Thursday, June 26, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - costs

Initially, I bought a used bicycle at S$50 for short distance cycling between Clementi and NUS. I didn't notice that it had 24" wheels, but I also didn't know the implication of it. Anyway, the bicycle was stolen, or should I say taken away as I vaguely remember that I might have locked it wrongly.

By then, I was cycling to everywhere I go, and realized that I was losing patience waiting for buses for just a couple of minutes. Thus, I immediately advertised on bbs for another bicycle with a budget of $50. After a week there were two offers ... , a racer for $90 and a MTB for $70. Insisting on my budget of $50, I waited for another week, which I regretted, because each week I waited cost me ~$20 on transport then. So I decided to get the 26" Shimano MTB at $70, which had been bought at $400 a few years ago according to the seller. Racer and bikes with narrow wheels are not suitable for normal roads.

However, the bicycle didn't actually cost $70 only. As it hadn't been used for some time, some parts are retiring. First, the tubes and tyres. Next, the pedal axel. Following, the very rusty chain broke off. Over the subsequent months, costs of replacing these parts soon exceeded the original cost of $70. In addition, there were further spending on peripherals such as lights, pump, gloves, etc. However, taking into account the transportation costs that I have saved, there is net saving.

Assuming transportation cost of $20/week, I estimated at $1000/year expenses on transportation. Lets say half is used for replacing wear-out parts, and half for replacing bicycle if stolen, I thought I could afford to lose 5 bicycles per year. That never happens. Thus, I should have saved about $1000 per year over all these years, and is increasing as the public transport fares have been rising while bicycle spare parts have not. A normal 26" MTB tube has been priced at $5 since more than a decade ago.

By the way, I am still riding on the $70 bike regularly. More accurately, only the frame, handle bar, handle bar holder, saddle-bar, left side brake level, gear level and a broken right pedal leg-holder are still intact. All other parts have been replaced: fork, rims, pedals, pedal hand, pedal axel, chain, gear, saddle, brake mechanism, right side brake level and of course those more easily worn out parts such as tubes, tyres, brake/gear cables, brakes and handle cushion. Pardon me as I don't know the proper names for most of these parts.


chuwasg said...

I started to use a foldable bike since 2003. Initially I was not sure it can do the job. So I kept my car for more than half year, mostly just left in the basement car park. I had a fall back plan that just in case the folding bike solution didn't work out and I had to hop back into my car. I did some calculation regarding transport cost. The major expenses was the $2000+ monthly installment for the car. With that money saved, I can buy 2 or three pretty good bikes every month! It's such a no-brainer, I don't count anymore, just enjoy the ride : )

dclh said...

Since I didn't lose that many bikes, I feel more confortable taking cabs than before.

Good for people like you who managed to find it feasible to use bicycle for transportation. On the other hand, if many were to appreciate your calculations, shouldn't they consider moving house?

Typically, there is a price difference between two similar property located near and away from MRT. Buying the cheaper one doesn't mean you spend lesser, but could rather be the opposite. Considers where the money goes: into property or transportation. Into property is more like an investment/saving, while into transportation is an expense.

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