utility cycling

The Great 2015 Edinburgh Bike Experiment – February Edition

For those that haven’t read about the Great 2015 Edinburgh Bike Experiment, my plan this year is to calculate how much money (if any) I have saved by running a bike instead of relying on public transport or the car. The rules are pretty unscientific and shoogly, but why should proper science get in the way of fun, eh?

So what happened in February?

Last month was typically wintery and horrible, with plenty biting wind, rain and frost to keep even the most hardy cyclist on their overshod toes. I’d love to say I was planted in the saddle for the full 28 days, but unfortunately the knees are still causing havoc so I took the decision to take two working weeks’ off the trusty steed.

Much to my annoyance, the cycling break has done less than zero to improve the joints. They are just as irritated as I am. Every £1.50 in the maw of Lothian Buses has complemented my knee pain and each watery sneeze, sniffle and cough has reminded me of how sharing space with strangers is decidedly unfun. I’d take rain and a headwind any day. So figures this month take a big bite due to public transport use.

The bike numbers

Due to around ten days off the bike, the numbers are a bit slim. Saying that, I still did a reasonable whack so all is not lost.

  • Total journeys: 37
  • Total distance: 168 miles
  • Average speed: 9.4 mph
  • Total calories: 6,140 kcal
  • Total climb: 5,959 feet

I even did a little pie chart so you can see my journey type breakdown:


I think it’s interesting to see that so little of my bike use is leisure-oriented at the moment. From a fitness perspective, this breakdown shows just how easy it is to stay fit by choosing the take the bike over other transport modes. Leisure cycling, for me at least, is quite a time-intensive way to stay fit.

Bike expenditure 

  • No bike maintenance costs this month.
  • £24 – Bus fares, due to stupid knees
  • Total = £24.00

Public transport equivalent

  • I substituted £61.60 worth of bus fares this month with the bike. (My bike commutes are often two-bus trips.) So the £51 Ridacard would have been more economical.
  • Ridacard cost = £51

Car equivalent

  • Monthly car running cost – £39.16
  • Petrol cost for 168 miles – £15.12. Now, the journeys I’ve been doing are in the city, so I’m going to round it up to £18 to account for congestion.
  • Total running cost = £57.16

Gym equivalent

  • Total cost – £30.50

Grand totals!

  • Public transport (£51) + gym (£30.50) – expenditure (£24.00) = £57.50 savings
  • Car (£57.16) + gym (£30.50) – expenditure (£24.00) = £63.66 savings

That’s not too bad, actually. I was expecting a lot worse.

Year to date totals

  • Bike vs Public Transport – £117.50 in pocket
  • Bike vs Car – £131.82 in pocket


Next month I’m going to try and make this all a bit clearer, maybe with some tables or better graphics to display the info more visually… Happy pedalling until March, folks!