The cost of using a bike

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The cost of using a bike: calculating the cost of using a bike

I tried to get an idea of ​​the cost of the bike, for comparison with the cost of the car.

Initial investment cost

If you have expensive tastes, you can probably buy a bike that costs several thousand euros, which you can add a great counter / heart rate / altimeter / GPS ... For my part, my bike cost 150 euros, which must be added:

- Headphones: 30 euros
- 3 tire levers: 1,5 euros
- An air chamber spare: 3 euros
- A mini pump: 12 euros
- A bag to put it all: 7 euros
- Waterproof: 40 euros

A total of about 250 euros, with whom I intend to 10000 km, € 0,03 / km.

Of course, you can have different needs (transportation of children for example), which can lead to a slightly higher cost.

Bike maintenance!

I admit to not having yet myself a good estimate of cost of maintenance of a bicycle. On 30000 km, experience price maintenance (performed in the cycle shops), and arrives at a sum of about € 0,04 / km.

"Biological" energy cost

Yes, as for the car, it takes energy to move the bike, and the cost thereof is not zero:

it is estimated that provide about 150 W to ride quietly on the flat. With muscular performance 25%, this requires a consumption of about 600 W (the rest is lost as heat: the rider heats up).

A 20 km / h, must 3 minutes to make a kilometer: thus energy consumption is 110000 Joules / km, or 26 kcal.

Chocolate provides about 550 100 kcal g, so you need to consume chocolate 5 grams / km. A 8 € / kg, it will cost about € 0,04 / km.

It is surely better to eat pasta, which provide 350 kcal / 100 g (dry pasta). Then you have to consume 7.5 grams / km. A 2 euros per kg, it will cost about € 0,015 / km. (Excluding cooking)

Cost of the shower ... (but we must shower even if we do not ride a bike !!)

For higher in 10 km distances, or in hot weather, cycling will be an additional cost compared with the car: it is the cost of cleaning the radiator that is the cyclist is to say, the cost of additional showers.

A shower 50 liters costs:

- Water 3 euros / m3 or 15 cents
- Heating the water to about 10 50 degrees or MJ 8.4 or 2.3 kWh. A 8c / kWh, it makes cents 18

A total of 33 cents for at least 10 km, 3 c / km

Total cost of use per km of bike

We thus obtain a total cost of bicycle use 0,12 € / km.

Econology note: the c) and d) seem unfair, indeed, have to eat and wash us to do a bike or not. As against the regulars gyms (usually quite expensive) it is obviously better to take their bike instead of the car + gym. The savings would be very high. Obviously the gym is primarily a meeting place ... this is pretty hard to compensate by bicycle trip.

The actual cost, we believe, would therefore be rather around the 0,05 € / km and much less by using a used bike.

Conclusion: comparative bike / car / motorcycle

A kilometer bike, it is therefore a "virtual" gain (in other words an economy) of 0.15 €, this taking an average motorized vehicle cost of 0.2 € / km (low assumption in 2018!)

And so eventually, the more you do kilometer bike (especially in cities), more you save money around 0,15 € / km. This is far from negligible for someone who uses his car to do a few km to go to work!

Thus, a focus of 2 people working and realizing 20 km per day (5 km per journey means which is very reasonable and does not require special physical conditions) will save 63 € per month ... not to mention the social cost of pollution avoided , the cost of your insurance or any additional costs related to the use of a motor vehicle (breakdown, accident ...)

Go further:


- Calculate the cost of using a car or motorcycle
- Use the Ledconsumption software from calculate the actual cost per kilometer of your vehicle to make a very accurate estimate of your costs!


3 comments on "The cost of using a bike"

  1. The calculation is interesting. Personally, when I count what my bike really costs me, the user cost I get is close to 15 cents / km. Indeed, it is necessary to count with the wear of the bicycle, the cost of the tires, the transmission and the wear of the bicycle clothes (the over-shoes and jackets of rain do not hold much more than one season. this cost to the cost of use of a car is abusive: when one already owns a car, the economy made using his bike is the marginal cost (the gas that we do not consume ...) and therefore rather 10 to 15 cents / km Conclusion: going to work by bike costs me more than taking my car !!!! But the gain that brings me the use of the bike is different: the pleasure of making an effort, to communicate with nature is not a question of price.

      1. I agree, the cost of a car is not limited to gasoline, however, on the assumption that I already have the car and where I leave it to the garage to go to work, the economy achieved is close to the marginal cost of use of the car (ie gasoline) because the mileage done by bicycle (about 4000 km / year for commuting) is low.
        I am very wary of calculators and I prefer to do my own accounts.

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