Your Car is an Expensive, Health-Sucking, Time-Wasting Machine. So, Ditch It!

by | BiggerPockets.com

Did you know that the average American spends approximately 16% of their income on transportation? Behind housing (33%), this is the second largest expense for Americans. Why is this so high? Unfortunately, I do not have that answer. Why should it be much lower? I do have that answer.

Your car sucks! That’s right. On top of being the most inefficient means of transportation, it also sucks your health, your money, and even your time. That last sentence may have stirred the pot, but before hippidy hooplahing me and x-ing out of this article, hear me out.

Over the next ~1,500 words, I am going to clearly explain why your car sucks—and why, if use it to commute to work, it should be your very last choice.

Let’s dive in.

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Efficiency

The average car weighs ~4,000 lbs. The average American weighs about 175 lbs. We’ll say that a person carries an additional 100 lbs’ worth of things in their car, so the car’s total load is 275 lbs. The efficiency ratio for a car is 4,000 lbs/275 lbs = 14.5. In other words, for every pound of weight the car can carry, the car weighs 14.5 pounds.

On the other hand, the average bicycle weighs about 17 pounds. While it is entirely possible to carry 30-50 pounds in a backpack while riding a bicycle (I do it), we will say that there is no additional load. So. a 17 pound bicycle carrying a 175 pound human gives the bicycle an efficiency ratio of 0.1 (17 lbs/175 lbs).

In other words, for every pound of weight a bicycle can carry, the bicycle weighs just 0.1 lb (17/175).

High-five to the person who invented the bicycle. Punch in the face to the person who created the automobile.

I know what you’re going to say: Cars can go much faster and farther than a bicycle. You are absolutely right. The average bicyclist rides at about 10 mph, and the average automobile travels at 30 mph, which leads me to my next point.

save_money_invest_lifestyle_design

Time Benefits

I’m sure this is where I’ll receive the most pushback. I am going to state a point that most of you will disagree with: If your commute is under 10 miles (which it should be!), I am going to argue that riding your bicycle will actually save you time.

As we mentioned above, the average speed of a car is 30 mph, while the average speed of a bicycle is about 10 mph. Assuming a 10-mile commute, a bicycle will take you an hour, while a car will take roughly 20 minutes.

Note that this is the “average speed.” If you live or work in a city, the morning and afternoon rush-hour traffic will significantly increase your commute.

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For example, I live in Denver. If you were to go 10 miles east, you would be in a neighboring city called Aurora. During rush hour, it usually takes about 45 minutes to get 10 miles. On a bicycle, traffic doesn’t slow you down. When considering traffic, the additional time it takes to ride a bicycle is now just 15 minutes one way, or 30 minutes total for the day.

How do you make up that difference?

If you’re riding your bike 10 miles one way (20 miles total), that is a significant workout. You will be able to cancel your gym membership or at least drastically reduce the amount of time you spend there. Maybe you go to lift weights for 30 min, but you certainly do not need any more cardio.

The ability to cancel your gym membership or reduce the time you spend there will save (or at least net even) the extra time it takes to ride a bicycle. This does not even include the time and frustration it takes to find parking.

Health

It’s a bone chilling, winter morning in Denver, CO. The wind is blowing and it is 0°F (-17°C). Here I come pedaling along as I approach a stop light—bundled up with multiple layers, a hat, gloves, and face guard, smiling ear to ear about how great it feels to get the blood flowing each morning.

As I ride, I peer into the windows of cars I pass sitting in traffic. Who is in the vehicle? Zombies! For some reason, at 8:00 a.m., the entire city looks like the walking dead. In their cozy 70°F (20°C) cars, they are clearly tired, stressed, and unhappy.

Funny, huh? You’d think the guy being exposed to all of the elements riding his bicycle would be far unhappier and stressed.

While that is a personal story, the sample size is just one.

Mental Health

Let’s take a look at a study done at the Concorida’s School of Business, which took a survey of 123 employees at a Montreal-based company called Autodesk. The study showed that within 45 minutes, the cyclists showed significantly lower stress levels than the sedentary commuters.

As a former sedentary commuter, I can say that if I were part of this study, I would only further their findings.

Physical Health

It’s quite obvious why cycling would have physical health advantages over driving. I’m not judging (OK, maybe I kind of am), but I see far fewer bicycle commuters who are clearly overweight than I do car drivers.

Let’s take a look at a study performed by the University of Glasglow that surveyed 250,000 commuters for five years.

The analysis was controlled for sex, age, ethnicity, deprivation, pre-existing diseases (i.e. diabetes), depression, body mass index, smoking, and diet. In short, the study shows that active commuters showed a 41% lower risk of dying from all health-related causes.

I don’t think I’m breaking new ground here when I say that the health benefits of biking far exceed the health benefits of driving.

drive-for-dollars

Financial Benefits

Cars are money suckers. They are a black hole that a portion of your paycheck goes to every month, and as I described above, you get very little value from them. Let’s take a look at the impact.

The average commute is 15 miles each way, or 30 miles per day. Multiply that by the 2018 IRS standard of $0.545, and it costs $16 per day to drive your car. This includes gas, insurance, repairs, depreciation, etc. That’s almost $500 per month, or $6,000 per year! This does NOT include the interest payments made on a financed car. Depending on the car and the type of loan you got, you could be paying close to $10,000 per year driving to work.

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Let’s compare this to a bicycle.

Your average bicycle costs about 1% of what a car would cost. Because of this, most people do not take loans out for a bicycle. There’s no gas, no insurance, repairs/maintenance are minimal, no interest, and far less to depreciate. Conservatively, the average cyclist averages $20 per month in bike repairs. This is saying that you’ll need to replace a tube and tire or get it tuned-up once a month.

The car costs more to drive for two days than a bicycle does for an entire month! By transitioning over from a driver to a rider, you could reduce your cost of transportation by 96%! This does not even include the medical savings—such as reduced future hospital bills, doctor visits, and prescription medicine—from living a healthier life.

Environmental Benefits

I’m not going to spend too much time here because it is painfully obvious that riding a bicycle is far better for the environment than driving a car.

Assuming a 10-mile commute, 5 days per week, a mid-sized vehicle would emit 1.3 tons of CO2 per year through fuel use. After accounting for the foam, plastic, steel, and rubber used, the pollution effects multiply. Over the course of a car’s lifetime, it will produce 1.3 billion yards of polluted air and 40 pounds of worn tire particles, break debris, and worn road surfaces.

Riding a bicycle reduces this pollution to zero.

Transportation Benefits

Cars also take a huge toll (pun intended) on the road conditions. An Australian study shows that with less driving and more biking, the Australian government could save ~$20 million per day in highway/road maintenance costs. Given that the U.S. is about 30% larger, we will say that the U.S. could save ~$25 million per day, or $9 billion per year, if more people were to bike.

Conclusion

I’ve heard almost every excuse in the book for not opting for the bicycle. It’s too cold, it’s too hot, it’s snowing, raining, sleeting, or it’s cloudy with a chance of falafel (I’m half Jewish).

Let’s take a look at a few of the countries who have the most bicycle commuters per capita. Atop the list include the warm and tropical countries known as the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Sweden, and Norway. Just kidding about being warm and tropical. These countries are much colder with much harsher weather conditions than many parts of the United States, yet they commute via bicycle. If they can do it, so can we.

Unsurprisingly, many of these bicycle-centric countries are also among the happiest countries. Coincidence? I think not!

If you want a happier, healthier, and wealthier life, it’s a no-brainer. Ditch the car and get a bike! The road to financial independence is filled with bikers, not drivers. You’ll thank me later. See you on the road!

What do you think—would you ditch your car for a bike?

Weigh in below!

About Author

Craig Curelop

After developing a huge love for real estate investing and personal finance, Craig decided to join the BiggerPockets team as a financial analyst. Over the past few years, he has looked at hundreds of financial models of startup companies. His experience will help BiggerPockets reach the next level as a startup company. Craig has a passion for helping others get out of their “comfort zones” to get what they want and achieve the “impossible.” In his spare time, Craig enjoys traveling, hiking, exercising, and sports of all kinds.

224 Comments

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Costin,

      Thanks for your input! That probably does have a lot to do with it. Even more of a reason why it is wise to find a place to live that is close to work. Though, I would argue that even if our average commute was 3km-5km, most Americans still wouldn’t bike.

        • Craig Curelop

          Michael,

          That’s a lifestyle decision that you have made and I respect that. I have been to Cleveland and I would be willing to bet there is an area that is safe to live in that’s within biking distance to work.

          However, it’s a huge lifestyle change. I don’t suggest driving your bike 52 miles every day. I would suggest intentionally finding a place to live that is closer to work so that you biking is reasonable.

      • If I could afford the $1.5 million homes near my work then I’d live close. Unfortunately I can’t afford that and 99% of companies that hire my line of work are in that area.

        • Adam Britt

          I think this particular response thread contains all the primary reasons why biking hasn’t taken off more in America.

          I’m a fit young 30 year old who works in the medical field, and I am extremely interested in health and wellness. I also absolutely despise driving. It is probably on my top 3 most stressful things I have to do on a daily basis. But I also live 25 miles away from work.

          Why, you may ask? I work at a major hospital/university. The 15+ mile radius around my work is like a war zone with crime. I’ll not have my wife living somewhere that we can’t even sleep at night without one eye open.

          Of course, cost of living (as outlined above) is also an issue. My house payment is $600 bucks a month. A one room loft around where I work costs hundreds more. And any actually nice area closer to my work are MASSIVELY more expensive … and I would still need a car because they are still 15-20 miles away, and most of that is interstate highways. Not a lot of biking trails round these parts in the South!

          And finally … even if all of those reasons were taken off the list … I still wouldn’t bike unless the company had a usable shower/locker room. Riding a bike for even 10 minutes in 90 degree weather with an 80% humidity? I would be so … pungent … every day at work, I probably wouldn’t keep my job long. It would be my biggest nightmare to have to go into work every day covered in my own sweat. I’ve got a phobia about that actually…

          I agree with the concept that biking is better, and that cars are horrible. But the alternative is even worse… Or simply not practical, unless you want to live in a slum.

        • I agree with Adam entirely.

          I generally believe that this is a good post, especially for those that can afford to live in the luxury condo districts in large cities where “work/live/play” is the developer motto (Austin/Denver/NY Areas/etc.).

          If you are outside of these areas the commute will almost always be 25+ miles in one direction.

        • Craig Curelop

          Chad, Adam, and Mark, you all bring up great points here. In certain instances, biking may not make sense. In Denver and in most cities (outside of NY and SF), I would bet there is reasonable housing within biking distance.

          In many cases, biking does not work for your current situation. If you decided to live in your property with no anticipation of biking then simply replacing a bike for a car does not make sense.

          In many cases, people opt for the larger house in the suburbs vs. the smaller, less nice place closer to work that is the same price. In these cases, picking the smaller, less nice place closer to work so you could bike is by far a much better option.

      • Joe Marshall

        To be fair, the whole tone is pretty far out there. My car sucks? Punch the inventor of the automobile in the face? This is a real estate blog, not the benefits of riding a bike blog. Most are adults here, Im not sure why you wouldnt try to write to that audience. Like I said, I enjoy different types of articles on here, so not really even knocking “the benefits of a bike” but you go pretty far away from BP.

        • Jacob Beu

          The whole post kind of felt like a Mr. Money Mustache post. I think he carried over his energy and faux-aggressive stances (MMM uses this kind of language, but it feels like it’s just his style, not that he is actually aggressive).

        • Adam Britt

          There are actually some books written by BP fellas such as Scott Trench that come of even more aggressive than this post making exactly the same argument.

          Although I think Scott’s point was more like, “You are stupid if you drive a car, there is absolutely no excuse to in this day and age. Cars are evil and destroy every part of your life. Don’t drive a car.”

          In the end, I won’t be getting rid of my car voluntarily any time soon … but I would say this post is spot on something I would expect to see on BP. And it is hard to argue the logical facts! There are just other things to consider that outweigh these very obvious benefits.

        • Craig Curelop

          Thanks for elaborating, Joe.

          The majority of the users here on BiggerPockets don’t care about real estate by itself. They care about the financial independence and wealth that real estate brings. Because, the scope of my knowledge of real estate is quite limited (I’ve only done one deal), my value comes in on the personal finance side of things where I’ve done loads of research and am acting on it.

          Most of the BP users are newbies looking to do their first deal. Many are unable to because they do not have enough for the down payment. Eliminating a car payment and saving the difference will allow them to save up for down payment on a property.

          I hope that clears up as to why this article is posted on BP.

  1. Michael Woodward

    Bicycle’s are great some things but come-on….. “…Punch in the face to the inventor of the automobile…” Really?!?!? I can’t tell if you’re serious or just click-baiting. Your article is way too specific on your own perspective and the microcosm of your own daily life…. but you’ve addressed it to the whole country as if it’s relevant to the other 99.9999% of the population.

    Remember that this is a real estate investors forum so “commuting” is not the norm for this audience. A typical day for me would be a round trip of visit to my properties, office, various stores and suppliers, etc that would be in the 30 to 60 mile range. I would also be carrying my laptop, office binder (checks, etc), and other necessary materials. There’s no way any of this is going to happen on a bicycle.

    You should consider limiting the scope and criticism of your article. You’re way off base!

      • Erin W.

        There are waterproof backpacks. And cars crash in water and ice as well. Plus, I’d think there’s more of a risk of a laptop breaking in an automobile crash (larger weight of cars plus higher velocities).

        • Dave Rav

          Major difference here is my vehicle is my BUFFER to any injury. If I’m on a bike (or even a motorcycle) and I hit something, or more scary – some crazy driver hits me, the injury potential is much greater. That includes my damage to my laptop, too 🙂

        • Craig Curelop

          Dave, you make a great point here.

          However, if you ride your bike responsibly, you are likely not going to be hit by a car. If you are, it certainly will not be a head on collision or a T-Bone.

          The most lethal car crashes are the ones where two cars are going 40+mph and they hit each other head on or in a T-Bone.

      • Craig Curelop

        Dave,

        In conditions such as down pouring rains, crazy snow & ice, driving makes sense. However, I would argue that these situations happen MUCH less frequently than just a normal, sunny day. Even in Seattle/Oregon, the rainiest parts of the country, it is just a light mist and won’t do much damage do your backpack.

        Erin makes a great point here too. Once you start riding your bike, you will learn to become much more equipped.

        • Dave Rav

          Craig, I’m trying not to spend too much of my time on this blog, but admit I’ve been following it a bit. I commend the way you’re handling so much criticism. Admirable.

          As far as weather, you mention Seattle. Doesn’t it rain 225-250 days/year there?!? I recall reading this somewhere. If so, that’s not quite the MUCH less days rain you cited.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for your comment, Michael.

      For the real estate investor with multiple properties who is managing them actively, this article does not make sense for them. Same thing for agents who are doing showings. Also for contractors carrying tools.

      However, while many BiggerPockets members do fall in the aforementioned categories, most are newbies or people who work 9-5 jobs and are just doing real estate on the side. For these people, biking to work makes a whole lot of sense.

  2. Michael Woodward

    ….. and why would you choose such a violent term, “Punch in the face”, to make your point?? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t mean that literally but there is a growing segment of people in the country that are using that very tactic as their means of disagreeing with others. This is an extremely dangerous kind of rhetoric that I hope will stop soon. Hopefully you will help.

  3. Dan Redmond

    Craig, here are just several ways your comments may work in some generic world, when specifics are includedthey are a total fail.

    This are comments collected from 65 years of experience on this mudball and often repeated. While you like to use just miles, no inclusion of elevation exists. As one who has experience multi generations of living on high hills away from public transportation, lived on high hills needing to tranport a truck load of tools to build, rebuild sheds across the entire Bay Area, owned property where a company moved 15 miles further away and we were not willing to move, your scenerio has some weakness .

    Talking generically down to many folks is no way to find solutions. I have thousands of miles for recreation on a bike. Never once did the thought cross my mind for my work-a-day world or my wifes, or my parents. Mix in some greater reality to your thoughts, please.

    • Craig Curelop

      Dan,

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your perspective. Not using a car as your primary mode of transportation is certainly a lifestyle change. Living on high hills away of public transportation is 100% controllable.

      This article does not pertain to construction guys or anyone else who needs loads of tools in order to do their job. It is for the people who work desk jobs who need to show up to work with nothing, but their own lunch. I admit that I could have done a better job at articulating that.

      My intentions were not to talk down to anyone. Simply just to make the article a bit more entertaining and easier to read.

      Thanks again for your feedback!

  4. I believe that his main point is that the car is over valued in our country. It would be more beneficial if we rode our bikes more. I am walking more and riding my bike more, because of this my energy level has gone up and I feel healthy! The author has a good point! Most people do what is easy to do. I believe the opposite. That we should the things that are hard! We would be more healthy and our planet would be in a much better condition. Thanks for a great article!

    • Craig Curelop

      Darin,

      I’m looking at this article and it seems that many of these accidents are the fault of the cyclists. Driving erratically or at night without lights. Unfortunately, there are not enough laws governing bikes yet so of course, there are going to be more fatalities.

      Many of these accidents can be avoided by having cyclists use the bike lanes or in the event there are no bike lanes, taking alternate routes with less busy roads. Also, using proper lighting and protective equipment (i.e. helmet) is crucial here.

      If there were more cyclists and less motor vehicles, the number of bicycle to bicycle accidents will likely increase, but those are far less likely to result in death or life changing injury than that of a motor vehicle.

      • Darin Anderson

        You didn’t seem to read very carefully before reacting to dismiss the case of the safety risk of bicycles on roads with cars. It was 3.4 – 11.5 times more likely when including the cyclists you referred to. 3-10 times more likely already took those drivers out, that’s why I quoted that number. So those drivers were not many of the cyclists, they were a small minority and the number quoted already removed them.

        motorcyclists are dozens of times more likely to die per mile driven than cars. It’s just simple physics. When you get in an accident with a 4000 pound vehicle you lose very badly when you are on a two wheel vehicle with no weight and no protective devices like body panels, air bags, seat belts, etc.

        bicyclists are also many times more likely to get injured than in an automobile. Very minor collisions are nothing in a car and can be very serious on a bicycle. The article gives details on that as well.

        You mentioned safety steps like helmets. The article addresses that too. Every place that helmet laws are passed both deaths and injuries from bicycle accidents increased per mile driven. They give no explanation as I don’t think they have one and neither do I. I certainly don’t think helmets make things worse. But there is clearly no statistical evidence for the benefit of helmets given that deaths and injuries increased per mile driven after the use of helmets.

        It’s still not a huge chance but it is a significantly increased chance. You should stop trying so hard to prove that everything about a bicycle is superior. It’s OK if not everything makes your case. There are definitely benefits from riding a bicycle, but safety is a real downside and there is no getting around it. Bicycles are far less safe than a car. It’s not even a close comparison. Don’t try to explain that away and minimize any safety risk.

        • Craig Curelop

          Darin,

          That’s fair. In certain situations, cars may be safer than bicycles. You have made your point clear here and it’s hard to refute that point.

          However, I am not totally convinced . Cyclists do not ride on highways. I would suspect that the most deadly car crashes happen on highways where there are two cars going 65 mph+. Cyclists are nowhere to be seen on highways.

          Motorcycles are death traps and I would never get one nor would I advise anyone to get on one. I am only talking about bicycles, the ones you petal on and can ride in bike lanes, empty sidewalks, bike paths, etc.

          It says in your article that car accidents are the biggest cause of death in the United States. In an extreme, and unrealistic scenario where the amount of people who rode bikes and drove cars switched, I would bet that these type of accidents would not be the leading cause of death.

          I do value your point and perspective, but I think it may make sense to agree to disagree here.

          Cars are valuable for those in jobs that require them to be in multiple different places and/or carry a bunch of awkward tools and such.

      • I love my bike, and I enjoy riding it in safe areas, but I agree with Darin on this one. I would be terrified riding my bike in rush hour traffic on the mean streets of Atlanta!! We do have some safe bike paths; however, the vast majority of cycling commuters would be hard pressed to find a route that was safe, and many, such as myself, would have to commute down busy narrow streets with no bike lanes. No thank you. I work in public health, and it is irresponsible to say that traveling by bike is far safer and healthier than by car in a city such as Atlanta, or most of the south, for that matter, where pedestrians and cyclists have largely not been factored into the traffic mix. If you are lucky enough to live in one of those countries, or even US cities, that have made safety for all who use the road a priority, then, by all means, get your fanny on a bike. However, it is reckless to make the statement that it works and is safe for everyone.

        • Craig Curelop

          Stacy,

          You make a great point. It is 100% fair to say that a car rear ending another car at a red light will cause much less problems than a car rear-ending a cyclist.

          If the cyclist is riding carefully, that should be the worst of the accidents. Whereas in cars, you increase your odds of the more lethal head-on collisions and T-Bones going 40-50+ mph.

          I do NOT advocate riding on busy streets. I am advocating for taking the side roads where the cars do not frequent. If you can’t get to work without taking a main road, then maybe you try to hop on the closest means of public transportation?

          Maybe this does not work for you in your current situation. But I think people are too quick to jump to the “I can’t do this” conclusion than to try to figure out how they can.

  5. Jonathan Watson

    When I was a bachelor, I rode my bike 9 miles to work and back. But, man, once you have kids, there’s no way I’d be able to ride my bike. Taking them to school. Going grocery shopping. Going to the doctor. Getting home quickly because of an emergency… There’s just no way a bike (or Ubering) is suitable. Clearly Craig here hasn’t experienced much to give enough thought if a bike is even feasible for most non-single people.

    And, honestly, riding a bike (here in L.A.) is far more dangerous than commuting. For the 10 years that I rode my bike to work and back (covering thousands of miles), I’ve had a bunch of people throw things at me, cars nearly hit me multiple times, many flat tires, and other mechanical issues. So, the thought that you might save on your doctors bills seems pretty silly.

    I love riding my bike. It’s a great break from the speed of life here in L.A. But the banality of this post that doesn’t lend any credence to another viewpoint or life situation is pretty stunning.

    And like others have, I’m baffled as to why this is on Bigger Pockets. How does riding a bike improve my investment career? The author could use a few pointers on how to write articles that don’t offend much of the BP community.

    • Craig Curelop

      Jonathan,

      I do not have kids and am very clear of how difficult it would be dragging kids along on your bike to many of their appointments. In these particular situations, a fuel-efficient, dependable car is great.

      However, I would argue that most people, most of the time are traveling in their cars alone. Many of them just to work and back. In every day life, I would argue a bicycle is far superior. There will be special cases (like the ones you mentioned) where a car is necessary, and by all means drive then.

      The reason why this article is relevant to BiggerPockets is because it is personal finance related. While BiggerPockets primarily focuses on real estate. Real Estate is a niche within the broader personal finance topic. I suspect that most people on BiggerPockets don’t care about real estate on it’s own. They care about financial independence and real estate is the most proven strategy on how to attain financial independence. By saving $10k per year, the newbie will be able to quickly save up for the next down payment for the next property.

      I apologize if people are offended, but I do remain firm in what I believe and what this article says. My intentions were not offend anybody, but to have people look at life through a different lens. One with limited use of an automobile.

      Maybe I was a little too light-hearted in articulating my point in this article. I will take your comment and try to adjust my future articles accordingly. Thank you!

      • Matt Kovach

        As a father of three and a non-car commuter (bike or bus), I would say it is very possible to continue to bike commute throughout parenthood. It does take a little more planning to be able to get to all your family’s activities, and this can be frustrating at times. However, compared to the the everyday headache of rush hour traffic, finding parking, and blowing at least $6k a year on an inefficient luxury, I would rather take the extra couple minutes of planning with my feet up and drinking a cold one at the end of the day.

        All the issues mentioned above, i.e. taking kids to school, getting groceries, going to the doctor, as well as any other roadblock can be tackled with some creativity and commitment. Diversity you commute like you would your investments. I generally bike but will take the bus if I am tired of the crappy weather or injured or wake up more lazy than usual. On rare occasions, I will drive or share a ride with my partner. I have never had an emergency, but if I had to go somewhere and my bike was not fast enough, there is a car share very close to my employer that I can use.

        Hope this resonates with anyone that may be on the fence, especially parents. I would love to see less cars on the road and more bikes with healthy, smiling people riding them.

  6. Come on man. We all read Mr Money Mustache here. The ‘punch to the face’ and ‘zombies’comments are a bit obvious, don’t you think? Give him credit where it’s due if you’re going to copy him.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Vita,

      I don’t think it’s a secret that I read Mr. Money Mustache quite a bit. He is a huge inspiration for me and many others in pursuit of financial independence.

      I also consume information from various other blogs, podcasts, books, etc. and he is not the only one who uses this type of writing style and terminology. Many times, I am not 100% sure where my content derives from. Many times it’s a combination of all the content I consume mixed with other thoughts in my head.

  7. Oliver Scholz, on

    Make your bike an electric bike, and it becomes a time saver, too. 🙂 I live in Seattle, about 5 miles from the office. I have an electric bike from biktrix.com, and I make the trip in 20 minutes, door to desk. Rain or shine. If it rains, which it does a fair bit in Seattle, I just put my rain gear on. And I arrive at work sweat free. And I’m having a blast on the bike, even when it rains. I consider it my full body convertible. 🙂
    If I had to do my commute by car, it would take 30m+ to drive (city driving sucks!), and I’d need another 20 minutes to find a parking spot. The bus works, too, but that takes 45 m door to door, too (walking, waiting, riding). And whenever I need a car, I grab an Uber…

  8. Susan Maneck

    What you suggests works only in areas with safe bike lanes. There are none in Mississippi and public transportation, where it exists sucks. The sad thing is we have developed a culture which is almost entirely dependent on cars. And at 62 I just can’t see myself collecting rents on a bicycle, though I’m sure it would amuse my tenants. All that being said, those who can, should. For most people it would enable them to buy one more house.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for your comment, Susan.

      I agree. I could have done a better job explaining who this applies to. In some areas this may not work, but many of the cities around the country have bike lanes or there are alternate routes to take where there is much less traffic.

      At a certain age and when you’re in a certain financial position, riding a bicycle everywhere does not make sense. However, if someone is looking to save $10k+ per year and is looking for ways to expand their real estate portfolio, this is an expense that if eliminated will help get there.

  9. Denise Carmona

    I agree that with others mentioning that this article seems to address a small demographic and doesn’t address the broad realities many of us live in. I currently reside in a county near Nashville to reduce my cost of living. For many of us living in the surrounding areas, getting to where we need to go involves a 30 mile commute and getting on the highway. Biking is unrealistic until they update their infrastructure.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Denise.

      I could have done a better job at explaining the fact that this is a lifestyle change. Many people, in their current living situations cannot do this. However, if they are able to move to a smaller, similarly priced place that is closer to work, they would lead a happier, healthier, and wealthier life.

  10. I spent my 20s and 30s living in Paris, where it was easy to get around on public transportation. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to find a bus route to my office, but everyone made fun of me for taking public transportation. People would offer me rides home so I wouldn’t have to endure the shame (!). Then I changed jobs and couldn’t even find a bus route that served the area. Recently, I changed jobs again and found that I can take a bus that drop me off 10 minutes from the office. I tried it the other day when my car was in the shop. I have to say it was completely stress free. I’m going to do it as often as I can and save the car for the weekends.

  11. Justin Winn

    As I read this post I see a lot of left wing influence. I look at my car and a financial investment not a a pollutant. My car is a 00 Acura TL and puts out 0 hydro carbons when on a dyno . My car gets me TO work to make a 6 figure income . Plus gets me TO my rental property’s . My car makes me WAY more money than it cost to operate. You need to look at the big picture . Not the small frame in front of you on your spread sheet.

    • Craig Curelop

      Justin,

      If you could get to your 9-5 without the car, you would no doubt be saving more money. Also, how often do you go to your rental properties? If it’s once a month (which makes for a not so passive investment), then I would argue that it would still be better to take an Uber than to drive.

      Mistake me if I’m wrong, but your car did not get you your rental properties and it certainly did not get you your job. I am sure you are a very intelligent, hard working guy who deserves that job whether you pull up in an ’00 Acura or on a 1978 Trek. Same thing with your rental properties.

  12. Ann Bellamy

    I’m guessing none of the pro-bicycle crowd have snow, ice, torrential nor’easters, sleet, ice pellets or flooded roads to deal with on their way to work. Spend a winter in New England and you’ll be begging for a winter rat. (a car you drive in winter to keep your nice car nice)

    • Stephani Horstman

      Hi Ann,

      Actually, I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I’ll see your snow, ice, sleet, graupel, ice pellets AND raise you -30 Fahrenheit temperatures 🙂

      I grew up in Montana, and I’ll double down on all that above. Biking was my primary mode of transportation there as a single mom who lived uphill from the grocery store!

      • Craig Curelop

        Ann,

        It’s always tough mentioning specific places. I was born and raised in Massachusetts. Went to college in Boston. I would ride my bike up and down Mission Hill to class and back every day. No matter the weather.

        On days where it was actually snowing, icing, sleeting, etc., I would walk instead in of bike. My school was about 1.5 miles away from where I lived.

  13. Kevin miller

    Also, I ride my tt bike 100+ miles per week, mtn bike 2x+, swim 4 hrs+, and run some… wish I was able to cancel my $75/mo gym membership, but a tiny commute ain’t gonna do it. It’s more the getting prepared with all the junk I’ll need for the day ahead – prior to the commute ride that keeps me from using as a commuter vehicle; hard enough preparing for a motorcycle commute for the rare days @
    traffic time. However, I may try this and will tell my wifey this is why I need a 3rd bike – a BMC road bike is in my future… BOOM, thanks Craig

  14. Senthil N.

    Bicycle is not for everyone. While you have worked the numbers with an average car, you can spend half as much with a minimal yet reliable car. And I own a motorcycle – again not for everyone, but again it is about 1/4th the cost of a car and then the $10,000 per year dwindles down to $3,000 or lower. And you cannot escape not having a car. So a lot of expenses don’t go away. The more practical approach is not to over spend on a car and try to use other forms of transportation as much as you can to bring down the cost to $500/month or much lower.

    • Craig Curelop

      Senthil,

      This is a great point. I do agree with much of what you said. Motorcycles, I think are very dangerous and certainly not for everyone. Definitely not me haha!

      While having a car remain totally idle will save you money. You could actually make more money by renting your car out on apps like Turo. That’s a whole different approach.

  15. Bruce O.

    I would love to commute by bicycle, but it’s 55 miles to my gig in the exurb. I don’t wish to move there because … well .. because.

    That said, I do try to walk, bike, or group errands together when I can.

    Metro Houston doesn’t have the greatest mass transportation system, so I would be waiting an awful lot for buses. Additionally, Houston itself is 1,000 square miles. Biking here (for most people) simply does not work as a viable form of daily transportation.

    I am sure biking and walking works for some in densely-populated metro areas with good bike paths and roadways, but you are LITERALLY putting your life on the line when bike riding on many Houston streets (unfortunately, a bike is not match for a Ford F-150 or many of our wreckless drivers … not meaning to imply those in F-150s are wreckless).

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for your comment, Bruce!

      It’s great that you can do much of your errands via bike. A 55 mile commute to work?! That’s crazy! I couldn’t do it.

      I would hope that there are potentially some side roads that someone in Houston could take to help them get to work safely. Though, I admit that I have never been to Houston so I am not familiar with that city at all.

  16. Christopher Wyatt

    I will keep the family van. It’s worth every dime carting my kids around. And the sliding doors, what an invention! No face punch for that person.

    Family bike rides don’t fair too well with my circus. We tried, didn’t even make it off the street we live on.

    When we’re done with the van and the kids are gone, I’m getting a pickup and my wife wants a Caddy. A big, heavy, and expensive pickup, because I have always wanted one and the caddy for the smooth ride.

    We will watch for you as we zip past or as you peddle by.

  17. Your post is so far from reality. You say being more than 10 miles from work is 100% controllable. Sure it is. What about your spouse? What about changing jobs? What about buying a house because of the school district so you can provide your children a better education? If I move somewhere that is close to my work, does not have a ton of hills, has a shower at the office so I don’t stink the entire day, then you add in that all of those things should exist for my wife too. Let’s say we find this magical land where there are safe roads to bike all the way to work, showers at the office and is also under 10 miles to my wife’s office. As soon as either of us changes jobs or the company we work for decides to move to another part of town to save money on office space or they outgrew their current space, we have to start house hunting to find a second magical land that checks all these boxes. If you add kids to the mix, having a bicycle as your primary commuting vehicle becomes even more unrealistic. What happens when the nurse calls and says little Johnny is sick and I need to come get him. “OK. Let me bike home for an hour and get the car so I can come pick him up. I’ll be there in 2 hours.”.
    The road I take to work is very hilly and very curvy with no shoulder. During commute time there is a high likelihood that someone on a bike could get injured or killed on that road. I’m also looking for a new job, and one of the places interested in me is going to put me 20 miles from the house. If I force my wife to move so I can bike to work, she is now more than 10 miles from her office, and we are now living in one of the worst school districts in town. Your scenario only works if you’re young and single with no kids.

    • Really? I guess you are not living in the real world of a real estate investor…
      Must go to Lowe’s/Home Depot and pick up materials at the drop of a hat…
      can’t do that on a bike (a 4×8 piece of plywood or a toilet is not transportable
      on a bike). Time IS money, and every cent i spend on my 2002 Ford Explorer
      with 220K miles for insurance and gas is worth it ten-fold. When you have to
      get to a situation asap for a rental issue (vacation rentals…need immediate
      attention), a service oriented business – that you MUST be there to service
      when needed…And, good luck with prospecting for investment properties
      on your bike…the later you get there, the less chance you have of getting
      the deal. If you have 9-5 job-fine, but most of us serious investors don’t, and
      it’s a necessity of the work…Get with the program, Dude…(Must be nice to have
      a boss that is OK with weather/transportation/flat-tire delays on a weekly basis)…
      I agree with others, this is NOT the forum for environmental activism…choose
      another Avenue to ride your bike!

      • Craig Curelop

        Miram,

        As a full time real estate investor without a 9 to 5, I agree. This article makes little sense. However, most of the users here on BiggerPockets are actually new real estate investors who have yet to escape the 9 to 5. People who only manage less than 5 properties and are working to save for the next down payment.

        For these people, driving a 2002 Ford Explorer to work and back every day and occasionally to Home Depot or a Rental Property. Unless you are driving to a rental property more than once a week, which takes a lot more time than changing a flat, I don’t believe a Ford Explorer is worth the extra cost.

        I actually run a few vacation rentals myself. Luckily, I haven’t had too many issues, but if something comes up, I’m happy to pay a handyman $20-$50 to go fix the problem.

        I’m not sure if your “Avenue” pun was intended, but I appreciate it!

    • Craig Curelop

      Dan,

      There are many people (including myself) whose primary method of transportation is a bicycle. Using your bicycle your mode of transportation is a complete lifestyle change. That would mean moving your home closer to work, moving your work closer to home, or perhaps even working remotely?

      Saying it is far from reality and that it is impossible to do is much easier than trying to figure out ways how to make your bike a main mode of transportation. At a certain point in everyone’s life, the extra $10k may not mean a whole lot. If that’s the case, then keep driving.

      There are families that live like this (look at Mr. Money Mustache). It’s certainly NOT impossible. It is, however, against the norm.

      • I never said it was impossible. I said your entire post is unrealistic and only works if you’re single with no kids. I would most certainly be hit riding my bike on the road I have to take to get to work, because it has happened to other riders on that same road, and now you don’t see bicycles on that road during commute time because of it. There is also no other safer road to get from my house to my office without going another 10 miles out of my way.
        You also make it sound like I can just change jobs to work remotely or be closer to my home. At my level those jobs are not plentiful. I know this because I am currently looking for a new job and there are very few open positions for what I do.
        Being able to ride your bike to work is great but it is not practical in many cases, as you’ve seen here in the comments. In another month it will be over 90 degrees here with high humidity. You could actually cause damage to your health biking to work in that environment.
        I’m surprised you have been spending your week replying to all the people that have made very valid points and pointed out all the holes in your article. You must not value your time, and the fact that you’re doubling down on this post is evidence of that. You should set a reminder in your calendar for 15 years from now when you’re married with kids and come back to this article to remember how ridiculous of a post this was.

        • Dave Rav

          Something else this biker bunch keeps failing to take note of is the increased risk you take of being hit by a car!!

          We’ve all seen drivers out there – some are crazy! The guy texting and driving is a very real danger to you!!

          They say if you’re in a car, you are also at risk of being hit. I get that. Big difference is I have a BUFFER complete with airbags, a seat belt, and aluminum protecting me!! Plus, I am more easily seen! (Cite the whole “Watch for motorcycles” campaign).

          Bicycle riding on well-traveled roads, especially regularly several days a week, presents a danger to the user likely several times fold that of an automobile user.

  18. Stephani Horstman

    Thanks for the article! As someone who has a separate set of snow tires for my bike (similar to snow tires for cars – they have metal studs that help grip slippery snow/ice road conditions), I know it’s possible to ride in all conditions. I specifically bought my first duplex within 2.5 miles of my day job so I could bike…even in some of the wicked -30 temperatures we experienced here this past winter. It does make me feel alive and makes me feel like more of a badass than the frat boy dudes in their lifted trucks…if an overweight, 5’0, 42 year old woman can bike to work in the winter in Minnesota, anyone can do it!

    You mentioned there’s not many overweight bike commuters, and I’d like to point out that I am one of the exceptions to that…but I figure it just makes my legs that much stronger for carrying my fat ass up Cathedral Hill here!

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Stephani! You are a perfect example. You catered your lifestyle around being able to live close to work such that you can bike. You even take it a step further by changing out your tires during the seasonal changes.

      Thanks for the comment!

  19. David Smit

    Why is the expense so high? That’s easy… because Americans DESERVE. Newer. Faster. More luxurious. Roomier. Bigger rims.
    If people looked at money in terms of hours worked rather than dollars spent dealerships would go broke. But my oh my do we deserve the best, especially since we’re all so busy working to pay for what we’re entitled to! Hmmm

    • Craig Curelop

      David,

      This is also a good point. If all Americans drove around smaller, more economical cars, then this article would have much less relevance. Who knows? It may not even have been worth writing. But the fact of the matter is, 17% of one’s income is A LOT!

      • Dave Rav

        FYI, not all Americans spend 17% their income on transport. I spend around 5-7%. Which is further mitigated by deductions for business use and the like. Plus, as someone else mentioned, hey get another unit or whatever and that can cover your car payment!

        So, in the end, buddy the financial argument for those in situations similar to mind just isn’t there. Quibbling about the few measibly bucks it costs me isn’t worth it. I take my safety, reliability, comfort, convenience (and enjoyability!!) of driving my Volvo any day

  20. Steven Lybeck

    Great article, seems like you struck a nerve with some people here!

    Your article focused primarily on the personal gains in terms of health and $$$ saved.

    I think that cycling (and other active transport like walking) can be brought into the realm of real estate when you think about the development patterns of our cities. Housing that is accessible to job centers, shopping, appointments, etc… – that frees its occupants from grinding car traffic, has a value that is being recognized more and more. Like you said – physical activity makes people healthier and happier – and there are definitely people willing to pay for the value that being car-free can bring to their lives!

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for your comment, Steve! Great contribution here.

      I do primarily focus on biking, but walking can have the same impact. I know many people willing to pay a slight premium to be able to get to work without an automobile.

  21. Christopher Smith

    I actually did cycle to work for a couple of years, approximately 8 miles each way. Lived in San Diego and worked on the Naval Station (on a ship). It was great, I beat the traffic coming in and only took a little longer going home (to Chula Vista), and I felt great when I arrived (no need for coffee or a pick me up).

    However I can’t imagine that being practical for too many folks. I was single, in really good shape, the roads were all very ridable, the weather great and since I worked on a ship I could shower on arrival slip into my kahkis and begin working.

    But boy if you can pull it off it’s a fantastic way to get to work.

      • Christopher Smith

        On a military ship when you get back from an overseas deployment you typically don’t get underway for another deployment for about 18 months (so you are always in port except for an occasional exercise or two). When we did one of those local ops (a couple of days at most) I would still ride in and just store my bike on the ship until we pulled back into port.

    • Craig Curelop

      Christopher,

      Thanks for the anecdote. You seemed to make this work very nicely! I never said that it was a luxurious ride, but it typically is a fun one. In fact, I’m looking to make my bike ride a bit longer in the morning.

      It is a total lifestyle change. One that may not work for everyone. I don’t think you need to be in phenomenal shape to start riding a bike. However, riding your bike will eventually make you in phenomenal shape.

      While this article may not work for everyone in their current situation. I bet it does work for some people who currently commute with their car. I also believe with a lifestyle change, it could work with everyone.

  22. Lucas Kempen on

    Love this article! This is why I moved to have a 3.9 mile commute. I have rode my bike and taken the bus but I’ve been getting lazy the last few months. This was the reminder I needed! 🙂

  23. Ugochukwu Opara

    Thanks for writing this. I think bikes are cool. I’m a realtor in Philly and I just don’t see how I would be able to properly show property on a bike. Sometimes house #1 is 3-5 mines away from house #2 on a list for a home buyer. Also, I always worry about arriving and being sweaty. That is of concern because I would like to maintain a professional appearance. Just my two cents. I am saving up now to buy an electric car and move in that direction. I am not sure a car is something I can avoid in my business.

    Cheers

    • Craig Curelop

      Ugochukwu,

      For a realtor, this makes little sense, I agree. I have my license as well, but I just do showings for myself. It would not be possible to look at 5-6 properties in a 2-3 hour span. However, getting a good fuel-efficient used car would be great here. I have a 2013 Toyota Prius C that I seldom drive. But it gets 55+ miles to the gallon.

  24. Melissa Bogle

    I’m sure biking is great for a small population that can live close to work and don’t feel the need to shower so as not to offend others with their BO. For those bikers who don’t think you smell, here’s a news flash…you probably do and as a result you are derailing any chance of a promotion. I’ve had to discuss the need for good hygiene with an employee before. It’s not a fun conversation for anyone.

    As a female executive in a corporate office where everyone wears a suit, riding a bike to work isn’t practical. My clothes would be wrinkled from being in a backpack, there’s no shower at work, I would look like a wreck and getting to lunch meetings at restaurants would be fun in a skirt and high heels!

    If it works for you great, but please shower. For the majority of us, it’s not a reasonable suggestion.

    • Craig Curelop

      Melissa,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure if the majority of the people on BiggerPockets need to arrive wear suits every day. When I had to wear nicer clothes to work, I would usually leave a few extra shirts and pants at work. This is an option.

      If you can wash your face and throw on some deodorant, this has done a pretty good at combating any smell I’ve had to deal with.

      Of course I don’t recommend biking in a skirt and high heels, but if you change our lifestyle around. If you live somewhere that is close to work or work somewhere close to home, this is absolutely possible for many folks.

  25. Richard Trayer

    Interesting Article.
    I think it is pretty narrow in perspective and off mark in terms of BiggerPockets. As a “Life Style” piece it could work, but I am here for Real Estate Investor purposes. I am not here for my physical health. I am here for the health of my portfolio.
    I try to imagine who this could apply to, in REI, in my market. I am drawing a blank. Even my Bird Dogs “Drive for Dollars”. They may just be cruising one (or two adjacent) neighborhood(s), but logistically, it just wouldn’t work on bike. Certainly, this does not apply to contractors (maybe the Home Depot “outside labor force”). Agents usually travel more miles and prefer a higher level of presentation in their attire; plus, often require room for passenger(s). As an agent, in Phoenix-AZ, I drive over 100 miles some days. At least 40 on an average day. As an investor, I drive a far less fuel efficient vehicle that has the utility I need in order to pull a trailer or load up lumber.
    Even as a 9-5er, the bicycle is not an option for nearly half the year (unless you have a shower at work and brought a change of clothes). Even if you did live within 10 miles of the office (not likely in this “city”). You would still drench your outfit in the first two miles 4-5 months out of the year. Then you get to be “The Smelly Guy” at the office.
    I think you might consider the broader audience in relation to the general subject at hand and come with something that is more relevant to the group.

    • Craig Curelop

      Richard,

      Thanks for your comment. It sounds that you are a pretty experienced real estate investor with a sizable portfolio that you are very interested in growing.

      Believe it or not, most of the users of BiggerPockets are only into real estate because it provides them a means to achieve financial independence. The equation for financial independence is “passive income > expenses.” By reducing 17% of their expenses, they are able to make a huge impact on this formula. They are able to reduce their expenses, save more, and therefore invest in more assets that create passive income.

      Many of the users here on BiggerPockets are trying to save up for their next down payment. That is who this article is for.

      Hope this makes sense.

  26. The reason the use of punh in the face is us d is because the author follows MMM who uses that phrase often and is also a big proponent of bicycles as transportation.

    To me, they live in la la Land in this regard.

      • Craig Curelop

        Bruce,

        This would involve a lifestyle change. It would involve moving your home closer to work or moving your work closer to home. This is possible for most people. You may not be able to start riding your bike tomorrow, but within the next 12 months, you could make some decisions that could allow you to get there.

    • Craig Curelop

      Ken,

      MMM is a huge inspiration for me. I do wish to coin that phrase as something that I came up with. I do listen to a few other podcasts, who have the same style as MMM and use the same type of phrases.

      La la land is a pretty nice place. With a few lifestyle changes, you could be there too!

  27. LINDA FITZWATER on

    When I was in college, having my racing bike was awesome to ride but I never shop with it. Today, I buy two weeks of food and non-food for a household of 5 adults and I can’t do this without my minivan. Just simple volume of items purchased.

    • Craig Curelop

      Linda,

      In certain cases, your minivan makes perfect sense. Using your car twice a month does not call for it being your primary method of transportation.

      Heck, even if you could get up to biking 5 days per week and driving 2, you’d be making a significant savings impact.

    • Craig Curelop

      Chris,

      If you need to get around to all of your rental properties every day. Sure. Many of the users here are just trying to save up for the next down payment or attain financial independence. That’s who this article is for.

      • Ida McNeill

        If the point is to save $ to invest in RE (Wich makes it applicable to BP)…
        To move close enough to bike to work will easily cost MORE than what you might actually save in MOST cities/ areas of the country, nor are safe Bike paths available. And it certainly isnt workable for most of either BP,or the rest of the US. (Families, non-office jobs). Young, single, urban males (mostly), maybe..
        If you want to save money, quit over paying/ financing almost everything! For instance, I’ve never had a car payment. Never paid more than $2000 for a car or truck. Liabilty only insurance. Put at least 100k on most of them. Never bought new or financed furniture. Buy most clothes, appliances, electronics, even tools used or maybe discount stores, and don’t eat out often. & ÑEVER paid more than 30% of income for housing.
        Why? So I could work part time, DO stuff with my kids, run our own business, Give. Live.
        That will save tons more $$ for saving/ investing. You don’t have to live the lifestyle of the rich & famous just because you see it on TV/ internet.

        • Craig Curelop

          Ida,

          This is a great comment! I completely agree with 90% of it. The only part I do not agree with is saying that only young, single, urban males can do this. Anyone can ride a bike. If it’s within a reasonable distance, there are ways to get a nice bike and gear you can buy to combat many problems you mention here.

          It is a lifestyle change. I’m not saying you can wake up tomorrow and ride your bike to work. In order for it to not make a differnece, you would have to spend close to $1k per month extra in housing. You can definitely find a place, closer to work for less than $1k a month more.

          It may involve living in a slightly smaller, less updated place. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

    • Craig Curelop

      Ken,

      Maybe you do not come to BP for non real estate info and that is fine. We have great real estate content. However, many people at BiggerPockets are seeking financial independence. That’s who this article is for. The person who needs an extra $10k a year so they can save on the next down payment.

  28. Pavel K.

    Try going to Other poorer countries and you will learn how how Lucky we are in United States to have a car as a means for transportation. We are just in the country where people like you take things for granted complaining for a little things where others have worse struggles in life .

    • Craig Curelop

      Pavel,

      Please tell me if I’m misinterpreting your comment, but it seems that you have it completely backwards. You are saying that I (and other bikers) are taking cars for granted because we do not ride them? Yet, the people who drive every day to work without even thinking about the poor impact it has to our health, wealth, and happiness do not?

      I actually came from spending 2 weeks in a poor Guatemalan village about a month ago. It’s 90 degrees + every day with humidity. The people there ride their bikes/scooters up hills, work all day outside, and then come home to their loved ones. After spending time with these people, they are actually much happier than most Americans, despite not having things we call essentials. Electricity, running water, etc.

  29. Nancy Bachety

    Love love love your post Craig and all the responses it generated.
    Highlights the need for more bike-friendly roadways instead of caving to the same old unsafe roadway living.
    Love love love my bike for its my mental and fitness benefits. And I swim too. And until I was hit 7 months by a car while cycling, for pleasure, I drove my car 60 miles RT to my good income job.
    Grateful for the wake up call though. I invest in RE, follow Choose FI, write guest blogs there too, and now I can walk away from that grind. Or drive away from it. Or bike away from that grind.
    Next stop, biking in Colorado Springsor or Denver!
    Kudos for your positive responses too!

  30. Adam Buchholz

    I can’t relate to this one bit. One of the top reasons I invest in real estate and care about building wealth is so that I can buy and own cool cars. What’s the point in investing with nothing to spend it on?
    And cities suck, so living close to work isn’t appealing at all. Closer than I live now would be great, but a commute will always be necessary of you want a nice home that is the crowded by other people around you.

    • Craig Curelop

      Adam,

      If that’s what you choose to spend your money on, by all means do it. But for every nice car you buy and for every time you lay your foot down on the gas (break) you are driving yourself further and further away from financial independence.

      The point of money, for many of us is such that we can spend it on life’s essentials so we can escape the 9 to 5 and be able to spend our lives doing things we want to do rather than just buying cool things.

      If nice cars and houses are worth more to you than your time, then by all means. Buy the nice car.

  31. Frank Mooradian

    I’m at the beginning of my financial plan journey &….well, it’s started by replacing my car with a Honda PCX 150 to deliver Jimmy Johns to pay for a technology bootcamp, my bedrock of capital. PCX 150’s get 100 mpg & goes around 65 mph. The repairs are a it costly &, there’s also the danger factor. Another good note though…you’ll be local famous as the one on the scooter!

    • Craig Curelop

      Frank,

      Thank you for the note. It sounds like you are at the beginning of a pretty inspiring story. Delivering pizzas cheaply so that you can pay for your bootcamp. Which I hope then you will leverage into a higher paying job such that you can save a bit more and maybe get into real estate investing?

      That’s how I envision your journey anyway :). Excited to hear more about your journey as you progress!

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Rebecca,

      I never said to punch any dealers in the face. I was talking about the guy who invented the automobile, who I am guessing has been dead for quite some time now. Even more so, the “punch in the face” was not a literal “punch in the face.” Just a fun way to describe how I feel in just a few words.

  32. Simon Dupuis

    Hi Craig

    This is my first post and English is not my first language (I’m french) Biggerpockets helped me quit my job.
    I Rehab myself two duplexes and one triplex in 2017 rented them and I refinance one of them this month.
    I did all that work with a Mazda 6 and a trailer. (my Mazda 6 has died out of over use)
    This week I’m buying a pickup truck to be more efficient.

    I think i read 80% of the Biggerpockets post /blog.

    I think your post about ditching your car is the worst post I ever read on Biggerpockets.
    From a guy who isn’t really an investor (‘house hacking’ and ‘frugality’ doesn’t make you an ‘investor’).

    Simon

    • Craig Curelop

      Bonjour Simon!

      I’m guessing you know English much better than I know French so I will keep my response in English.

      I’m sorry if this post wasn’t exactly what you are looking for. Many of the users here on BiggerPockets are looking for ways to quit their 9 to 5s and purchase the next property. By being frugal, you are able to increase your savings rate and are able to quickly save for the next down payment.

      Unless you are going to your rental properties every day or multiple times per week, then I believe the truck is hard to justify.

      Merci!
      Craig

  33. Chris Knutson

    Cars are a perfect way to help you learn how to deal in real estate! Knowing a bargain. Finding distressed sellers. The ability to fix and flip. Marketing skills. The art of negotiation. Dealing with people and solving problems. I cant even count how many car deals I have done in my lifetime and have made money on most of them. If you can hustle a buck with mostly depreciating assets, then working with real estate will be much easier for you.

    • Craig Curelop

      Chris,

      Thanks for this comment! This is a great contribution and something I did not think of. This is true. If biking doesn’t excite you and you can hustle and make the time you spend driving in a car profitable, then go for it. I think it’s very hard to increase the value of a car though?

      I also know next to nothing on how to fix cars so I could be totally off here.

  34. Chris Ayers

    More impractical advice that has nothing to do with real estate and only applies to a small percentage of folks out there. Sure if I was single in my 20s and lived a few miles from work where parking was limited this might be an option, but the cons outweigh the pros.

    Have a family? Are you going to put them on the back of your bike? My kid got hurt or is sick – that 5 minute ride to the doctor is now 20 minutes.

    Financial benefits? Yeah not having one is cheaper, but you could buy a decent vehicle for a few grand and get a 5 year loan for under 3%.

    Environmental benefits? Transportation benefits? Don’t care – I might be alone on this one, but oh well.

    What do I care about? Getting where I need to quickly and on time in the comfort of a temperature controlled vehicle protected from the elements. If we want to call a vehicle a luxury then that’s one I’ll gladly pay for with the 1 additional home I’ll purchase to pay for it.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for your comment! This applies to a small percentage of people in their current situations. However, this is a lifestyle change. Not something to be done overnight. Many people who bike to work intentionally live at a distance that is close and safe to bike to work. I recommend doing this if possible.

      Biking with a family is entirely possible. I understand why you may not want to do that though. My point is that your bicycle should be your primary mode of transportation. When doing family trips, a car may make sense.

      Getting a loan on a car is not a good financial decision. You are taking debt out for a depreciating “asset.” If you can’t buy it cash, I do not believe you should be buying it.

      • Chris Ayers

        “Getting a loan on a car is not a good financial decision.”

        So you would pay cash for a 5-20K vehicle instead of taking out a loan for 3% and use that money you didn’t spend to earn 15-20%? Numbers seem to work.

  35. Raymond Jensen

    I think this article would be more helpful if it would offer a suggestion to those who do commute more than 10 miles to purchase a used car rather than a new one, make sure it is reliable, etc. As Kiyosaki says, a car is a liability, but not really, if its purpose is mostly to get you to work. But if you spend any more on a car than minimally necessary to get you to work, then that added cost is liability. I’d love to be able to commute by bike to work. If you do commute by bike, make sure you take streets with as little traffic as possible. I don’t trust drivers, and I minimize the probability of getting hit by one.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for the feedback, Raymond!

      Most people who are able to commute to work can do so because they intentionally live in a place where they can do so safely. Not saying that this is an immediate change, but perhaps one that someone could make in the next year or so?

      This is particularly for someone looking to expedite their way to financial independence. Or someone looking to save up for their next down payment.

  36. Stan tee

    Youve clearly explained why skinny jeans wearing hipsters think they are better than
    Everyone else by being snobby about not owning a car

    I wanna see you ride a bike in Atlanta in the summer
    If you don’t get run over , or mugged , you will walk in the front door of your job dripping sweat all over the floor and stinking up the place for the rest of the day

    Most people have jobs in a downtown area but that’s also where all the welfare parasites and their thug offspring live .
    Not many people want to live there or send their kids to a school full of thugs with meta
    Detectors at the door

    It’s very easy to not spend a ton of money on a car
    A reliable car can easily be purchased for less than $5000
    The gas guzzling V-8 4WD suv Im driving was purchased for $5000 with 110k on the clock , eight years ago. I’ve since put 120k more miles on it with zero repairs , only consumables like tires , brakes , alternator etc

    Sure an electric car would be nice but I just drove 400 miles in 6 hours yesterday
    Stopping once for 10 minutes to refuel
    No electric car will do that in my lifetime
    And if it was possible , that electric car would cost a lot more than $6k
    Electric cars are not pollution free , unless they are recharged from a hydroelectric power plant
    Most are recharged with juice from a coal fired power plant , but since that power plant is in a rural area , it doesn’t count as pollution .

    And cars and housing are not the biggest expense of the average person or family
    Have you added up the amount of money that the fedgov and local govs steak from you at the point of a gun ?

    29% fed income tax
    12.7% social security tax
    2% Medicare tax
    6% state income tax (where I live )
    7% sales tax

    It’s not hard to be frugal with an automobile
    I’m an expert at it
    Perhaps I should write an article on it ….

    And if I ever saw Henry Ford , I wouldn’t punch him in the face , I’d give him a kiss .

    • Craig Curelop

      Stan,

      I appreciate your lengthy comment. You clearly put some thought into this.

      I will agree that you own a car more frugally than most other Americans. However, it is hard to argue that it is better in any department when comparing to a bicycle. You may enjoy the pleasure of driving your large car more, but it’s certainly not better financially, environmentally, or healthily when compared to a bike.

      I can’t argue with your point on taxes… but unfortunately, there is little we can do with taxes. Other than invest in things that are tax advantaged (i.e. real estate). Saving on transportation will help invest in the next property which can help with the hefty tax bills most Americans pay.

  37. Max Miller

    I have always been frugal and used to bike to work as a teen. Now I live farther from work and have multiple jobs/clients because I hustle harder. I have never bought a new car. I bought a used Chevy Cruze eco and get around 38mpg. It has not needed anything besides gas, oil, wipers, and some bulbs. So, while I do agree that a vehicle is a huge depreciating asset, it is also a necessary evil that can be done frugally. My car expenses run around $2000/yr. I do disagree with the SUV craze. Why do you need a 6000lb vehicle to move your 200lb butt? I have transported toilets and cabinets in my car so an SUV is not really needed. I can borrow a truck if I need to transport more stuff. I like the sportier nature of cars and not having to spend $60+ on a fill-up is a positive. Also, with the amount of distracted driving going on, I will limit my bike riding to parks and sidewalks. Even if someone could ride a bike to work they would still need a car for some other reason so they might as well use it to for getting to work. Insurance would still be the same either way.

  38. Dave Rav

    Here we go with the bike vs car thing. (Sigh) You guys.

    Couple things here, buddy:
    -Not everyone lives close enough to their job where they can bike it.

    -Were you aware, that in 2016 or 2017 bicycling injuries were a leading cause of ER visits (many of which cases where folks were hit by cars!). How’s that for “the health” piece you spoke of.

    – Bicycling several miles to work as a professional isn’t doable. You can’t be all sweaty buddy when you need to look professional (and smell clean) at your job. This maybe could work if your job has shower facilities, but if not, I don’t suggest biking!

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks again, Dave. You seem to be very passionate on this subject and I appreciate your contributions.

      The changes in this article are not meant to be made tomorrow. It’s intended to plant a seed in the reader’s head about being a bit more selective in the next time he/she needs to move. Especially, if they are in pursuit of financial independence.

      If you have already made it and are financially free then biking vs. driving probably won’t make too much of a difference.

  39. Chris Merrill

    For many BP members like myself, a truck is an absolute necessity to do renovations and repairs to our home and investment properties, whether minor or major. Couldn’t do without it. If you just have a bike, you’ll be forced to sub our the work or rent a truck. Not to mention the fact that I would rather not show up to my day job a sweaty mess.

    In my area, pickup trucks hold their value pretty darn well, so in my opinion a truck is worth every penny!

    • Craig Curelop

      Chris,

      I would agree that if you are doing repairs multiple times each week, a truck would be worth it. However, most members on BiggerPockets do not have more than 5 properties. In fact, many are trying to save up for their first investment property.

      This article will help them save for the first or next property if they are still in pursuit of financial independence.

  40. Charles Morgan

    I compromised. I ride a motorcycle when I can. I live about 20 miles from work. I lower my Carbon footprint and get there in about the same time or less than a car.
    Motorcycle 576 lbs, Rider 230 lbs = efficiency 2.5 lbs.
    I also arrive smiling and sweat free!

  41. Justin Koehn

    Craig,
    Fun and courageous article! Lots of criticism, as expected I imagine, but I think you are right that riding a bike is better for A LOT of us in MOST areas of life. So, know that I agree 96%, and then think about these questions –
    1. What happens when you fall in love with an amazing girl who has a knee injury and riding a bike out on a date is not an option?
    2. If you can’t/don’t want to live within 10 miles of work, or don’t have the 2 hours per day for bike-commute time what then?
    3. What if, Efficiency-God Forbid, you ever have kids?

    I know that many will point to Uber taking over the world and dreamily envision self-driving Prius’ showing up at your doorstep on time for your date and your kids soccer tournaments, but that day is a ways off in MOST parts of this world.
    Thanks for the challenge!

    • Craig Curelop

      Justin,

      Thanks for the very interesting comment! I appreciate the creativity. To answer your questions:

      1. Any date I go on, I suggest a place that is within walking distance. However, these dates are not every day so I don’t think this would warrant having your car as a primary mode of transportation.

      2. Where you live is a decision that you need to make. If you want to live more than 10 miles from work, then biking doesn’t make sense. I can’t argue the point there. This is a lifestyle change.

      3. I don’t think there is a huge negative correlatoin between biking and having kids. You don’t take your kids to work. In the event you need to take your kids to the doctors or whatever it may be. Then it might make more sense to take the car.

      Hope this answers your questions!

  42. nicholas zeiler

    GRAIG!!!!!

    I have a number of issues with your article.
    1. You assume that the only place people drive is work. So even if I lived 10 miles from work (which i do not because I do not want to pay the exorbitant cost of housing, far more than my car costs me a YEAR) and could cycle there easily, what about all the other places I want to drive? Visit relatives a couple hours away, go rock climbing four hours away, go to my brother high school play in another city? Should I Uber? Or are you going to say I should bicycle there as well?
    2. At any given time I may only have 100lb of stuff in my car, but what about when i need to buy item for the house that will not fit on a bicycle? Or go camping? Pick up a friend?
    3. You do not mention safety. In a busy city in the morning commute a fender bender is common place with vehicles. No injuries from those. But with a bicycle a trip to the hospital is much more likely.
    4. Punch the guy who invented the automobile in the face? You must live some super privileged lifestyle where you were located only ten miles from everything. Did your parents ever take you to soccer practice in car? Were you ever driven to school? Did you play a sport when you were young? Bet you were glad your parents didn’t make you haul all your gear on a bicycle to the away game. If it were nor for cars you never would have been able to go to college, move to a new city, or whatever else people do on a daily basis. Seriously, think about, where you be if your parents (and you) had followed this advice in the past? Cmon.
    5. CARS SAVE TIME! In fact they save me so much time its worth the cost of maintaining to use. Its EFFICIENT! Because my time is more valuable than the cost of gasoline and oil changes.
    6. CARS ARE FUN???!!! Many people really enjoy their vehicles, people have been having going fast on four wheels for many years and now its time to say goodbye?
    7. I think best case scenario you are out of touch with any lifestyles besides you own little bubble where you have no kids, live in the trendy part of town, and no hobbies that are farther away than the nearest coffee bar. Worst case you are simply so rich and spoiled you actually have not ever needed to drive yourself anywhere and really think the rest of society should follow suit.
    8. Your article was the worst I have ever read on this site, I cant believe they let you publish it, Bigger Pockets is going to start seeming pretty damn out of touch if they let stuff like this slide through. Do us all a favor and resign, and get a life. If you don’t have a car and you live ten miles from work i bet you are boring as a bowl of porridge.
    8. I think you own a car.
    9. You write garbage.

    • Craig Curelop

      Nicholas,

      I appreciate your lengthy response. It shows that you care a lot about this topic! I’ll address your comments one by one.

      1. My point is to get rid of your car as a primary means of transportation. For these one-off situations, you can drive, Uber, or whatever is most convenient for you.

      2. This is a similar point to #1 so same answer for the most part. My only question is, is that do you need all 100lbs of stuff every time you go somewhere?

      3. Car accidents are the single biggest cause of death in the US. Unless the bike rider is driving erratically, the only accident that would likely occur is the car bumps the biker and the biker falls. Cars? You can have 50mph+ head on collisions, T-Bones, etc. From a personal stand point, I’ve been biking to work or school since 2012. I’ve been hit only once and I wasn’t the least bit hurt.

      4. My parents did drive me around to sports practice. However, I’m not sure they ever drove me to school. I took the bus every day. Walked 15-20 minutes in all conditions. Cars have never played a role in me going to college or getting me a job? I’m not sure how that is relevant at all. If my parents followed this advice and we lived closer to school/work. I think we would all be a bit better off. But that’s neither here nor there.

      5. The cost of driving a car is $0.55 per mile. Some times cars make sense, but again it does not need to be your primary mode of transportation.

      6. I would argue that SOME people enjoy their cars, but MOST do not.

      7. I would disagree. I know many people that bike to work and live very happy, healthy, and wealthy lives. Maybe it does not fit your current lifestyle, but with a few lifestyle changes, it absolutely could.

      8. I’m sorry you feel that way. Though, I don’t think you really feel this way about me. It seems that you simply disagree with this article and therefore represent it as the “worst thing you have ever read.”

      8. (You have 2 8s) – You caught me. I do own a car. But I do not use it. In fact, I rent it out so I have turned that “liability” into an asset. This is another subject on its own.

      9. I have nothing to add from my response to my first #8.

  43. Todd Hanks

    Denver, huh? Were you smoking weed when you wrote this?

    I mean, come on! You’re writing this stuff for REAL ESTATE INVESTORS (i.e. people who are often driving around through multiple suburbs on a weekly basis looking at houses, meeting up with contractors, running to banks, title offices, law firms, etc)? You’re going to sit here and tell us that we will somehow save money if we try to do this all on a bicycle? That we are somehow going to get to the best deals first and beat our competitors if we ride around on a bicycle? That we’re going to make it to all of our appointments all over town in the snow or rain or extreme heat (and be taken seriously when we walk in with the effects of such possibilities on our person)? And the list could go on.

    Please stick to articles that can truly benefit investors or else put a disclaimer at the beginning of the article stating that the article is really only for a very small percentage and won’t pertain to the overwhelming majority. And please think carefully before you make statements like “Punch in the face to the person who created the automobile”. I do believe that wins the award for the dumbest statement that I’ve heard or read in my almost 47 years on this planet.

    • Craig Curelop

      Todd,

      Thanks for your contribution! Believe it or not, I moved to Denver over a year ago and haven’t smoked weed once since I’ve been here.

      Those who do real estate as their full time gig, riding your bike may not make a whole lot of sense. However, many of our members are users looking to purchase their first or second property. They are interested in achieving financial independence through real estate. Reducing (or removing) a large portion of this expense will certainly help here.

      I will admit that I should have clearly stated that this article is intended for those who are in the early stages where an extra $10k can make a huge difference. Though, this can be taken up by anyone. Maybe you can relay this onto your kids as they begin to build their nestegg.

      Happy birthday!

      • Todd Hanks

        Craig,

        Hopefully no brownies either! 😉

        I’m certainly am not opposed to the article when clearly delineate your audience. If you are a yuppie living in an urban or suburban area with no kids, you work close to where you live, have public transportation as a back-up, have a small investment radius (close to where you live), and don’t plan to lift a finger doing any of the renovations, then you article makes sense as far as saving money. Hope we investors weren’t too hard on you. Blessings!

        • Craig Curelop

          No such thing as being too hard :).

          My point that I also should have stated more clearly is that your primary means of transportation should not be your car. When you need to do a renovation, or the weather is horrible, or need to take your kids somewhere, a car makes more sense.

          But most people, most of the time are riding in their cars alone just going to a sedentary job. In these cases, I believe a bike makes a bit more sense :).

  44. Manoj N.

    Love your post Craig. I am 42 years old and father of two. I commute to work in Boulder (6 miles one way) everyday. It makes me happy and I feel energized all the day. I “ride-for-dollars” rather than “drive-for-dollars”. 🙂 I know this does not work for everyone, but those who can, should try it out.

  45. Tracey Geary

    I’m with the majority on this one. Call us back when you’ve been through several of the following:
    -Have a spouse and have to coordinate locations and jobs
    -Babies or small children who go to daycare on the way to/from work
    -Big children who have multiple activities
    -Latchkey kids who you don’t want spending another half hour alone every day
    -A sick spouse, child or parent that you are primary to take care of
    -Lost a job in a down economy and have to take what you can find
    -It would be detrimental to take your child out of their school district
    -Live in an area where there are virtually no bike lanes, and few shoulders
    -The three ways to work are through the two worst areas in the county and the third is a limited access highway
    -And that’s before I even mention weather.
    Would it be nice to bike to work? Sure it would. But for most of us, it isn’t practical.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for adding, Tracey.

      Unfortunately, I will not be able to get back to you for quite some time give the scenarios you suggested above. Riding your bike full time is certainly a lifestyle change. For many, it would involve moving close to work. For those that do value riding their bikes to work, they intentionally live somewhere where biking to work is possible. This is not a change that is meant to happen tomorrow in your current situation, but over time.

      I address the weather situation in this article. There are many other countries who have harsher conditions than we do in the US, but still bike to work.

  46. Alia Lysiuk

    When I lived in NYC and SF, I only took public transportation. It was great…most of the time. But having lived in LA now for the last 10 years, getting rid of my car is not only impossible but not even worthy of dreaming about. On the complete opposite end of the living location spectrum, even when I was working and living in NH, I would still need a car. While what this article suggests could be feasible for a few locations, it’s pretty unrealistic for most. Cost of living is so high in and around cities that most people have no choice but to drive. Public transportation in the US is a joke in most places. People who are on a time crunch to get home to children (both 2 legged and 4 legged) don’t have time to take public transportation (usually at least 30 minutes longer than driving). As for riding a bike? Well, in LA, we call that a suicide mission. Not to mention the temperatures are 80+ degrees almost year-round. So unless there is an in-office shower, this is also not reasonable for anyone.

    While I would LOVE to get rid of my car, I know that it’s 100% impossible where I live. So instead of looking at the negatives (which we all know), why not try to suggest ways to make your commute useful? I now listen to BiggerPockets podcasts every morning and then catch up on phone calls with family back East (via blutooth, of course) on my way home. Others can listen to audio books or even learn a new language.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for sharing your story with us! It sounds like you make the most of your commutes, which I can certainly appreciate.

      A life of frugality and limited car use is definitely one that needs to be chosen. Many people who do this intentionally live where they are able to bike every where. This is not a change is meant to happen over night.

  47. colin carr

    Craig
    I’m all about this, but telling an American not to drive their insanely expensive unnecessary $80,000 2018 Ford Raptor because they “need to get their kids to the doctor” is like trying to explain the basic logic of a round earth to a flat earth theorist. Some of these posts actually had some points mixed into all the vitriol. I use a car to get to the mountains because I like to mountain bike, but keep it efficient with a 35mpg vehicle. Anyways, if it works for you then you keep on smiling to all the haters as you blissfully pass them by in traffic every morning.

    Also, this was definitely labeled personal finance, so for everybody so concerned that it wasn’t a real estate post, you know you can hit the X button in the upper right of your browser and move on with life right?

    • Todd Hanks

      Even if one wants to look at this as a post about personal finance, it is still an article on a real estate investment blog (i.e. personal finance for real estate investors). And as such, it is just completely wrong for about 98% of us. The math only works for a very limited set of situations. If most people did what the article espouses in their areas and in their situations, they would LOSE TIME and EFFECTIVENESS (which would contribute to much more money lost than they would save on the cost of not having to maintain a vehicle).

      • Craig Curelop

        Todd,

        Thanks for your comment, but I don’t think your 98% number is accurate. The majority of BP users are actually newbies looking to close on their first deal. Saving $10k+ a year can be huge in getting to their down payment.

        While this may not work for many people who work full time in real estate, it does work for many of the newbies working the 9 to 5 trying to pinch their pennies.

      • Craig Curelop

        Ida,

        Traffic rules are different every where so I can’t speak to where you live. I’ve lived in quite a few different states (MA, IL, CA, and CO). I can assure you that in all of those places bikes passing cars is perfectly legal. I’ve done it and haven’t caused any accidents in any of those scenarios.

  48. Tchaka Owen

    I love riding and own 5 bikes!
    However, we must remember that most of the US isn’t like Holland or Beijing. If the objective is to get people to bike more and spend less on automobiles, I wholeheartedly agree.
    But no bicycle can replicate an M3. So bikes must share the road. 🙂

  49. Hmmm…enjoyed the article!…I did not have time to read all the replies but lots of negativity out there! I feel the author was trying to point out how wasteful cars are for many reasons…hey people everything is a choice. We moved to downtown Vancouver 2 years ago as my husband was commuting 50 hours a month. Awesome, easy, stress free lifestyle. I LOVE rolling up to meet new prospective renters in my certified pre owned Yaris that is about 8 years old, the only car we own. I KNOW that the money we have saved on not having high car expenses over the years has really benefitted how early we will retire and always is beneficial when we are talking mortgages with bankers to invest…hmmm never had a car payment! ….Thanks for an awesome article!

  50. Brian Titone

    I finally ditched my 30 minute by car commute for a job just 2 miles from home (searched everyday for two years to find the right fit). My wife is back in school to become a teacher and after seeing how much my days were improved by this relatively small change, she too will be looking for a part time position close by to replace her commute.

    I now ride my bicycle or walk to work whenever possible and we plan on selling two of our three vehicles and becoming a one car family this summer. There was a time in my life when cars and motorcycles were the only way i knew how to have fun but building a future for my son has become much more important and the extra cash (and one monthly payment) will go directly towards avoiding student loans and future RE investments.

  51. I live out in the country and it would take me an hour longer one way to commute. It would be more far more dangerous, and not even legal on most of the highways. The weather would prevent using a bike at least half the time. It is horribly impractical to carry things. I laughed most of the way through the article wondering what planet some people live on…

    • Craig Curelop

      Dave,

      Thanks for your comment. I would say that you are in the minority in terms of commuting that far to work. Taking any piece of advice from this article would require you to move closer to work. Whether you are willing to do that or not is completely up to you.

  52. The most car for your money will be a 5-10 year old Buick

    They have no resale value since only elderly people buy them and they always buy brand new , drive them very little and usually take very Good care of them

    I get 8-10 yr old 4 wd SUV’s at auctions
    The one I’m driving now is a 06 expedition I bought in 2012 in excellent condition with 120k on the clock for $6600
    In 06 someone paid $46k for it and drobe orb for 120k
    It cost them $40,000 in depreciation
    I paid $6,600 and have driven it an additional 120k with zero repairs , only consumables like tires brakes , alternator , batteries , etc

    It’s currently worth about $3500
    So I’ve gotten 120k miles of transport for me , my family , furniture , appliances , lumber , bags of cement etc
    My son is camping in it this weekend at Talladega.
    Cost me $3000 in deprecation for the same miles that the person that bought it new paid $40k for

    Deprecation cost you far far more than fuel
    If you buy vehicles that dont depreciate much
    You don’t have to worry about the mpg

    Used pickups hold the value very well
    Although when new , a nice crew cab pickup isn’t about $20k cheaper than a comparable equipped suv that is based on the pickup
    A top of new the line Silverado high country
    Stickers for $55k but can Be bought for about $40k
    The comparable Tahoe Yukon gets stickers for about $60k and Is discounted aboit $4k

    Then when it’s 12 years old the Silverado is worth about double what the Yukon is worth

    So if you’re buying new , get the pickup
    If you’re buying used , get the
    suv and a utility trailer

    Sure , it’s gonna used more gas , but a full size
    Suv or pickup is far safer in a crash than a tiny car and if you buy it right , the difference in depreciation will make up for the extra fuel cost

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for this insight, Stan!

      I think that your way of purchasing a car is better than 99% of people out there. For those who NEED one, I would suggest they consult you. However, I do stand by my point in saying that bikes are a better financial decision than cars are.

      Thanks again for this comment! Super valuable to many people.

  53. One good way to get a Nice vehicle for cheap is when someone you know s thinking about buying a new vehicle and is going to trade their used vehicle in on the new on each

    Ask the person if they will sell your their car For what the stealership offers them as trade in value

    A friend of mine if fixing to buy a new suv and his current one he bought new 12 years ago for $49k , and it has only 90k lies on it .
    The dealership offered him $3000 trade in value

    So guess who is getting a very nice one owner used luxury 4wd V-8 gas guzzling suv with heated and cooled leather seats for $3000???

    The guy will have a Cow when he sees me at home depot tossing bags of concrete in the back

    • Deanna Opgenort

      I second this! Sometimes friends are afraid of selling you their used car, for fear that if something major goes wrong you’ll hold it against them, so it’s always good to have an open discussion about your expectations and exactly what is and isn’t wrong with the car ahead of time. Also budget for an unexpected repair. Every time I get a used car I mentally include $1k above the purchase price for unexpected repairs. I’m happy if I DON’T have to spend that, but I’m not overextended if I do.

  54. Ron Gines

    Craig,

    I admire and respect your decision to ride a bike. I find some of the discussion and your replies a little interesting though. Where one lives usually involves many more factors than your mode of transportation. In my situation, I used to live in the middle of the city with a short commute. As I got older and had children, priorities changed. I now live on 9 acres in the middle of nowhere and it is my oasis. I have woods, a pond, 150 apple trees, a yard the size of a football field and a pole barn that is 35×70 with my office, music/workout room, bathroom, 2 A/C units workshop and place for my powered “toys”. I wouldn’t have any of that if I lived as close to work as you describe. For me I put about 30,000 miles a year on my vehicles. You can argue that this is too much time in a vehicle, but on the other hand, I have not gone camping in almost 20 years because I can swing a hammock, build a camp fire, swing an ax, have a bon fire (with 30+ foot flames) any time I want.

    I also chuckled that you commented that you ride your bike everywhere but would never own a motorcycle because they are death traps. I would never ride Vulcan to work, but I can ride out here sometimes travel miles without ever seeing another car.

    The lifestyle that you have is awesome, but just because it is right for you doesn’t mean it has to be right for me. I would take my experience over yours any day of the week.

    You keep riding your bicycle to work, and I keep riding my motorcycle in the country. We’ll both be happy.

    • Craig Curelop

      Ron,

      Thank you for this comment. Just reading it has taken me to a state of euphoria. It sounds like a wonderful place to live.

      I agree that this is a lifestyle change. I’m not saying that you can just start riding your bike tomorrow. If you are in a financial position where you are comfortable driving a car every day, then go for it. For the people trying to obtain their own little piece of heaven that you seem to have already attained, riding your bike makes a lot of sense.

  55. Jerry W.

    Hey Craig,
    You have gotten an amazing amount of posts on your blog, congrats. While you have been roasted pretty well I cannot resist throwing a little more “gas” on the fire hehe. I do appreciate that bikes are cool for some folks, but you really went overboard on your point. I rode a $10 bike to the university for a few years from about 6 miles out. It actually was about the same amount of time due to heavier traffic near the university, and especially for finding parking. I would often have to walk nearly 10 blocks to get to class anyway. That being said I have some major kudos to the guy who invented the car. I am a volunteer fireman. While at most it is only 2 minutes by car to any place in town, when the fire alarm goes off the added 4 or 5 minutes to get to the firehall is not an option. Oddly enough especially for car wrecks hehe. When lives are at stake the speed of the automobile is king. It is also pretty hard to carry enough water on a bicycle to put out a fire bigger than a cigarette, and of course jaws of life with their power source are out of the question. Even in college in Laramie WY there were a LOT of days biking was not an option. Very high winds, snow, ice, and even 30 degree below zero weather. We had to have a car to transport our kids, and if you want to visit your parents or go shopping you simply need a car here. Very few towns in Wyoming have taxis, none have subways, and precious few have buses. I don’t think there is any train travel in WY anymore either, have not seen an AMTRACK train in probably 20 years. Having over 30 rentals I can only imagine the joy of balancing a toilet on a bicycle, let alone a water heater, stove or fridge. I also have a 1992 Ford 3/4 ton pickup in addition to my 2004 Lincoln Towncar. It is great at pulling the dump trailer that I put shingles into when I strip the roof, and is usually great for going and buying shingles with. if you were ever a teenager, well there can be a lot more fun in a car than a bike. I also have some rentals in nearby towns, one is 32 miles away and the other is 55 miles away. The town I have to go to in order to get many supplies like flooring is 132 miles away. Try packing anything back from there on a bike. While there are many good things about riding a bike, the reality is that not having a car is pretty dumb for a huge amount of people. there is an expense, but don’t buy new, we usually try for 2 or 3 years old with low miles and drive them for about 10 years, but I have had my pickup for 24 years. I am looking at some of the new ones with favor though. Technically I guess I dont own a truck, my company does. Anyway interesting article, and I am much better at bashing other folks writing than writing a blog myself. Be well and safe and bike on.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Jerry,

      I very much value your opinion so don’t worry about throwing “gas on the fire.” You are just adding to the discussion. Firstly, I do want to thank you for your services in the fire department, I am sure you are a hero to many.

      As for biking not being a valid option for many folks, you are right. I could have done a better job at explaining who this article was for. It is for the person who goes to the same 9 to 5 job every day without 30+ rental properties. The person who is trying to attain their first or second property and must get there through means of frugality.

      You’re right. I would be pretty upset if my house was on fire and the fire department showed up on a bicycle with a few camelbaks to combat the fire. It also does not make sense if you manage your own properties and do a lot of the labor yourself.

      I don’t like to make any assumptions, but with 30+ rental properties, I seem to believe that you are doing okay and saving an extra $10k per year by biking everywhere is not worth the time or hassle.

      Thanks again!

  56. Well, that was a good read but I don’t entirely agree with it. I have two kids and a wife while living in a town that requires me to have a
    car to get myself and my family to different places. I would not be able to ride a bikoe 60 miles every day and taking a train costs more every year than driving my car given that I have no car issues throughout the year. So this article is great for people who can afford to live within walking distance or biking distance to their job, preferably a city with a subway system, as well as not having kids to support in every way possible.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for contributing, Lewis!

      Replacing a bike with a car is a complete lifestyle change. Definitely not something you can do over night. The biggest step would be to move somewhere close to work such that you could bike to work every day (when your kids are not with you).

      When it comes to taking the kids out on weekend trips. Then it makes a lot of sense to use the car. But just thinking of it as a secondary means of transportation is what I was trying to get at.

  57. Got my first motorcycle when I was 12
    We lived in a rural area , and it was my transport for many years
    I put 6000 miles on a Honda Trail CT 90 before I was old enough to legally drive

    If you are pondering a scooter for transport
    Please consider a nice used motorcycle
    Cheaper and safer since it can keep up with traffic
    The trail 90s are starting to actually be worth something but they make a great transportation

    But if you shop around and know what to look for you can get a car very cheap
    A few years ago
    I bought a garaged , one owner 86 Mazda 323 with every maintenance receipt for $200
    New tires battery and water pump and I drove that baby for several years
    The AC even worked

  58. Hilary Catton

    This is clearly an article based on bias, and your way of living is not better than another – especially lifestyles you don’t have, or want. It seems very condescending to tell people that things they are doing, such as owning a car is wrong, and its very unsettling hearing you only think your way of life is the best way.

    There are many reasons I can think of, of why a car is very valuable, especially for different lifestyles. I have chosen to have a lifestyle that spends my time in the mountains, which having a car is a necessity. What am I going to do without a car, constantly ask my friends for rides? Make my schedule based on people I know and their driving schedules? How would I see new parts of the state every weekend, meet new people in small towns, and enrich my life with experiences that my car takes me to?

    Also, I hate to bring up gender – but as a single young man, you clearly have NO idea what it is like to be a woman riding her bike in a city. What if I don’t want to succumb myself to being whistled at on my commute to work? What if I want to avoid people in the street who harass me? What about the dark evenings when women have to look over their shoulders to make sure they are safe? On top of that – what are families supposed to do? You don’t have a family. You don’t have to think about other options in your life but your own. What about people with pets? Should I not have a dog? But realistically, Im sure a dog is using too much of my finances as well, so nix that one.

    Also, don’t you still own a car, even if you are renting it out to make money?!? I mean realistically, your car is still causing all the same damage you are telling people you aren’t creating — AND you can still use your car whenever you really need it.

    I understand everyone has their opinions on what is the best way to live, or become financially free, but I truly feel like you should be enriching people’s lives in their journey towards financial betterment, instead of being patronizing, and judging people like there is only one way to live. As the girlfriend of someone who didn’t own a car and rode his bike for 10 years in Denver and Chicago to save money, he has his own stories and Im sure they don’t even come close to your experience, so please don’t think you can make assumptions for others. Just remember, people can still be “successful” by NOT being so extreme. I just think people will be way more excited about your ideas (and way less likely to fight them – even though I think you wanted people to) if you present them with a little more humility 🙂

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Hilary,

      I’m sorry if this article really struck a nerve with you, but I am glad you have shared your thoughts.

      The intent (which I should have stated more clearly) was to explain that many people are too quick to jump in their cars to do all of the things they need to do. If we use bicycles as our primary method of transportation and cars only when absolutely necessary, many studies show that most people will be happier, healthier, and wealthier.

      In many cases (including yours), it is impossible to make this change overnight. I certainly do not expect you to ride to the mountains and back every day. However, for those in pursuit of financial independence, it would be possible over the next 12-18 months to move to a location where you could bike to most places. It seems that you place a very high value on living in the mountains so I’m guessing you would not be willing to make that change. That’s totally fine and is a decision that only you can make.

      You are 100% correct on me not knowing what it is like being a woman. There’s not much I can add there. As for families, this was targeted more towards those who ride to work, which would be without their families. So using a bike as their primary method of transportation during the week and a car when they are travelling with their families is absolutely acceptable.

      I do still own a car, I do rent it out, and I use it maybe once a month for a Costco run. However, if I did not rent it out those people would still rent a car so there is still added pollutants in the air.

      The extent on which one achieves financial independence is a spectrum. The more extreme you are on the spectrum, there is a higher probability that you will achieve FI sooner rather than later. I do believe I am enriching people’s lives towards financial betterment. Biking, exercising, and breathing in that fresh air every morning is glorious. It’s the best part of the day!

      I’m well aware that there are many very successful people who drive their cars and are very happy doing so. I just believe that for those whose ONE THING is to become financially independent should think twice about consistently driving a car.

      Thanks again for your thoughts here, Hilary!

      • Scott A Smith

        I’m 100% with Hillary and that this article came across as male Millennial spewage, whether intended or not.

        Riding a bicycle is a very dangerous activity for people as well. Just look at the number of deaths and injuries to bike riders in cities where the highest percentage of riders exist, which is major metro cities like SF, NYC, Chicago etc. and can never fully replace a car. Yes, biking is healthier if nothing else was considered, but I’ll take my chances with public transport or my own vehicle.

        This is a case of poor perspective in the case of the author and pitching a “solution” that only works in about 20-30 city centers in the entire country for a small segment of the populace. I understand his point but it was poorly delivered. Not many people in their 40s are riding bikes now, even the ones who grew up bike commuting…because you know…age happens. Also, the employer hopefully has a shower facility, because how many people bike to work 10 miles and then just sit at their desk? Not cool.

  59. Marshall Hooper

    Some good points here, but obviously it’s coming from a young bachelor that can afford to live within a bike’s ride commute of his job. Many more factors to consider for those with a family and living in areas where their centrally located jobs are unfortunately not surrounded by affordable homes for families at 4+ more or city schools that are worth a dime.

    In places like Texas, cars are unfortunately a necessity for families. But it doesn’t mean you have to buy a new car or a fancy car.

    My wife and I try to find cars that are approaching a flattening on their depreciation curve, but still have at least 100k miles left of “good years”. We then pay cash for them and we only pay for liability insurance (and we never buy the extended warranty).

    I’d love to be able to ride a bike to work or grocery store or to the hospital for my son’s check-ups. But it’s fortunately not advised to put a 6 month old on a bike or carrier. It’s also not safe considering how many people are likely driving around right now with their phones in their hands reading this article.

  60. Andrea L Eskew

    I am definitely going to have to pass. Assuming it only takes one hour each way, that is two hours of commuting with 2 kids under 4. It is also over 100° more than half of the year here. Definitely doable for a single person, but not so great with a family.

  61. Joel DeVriendt

    I am kind of a black sheep here as I am both an avid car enthusiast as well as an advocate for cycling-as-transportation whenever possible. The engineer in me agrees whole-heatedly with you on the first point about the inefficiency of cars. Modern cars are heavy because our society is addicted to safety and luxury, one of which is heavily mandated by the government and both of which are primary sales drivers. I think the average person spends a LOT more on safety than they realize, and i dare say it indirectly makes up the majority of the 16% you noted the average person is spending on transportation. If safety was a choice rather than a mandate, it would be extremely easy to manufacture lightweight simple vehicles (i wont call them cars) that can get 100mpg and cost a fraction of what a “normal” car does in both the initial price and maintenance. But, very few people are interested in such an option and both the NHTSA and the insurance industry do not want something like that on the road. You can no longer register/plate side by side UTV’s in most states for the same reason. So unless you have the time, knowledge, and desire to assemble your own lightweight frankenstein of efficiency (usually a modern engine in an old roadster chassis), youre generally stuck following the herd or sticking with good old bike transport!

  62. Sam Schrimsher

    Wow, so much criticism! Certainly, it would be better for all if more people biked. People would be healthier, happier, and the environment would be cleaner. Lots of ppl like to complain about things like not having enough money, high health care costs, and traffic but they don’t do anything. Here, Craig has suggested a solution and he’s actually taking action on it. I personally think it’s a nice option to consider. Personally, I’d probably do a variation. Instead of no cars, less cars. Maybe being a one car family would be our answer.

  63. Michael Fillmer

    Give the guy a break! It’s a good article. Craig’s article clearly does not work for everyone for thousands of different reasons (or maybe excuses). Everyone’s circumstances are different. For the people wanting to be debt free who happen to live close to work- this article is for you. However, I think that the majority of people’s circumstances are much different which is why there is so much negative feedback. It’s not a bad article just maybe not the best setting or reading audience. This is a great article for a “How To get Out if Debt” blog.

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