my bike.

If/when I have to spend money on my bike for tires, tubes, etc. I deduct that amount from the amount I have made/saved so far.

To date I am up to: $169.08 since the beginning of this year. I have had to deduct some for purchases for the bike and have to deduct even more for money spent on the bike for/during RAGBRAI. I have a feeling the amount I have to deduct will either take the amount of profit to a really low amount or give me a negative amount.
 

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My road bike looks about four bucks a mile so far. Trail bike less than buck. Million bucks worth of enjoyment and health.
 
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