How much could you save by cycling to work?
Published 12 June 2019
Cycling is the cheapest way to travel besides walking. Find out just how much you could save if you make the switch.
2019 hasn’t been great for drivers so far. Car tax on most vehicles increased in April, and a month later fuel prices went up for the 4th month running. To add to that, drivers now have to pay £12.50 a day to drive in the central London Ultra Low Emissions Zone.
But swap four wheels for two and those costs disappear. Besides walking, cycling is the cheapest way to get around.
To celebrate Bike Week 2019, we’ve looked at the benefits of cycling and how much you could save commuting by bike.
What are the benefits of cycling to work?
Use less fuel
Filling your tank in May 2019 would have cost £71.81 on average. With a bike, the only fuel you’ll be needing is water to keep you hydrated.
Bikes don’t run on petrol or diesel, so any money you had to budget for before to fill up your tank goes back into your pocket.
Not only is cycling good for you to save pennies, it’s also good for the planet. Because you’re not using fuel, you’re doing your bit for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
Most replacement parts for a bike cost less than £20, and servicing can range from £30 up to around £110. The average cost of a basic car service is £125, so you’re already saving at least £15.
Your bike will probably age a bit better than your car will too. As long as it’s looked after and given a bit of TLC from time to time, your bike could last well over 30 years. That’s about 3 times as long as the average car lasts.
No insurance needed
Average car insurance prices have fallen so far in 2019, but a year’s cover is still likely to set you back £468.
Switch to cycling and that cost vanishes, and you could still save if you use a bike during the week and a car at weekends. The fewer miles you drive a year, the cheaper your insurance quote will be.
Before you insure your bike, check with your provider to see if it's already covered. Some contents insurance policies include bikes as standard, so you might already be insured if it’s stolen or damaged while you’re at home.
It’s good for you
One of the benefits of cycling is that there are no hidden costs, and you can get rid of that pricey gym membership.
Cycling is a great way to keep your heart healthy, and studies have shown that it reduces the risk of cancer by 45%. Introducing the health benefits of cycling into your daily routine is also a great way to improve your general fitness.
Accessories aren't too pricey
Lycra and special shoes aren’t essential bits of kit. On British roads by law all you need to have is a set of front and rear lights, brakes and reflectors on your bike.
Although there’s no law that says you have to wear a helmet, it’s definitely worth having one in case of any bumps. You can pick one up for as little as £8.
Aside from that, we’d recommend getting a reflective jacket or high-vis vest to help you get seen. The cheapest price we spotted for a high-vis vest was £1.19.
Lower upfront cost
Buying a car upfront could be into the tens of thousands of pounds – all that money just to get from A to B!
Older second hand cars are much cheaper than buying brand new. The issue with used cars is the higher maintenance costs. You might find yourself shelling out for lots of expensive replacement parts.
Even if you buy your car on finance, the payments could be a couple of hundred pounds per month.
The average cost of a bike is £480, but this all depends on what you’re after. New bikes start from around £100, but you might find you can pick up something even cheaper second hand.
Ask around at your place of work to see if there’s a cycle to work scheme in place. These kind of programmes can help you to save a bit of money when you buy your bike and accessories.
With cars there are a lot of expenses that are easy to forget about. You won’t forget about buying petrol or making sure you’ve got car insurance, but what about the cost of parking?
If you need to park for a full day, leaving your car in an NCP car park will cost you £20. Park and ride tickets will set you back £3 a day, but over the course of the year that’s a painful £720 for a 48 week year. Enough for a cheeky holiday!
Driving around London also means that you have to pay the congestion charge, which over a year is just shy of an extra £3000.
It’s easy to forget about the interest you’re paying if you’ve bought your car on finance. This can add hundreds of pounds to what you pay towards your car. If you’ve purchased it on a PCP agreement, the car won’t even belong to you when the contract’s up without paying a lump sum.
However you choose to get around, a thinkmoney Current Account can help
Help to budget for your travel expenses, whether that’s to pay for train tickets, petrol or a new bike. A thinkmoney Current Account makes sure you won’t be caught short.
We keep the money you need for bills to one side, so they’re always paid on time. The rest of the cash available is yours to spend on whatever you like. We’re thinking some handlebar tassels and a flowery basket!