Ever wondered what it would be like to own just a bike, and rely on it as your only form of transportation? In many parts of the world, that’s just the normal, middle class way of life. Here in the 1st world, most families have at least two cars, maybe even a third “Sunday” car that’s just for fun. Maybe you aren’t there yet, or maybe that quite frankly just doesn’t appeal to you. Living life on two wheels is definitely doable, here are some things to consider:
This is really going to depend on what bike you end up choosing. Smaller displacement bikes are generally cheaper to run all around. Not only do they use less fuel, they are also much easier on tires, brakes, chains, sprockets, and other wear items. Insurance companies typically base your rate based on engine size too, so that’s another plus to owning a smaller bike. While bikes can be quite economical and definitely use less fuel than your average car, by the time you factor in the cost of tires and other wear items – are we really saving much money compared to a car? Well, again, that depends on what car you are replacing or getting rid of. My bike gets approximately double the fuel mileage of my truck, so yeah, it’s cheaper for me to ride to work.
This is a big one. If you only have a bike, having to haul things can get real… tricky. Obviously there are some items that you’ll just need to borrow/rent a truck for – but what about every day items? If you have some good luggage on your bike, you’d be surprised just how much you can carry. My ZRX can fit a gallon of milk under the seat, throw on the saddlebags and I can add eggs, bread, and any other groceries I might want for the week. For a single guy or a couple this can work out just fine. If you are feeding kids though, you’ll probably run out of space pretty quick. I also hit the gym every day, so I bring a backpack with my workout clothes and shoes, a towel, toiletries, etc. If you are going to school you’ll obviously have books, etc to carry, so a good backpack is your friend.
Commuting and Parking
In most cases, riding a bike is significantly less stressful than driving – especially in traffic. In most cities, bikes can use the HOV lane, and many cities provide motorcycle parking in a designated area or parking garage. No more hunting for spots or being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. If you live somewhere that allows lane splitting, this can take a serious bite out of your commute time.
Wearing the right gear is not just a suggestion if you are going to ride year round, it’s just about a necessity. Depending on where you live, you may need two, maybe even three different sets of gear to get you through the different seasons and conditions. If you get soaked in the rain, it’s definitely nice to have a backup jacket you can wear the next day in case your other one hasn’t dried out yet. Obviously a rain suit is a good idea as well. Not only will you be much more comfortable in varying weather conditions if you wear the right gear, you’ll also be protected in case of an accident.
While there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to riding a bike instead of owning a car, I’d only recommend it for those who are absolutely passionate about riding. I’ve known several people who tried it only to burn out on riding completely. If you ever get to the point where it’s no longer fun to throw your leg over your bike, you might want to re-think things. Riding should be enjoyable and fun. Some people find that to be the case no matter what the conditions, while others are more fair weather riders. It’s okay either way, just don’t stop riding!
Check out the full Weekly Ride with Ruben here.