Top Tips for Saving Money on Travel – Bikes
Cycling is increasingly popular in the UK. According to the charity Cycling UK, cycle traffic increased nearly every year between 2008 and 2016.
Cities with considerable student populations such as Oxford, Cambridge, York and Norwich are among the hotbeds of this trend.
This is understandable as bikes are one of the best, cheapest ways for students to get around for several reasons.
Bikes are cheap to buy
Bikes vary in price depending on what you’re looking for:
- A basic bike for getting around can cost as little as just £20 if bought second hand. Remember though, the quality of the bike will be reflected in how much you’re being asked to pay for it.
- A new, better bike will still be relatively cheap. £200 is enough for a good quality bike, and only costs slightly more than a zone 1–4 monthly travelcard in London.
- A top of the range bike for longer, harder cycling costs at £400. That’s still cheaper than buying a car, motorbike or scooter.
Look out for sales and deals on bikes to find with the best price. As is the case with cars, motorbikes and scooters, when new models are released the old models become cheaper.
The added extras are cheap too
The cost of a bike is cheaper than most other modes of transport, and the added extras are also affordable:
- Helmets are anywhere between £15-30.
- Lights can cost as little as five pounds and high-visibility clothing is cheaper still.
- Pumps cost between £10-20 and general maintenance costs are also fairly cheap, provided you look after it.
- Bike locks will vary more in price. Generally, you should spend 10% of the cost of your bike on a bike lock. So, if you have a £200 bike, buy a £20 lock. However, for peace of mind you should spend more money – the better the bike lock, the less likely you are to end up spending money replacing a stolen bike.
- Insurance Can be bought for just over £10 for a whole year depending on which provider you use. It’s a good idea to shop around to find the best deal for you.
- Additional security Bike locks are a good deterrent but do not prevent all bike thefts. Fortunately, you can buy a security system, such as ImmobiTag Electronic Cycle Protection (£15), to help find your bike if it does get stolen.
Read about other ways to keep your possessions safe while at university.
You can get a good quality, brand new bike with all the extras for under £300.
Cycling will save you money
Using public transport may not feel expensive when you spend a couple of pounds on a bus or train ticket. However, regular use of public transport can begin to stack up.
Depending on where you live and how far you travel, a single bus fare is usually between one and two pounds.
If you were to use the bus to go to and from university every week you could spend anywhere from £10–20 a week. That is potentially £80 a month, and that’s not taking into account other journeys you make.
Additionally, parking in city and town centres is increasingly expensive. Provided you have a good quality lock, cycling in and around your university town or city could save you hundreds of pounds on parking fares.
Cycling will save you time
Bikes can be a quicker way to get around than cars, motorbikes or public transport:
- You can take the most direct route
Public transport rarely takes you the most direct route from point A to point B. Having a bike means you won’ t have this problem and will often mean you get to where you want to be quicker.
- You won’t be worrying about timetables
We’ve all been in the situation of running for, and missing, a bus or train which doesn’t come again for another ten minutes. You can cut out this frustration by using a bike.
- You can avoid traffic
Being on public transport in a busy city can feel like you’re going nowhere fast. If you know the area well, you can avoid busy road and busy times on your bike by taking the shortcuts that cars can’t use.
- You can use bike lanes
Most major UK cities have a significant number of bike lanes you can use, so when cars and buses are at a standstill, you can pedal past them.
As well as helping you save time and money bikes are environmentally-friendly and an excellent way of staying fit. Plus, it is a fantastic way to explore your surroundings which may not be easily accessible by bus, train or walking.
If you live a mile away from university and cycle there and back every week day, you’ll do ten miles of exercise without any CO2 emissions.
You can earn extra money
An added perk of owning a pushbike is that it opens up more opportunities to earn money.
Many companies, in particular food delivery services and restaurants that deliver, like to employ students who own bike.
In addition, having a bike increase the number of viable workplaces for you. You won’t have to limit yourself to somewhere convenient to get to by foot or public transport, nor do you require a parking space.
- Discover other ways you can save money while at university