During this pandemic and just like many other households, my family caught the cycling bug. Since cycling is an outdoor activity, we saw it as a very safe way to beat cabin fever. While doing my monthly budgeting, I realised that what started out as a fun activity for the family has also led to a fall in our transport expenditure. I did a quick calculation and this is how much my family saves in transport costs from cycling in a year.
Cost of 2 Bicycles
Before we get to the savings in transportation fees, we have to first account for the cost of the bicycles. After a month-long wait as a result of insatiable demand and restricted supply, I finally got a precious slot to purchase the bicycles from the Decathlon online store. We bought 2 bicycles and fitted one with a child seat so that Olympia can come along for our joyrides.
The one-off cost (not including any maintenance/servicing fees) amounted to $1,060 as shown in Diagram 2.
It is certainly no chump change, but we are in it for the long haul. Let’s see how long it would take us to “break-even” on this expenditure.
Bike commuting instead of car rides
Contrary to popular belief, it is actually possible to survive without a car for a household with child(ren). My family depends on public transport and private hire cars to get our way around the island. With bicycles in tow now, we have actually replaced some of the car rides with long bicycle rides.
For instance, we often explore popular playgrounds such as Jubilee Park@Fort Canning and Coastal Playgrove at East Coast Park during the weekends. Occasionally, Olympia also attends some recreational activities at The ArtGround located in Goodman Arts Centre. Instead of taking a private hire car, we now cycle to these places which takes no more than an hour each way. Sometimes, Olympia may even doze off when we ride back home after lunch, much to the bemusement of passers-by!
Back to the math, assuming that a round-trip car ride costs $30 and that we do this twice a month, the savings amount to $30 * 2 *12 = $720.
Bike commuting instead of public transport
We have also replaced some of the bus/mrt rides by cycling directly to our destinations. For instance, Heartland Girl attends gym class which is a MRT stop away. Instead of taking the train, she now cycles to and fro when the weather permits. With our bicycles, we are now also able to explore more food options located in the hipster enclave of Jalan Besar that’s about 20 mins away by foot.
Surprisingly, we have not cycled to work yet. It is certainly do-able as our offices are only a 40-minute bicycle ride away. Just need to manage the logistics of packing our work attire beforehand. Perhaps, the motivation may kick in when the work from home routine ends.
Anyway, assuming that a round-trip bus/mrt ride costs $2 and that we do this 15X a month, the savings amount to $2 X 15 X 12 = $360.
There are other indirect savings that are more difficult to quantify. Ever since my gym membership expired during the pandemic, I have not renewed it. I continue to work out regularly by exercising around my neighbourhood. Do you know that cycling is a good cardiovascular workout that burns at least 500 calories per hour? By keeping fit, I should also be able to spend less on healthcare expenses as well. However, this is a figure that is more difficult to estimate.
I have also joined my neighbourhood’s cycling interest group and made more friends as a result. They often share good cycling tips and scenic routes. Diagram 4 is definitely one of the most scenic sunset routes which allows the cyclist to take in the full glory of the National Stadium and Singapore’s Marina Bay.
Riding in the night after a work is also a good way to de-stress, which also have a positive impact on our overall mental well-being.
The direct savings attributable to cycling is approximately $1,080/year on our family’s transport expenditure. Coincidentally, this is also similar to the costs that we have invested in to purchase these 2 bicycles. Having done the rough calculations now, we will be celebrating the 1-year mark next year knowing that we have broken even on our initial cost of investment. Even if doesn’t happen by then, we already have many priceless memories of our family cycling together during the weekends.