Been cutting down on driving, about to sell my car

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mccurdy m

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Oct 10, 1989, 4:16:56 PM10/10/89
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I've been cutting way back on my driving for several months,
using the transportation modes of walking, biking, and bus to get
around. I've purchased a rear rack and grocery bag size "paniers"
for my bike so I can go grocery shopping via bike. The initial reason
I've done this is to do my part to make our air and atmosphere healthier.

So, I figured that I would be making a sacrifice and didn't
really think about any benefits that would fall my way. But there are
benefits to not driving. Extra exercise (lots of extra exercise), less
isolation (Being out and about more, I come into more face-to-face
contact with people), more reading time (when taking the bus; as someone
once mentioned, driving time is wasted time), more relaxed time (I no
longer have to deal with traffic situations that are often frustrating
and anger-making; I can even nod off a bit on my way home from work), no
chance of being involved in an accident, ( just need to stay on your toes
as a pedestrian), and, if I now go all the way and sell my car, no car
insurance or auto maintenance and repair costs.

I'm young, live in a city (San Diego) with an extensive transpor-
tation system, and am centrally located. I am one of the people that should
not be driving. So, I think I'm going to sell my car. Any words of
encouragement?

Mike McCurdy

--
Mike McCurdy |"Grandma died at 58
(619)284-7781 at home | Her best friend cried 3 hours straight
(619)594-4653 at work | She had eyes like a little girl's
mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu | and by the way, who got the pearls?"

John F. Miller

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Oct 11, 1989, 1:03:42 PM10/11/89
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In article <40...@ucselx.sdsu.edu> mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu (mccurdy m) writes:
> I'm young, live in a city (San Diego) with an extensive transpor-
>tation system, and am centrally located. I am one of the people that should
>not be driving. So, I think I'm going to sell my car. Any words of
>encouragement?

If you need any more encouragement, just think about all the money you'll
be saving on cars, parking, gasoline, repairs, taxes, insurance. Total
up how much a car really costs and then invest the same amount in some
diverse investments. You'll be amazed at how quickly it can add up.

(P.S. I do have a car, unfortunately, but public transportation here
is lacking, and from my house to work is a rather risky bike ride.)

John F. Miller
Department of Pharmacology, UNC-CH School of Medicine
1026A FLOB (231H) CB#7365, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 Tel: (919) 966-6966

Ken Chan

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Oct 11, 1989, 5:04:57 PM10/11/89
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In article <40...@ucselx.sdsu.edu>, mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu (mccurdy m) writes:

> I am one of the people that should
> not be driving. So, I think I'm going to sell my car. Any words of
> encouragement?
>
> Mike McCurdy

You live in the right part of the country to try this as well. Sounds to
me as if you are quite well prepared to live w/o a car, considering that you
say you've pretty much gone without it for a few months now.

I'm glad that you find the public transportation here adequate, I find it
inconvenient at best. I've toyed with the idea of not owning a car, but
the longest I've managed to go without driving mine has only been a week and
half. I'm just not secure enough to go and see a play in my cycling clothes,
or force my friends to drive me everywhere all the time.

If you plan on riding your bike at night make sure you have good lights.
Life on a bike is risky enough even during daylight.

An added bonus: it should be fun to see people's reactions here in
Southern CA when you tell them you don't own a car.

-KennY Chan

o ARPA: chip!kc...@nosc.mil
_ /-_ UUCP: nosc!chip!kchan
(_)>(_) M/A-Com Gov't Sys. 3033 Science Park Rd, San Diego, CA. 92121

anthony.f.furdock

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Oct 11, 1989, 10:35:34 AM10/11/89
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In article <40...@ucselx.sdsu.edu>, mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu (mccurdy m) writes:
>
> I've been cutting way back on my driving for several months,
> using the transportation modes of walking, biking, and bus to get
> around.
> ... and, if I now go all the way and sell my car, no car

> insurance or auto maintenance and repair costs.
>

> not be driving. So, I think I'm going to sell my car. Any words of
> encouragement?
>
> Mike McCurdy
>

You bet!!! I've been thinking of doing this for quite some time,
and for many of the same reasons you give, but I usually wimp
out. You see, I _like_ cars and driving. Commuting by car just
isn't that fun. For now, I've decided that the enjoyment,
speed, and convenience of my car is worth the high cost (yes,
I do understand most of the tolls my driving takes on the
environment and on non-drivers as well as the cost to me). I'm
looking forward to the day, though, that I look my insurance
agent in the eye and say "I won't be needing any car insurance
from now on, thank you". Except for my training, I'm pretty much
a fair-weather cyclist. I have a beat-up commuter bike with
a rack for riding back and forth to work, and a Burley trailer
for hauling essentials (like cases of beer). I could definitely
see myself in the near future using my bike as my sole form of
transportation (I understand the benefits of mass transit, like
busses, but I like the independence of biking and walking).
Also, I haven't convinced myself that riding in for a day at
work, then hustling downtown to go to classes 'till 9:30,
getting home at 10:15, getting up at 5:30 to start all over again
is a necessarily Good Thing(tm). The car takes a big chunk of
time off my traveling. I realize the overall benefits (of
bike commuting) would far outweigh the convenience of the car,
it's just my attitude (laziness, old habits, etc.) that I need
to work on.

So, I repeat - more power to ya! I heartily encourage anyone
who even does PART of their commuting by bike, foot, or mass
transit! (Not to mention this is Clean Air Month).

On the raod again,

Tony


P.S. - We finally got a mountain bike club (or off-road bike
club - there aren't any mountains around here) under
way. The Indy Cyclepaths! Our newsletter is called
The Greatful Tread, and we have offices in with the
Sierra Club! Things are going great so far - we've
had several races, we've gotten lots of trails opened
up, and we're working with the Sierra Club on
conservation issues.





Michael Gemar

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Oct 11, 1989, 11:46:25 PM10/11/89
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In article <40...@ucselx.sdsu.edu> mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu (mccurdy m) writes:

[discussion about seeming convience of doing without a car]

> I'm young, live in a city (San Diego) with an extensive transpor-
>tation system, and am centrally located. I am one of the people that should
>not be driving. So, I think I'm going to sell my car. Any words of
>encouragement?
>
> Mike McCurdy

GO FOR IT!!!!

- michael

brad.l.grande

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Oct 12, 1989, 8:52:09 AM10/12/89
to

By all means, do it! You are lucky to live in an area where you can live
without a car. Here in Illinausea where mass transit is nonexistent unless
you want to get to or from the train station during rush hour, a car is
required. One also needs a car when it is 20 below and the wind is blowing
(that is of course, if you can get it started).

For those of you that feel guilty about owning a car due to the environmental
impact, keep in mind that there is very little additional impact to the
environment when your car is parked in the garage or driveway, and every time
you ride your bike for a utility purpose, your are doing your part to help
the situation, more so than those who don't ride for utility reasons. So
every chance you have to ride, do it!


Brad Grande WB0OYX
Another bike riding, beer brewing, kite flying, amateur radio operator who
still likes CD's.

AT&T Bell Labs
Naperville Ill.
312-979-7853
att!ihlpe!grande

god...@aic.hrl.hac.com

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Oct 12, 1989, 4:10:40 PM10/12/89
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In article <40...@ucselx.sdsu.edu> mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu (mccurdy m) writes:
>
> I've been cutting way back on my driving for several months,
>using the transportation modes of walking, biking, and bus to get
>around. I've purchased a rear rack and grocery bag size "paniers"
>for my bike so I can go grocery shopping via bike. The initial reason
>I've done this is to do my part to make our air and atmosphere healthier.
>
> So, I figured that I would be making a sacrifice and didn't
>really think about any benefits that would fall my way. But there are
>benefits to not driving. Extra exercise (lots of extra exercise), less
>isolation (Being out and about more, I come into more face-to-face
>contact with people), more reading time (when taking the bus; as someone
>once mentioned, driving time is wasted time), more relaxed time (I no
>longer have to deal with traffic situations that are often frustrating
>and anger-making; I can even nod off a bit on my way home from work), no
>chance of being involved in an accident, ( just need to stay on your toes
>as a pedestrian), and, if I now go all the way and sell my car, no car
>insurance or auto maintenance and repair costs.
>
> I'm young, live in a city (San Diego) with an extensive transpor-
>tation system, and am centrally located. I am one of the people that should
>not be driving. So, I think I'm going to sell my car. Any words of
>encouragement?

Yes! Absolutely the best thing to do! I am trying to organize my
life to achieve your situation. Moving from LA is the first step.
Actually, the major reason I want to be able to bike or walk to work,
shops, parks, etc is that I want all the positive benefits you mention.
It's just a much healthier way of life. Currently I spend 40 minutes
walking each morning for exercise, then an hour commuting to and from
work in my car. With suitable design of where I live and work, I hope
to be able to ditch the car and get my exercise and relaxation other
ways. We need more people doing this, and then we will get city designs
that are more amenable to living close to work and traveling on foot and
bike. Cars are absolutely the bane of my life. I can vaguely imagine
that at one point in the distant past they were a liberating experience,
but now they are just another headache, or more likely the major
headache.

I tried taking public transport to work here (Santa Monica <-> Malibu).
It was fine, there is one direct bus which is fast. But I couldn't get
to my lab from the bus stop without walking on some very hairy roads
that lacked sidewalks! Unbelievable. Even now, sidewalks and bike
lanes are not automatically built in to new developments. So I drive my
car on PCH and look forward to moving.

Nigel Goddard

daniel mocsny

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Oct 12, 1989, 10:52:26 PM10/12/89
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In article <55...@hacgate.UUCP>, god...@aic.hrl.hac.com writes:
> I tried taking public transport to work here (Santa Monica <-> Malibu).
> It was fine, there is one direct bus which is fast. But I couldn't get
> to my lab from the bus stop without walking on some very hairy roads
> that lacked sidewalks! Unbelievable. Even now, sidewalks and bike
> lanes are not automatically built in to new developments.

A community without sidewalks cannot call itself in any meaningful
sense "civilized." The loss of sidewalks represents the final death of
humanity, a death without dignity. For the community has so completely
lost touch with its own physical reality that it no longer provides
for that most fundamental physical activity---walking. No longer can
people mingle face-to-face in their own communities; all has been
subordinated to a wasteful lifestyle of apparent speed ("apparent"
because, in the long run, automobiles provide no net gain in speed).

The community without sidewalks imprisons its denizens in fragmented,
compartmentalized lives. No longer do people develop a human-scale
sense of "place," the sensation that only comes from moving at human
speeds under human power. Instead, people move from artificial
environment via artificial environment to artificial environment,
never pausing to experience the intervening spaces...Neighbors become
strangers, spaces become distances, fellow travelers become obstacles,
competitors, fighting for space and the chance to realize the speed
automobility promises everyone while giving to no one.

The suburban community without sidewalks is a land without a soul. A
land where the bond between the land and human hearts has been
finally severed. For only by walking up on the land can people
grasp their place in it, draw their strength from it, and know
its grandeur and vastness.

Dan Mocsny
dmo...@uceng.uc.edu

Jim Barnes

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Oct 13, 1989, 9:04:19 AM10/13/89
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In article <24...@uceng.UC.EDU> dmo...@uceng.UC.EDU (daniel mocsny) writes:
>In article <55...@hacgate.UUCP>, god...@aic.hrl.hac.com writes:
>> I tried taking public transport to work here (Santa Monica <-> Malibu).
>> It was fine, there is one direct bus which is fast. But I couldn't get
>> to my lab from the bus stop without walking on some very hairy roads
>> that lacked sidewalks! Unbelievable. Even now, sidewalks and bike
>> lanes are not automatically built in to new developments.

>A community without sidewalks cannot call itself in any meaningful
>sense "civilized." The loss of sidewalks represents the final death of
>humanity, a death without dignity. For the community has so completely
>lost touch with its own physical reality that it no longer provides
>for that most fundamental physical activity---walking.

<much deleted>

>The suburban community without sidewalks is a land without a soul. A
>land where the bond between the land and human hearts has been
>finally severed. For only by walking up on the land can people
>grasp their place in it, draw their strength from it, and know
>its grandeur and vastness.

Periodically, the subject of sidewalks (or lack thereof) arises in my
town (Hudson New Hampshire). One of the arguments against putting in
sidewalks is that it will further erode the rural character of the town.

Other more mundane arguments are things like who is responsible for
making the sidewalks passable after a snow storm (the town [requires
specialized sidewalk plows, more town personnel, higher taxes] or the
property owner ["I didn't put the sidewalk there, I don't have to shovel
it if I don't want to."]), or who is liable if someone slips and falls
on the sidewalk (the town or the property owner).


----
Jim Barnes (bar...@Xylogics.COM)

Clark Jones

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Oct 11, 1989, 6:46:24 PM10/11/89
to
In article <40...@ucselx.sdsu.edu> mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu (mccurdy m) writes:
>
> I've been cutting way back on my driving for several months,
>using the transportation modes of walking, biking, and bus to get
>around. I've purchased a rear rack and grocery bag size "paniers"
>for my bike so I can go grocery shopping via bike. The initial reason
>I've done this is to do my part to make our air and atmosphere healthier.

[discussion of benefits deleted]

> I'm young, live in a city (San Diego) with an extensive transpor-
>tation system, and am centrally located. I am one of the people that should
>not be driving. So, I think I'm going to sell my car. Any words of
>encouragement?

Yeah, I hope you don't have the bad luck I did when I bought a house within
walking distance of the office about 4 years ago. Six months later,
Schlumberger closed that office and transferred me to one 23 miles away. (We
have since moved an additional 4 miles. :-( )

The city bus "system" here would charge me about $4 a day to spend 4 hours
to make the commute that I can make in my pickup for <$1.50 in about 90 minutes
a day.

Before the days of the commute, I went to the gas station about once a month.
(Due to a bone ailment, I am unable to ride a bicycle, so still had to use
the truck to fetch groceries.)

Note to anybody in Phoenix: If you do the Metrocenter-to-Tempe route (Tempe
during the day) and might be interested in carpooling, please call me at
345-3638 days!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are mine and not those of Schlumberger
because they are NOT covered by the patent agreement!

Hugh LaMaster

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Oct 13, 1989, 7:27:09 PM10/13/89
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In article <24...@uceng.UC.EDU> dmo...@uceng.UC.EDU (daniel mocsny) writes:
>In article <1989Oct11.2...@sj.ate.slb.com>, jones@bach (Clark Jones) writes:
>> The city bus "system" here would charge me about $4 a day to spend 4 hours
>> to make the [ 46 mile ] commute that I can make in my pickup for <$1.50 in
>> about 90 minutes a day.

>This cost figure seems impossibly low. The figures I saw a few years
>ago put the direct cost of driving at something between $0.15 and $0.45
>per mile. Note that fuel cost is only about 10% of the total. The low
>figure was for an old car, fully depreciated and with minimum insurance
>cost.

Recent figures I have seen give $0.20 per mile as the *marginal* cost
(fuel, wear & tear/depreciation, tires, etc.) Insurance is extra, and
it is assumed that you will buy it anyway; likewise, registration.

>Are you leaving out something? Are you really adding up *all* the money
>you spend on your truck in a year and dividing by total mileage to get
>your per mile cost? I have some trouble imagining you could even get
>insured for $1.50 per day.

Typically, people leave out cost of repairs/wearout, tires, &etc., and look
only at gas. They do this on purpose to conceal from themselves the true
cost of driving :-) But, the fact is, people prefer driving when it gets them
there faster.

While I love public transportation that really works, people will never
voluntarily leave their autos for buses traveling on the same roads - the buses
sit there in the same traffic. People value their own time - transportation
studies have even estimated a "population curve" for value placed on
personal time saved. The way you will get people to ride public transportation
is to get them from door to door faster. This can be done, but not with the
usual city bus system.

I am not against buses entirely, however. They can have dedicated space in
cities and electric trolley drive (no diesels, please) and anyway,
they are an effective subsidy to those who need it most- the poor,
developmentally disabled, children, and the elderly.

Hugh LaMaster, m/s 233-9, UUCP ames!lamaster
NASA Ames Research Center ARPA lama...@ames.arc.nasa.gov
Moffett Field, CA 94035
Phone: (415)694-6117

Dick St.Peters

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Oct 13, 1989, 5:29:23 PM10/13/89
to
I'll add my enthusiastic endorsement to cutting down on driving and
bicycling or walking instead. I commute to work by bike most of the
year, switching to walking when the snow comes. Of course, it helps
that my commute is only half an hour ... when I walk. That a bike
path goes past the lab entrance doesn't hurt either.

Walking or biking is a chance to get some fresh air (something we
still have in this neck of the woods), to admire the flowers in the
spring and summer or the leaf colors in the fall, to hear the birds
sing and catch glimpses of assorted wildlife, and of course to get a
little exercise. That bike path goes right into the heart of town,
and my wife and I do most of our errands by bicycle.

We're not quite ready to sell our car yet. There are times, though,
when we use it so little that we have to take it out just to exercise
it, to heat up the oil long enough to evaporate some of the condensed
moisture and to keep the battery charged. However, in the summer we
use it every weekend for a trip to our lakehouse, 60 miles each way.
Since it has averaged over 50 (yep, fifty) miles per gallon since we
bought it last year, we don't feel we're being extravagant.

To tie together a couple of threads of sci.energy: just yesterday
evening, as I approached the lab gate on the way out, I was passed by
an electric car. Hmmm, maybe we *are* being extravagant ...
--
Dick St.Peters, GE Corporate R&D, Schenectady, NY
stpe...@dawn.crd.ge.com uunet!dawn.crd.ge.com!stpeters

daniel mocsny

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Oct 13, 1989, 4:21:50 PM10/13/89
to
In article <1989Oct11.2...@sj.ate.slb.com>, jones@bach (Clark Jones) writes:
> The city bus "system" here would charge me about $4 a day to spend 4 hours
> to make the [ 46 mile ] commute that I can make in my pickup for <$1.50 in
> about 90 minutes a day.

This cost figure seems impossibly low. The figures I saw a few years


ago put the direct cost of driving at something between $0.15 and $0.45
per mile. Note that fuel cost is only about 10% of the total. The low
figure was for an old car, fully depreciated and with minimum insurance

cost. (The external cost to society, depending on how you calculate it,
is probably on the order of the direct per mile cost.)

Are you leaving out something? Are you really adding up *all* the money
you spend on your truck in a year and dividing by total mileage to get
your per mile cost? I have some trouble imagining you could even get
insured for $1.50 per day.

You have my sympathies for the unfortunate nomadic tendencies of your
employer. Does your employer offer part-time telecommuting?

Dan Mocsny
dmo...@uceng.uc.edu

p.s. Would any NET.readers like to have some sort of materials to
support them in proposing a telecommuting program to their management?
I'd like to either obtain or write something outlining the benefits
to employee, the firm, and the environment.

Mark Gardner

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Oct 13, 1989, 4:08:18 PM10/13/89
to
In article <24...@uceng.UC.EDU> dmo...@uceng.UC.EDU (daniel mocsny) writes:
>In article <55...@hacgate.UUCP>, god...@aic.hrl.hac.com writes:
>
>A community without sidewalks cannot call itself in any meaningful
>sense "civilized." The loss of sidewalks represents the final death of
>humanity, a death without dignity. For the community has so completely
>lost touch with its own physical reality that it no longer provides
>for that most fundamental physical activity---walking.
>
Well said, Dan. A fundamental truth, elegantly stated.

In the same vein, there's something I've noticed that seems to happen on
bike tours. You ask a local how far the campground is, and they tell you,
say, five miles. Eight miles down the road, it's getting dark and you're
not there yet. I think it's because they really have no idea
how far three miles is, because they've never walked, ridden, or run
to the campground. Generally, I allow a tolerance of -50%, +100%.
This seems to work. This summer, my wife and I were really bonked
and a guy told us a mile and a half to a restaurant. Sure enough,
it was 2.5 miles.
--
Mark Gardner **
...gatech!dcatla!eqmdg or ** Computers are OK, but I hate software.
dcatla!eq...@gatech.uucp **

Steven H. Izen

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Oct 13, 1989, 3:15:07 PM10/13/89
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In article <11...@cbnewsk.ATT.COM> fur...@cbnewsk.ATT.COM (anthony.f.furdock) writes:
>In article <40...@ucselx.sdsu.edu>, mcc...@ucselx.sdsu.edu (mccurdy m) writes:

>> I've been cutting way back on my driving for several months,
>> using the transportation modes of walking, biking, and bus to get
>> around.

> from now on, thank you". Except for my training, I'm pretty much
> a fair-weather cyclist. I have a beat-up commuter bike with
> a rack for riding back and forth to work, and a Burley trailer
> for hauling essentials (like cases of beer).

I commute to my regular job by bike every day, and have done so for 10 years now.The last 6 years of which have been in Cleveland, where the winter weather can
get somewhat nasty. For many years I had one of those (heavy) metal baskets
attached to the front which allowed me to haul two full bags of groceries
(in paper bags, not plastic). I learned the hard way not to carry eggs on
streets full of potholes. As far as fair-weather cyclists, I call them WWWs:
Warm Weather Wimps. :-). Some people have seriously questioned my sanity for
riding through Cleveland snowstorms. But it's not really that bad.



> So, I repeat - more power to ya! I heartily encourage anyone
> who even does PART of their commuting by bike, foot, or mass
> transit! (Not to mention this is Clean Air Month).

I can't agree more. If there are enough of us out on the roads, eventually
the cars (actually the drivers of the cars) will learn how to drive
properly in the presence of bikes, making the roads safer for all of us.

One of the main reasons I ride to work in the summer (when I have to go
17 miles across town - as opposed to the rest of the year when I have a short
commute) is that it's fun! Instead of wasting 1 hour driving, I spend 2-2.5
hours doing something enjoyable. It makes the commute tolerable.
--
Steve Izen: {sun,uunet}!cwjcc!skybridge!izen386!steve
or steve%izen38...@skybridge.scl.cwru.edu
or iz...@cwru.cwru.edu "My second bike is a car."

Jack Campin

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Oct 14, 1989, 1:44:32 PM10/14/89
to

bar...@Xylogics.COM (Jim Barnes) wrote:

> Other more mundane arguments are things like who is responsible for
> making the sidewalks passable after a snow storm (the town [requires
> specialized sidewalk plows, more town personnel, higher taxes] or the
> property owner ["I didn't put the sidewalk there, I don't have to shovel
> it if I don't want to."]), or who is liable if someone slips and falls
> on the sidewalk (the town or the property owner).

This was one thing that surprised me about Pittsburgh (which does have
sidewalks). People were very willing to shovel them clear, and would often
do their neighbours' bit as well if the neighbour hadn't got round to it.
One kind of instinctive socialism that is entirely lacking here (though the
fact that Pittsburgh is FAR colder and snowier than Scotland probably has
something to do with it - nobody quite expects snow to happen).

The Edinburgh by-laws probably get it as wrong as possible - you aren't
liable if someone slips on an uncleared pavement (what we have instead of
sidewalks :-) in front of your house, but if you've started clearing it
and it's iced up afterwards, you may be. This is what the law says; I
don't know of anyone actually being sued.

I once got stopped by the police in Western Pennsylvania after walking into
a drive-in food place one afternoon (suspicious behaviour, that). I guess
I'd have been shot on sight if I'd done it barefoot, as I sometimes go here
in the summer. It's catching, though; I got stopped walking late at night
in Drymen (a posh commuter village north of Glasgow) a couple of years ago.
--
Jack Campin * Computing Science Department, Glasgow University, 17 Lilybank
Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QQ, SCOTLAND. 041 339 8855 x6045 wk 041 556 1878 ho
INTERNET: jack%cs.glasg...@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk USENET: ja...@glasgow.uucp
JANET: ja...@uk.ac.glasgow.cs PLINGnet: ...mcvax!ukc!cs.glasgow.ac.uk!jack

Dick St.Peters

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Oct 15, 1989, 6:03:12 PM10/15/89
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In article <34...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> iz...@cwru.cwru.edu (Steven H. Izen) writes:
>As far as fair-weather cyclists, I call them WWWs:
>Warm Weather Wimps. :-).

Aw, c'mon Steve. There's a difference between fair-weather cyclists
and WWWs. Fair weather can be cold. I don't ride in the snow, but
I've ridden home under a sky full of stars with the temp in the single
digits.

Steven H. Izen

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Oct 15, 1989, 10:33:09 PM10/15/89
to
In article <32...@crdgw1.crd.ge.com> stpe...@dawn.crd.ge.com (Dick St.Peters) writes:
>In article <34...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> iz...@cwru.cwru.edu (Steven H. Izen) writes:
>>As far as fair-weather cyclists, I call them WWWs:
>>Warm Weather Wimps. :-).
>
>Aw, c'mon Steve. There's a difference between fair-weather cyclists
>and WWWs. Fair weather can be cold. I don't ride in the snow, but
>I've ridden home under a sky full of stars with the temp in the single
>digits.
>--
>Dick St.Peters, GE Corporate R&D, Schenectady, NY

OK, OK. I stand corrected. I misunderstood the term fair-weather.

Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I
did a back of the envelope calculation (so to speak) while on a ride last year.
Apparently, when I was commuting 34 miles per day, my fuel costs were
higher (!!) on days when I rode my bike, as opposed to the (few) days when
I drove. Here's the calculation: To drive 34 miles I used about one gallon of
gas. But to make things more reasonable, say I even used two gallons at
$1/gal. That's $2 in fuel costs to drive. (Hey, I know I'm not throwing in
insurance and allthose other expenses, I'm just arguing fuel costs.) Now, it
takes me about 2 hours to ride that, (actually a hair more, but let's say 2
hours). Assuming something on the order of 500 calories/hour (Somewhat
reasonable, I think) that's 1000 additional calories a day that I need to eat
to maintain my weight, which is fairly constant at 137 lbs. Well, the
watermelon alone that I eat (drink :-) ) when I get home each day costs
at least $.75. I can't imagine that I would spend less than $1.25 a day
additional for food. For example, on days that I ride, I eat 2 bran muffins.
That's $1.10 right there. I think you get the gist of my argument.

Any comments?

Another interesting thing to calculate is the cost per mile for bike
maintenance. Surprisingly, it adds up.

Mark Interrante

unread,
Oct 16, 1989, 11:08:18 AM10/16/89
to
In article <34...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> iz...@cwru.cwru.edu (Steven H. Izen) writes:
>Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I
>did a back of the envelope calculation (so to speak) while on a ride last year.
>Apparently, when I was commuting 34 miles per day, my fuel costs were
>higher (!!) on days when I rode my bike, as opposed to the (few) days when
>I drove. Here's the calculation: To drive 34 miles I used about one gallon of
>gas. But to make things more reasonable, say I even used two gallons at
>$1/gal. That's $2 in fuel costs to drive. (Hey, I know I'm not throwing in
>insurance and allthose other expenses, I'm just arguing fuel costs.) Now, it
>takes me about 2 hours to ride that, (actually a hair more, but let's say 2
>hours). Assuming something on the order of 500 calories/hour (Somewhat
>reasonable, I think) that's 1000 additional calories a day that I need to eat
>to maintain my weight, which is fairly constant at 137 lbs. Well, the
>watermelon alone that I eat (drink :-) ) when I get home each day costs
>at least $.75. I can't imagine that I would spend less than $1.25 a day
>additional for food. For example, on days that I ride, I eat 2 bran muffins.
>That's $1.10 right there. I think you get the gist of my argument.
>
>Any comments?

HI, on my commute last week I was thinking about the same thing. Here
are my calculations:

I simplified the commute to 10miles/day:

Biking:
According to the Bicycling magazine calorie counter spreadsheet I spent
316 extra calories commuting at 17mph. Now one has to determine how
to consume 316 extra calories, I eat 2 extra bowls of Cheeros for
breakfast each day that provides me with almost exactly that number of
calories. My per day costs for cheeros is 2.16/8 + 1.95/7.5 = $0.53.

Driving:
My car gets 24mpg during a commute. Fuel costs are 1.07.
Per day cost for gas is 10/24 * 1.07 = $0.45.


According to another posting, the total automotive costs are supposed
to run from 0.15 -> 0.45 / mile. This would mean that my actual
driving costs are on the order of $1.50 - 4.50 per day.

Ps. It seems that mopeding might be the most cost effective way to commute.
A moped costs only a small percentage more than a good bike (30%),
there is no insurance, and they get 80-100mpg. They might have a
actual cost below that of a bike. Does anyone have information or
experience with them?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Interrante Software Engineering Research Center
m...@beach.cis.ufl.edu CIS Department, University of Florida 32611
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Imagine what it would be like if TV actually were good. It would be the end
of everything we know." Marvin Minsky

Gregorio Cortez

unread,
Oct 15, 1989, 9:31:49 PM10/15/89
to
I haven't driven in 22 months and I love it. I originally dumped my
license because a few tickets drove my insurance above what I could
afford while going to school. I take the bus to school and I coordinate
my shopping with a friend who has a car. College makes it all easier
since we have a ride board in the University Union for sharing trips
up and down the state.

I went skiing last year via the train. I paid a mere $47 to go from
San Luis Obispo to Santa Rosa (round trip) to catch a ride to Tahoe. A
great deal. If I could afford it, I'd give my drivers $2/gallon and
tell them to save the difference for tires.

My career plans are strongly influenced by my interest in maintaining the
life style of a non-driver. I think that I've ruled out LA and San Jose
altogether.

The looks I get when I tell people that I don't have a license, whew!

Gregorio Cortez
gju...@polyslo.calpoly.edu

Peter Tapscott

unread,
Oct 13, 1989, 6:01:09 PM10/13/89
to
In article <24...@uceng.UC.EDU> dmo...@uceng.UC.EDU (daniel mocsny) writes:
>In article <55...@hacgate.UUCP>, god...@aic.hrl.hac.com writes:
>> I tried taking public transport to work here (Santa Monica <-> Malibu).
>> It was fine, there is one direct bus which is fast. But I couldn't get
>> to my lab from the bus stop without walking on some very hairy roads
>> that lacked sidewalks!
>
>A community without sidewalks cannot call itself in any meaningful
>sense "civilized."

Well, around Silicon Valley, a community without sidewalks is called
exclusive. For example, Los Altos has sidewalks, but Los Altos Hills
does not. My guess at housing prices is: Los Altos $300K-800K, Los
Altos Hills $750K-5M.

But not all areas of Los Altos have sidewalks. This makes Los Altos
more desirable than Mountain View, that has lots of sidewalks. Again,
my guesses at house prices are: Los Altos $300K-800K, Mountain View
$180K-$450K.

>The loss of sidewalks represents the final death of
>humanity, a death without dignity. For the community has so completely
>lost touch with its own physical reality that it no longer provides
>for that most fundamental physical activity---walking.

Dan, I really enjoy your prose. But around here, I think the town
planners figure that there are enough cars in Mountain View that
pedestrians need their own space, but it is safe to walk in the
streets in Los Altos Hills.

Of course, they didn't plan on groups of cyclists blasting through
the descents at 40+ MPH.:^) (Silicon Valley folks: try descending
Magdelena from the top. Just keep alert for a close enounter of
the automotive kind.)

>The community without sidewalks imprisons its denizens in fragmented,
>compartmentalized lives.

Well, at least the denizens are imprisoned in one acre minimum lots. :^)

>Instead, people move from artificial
>environment via artificial environment to artificial environment,

At least the second of the three artificial environments was made
by Mersades Benz. :^)

>The suburban community without sidewalks is a land without a soul. A
>land where the bond between the land and human hearts has been
>finally severed. For only by walking up on the land can people
>grasp their place in it, draw their strength from it, and know
>its grandeur and vastness.

Speaking of grandeur and vastness, my favorite "grandeur and vastness"
ride is Skyline between Page Mill and Sky Londa. You are at about 2000'
elevation, and can see the hills rolling to the Pacific about 17 miles to
the west. Frequently there is a mist or fog from the ocean, so as the
hills roll down to the ocean, each is a different color. The view is vast,
and almost completely unspoiled by human progress.

Another great vista can be viewed by climbing West Old La Honda Road from
Highway 84. A couple months ago a small shrub was flowering tiny purple
flowers. The shrubs were nice, but unremarkable when viewed at the edge
of the road. But as you looked to the distant hills, the sun was playing
on the flowers, making the hills appear iridescent.

Oops, I guess I got off the subject. Well, none of the above roads have
sidewalks, and indeed pedestrians are rarely seen.

>Dan Mocsny
>dmo...@uceng.uc.edu

--
|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
| peter@versatc -OR- {ames|apple|leadsv|pyramid|sun}!versatc!peter |
| Peter Tapscott Versatec, Santa Clara, Calif (408)982-4235 |
|----------------------------------------------------------------------|

daniel mocsny

unread,
Oct 16, 1989, 4:45:34 AM10/16/89
to
In article <34...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov>, iz...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov (Steven H. Izen) writes:
> Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I
> did a back of the envelope calculation (so to speak) while on a ride last year.
> Apparently, when I was commuting 34 miles per day, my fuel costs were
> higher (!!) on days when I rode my bike, as opposed to the (few) days when
> I drove.
>
> Any comments?

Most foods are comparatively expensive sources of calories compared to
something concentrated, like straight-run gasoline. For example, fresh
fruits and vegetables are mostly water and usually have little fat (the
most concentrated source of food calories), and they sell at a high
markup (this is why groceries always put the produce section where you
walk in first).

The cheapest sources of food calories are waterless commodities
high in carbohydrates and/or fats. You can buy a five-pound bag of
whole wheat flour for $1.50 or less. The label on the package says
you get 95 kcal/oz., so the 1000 kcal you need to do your commute
will cost roughly twenty cents. You get similar costs for calories
from other bulk commodities, such as beans, rice, vegetable oils,
etc. Of course, these foods require preparation, which adds another
cost. Too bad you can't just choke down 10.5 ounces of flour...

I once read that the cheapest possible way to eat was to visit
a local farmer and buy a bushel of wheat, which the farmers sell
to grain dealers for some ridiculously low price. Then you just
boil the kernels into a gruel and eat it for breakfast. It came
out to seven cents for a huge portion...

Some other things to consider when comparing costs:

1. Most people in the USA eat more than they need to and do not
exercise enough. This partially offsets the cost of needing to
eat more to meet the caloric demands of exercise.

2. Most people probably derive more pleasure from putting food
in their mouths than from putting fuel in a gas tank. For many
people this provides a psychological benefit worth the cost.

3. (Some bad news.) The US agricultural system is very
energy-intensive. It expends more energy in fossil fuels to grow,
process, package, and ship foods than the foods liberate upon
metabolism. Petroleum production and refining, on the other hand, is
comparatively more efficient---the petroleum industry consumes
something like 10--40% of the energy in a barrel of oil to turn it
into the fuels you burn. (Interestingly, as convenient oil deposits
run out, the petroleum industry must work harder, i.e., expend more
energy, to extract the remainder. When the world's oil finally "runs
out," something like half of the original oil will still be in the
ground, but the energy cost of extracting it will be so high that no
net gain is possible.)

So, to be honest in your energy accounting, you need to include
the fossil fuel investment that went into the food you are eating.
This is, of course, not very easy to determine, but one rule of
thumb is that it can't represent more than the selling price of
the food. All things being equal, then, you can probably assume
that fossil fuel costs must represent some fairly constant
fraction of the final selling price. If this is true, then
foods with a high price/calorie ratio are probably more
energy-intensive. So eating lower on the food chain is not
only cheaper, but it probably generates less agricultural
energy demand.

Another interesting point is that the final stages in our
food distribution system---grocery stores, home refrigerators,
and people driving lightly loaded cars to and from the store---
accounts for something like half of the total fossil fuel
investment in food.

Finally, I close by noting that operating an automobile costs
most people more than they realize (or want to realize). The average
US car goes about 10,000 mi/yr at a cost of $0.15--$0.40 /mi.
Thus many motorists spend as much in one year to operate a car
as you would need to buy a pair of quality bicycles, a good
set of tools, and enough clothing and spare parts to operate
them for a decade.

Dan Mocsny
dmo...@uceng.uc.edu

Steve Hammond

unread,
Oct 16, 1989, 2:49:15 PM10/16/89
to
In article <34...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> iz...@cwru.cwru.edu (Steven H. Izen) writes:
>In article <32...@crdgw1.crd.ge.com> stpe...@dawn.crd.ge.com (Dick St.Peters) writes:
>>In article <34...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> iz...@cwru.cwru.edu (Steven H. Izen) writes:
>>>As far as fair-weather cyclists, I call them WWWs:
>>>Warm Weather Wimps. :-).
>>
>>Aw, c'mon Steve. There's a difference between fair-weather cyclists
>>and WWWs. Fair weather can be cold. I don't ride in the snow, but
>>I've ridden home under a sky full of stars with the temp in the single
>>digits.
>>--
>>Dick St.Peters, GE Corporate R&D, Schenectady, NY
>
>Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I
>did a back of the envelope calculation ... <stuff deleted>

>--
>Steve Izen: {sun,uunet}!cwjcc!skybridge!izen386!steve


Well, here's my $.02 worth:
All that you say Steve I. is accurate IF you don't do any other
form of exercise. But, before I started riding my bike to
work every day I would go running or play hoops. I would
eat the bran muffin and drink huge quantities of liquids
anyway. Yes, if you go from couch potato to participant
in athletic activities there is some output cost. On the
other hand, how do you measure the cost of NOT bike commuting
or not doing anything in general? In general I find that
I am more productive at work when I bike in. I have already
gotten my blood flowing and am all set to get into my work.

I generally consider car commuting to be a waste of time.
You sit in the car, fighting traffic, basically doing
nothing productive. At least when I am biking in I am
getting some excercise as well. How do you measure those
costs Steve I?

It is easy for me to commute. I live 6 miles away and it
has only rained once since April or so (on a saturday at that).
So, given those weather stats I won't enter the fray about
fair weather commuters. I do have rain gear and plan on
commuting when the rainy season starts.

Steve H.

--

Steve Hammond * Parallel Systems Division * RIACS * NASA Ames Research Center
phone: (415)694-3962 e-mail:hamm...@riacs.edu

Mitch Collinsworth

unread,
Oct 16, 1989, 5:20:24 PM10/16/89
to
Steven H. Izen writes:
>Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I
>did a back of the envelope calculation (so to speak) while on a ride last year.
>Apparently, when I was commuting 34 miles per day, my fuel costs were
>higher (!!) on days when I rode my bike, as opposed to the (few) days when
>I drove.

>Any comments?

OK, just to make your figures more accurate, you might want to consider
the hidden costs that aren't coming out of your pocket directly.
In the above you're comparing renewable fuel .vs. non-renewable fuel.
Consider the costs to your environment which someone's going to have to
pay sooner or later (i.e. all of us). Which fuel pollutes the atmosphere?
Which fuel contributes more to global warming? Which fuel will continue
to become more and more scarce until eventually it's all used up? Which
vehicle causes more wear and tear to the roads you travel on? Which
vehicle leaves behind more toxic waste (used motor oil) and more pounds
of used tires that have to be disposed of?

America is overflowing with wheat. We (all of us) are paying farmers not
to grow it. If we eat a little more, they'll grow a little more and it'll
still cost the same in the end. If we all use a little more gas, it'll
definitely cost each of us more both now and later.

-Mitch Collinsworth
mi...@squid.graphics.cornell.edu

Clark Jones

unread,
Oct 16, 1989, 6:00:27 PM10/16/89
to
In article <24...@uceng.UC.EDU> dmo...@uceng.UC.EDU (daniel mocsny) writes:
>In article <1989Oct11.2...@sj.ate.slb.com>, jones@bach (Clark Jones) writes:
>> The city bus "system" here would charge me about $4 a day to spend 4 hours
>> to make the [ 46 mile ] commute that I can make in my pickup for <$1.50 in
>> about 90 minutes a day.
>
>This cost figure seems impossibly low.

That is the marginal cost, i.e., I have to keep and insure the truck regardless
of whether I make the commute (unlike that lucky chap in San Diego!). The last
time I bought diesel fuel (last week), it cost me $1.079 per gallon. My truck
gets about 42 MPG (actual measurement over many tankfuls), so this works out
to $1.18 per day. The difference in insurance is probably on the order of
$.40 per day. The majority of maintenance is periodic, and so doesn't come
into the marginal cost (the Phoenix heat is murder on batteries and rubber
products, and is what usually limits life of tires, timing belts, et al
around here). The annual maintenance bill, total, is on the order of $300
for this VW pickup. The "fair market value" is around $600, so there is no
point in talking depreciation. The annual insurance cost is about $400 for
this vehicle. OK, I exaggerated a dime on the marginal cost. Even going
for total cost/trips, we still come to $3.98 per day, vs. $4.00 for the "Great
White Snail", which makes my time worth -$0.008/hour if I were to ride the
bus.

>The figures I saw a few years
>ago put the direct cost of driving at something between $0.15 and $0.45
>per mile. Note that fuel cost is only about 10% of the total. The low
>figure was for an old car, fully depreciated and with minimum insurance
>cost.

Yeah, I make a killing on the rare occasions when I can put "milage" on my
expense report. The numbers I've seen, which were in the same ballpark
as yours, were for cars < 3years old, and were for an "average" car that
got ~= 20 MPG, and which require a LOT more maintenance than the older VW
diesels. Also, they INCLUDE depreciation.

>You have my sympathies for the unfortunate nomadic tendencies of your
>employer. Does your employer offer part-time telecommuting?

Yes, and Schlumberger even reimburses me for the second phone line. But
I can only do this an average of one day a week.

>Dan Mocsny
>dmo...@uceng.uc.edu

Repeat: Anyone who lives in the Metrocenter area of Phoenix, and works in
Tempe (I'm in the ASU Research Park), and would like to carpool (even part
of the distance!) please call me at 345-3638 (W) or 942-1345 (H). BTW, I
am fairly flexible as to hours.

Michael Portuesi

unread,
Oct 16, 1989, 9:19:12 AM10/16/89
to

Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I
did a back of the envelope calculation (so to speak) while on a ride last year.
Apparently, when I was commuting 34 miles per day, my fuel costs were
higher (!!) on days when I rode my bike, as opposed to the (few) days when
I drove.

[...]

(Hey, I know I'm not throwing in
insurance and allthose other expenses, I'm just arguing fuel costs.)

[...]

Any comments?


Yes. "All those other expenses" make a car terribly expensive to own.
They include:

insurance (you got that one)
the cost of the car over a bicycle
financing charges on that car
maintenance charges (oil, air filters, tires, shocks, etc)
repair costs when it inevitably breaks down.


Another interesting thing to calculate is the cost per mile for bike
maintenance. Surprisingly, it adds up.


I suspect that cost per mile for bike maintenance is significantly
less than that for car maintenance. Cars have significantly more
parts than bicycles to break down and replace.

I commute daily from San Francisco to work in Mountain View (about
35-40 miles) via train and public transit. I pay $90/month total for
my transportation expenses. If I owned a car, I would probably be
paying more than that per month for gas alone, not to mention the
other costs. I wouldn't expect owning a bicycle to be nearly as
expensive.

Steve Izen: {sun,uunet}!cwjcc!skybridge!izen386!steve


--M
--
__
\/ Michael Portuesi Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, Inc.
port...@SGI.COM

Steven H. Izen

unread,
Oct 17, 1989, 2:19:51 AM10/17/89
to
In article <17...@hydra.riacs.edu> hamm...@hydra.riacs.edu.UUCP (Steve Hammond) writes:

>Well, here's my $.02 worth:
>All that you say Steve I. is accurate IF you don't do any other
>form of exercise.
[deleted sentence]

>anyway. Yes, if you go from couch potato to participant
>in athletic activities there is some output cost.

Of course I do something I days that I don't ride, but not nearly as much.

>On the other hand, how do you measure the cost of NOT bike commuting
>or not doing anything in general? In general I find that
>I am more productive at work when I bike in. I have already
>gotten my blood flowing and am all set to get into my work.

>I generally consider car commuting to be a waste of time.
>You sit in the car, fighting traffic, basically doing
>nothing productive. At least when I am biking in I am
>getting some excercise as well. How do you measure those
>costs Steve I?

This is exactly what I have been saying to friends and acquaintances all
summer. In fact, I few days ago I posted something isomorphic to your
statement. (Excuse the word isomorphic- I'm a mathematician :-) )

It seems from the tone of your article that you think I advocate driving
as opposed to bicyling as transportation for commuting! Nothing can be
further from the truth. I was just pointing out a computation which I
found somewhat amusing.


--
Steve Izen: {sun,uunet}!cwjcc!skybridge!izen386!steve

Rob Pettengill

unread,
Oct 17, 1989, 3:48:52 PM10/17/89
to
In article <PORTUESI.89...@tweezers.esd.sgi.com> port...@sgi.com (Michael Portuesi) writes:
;
; Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I

; did a back of the envelope calculation (so to speak) while on a ride last year.
; ...

Don't forget that there may be significant hidden cost in your
transportation expenses for public transit. Here in Austin fares only
amount to 10% of operating cost of our transit system. They are
experimenting with not changing a fare - since the cost of collecting
the fare to both the system and users may be greater than it is worth.
Early results show a 40% increase in ridership with no fare.

We cyclists also benefit from roads built with property and gasoline
taxes. Bicycles and motorcycles also have insurance costs direct or
indirect as well.

;rob


--
Robert C. Pettengill, MCC Software Technology Program
P. O. Box 200195, Austin, Texas 78720
ARPA: r...@mcc.com PHONE: (512) 338-3533
UUCP: ..!cs.utexas.edu!milano!rcp

David Chapman

unread,
Oct 17, 1989, 12:23:00 AM10/17/89
to
In article <34...@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> iz...@cwru.cwru.edu (Steven H. Izen) writes:
>Now, as far as hoping to save money by bike commuting, my friend David and I
>did a back of the envelope calculation (so to speak) while on a ride last year.
>Apparently, when I was commuting 34 miles per day, my fuel costs were
>higher (!!) on days when I rode my bike, as opposed to the (few) days when
>I drove.

Riding down the Pacific Coast this summer, talking to someone who was
marveling at how cheap it was, I started to say that it was cheaper to ride
than to drive. Then I started to think about "fuel." It cost me about $50
in gasoline to drive from San Jose to the Canadian border. Adding in
insurance and maintenance (the vehicle is depreciated) doesn't make up for
the food I ate in the four weeks it took to get back, even discounting the
restaurants I ate in.

Kind of a sobering thought. I had to justify my ride as a better way to
spend four weeks rather than being a cheap way to travel.
--
David Chapman

{known world}!decwrl!vlsisj!fndry!davidc
vlsisj!fndry!dav...@decwrl.dec.com

Dave Smith

unread,
Oct 18, 1989, 10:48:26 PM10/18/89
to
In article <15...@vlsisj.VLSI.COM> dav...@vlsisj.UUCP (David Chapman) writes:
>Riding down the Pacific Coast this summer, talking to someone who was
>marveling at how cheap it was, I started to say that it was cheaper to ride
>than to drive. Then I started to think about "fuel." It cost me about $50
>in gasoline to drive from San Jose to the Canadian border. Adding in
>insurance and maintenance (the vehicle is depreciated) doesn't make up for
>the food I ate in the four weeks it took to get back, even discounting the
>restaurants I ate in.

>Kind of a sobering thought. I had to justify my ride as a better way to
>spend four weeks rather than being a cheap way to travel.

But you would have had to eat *something* during those four weeks anyway. A
more accurate cost to attribute to the bike ride would be the *diference*
between the cost of what you ate during the ride and the amount you usually
spend on food in the same period. Anyway, who cares about money when it comes
to deciding between driving and riding?

----------
Dave Smith - Georgia Insitute of Technology, PO Box 33291, Atlanta GA, 30332
uucp: ...!{akgua,allegra,amd,hplabs,ihnp4,seismo,ut-ngp}!gatech!pravda!daves
ARPA: da...@pravda.gatech.edu

David Chapman

unread,
Oct 16, 1989, 11:56:03 PM10/16/89
to
In article <24...@uceng.UC.EDU> dmo...@uceng.UC.EDU (daniel mocsny) writes:
>In article <55...@hacgate.UUCP>, god...@aic.hrl.hac.com writes:
>> ...But I couldn't get

>> to my lab from the bus stop without walking on some very hairy roads
>> that lacked sidewalks! Unbelievable. Even now, sidewalks and bike
>> lanes are not automatically built in to new developments.
>
>A community without sidewalks cannot call itself in any meaningful
>sense "civilized." The loss of sidewalks represents the final death of
>humanity, a death without dignity.

I won't philosophize quite so eloquently as Dan (could I? dunno), but here
in Silicon Valley they're starting to push really heavily for the use of
public transit. (Due to traffic now, soon to be air-pollution related.)
This is of course impossible unless they start putting sidewalks into the
industrial areas. Even the new ones don't have sidewalks.

Some urban planners forgot that sidewalks are necessary for mass transit
(they help keep joggers from getting run over too). Or maybe deep down
inside they're not really serious about getting us Californians out of our
single-occupancy vehicles.

Bicycling would be easier here (nice weather, flat streets) if we didn't have
to ride down the same streets as the cars stuck behind traffic lights. The
fumes get to me. Of course, it's kind of nice going _faster_ than traffic
for once...

Herman Rubin

unread,
Oct 19, 1989, 3:35:14 PM10/19/89
to
In article <19...@gatech.edu>, da...@pravda.gatech.edu (Dave Smith) writes:
> In article <15...@vlsisj.VLSI.COM> dav...@vlsisj.UUCP (David Chapman) writes:
< >Riding down the Pacific Coast this summer, talking to someone who was
< >marveling at how cheap it was, I started to say that it was cheaper to ride
< >than to drive. Then I started to think about "fuel." It cost me about $50
< >in gasoline to drive from San Jose to the Canadian border. Adding in
< >insurance and maintenance (the vehicle is depreciated) doesn't make up for
< >the food I ate in the four weeks it took to get back, even discounting the
< >restaurants I ate in.
>
< >Kind of a sobering thought. I had to justify my ride as a better way to
< >spend four weeks rather than being a cheap way to travel.
>
> But you would have had to eat *something* during those four weeks anyway. A
> more accurate cost to attribute to the bike ride would be the *diference*
> between the cost of what you ate during the ride and the amount you usually
> spend on food in the same period. Anyway, who cares about money when it comes
> to deciding between driving and riding?

This is assuming his time is valueless. Assuming that David's time is only
worth the minimum wage (very unlikely), we find the cost of his riding the
bicycle for those four weeks as well over $500.

This does not mean that one should never use a bicycle instead of a car.
But the cost of time, rather than effort, is becoming the major cost of
labor. More and more people find travel time a waste. I find it difficult
to make anywhere near full use of time on public transportation, and often
essentially nothing can be accomplished. Other than the small amount of
exercise, unless the bicycle enables a far more efficient viewing of the
scenery, etc., it must compete on the basis of time.
--
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN47907
Phone: (317)494-6054
hru...@l.cc.purdue.edu (Internet, bitnet, UUCP)

William Swan

unread,
Oct 19, 1989, 5:07:57 PM10/19/89
to
In article <15...@vlsisj.VLSI.COM> dav...@vlsisj.UUCP (David Chapman) writes:
}Riding down the Pacific Coast this summer [...] It cost me about $50
}in gasoline to drive from San Jose to the Canadian border. Adding in
}insurance and maintenance (the vehicle is depreciated) doesn't make up for
}the food I ate in the four weeks it took to get back, even discounting the
}restaurants I ate in.

Had you driven back instead would you have quit eating for those four weeks?


--
Bill Swan entropy.ms.washington.edu!sigma!bill Send postal address for info:
Innocent but in prison in Washington State for 13.5 years:
Ms. Debbie Runyan: incarcerated 01/1989, scheduled release 07/2002.
In now: 0 years, 8 months, 4 weeks, 1 day.

John K Hayes

unread,
Oct 20, 1989, 10:03:54 AM10/20/89
to
In article <16...@l.cc.purdue.edu> c...@l.cc.purdue.edu (Herman Rubin) writes:
>In article <19...@gatech.edu>, da...@pravda.gatech.edu (Dave Smith) writes:
>> In article <15...@vlsisj.VLSI.COM> dav...@vlsisj.UUCP (David Chapman) writes:
>< >Riding down the Pacific Coast this summer, talking to someone who was
>< >marveling at how cheap it was, I started to say that it was cheaper to ride
>< >than to drive. Then I started to think about "fuel." It cost me about $50
>< >in gasoline to drive from San Jose to the Canadian border. Adding in
>< >insurance and maintenance (the vehicle is depreciated) doesn't make up for
>< >the food I ate in the four weeks it took to get back, even discounting the
>< >restaurants I ate in.
>>
>This is assuming his time is valueless. Assuming that David's time is only
>worth the minimum wage (very unlikely), we find the cost of his riding the
>bicycle for those four weeks as well over $500.
>
>This does not mean that one should never use a bicycle instead of a car.
>But the cost of time, rather than effort, is becoming the major cost of
>labor. More and more people find travel time a waste. I find it difficult
>to make anywhere near full use of time on public transportation, and often
>essentially nothing can be accomplished. Other than the small amount of
>exercise, unless the bicycle enables a far more efficient viewing of the
>scenery, etc., it must compete on the basis of time.

What you're assuming here is that the time spent riding up the coast is
entirely wasted and is something that should be kept to as much of a
minimum as possible. You've even used the word 'labor' here (you must be
some sort of accountant).

What you're missing, I think, is that the ride is a whole bunch of fun -
fun that cannot compare to sitting in a car for 16 hours or so. I don't
think this time spent having fun can be attributed to the cost of the trip.
Unless, you've got the idea that the point of the trip is solely to get from
point A to point B; this is not the case - not to any long-distance bike
rider I've ever heard of. The ride IS the vacation.

--
---{john hayes} Old Dominion University; Norfolk, Virginia USA
internet: ai...@cs.odu.edu
Home: (804) 622-8348 Work: (804) 460-2241 ext 134

<++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++>
Are you a Have or a Have_Not? Because if you're a Have_Not, you've probably
had it; whereas, if you're a Have, you've probably got it and are going to
give it away at some point in the future! --- The Clash
<++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++>

Dennis J. Kosterman

unread,
Oct 20, 1989, 9:16:32 AM10/20/89
to
In article <16...@l.cc.purdue.edu> c...@l.cc.purdue.edu (Herman Rubin) writes:
|
|In article <19...@gatech.edu>, da...@pravda.gatech.edu (Dave Smith) writes:
|>
|> [...discussion about "fuel costs" of driving vs. biking...]
|>
|> ................................. Anyway, who cares about money when it comes

|> to deciding between driving and riding?
|
|This is assuming his time is valueless. Assuming that David's time is only
|worth the minimum wage (very unlikely), we find the cost of his riding the
|bicycle for those four weeks as well over $500.

But time *is* valueless -- or, rather, it has infinite value. My hourly
wage is determined by how much money my employer can make from the work I do
during that time, among other things. It has nothing to do with what my time
is worth, and to try to extrapolate it into non-working hours is ridiculous.
He was, after all, talking about a vacation -- the time is his own. You can't
put a monetary value on it.

|But the cost of time, rather than effort, is becoming the major cost of
|labor. More and more people find travel time a waste.

You're confusing the issue here. First of all, "cost of labor" is
irrelevant -- we're talking about a vacation, remember? There is no "labor".
And the reason people find travel time a waste is because they travel by
car, which *is* basically a waste. When you take a bicycling vacation, the
bicycling *is* the vacation, not just a means of transportation. Riding a
bicycle is fun -- try it sometime.

|...................................................... I find it difficult


|to make anywhere near full use of time on public transportation, and often
|essentially nothing can be accomplished.

...whereas you accomplish all kinds of things in your car, right? If
you're looking to "accomplish" things while traveling, I would think that
public transportation is by far the best alternative. You can at least get
some reading done or something. What else can you do in a car but drive?
Of course, you'll say that you get there faster in a car, and *then*
you can get other things done. But that's not always true, either. In a
big city (Chicago, for example), automobile traffic gets so jammed up that
you can often make *better* time by bike.

|........................................ Other than the small amount of


|exercise, unless the bicycle enables a far more efficient viewing of the
|scenery, etc., it must compete on the basis of time.

"Small" amount of exercise? Have you ever ridden a bike? You can get
as much exercise as you want, depending how fast you go. At a reasonable
pace, it's very good exercise, and at any pace, it's far better for you than
sitting in a car. And yes, it does enable a far more efficient view of the
scenery. The benefits of riding a bike (rather than driving) dwarf any loss
of time, unless you're talking about a long trip, where the destination is
more important than the trip (such as a cross-country vacation). Even then,
public transportation will get you there faster than your car will.

Dennis J. Kosterman
uwvax!astroatc!stubbs

daniel mocsny

unread,
Oct 20, 1989, 2:05:30 AM10/20/89
to
In article <16...@l.cc.purdue.edu>, c...@l.cc.purdue.edu (Herman Rubin) writes:
> This does not mean that one should never use a bicycle instead of a car.
> But the cost of time, rather than effort, is becoming the major cost of
> labor. More and more people find travel time a waste. I find it difficult
> to make anywhere near full use of time on public transportation, and often
> essentially nothing can be accomplished. Other than the small amount of
> exercise, unless the bicycle enables a far more efficient viewing of the
> scenery, etc., it must compete on the basis of time.

Hi Herman! :-)

How much time does the average public-transportation user spend doing
things like:

1. taking trains and/or buses to the repair shop;
2. shopping for train parts and/or maintaining the train;
3. shopping for new trains, insurance, etc.;
4. studying for and being tested to obtain a license for riding on
trains;
5. appearing in court for breaking laws while riding on trains;
6. retrieving a train after it has been towed;
7. talking about their trains to friends/family;
etc.

I see no obvious evidence that mass automobility is saving anyone
travel time. If anything, people are now obliged to spend greater
fractions of their lives traveling than ever. Since the automobile
consumes more material and spatial resources than any other major
transportation system, and human productivity is relatively fixed, the
automobile MUST demand more total time.

Opinions to the contrary probably reflect accounting bias, a
consequence of the important illusion of being in control. I have
discovered this principle while I am riding my bike. For example, if I
have to stop at traffic light and sit there, I feel the light is
unbearably long. If instead I do something illegal like cut through a
parking lot or side street to circumvent the light, the sensation of
activity and motion makes me feel as though I am making time, even
though the illegal move almost always takes longer than waiting for
the light to cycle through. I think a similar principle is at work in
automobile ownership. People don't seem to feel burdened by all the
activities they must do to support their automobiles.

If time was as important as you say, people would insist on living as
close as possible to work, we would have effective mass transit (i.e.,
trains and not so many buses), and the demand for telecommuting and
all forms of tele-transacting would be much higher than it is now. No
existing transportation system can hope to compete with proximity on
any basis--cost, speed, convenience, etc.

The real selling point of automobiles is apparently that they give
people something powerful and dangerous to control. I would prefer to
either persuade people not to require such things, or to provide them
with convincing, but harmless, simulations. The ultimate goal of
economic striving, once one's belly is full, is to gain final control
over the sensory (i.e., information) environment. People want to
exercise detailed control over what they see, hear, and feel. The
automobile partially does this for the consumer at a cost to society
much higher than computers will require within a few decades.

Dan Mocsny
dmo...@uceng.uc.edu

Herman Rubin

unread,
Oct 21, 1989, 11:15:55 AM10/21/89
to

........................

I doubt that I spend more than 10 hrs/yr on all of these for my car (including
getting gas). Raising this to 1 hr/mo, considering that I make more than 15
one-way trips per week, this is less than 1 minute per trip. These are local
trips, which typically run to about 5 to 10 minutes per trip, portal to portal,
and are made at my convenience. I challenge anyone to come up with a public
transportation system which can hope to match this.

Now suppose I want to visit relatives in nearby places, or go to a nearby
university to discuss things with a collaborator which cannot be conveniently
done by phone or e-mail. Nearby means within about 250 miles. I have to be
darn lucky with schedules to beat driving. Intercity trains, planes, and
buses do not generally go where I want to, and even greatly increasing the
frequency would not help much.

......................

> If time was as important as you say, people would insist on living as
> close as possible to work, we would have effective mass transit (i.e.,
> trains and not so many buses), and the demand for telecommuting and
> all forms of tele-transacting would be much higher than it is now. No
> existing transportation system can hope to compete with proximity on
> any basis--cost, speed, convenience, etc.

I am all in favor of increased telecommuting, teletransactions, etc., and
I have so stated in this group. You can see that I live fairly close.
I do not believe that in my 40+ years of teaching that I have had to
spend more than about 15 minutes for a one-way commute, including when
on sabbaticals and leaves. This is portal-to-portal time, not just
travel time. I challenge anyone to come up with a public transportation
system which can hope to match this.

There are those who have posted that they live considerably farther away
due to housing costs and availability, or the problem of both spouses
working not too close together (in our department, we call this the
2-body problem. :-)). Some may want to live in a more rural area. Again,
public transportation does not help that much in those situations. You
still have to get from your home to the bus, train, or subway, and
similarly at the other end.

......................

Jym Dyer

unread,
Oct 23, 1989, 4:49:46 PM10/23/89
to
Until very recently, I've gone a number of months without using a
car. The public transportation around the Bay Area is better
than most, but it could be much better. More importantly, it
accomodates bicycles to some extent.

Unfortunately, I've just had some minor surgery that's going to
keep me off my bike for *gulp!* two months. Aiigh! For now, I'm
somewhat grateful for having a car (though resentful for needing
one). The only reason I---I should say we---have one is that
my girlfriend needs it (or can't imagine life without it).

Of course, if you ever find yourself in need of a car, you could
rent one. I suspect that you'd save more money doing an occa-
sional rental than in keeping a car. I have friends doing this
in Boston, and they're pleased with it.

I say, GO FOR IT! And while you're at it, agitate for better
access to public transportation, bike lanes, etc.
::::.-----.:::::<_Jym_>:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:::/ | \::::.-----.::::::::::::::::::::::::: Jym Dyer ::::::::
::/ | \::/ o o \::::::: j...@anableps.berkeley.com ::::::::
::\ /|\ /::\ \___/ /::::::::: Berserkeley, California ::::::::
:::\ / | \ /::::`-----':::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::`-----':::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Jym Dyer

unread,
Oct 23, 1989, 6:56:09 PM10/23/89
to
(In our last thrilling episode, Steve Izen calculates his commute
costs about one watermelon and two bran muffins if done by bi-
cycle. Mark Interrante uses Cheerios. Both calculate that it's
cheaper to pay for gas.)

Now add in the cost of the car payments, insurance, repairs,
maintenance, parking, storage, and tolls. Watch the price rise!

Longer-term costs include the costs of pollution from drilling for
oil, oil spills, refining oil, and burning oil. The latter, of
course, includes major contributors to the greenhouse effect.

Other long-term costs include the massive waste of land and road
maintenance, though I don't see bicycling to work as a way to
address that problem anytime soon.

Another argument in favor of bicycles are the health benefits.
And the more your health benefits, the less it costs! Also,
if you really want to cheapen your "fuel" costs on the bike,
try drinking water and eating oatmeal.

The (Berkeley, CA) Ecology Center Newsletter of September 1989
(see footnote for subscription information) had a good article
about the costs of various forms of transportation, and I got
most of my information from there.


::::.-----.:::::<_Jym_>:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:::/ | \::::.-----.::::::::::::::::::::::::: Jym Dyer ::::::::
::/ | \::/ o o \::::::: j...@anableps.berkeley.com ::::::::
::\ /|\ /::\ \___/ /::::::::: Berserkeley, California ::::::::
:::\ / | \ /::::`-----':::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::`-----':::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Footnote: One subscribes to the Ecology Center Newsletter by being
a member of the Ecology Center. While their actions are, for the
most part, located in Berkeley, they've often become models and
pilot programs for the rest of the nation.

If you don't live anywhere near the Bay Area, you might enjoy the
newsletter anyhow. It has good feature articles, and a lot of
the activities it reports on in the Bay Area is worth knowing
about all over the place.

Their address is:

Ecology Center
1403 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94702

You can become a "Coyote Bush" member for $20/year ($12 for seniors
and low incomes), a "Clapper Rail" member for $35/year, an "Owl"
member for $75/year, and a "Coast Redwood" for $240/year.

The Ecology Center is a nonprofit organization and I have no formal
relationship with them other than having become a member so as to
receive the newsletter.

Steven H. Izen

unread,
Oct 23, 1989, 11:36:55 PM10/23/89
to
In article <JYM.89Oc...@anableps.berkeley.edu> j...@anableps.berkeley.edu (Jym Dyer) writes:
>(In our last thrilling episode, Steve Izen calculates his commute
> costs about one watermelon and two bran muffins if done by bi-
> cycle. Mark Interrante uses Cheerios. Both calculate that it's
> cheaper to pay for gas.)
>
>Now add in the cost of the car payments, insurance, repairs,
> maintenance, parking, storage, and tolls. Watch the price rise!

To all of you who have been misquoting me, please read my original posting
on the subject. I said *FUEL COSTS* and included a disclaimer to the effect
that I knew that I was omitting insurance and all the other costs of driving
that many of you correctly pointed out. I was only talking fuel. Of course,
there are health benefits, productivity benefits, environmental benefits, etc.
to riding. That's why I commute by bike.

So please, if you must quote me, please be sure that you read carefully.

Also Jym, I never said a ate about one watermelon, just some watermelon. While
I may have a big appetite, even my stomach is not that big. :-)

Donald A. Varvel

unread,
Oct 24, 1989, 11:43:44 AM10/24/89
to
Just adding in my alleged thoughts on the subject of the costs of
bicycling:

1) In many places it is perfectly possible to use a bicycle for one's
only private means of transportation, and do it rather cheaply.
You use a practically indestructable 1-speed bomber with a basket
and arrange to live close to the places you want to go. You don't
play string bass, and get a small case for your violin. Better
yet, take up tinwhistle. That is, you need to arrange your life
to fit the bicycle.

2) Bicycle commuting over any substantial distance on nice equipment
is not terribly cheap, especially if you figure in the value of the
time spent. My own suspicion is that it is a bit cheaper than
driving even if you have a car, and it must be quite a bit cheaper
than driving if you don't already have a car. That is, the costs
of having a car that you don't drive (for a particular purpose)
are substantial. If bicycle commuting allows you to save those
costs it will come out quite a lot cheaper than driving.

3) I wouldn't want to be without a car. I don't play string bass,
but I play viola and mandolin often at the same session. I like
to visit my son at the University of Houston on occasion, and it
is awfully convenient to do the whole trip in one vehicle. It
might be faster to fly and rent a car, but now we're talking costs
(and/or substantial planning ahead) and I don't think I'm ready
for bicycle transportation in Houston. Then there's the matter
of parties on the far sides of Austin. At night, over distances
of 10-20 miles, I would really rather drive.

4) I bicycle commute anyway, on expensive equipment, even though there's
bus service practically from my door. It takes a little longer
(but not much), BUT I NEED THE EXERCISE. Because I need to spend
that time exercising, I _gain_ the time I would have spent on the
bus rather than _losing_ the additional time riding takes. I know
this isn't high-quality training that will prepare me for the
olympics (that and the fountain of youth), but it's better than
sitting (or even standing) on a bus. And it's fun. This is
REC.bicycles, after all. Recreation.

Keep pedalling, and have fun.

-- Don Varvel (var...@cs.utexas.edu)

Jym Dyer

unread,
Oct 25, 1989, 7:39:14 PM10/25/89
to
Aiigh! I post some information, credit the facts and figures to
the Ecology Center Newsletter, even give information on how to
subscribe to said newsletter, and now I see that that paragraph
with all the facts and figures are missing! Musta done some
fumble figures there.

At any rate, here's the relevant data: "The Motor Vehicle Manu-
facturers Association has figured that the average operating cost
of a medium-sized car in 1988 works out to 33.4 cents per mile
. . . . Using the average of 1.3 passengers per car this comes
out to 25.6 cents per passenger mile . . ."

In discussing bicycles, it is noted that bicycle roads cost 8% of
what automobile roads do. The author estimates her bike costs at
3.5 cents per mile, but doesn't explain how the estimate was
reached.


::::.-----.:::::<_Jym_>:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:::/ | \::::.-----.::::::::::::::::::::::::: Jym Dyer ::::::::
::/ | \::/ o o \::::::: j...@anableps.berkeley.com ::::::::
::\ /|\ /::\ \___/ /::::::::: Berserkeley, California ::::::::
:::\ / | \ /::::`-----':::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
::::`-----':::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

(Aside to Steve Izen: I didn't intend to misquote you (mispara-
phrase, actually). You were discussing fuel costs only, and I
was trying to enumerate the other costs. I didn't mean this to
imply that you were quoting fuel costs as the only costs.)

Ricardo

unread,
Oct 26, 1989, 1:32:51 PM10/26/89
to
In article <15...@vlsisj.VLSI.COM> dav...@vlsisj.UUCP (David Chapman) writes:
}Riding down the Pacific Coast this summer [...] It cost me about $50
}in gasoline to drive from San Jose to the Canadian border. Adding in
}insurance and maintenance (the vehicle is depreciated) doesn't make up for
}the food I ate in the four weeks it took to get back, even discounting the
}restaurants I ate in.

I know several people who would pay anything to ride a bicycle. Unfortunately
they are not able bodied and cannot. This discussion is both petty and
insulting to them. I ride year around, even way up here, and thank God for it.
--
Richard Melville Dataspan Technology Inc. Ph:(403) 237-9313
400-540 5th Av SW
Calgary Alberta Canada T2P 0M2
Until next time, America...

daniel mocsny

unread,
Oct 26, 1989, 2:48:17 PM10/26/89
to
In article <JYM.89Oc...@anableps.berkeley.edu>, j...@anableps.berkeley.edu (Jym Dyer) writes:
> The author estimates her bike costs at
> 3.5 cents per mile, but doesn't explain how the estimate was
> reached.

She sure didn't reach it on an expensive bike. Spend $2000 on a
high-end racing bike, ride it 20,000 miles, and that's $0.10/mi
in investment cost alone, neglecting the time value of money. You can
probably get more miles than that out of a frame and most components,
but you will have gone through 10--20 tires at $10--50 a pop, 5--10
tubes at $3 (assuming you are riding clinchers, in which case you take
the lower price range on tires), perhaps 4 chains at $5--10, several
pairs of shorts at $20--50+ (the more expensive brands, e.g., Assos,
last longer), a pair of shoes ($30--100+), possibly a pair of rims,
depending on rider skill, rider weight, and road quality ($50+, plus
replacement spokes), and miscellaneous lubricants. Other clothing
items are extra, especially cold-weather gear, but much of this
is also useful off the bike, and you have to wear clothes anyway no
matter what you do.

I don't charge for extra food, because I enjoy eating so much. If I
didn't ride a bike, I would probably be slightly, and spending much
more on entertainment than I do now, to make up for the loss of
psychological benefit from eating.

The difference in costs between low-end bikes and high-end bikes is
more than a factor of 10. If saving money was the ultimate goal,
you could buy a used bike for $50 and ride in your usual street
clothes. Another $100 for tools and spare parts, and you'd be set
for a few years. However, cheap bikes are so much less comfortable
and efficient than expensive bikes that hardly anyone puts significant
miles on a cheap bike. So while the per-mile cost of a cheap bike
is much lower than an expensive bike, it usually won't be lower in
proportion to its capital cost.

However, we don't ride bikes just to avoid spending money. We ride
bikes because they give us what we consider acceptable value for the
money. I don't view my bikes as just a way to get around---they are
much too exciting for that.

Besides, if all we cared about was saving money, we would do things
like grind up all the old people for fertilizer. Even if riding bikes
was more expensive than driving cars, I would still ride bikes
whenever possible, because I don't consider unnecessary violence to be
a worthwhile way to save money.

> (Aside to Steve Izen: I didn't intend to misquote you (mispara-
> phrase, actually). You were discussing fuel costs only, and I
> was trying to enumerate the other costs. I didn't mean this to
> imply that you were quoting fuel costs as the only costs.)

Ah, but this is an important principle. Fuel costs amount to only
10% or so of the total direct cost of driving (never mind the
indirect costs to society), but consumers appear to be more sensitive
to the cost of fuel than to any other cost of driving. If the
price of fuel doubled, the total cost of driving would go up only
slightly, and yet we would expect to see significant behavioral
and technological adaptation to higher fuel prices.

Thus we would be much better off if we marginalized the cost of
driving to the maximum practical extent. For example, instead of
charging motorists some flat annual fee for insurance, we would
be better off charging them at some per-mile rate, assuming this
were possible at some reasonable administrative overhead.

Similarly, the public subsidies for uninsured auto-accident victims,
private subsidies for free parking, loss of social utility due to
traffic jams, environmental destruction, etc., should all be billed to
motorists at the margin. The simplest way to do this would be to
increase the gasoline tax.

Dan Mocsny
dmo...@uceng.uc.edu

h.a.schessler

unread,
Oct 26, 1989, 1:51:09 PM10/26/89
to
> higher (!!) on days when I rode my bike, as opposed to the (few) days when
> I drove. Here's the calculation: To drive 34 miles I used about one gallon of
> gas. But to make things more reasonable, say I even used two gallons at $1/gal.
> -- (followed by a humorous justification for using a car, ....
> Steve Izen

This may be off the point of this exchange but thought I'd jump in here.
Lately I've been hearing over public
radio & reading elsewhere about various people making beginning attempts at building
external costs into their own economic world. Take petroleum: I believe that the fellow
I listened to was saying that the price should be 2 to 3 times the current cost
when the human health costs, cleanup/prevention of air water land pollution are
considered (which this (& other) society(ies) of course don't. I hope that the world
particularly the US is not too many years from instituting such a price structure.

An alternative society newsletter I read last evening explained a "green tax"
concept that a few? businesses have begun on a voluntary basis with their customers.
The way it works is that a business lets say that sells books will charge a
certain competitive amount for an item. They suggest a 9% surcharge be sent along
to cover the environmental costs. The will donate 50% directly to various
environmental advocacy groups and 50% to fund environmental education programs.
The article mentioned a group of cooperative businesses in New York state that
are Pioneering? this. Sounds like a great idea to me although I can't imagine
such a program working for the overall greedy, self-centered populous.

Harold

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