View Full Version : Convince me not to drive

03-24-2007, 03:16 AM
I have $1000 saved, which I've decided to allocate to a vehicle purchase. Should I buy a new bike or a used car? With these adverse circumstances in mind, I am finding it hard to resist burning fossils (but I am resisting):

My commute is 13 miles each way, between Portland and Beaverton
It is 20 minutes each way by car; 70 minutes by bike/MAX combo
The longest bike segment of my commute, about 3 miles, is on Beaverton roads like Cornell and 158th
I'll still have to take the bus during the worst of winter weather

If I worked in Portland, there would be no question; but unfortunately I'm not in a position to switch jobs right now. Living in Beaverton is even less feasible!

03-24-2007, 09:38 AM
Is it 20 minutes in back-to-back, rush hour traffic, or just 20 minutes in theory?

03-24-2007, 11:43 AM
My commute isn't during rush hour. Yeah, if it were, the evening (inbound) commute would be longer than the Tri-Met/bike option.

03-24-2007, 07:40 PM
Do you enjoy reading and other such activities on MAX? Do you enjoy being able to get a minimum amount of healthy exercise on your work commute without having to take time after work or pay for a gym membership? To me, these are compelling reasons to go with the bike/MAX commute.

03-25-2007, 12:19 AM
Is it possible to carpool with a co-worker and help pay for gas, in lieu of having a car? Try carpoolmatchNW.org to see if there's anyone out there you could share a ride with.

Greg Raisman
03-25-2007, 09:44 AM
Your message starts with you saying that you had to save $1000 to be ready to buy some transportation. You're going to spend more money using the car -- just in gas and oil changes -- than the bike will cost to maintain. Can you afford those extra costs?

At $1000, you're not going to get the most reliable or efficient car in the world. So, if you had to save $1000 to get to buy your own transportation, what happens when the cheap car needs surgery?

For $1000, you could get a sweet bike and all the gear you'd need. It would be nice stuff -- low maintenance. Much lower costs for travel. Plus it would be more fun to ride when you're not on your way to work. A $1000 car would not be much fun to drive (after the first week or so).

03-25-2007, 03:26 PM
Your thread name, "Convince Me Not to Drive", indicates (to me) that you decided already not to drive. At least, that you strongly prefer the bike/MAX idea. You could, of course, listen to the pro-bike comments here (with which, FWIW I heartily concur). But I think your inner voice has spoken; just go for it!

03-26-2007, 06:51 PM
Thank you for your responses, especially biketony. I just turned down the car offer.

I'm thinking Novara Randonee ($760 with my 20% member coupon!), Jamis Aurora, or Cannondale T800.

rubbish heap
03-26-2007, 09:24 PM
if anything, think of how much you're benefiting your personal health.

03-27-2007, 06:34 AM
I think you ROCK ! I wholeheartedly agree with Greg as well. I recently stumbled accross an awesome book you may be interested in : "How to Live Well Without Owning a Car" by Chris Balish (I scored a used copy from Amazon.) Personally, I own an 18 year old clunker and drive it as little as possible. It's a lifestyle choice and a responsible option in my opinion. Now if only I could land a job in Portland life would be really good :)

03-27-2007, 09:21 PM
I can give you lots of reasons.
Driving costs $.50 per mile ($20/day to the beav) to drive (AAA).
Drivers inhale 3 times more pollution than cyclists (transalt.org)
numerous health effects from regular exercise
never looking for a parking spot
connection to people
a clear conscience

I sometimes have carpooled from Beaverton to Portland with a co-worker and found that the drive time vs. max time are equal.

But the best is that I had to meet someone (who was driving) at 185th in Beaverton. He called me at 5:15pm to say he was 15 minutes away. At 6:45pm he finally arrived and complained about being in traffic the whole way.

04-02-2007, 08:18 AM
...and if you can't get a job in Portland, try telecommuting! I telecommute to NYC every day. Yeeehaw!

04-02-2007, 02:42 PM
you'll save another $1000 within a few months on gas, car insurance, gym membership, car repairs and other things i'm probably forgetting. then if you still want a car, you can buy one. also, you could get a good bike for $200 if you wanted and keep $800 in the bank.

starting out with a 13-mile commute is hardcore, but if you're gonna try it, now's the time to do it. weather's great.

04-03-2007, 12:37 PM
I'm definitely gonna use MAX to get under the mountain. :)

Matt P.
04-04-2007, 05:29 PM
That's good, because bikes don't dig that well. ;-)

Back to the original subject - Hey, with a $760 bike, there's enough of that $1,000 left to get some bikey clothes, something to keep you out of the rain.

Just a thought.

04-05-2007, 02:13 AM
please spend more than 200 bucks on a bike (unless it is used and an absolute steal). i promise you'll regret it if you don't. buy something decent.

04-09-2007, 11:33 PM
I got the Randonee. I have some choice words for the bike shop workers at the Hillsboro REI, who failed to connect my rear brakes, did not tighten my stem enough, and left an obstruction in my rear gears that made me fall. But the Portland REI guys fixed it quickly, and now I love it. It sure does make my $200 commuter bike feel like a piece of crizzap.

Mmm, and after a hellish rainsoaked commute today*, I believe I will spend that extra dough on some appropriate bikey clothes.

*did feel great afterwards, though.

04-11-2007, 10:20 PM
yay! another randonee rider!
i've been commuting on mine since last year, and it has been awesome.

08-23-2011, 02:28 PM
Nearly 4.5 years has passed since I wrote in this thread. I'm so glad I chose to buy the bike. Cycling has become a way of life for me. I'm still faithful to my Randonee. I'm leaving for a month-long vacation tomorrow, and I'm taking it along.

08-23-2011, 07:11 PM
Excellent of you to think of posting an update to your story. Lots of people no doubt go through some of the same questions you did in considering whether a bike can open the way to some freedom for them. I think your simple reflection on the last four years of riding would most certainly be encouraging to them.