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Great data.

How they do generate the crash info?

Interesting they are using CMAQ money for this. I'm assuming that money is just for the stations, not ongoing?

So, 25+ more stations, same number of bikes?

I didn't ask about adding bikes. If they're dropping the bikes-to-docks ratio though, it's possible.

I think crash info is self-reporting. CMAQ money is just for the capital costs. Since CMAQ might go away in the next transportation bill, it's not something they can count on.

One of the CaBi consultants (re)stated yesterday that they're still aiming for a 50/50 bike/dock split. Also noted that operating costs work out to $155/bike/month (that's overhead, maint, balancing, etc.).

Cachet. :-)

Actually its 9 crashes. Cabi bike rider rear ended me at a light on Conn. Ave. I was on my bike stopping for the light. No dammage or injuries.

There are some really wobbly cabi cyclists.

isn't the alta contract at $150/M for each bike?

$150/month sounds in the right ballpark. I no longer commute every day, but when I did that was about what I budgeted. Cycling is one of those things that's more expensive than you realize.

On the one hand my figure includes equipment as well as bikes, but on the other I'm as cheap as the day is long. The provenance of my last five bikes:
1 bought used on Ebay
1 bought new on Ebay
2 assembled from new and used parts
1 found at a dump in Rhode Island

I dont commute every day, but I spend $25 a year on my bike.

Any way we could get info on the "8 crashes". That's pretty amorphous.

But Wow! eight crashes per 370k trips, and none of them serious (otherwise you can bet your ass we would have heard about it).

This is why I ride around helmetless with pride. Pretty damned safe activity.

The only thing I remember about the 8 crashes is that one was just this week. But I take the lack of information as a sign that no one ended up seriously injured.

For me, commuting by bike better cost more than $150 a month. It is the only thing that justifies sensible extravagance to Mrs. Early Man. Like contrarian my first bike for commuting was used, off ebay. But new is all that is allowed now since the used tend to have deferred maintenance issues. A tubeless set of wheels for my '89 C'dale would have never been approved if the bike was only used on the weekends. Guys with gear need to understand that using your bikes like a car make purchasing more bikes easier.

@ contrarian; if you are spending $1800 on your bike you must be [a spendthrift]. That is far more that I spend on parking, insurance, and gas for my car.

The $150/M price point for Alta might make sense with their profit margins, cabi maintenance, and rebalancing, but that is way high for an individual.


@ contrarian; if you are spending $1800 on your bike you must be mildly retarded or insane.

Let's not degrade to personal insults here. Perhaps you meant to say that the act of spending $1800 on a bike is insane.

Yes, I had to edit the comment.

What are the recurring costs for a regular cyclist? Once you have the bike and various accessories (pump, spare tube, lights, helmet, etc.), what monthly expenses are there? I can't think of any money I spent on either of my bikes last year other than chain lube. A $10 bottle has lasted for a year.

I did get new pedals and shoes for my mountain bike, but that's only because I wanted to do a cyclocross race. If I only wanted to commute and do casual riding, I wouldn't have needed the new pedals. (The situation with the pedals is a long story.)

Even if I get new tires every 18 months, that still doesn't add up to much.

@washcycle; and does anyone dispute the basic point. $150 a year might be a good figure; if you are spending $1800 a year on your bike, well, get help.

That's about three times what I spent in 2007, but that doesn't count clothing, which contrarian might include. But he might have more expensive taste than me. It's not quite insane.

I need new tires about once a year. Stuff breaks or wears out. My spokes need to be trued. My drivetrain only lasts about 18 months. A mechanic could probably give us a better idea on what it costs to maintain a bike. I am not a mechanic.

Funny, I thought we were trying to get away from expensive clothing, $300 helmets, and carbon fiber frames. Isn't what going to make cycling mainstream, is well, just getting into your suit and riding to work?

To tie in back into the original discussion, $150/M is very reasonable for Alta; but it doesn't (or shouldn't) represent their costs.

I may or may not be insane, but I do keep good records. The nature of spending on a bike is such that it's easy to spend a lot of money on a lot of little things and you don't realize how much it is until you add it all up.

The last full year that I commuted was 2006, and that year I spent $1680.32 on bike-related expenses. I had a total of 25 purchases for an average purchase of $67. The largest single purchase was $249 for parts from Nashbar, which included $95 for a new saddle to replace one that had been stolen. The median purchase was $49. Looking over the list, it includes things like a new set of panniers, a new wheel, two tires, lights, batteries, a spoke tool, even laces for my biking shoes. What this represents is once or twice a month spending $30-60 on something, and once or twice a year spending $100-200 on something bigger.

At that time I had been riding to work every day for 13 years so this was pretty much steady state maintenance. I didn't buy any new bikes that year. I also didn't pay anything for labor, doing all my own work.

Here's the thing: that year, I rode my bike every single day I went to work. Every day, regardless of the weather. Riding in the cold and wet is murder on just about every component on the bike. I spent $30.56 for a new set of pedals that year; riding every day a pair of pedals would last me about a year. Riding in the cold and wet also requires better equipment -- raingear, gloves, better shoes, a winter helmet, studded tires, and especially really good lights. That stuff is expensive, and it wears out. I didn't buy a new helmet in 2006, but if you wear a helmet in the rain a lot of times you're not going to want to put it on your head any more after a year or so -- and if you're wearing it for an hour every day, you might want to spend a little more for a nice one. Stuff breaks, and stuff gets stolen. It adds up.

Charlie wrote:
That is far more that I spend on parking, insurance, and gas for my car.

Do you keep a record? To my point of it adding up, I also have a car which I hardly use -- I share it with my wife and together we put 7,000 miles a year on it. It's paid for, I do nothing but required maintenance and repairs for it. This is what it cost in 2010:
Fuel: $1,447
Insurance: $1,926
Registration: $285
Maintenance and Service:$1,622
Tolls: $182
Total: $5,492

It adds up.

Lycra must be expensive. If I spend more than $100 per year, it would be unusual. If you spend almost $2000 a year on auto insurance for 7000 miles per year, remind me to stay away from you.

If you spend almost $2000 a year on auto insurance for 7000 miles per year, remind me to stay away from you.
I was kind of surprised by that number too. My annual rate is more like $1400 but due to the timing of payments I paid for more than a year's worth in 2010. I haven't had a ticket or accident in a decade but I have really high liability coverage.

Lycra must be expensive.

Actually, I've found that bike-specific clothing saves money in the long run because it is so much more durable for cycling than regular clothing. It's one of those hidden costs you don't realize until you stop to think about why all your pants have holes in the crotch. It's particularly true of shoes, regular commuting will wear out a pair of running shoes in a couple of months but I've been using the same pair of Pearl Izumis since 2003 as my primary bike shoes.

...although I did have to replace the laces in 2006.

Wow...I average close to 30,000 miles a year, but my annual car insurance is barely over $1K.

Contrarian, I envy not only your mad recordkeeping skillz, but your everyday bike commuting.

Not being as dedicated as you, I probably spend $300/yr, other than the cost of the bike (generally around $400, and it lasts for a few years).

But I wasn't riding long distances.

When I worked in Baltimore, I paid $300 to repair a colleague's bike, which I then used to commute from Penn Station to Baltimore, as I had to leave my regular bike at Union Station.

That increased my costs in 2010.

@ Contrarian; I take it all back. You're not mildly retarded. You are Rain Main. I bow in your general direction. But seriously, find a new insurance provider. I pay less than $400 a year; albeit liability only.

But your bike commuting expenses are far, far higher than anyone else.

But Froggie, you probably have USAA, so that's hardly fair. The National average is about $1k/yr, but if you have high liability and a low deductible...

Regarding the CaBi bike accident rate and the notion that "none of them have been serious" - the cyclist involved in a crash that occured at K and North Cap a few weeks ago had paralysis in his legs, at least initially. Our school nurse was one of the first responders on the scene, and helped coordinate treatment. I asked her about it yesterday and she had not heard anything about the cyclists' condition.

I stand corrected. I hope he has recovered.

@ charlie; I can't match the record keeping skills of contrarian, but I am sure I out spent him on bike stuff last year. Bike commuting everyday does tend to get spendy because the Nokian studded tires, the Lake winter shoes, 3 sets of chains and cassettes a season add up quickly. But it is not painful (like paying car insurance) if seen as an investment in self-efficacy. Like they say in Finland, it is never too cold, wet or icy to bike if you dress appropriately and buy Nokians.

Wow...you might spend a little less on gas if you had a car that AVERAGED over 17 mpg. Holy smokes...a bike commuter with, what, an Expedition? A Ferrari? I'm having trouble thinking of vehicles with an average fuel economy that low that are smaller/cheaper than my condo!

Please guys, be kind to contrarian. I think it's great that he actually keeps such good records. I wish I did.

Most people would be appaled to find out that their car actually only gets 17 mpg or less but since they never bother to calculate gas mileage they are way too optimistic. They just know a ballpark figure for how much it cost them to fill up.

@jodaeylan As I mention above, there are a lot of cheap and big SUVs that will easily come under the 17 mpg bar in our region's driving reality. Look at all the Explorers, Expeditions, Suburbans etc.

Interesting stuff, Contrarian. Very much with you on the clothing (i.e., more expensive bike-specific clothing is an investment that pays quite well in the long run). Between road racing/training, MTB'ing, and generally enjoying all my bikes, I spend a good bit more than the average here, it looks like. So what?


Very easy to avg <20mpg around town. My 4 door sedan avgs around 18mpg in town. Doesn't bother me at all, given than it probably gets less than 2k a year on it, in the past few years.

It would be interesting to see in closer detail how CaBi's $150/month/bike operating expenses break down.

As far as individual cycling costs, I agree with Contrarian that the little stuff can add up, and that's what shops make their money on (as well as never-ending tinkerers, like myself). But I think we (Americans) also have been a bit conditioned far too long to approach cycling from a strictly performance standpoint. I mean, decent chain guards and Internal gear hubs can really help minimize drivetrain wear. But of course those two things go against the "lighter is better" hype, as well as contradict the whole point of planned obsolescence. I wonder what the typical Dutch/Dane/Chinese/etc commuter's cycling costs are?

The bottom line (no pun intended) is really about how, and how much, you're riding. CaBi presents a good example that you really don't need much "stuff" for average style utility riding. Padded lycra shorts are fantastic, but not really necessary for a short distance (10mi or less) ride. (A stiff-soled shoe, however, is another story.)

They used CMAQ Federal Funds administered by FHWA and FTA, and spent the money on foreign canadian equipment which is clear violation of the Federal Buy America Act. I am all for bike share and really like it, but I am 100% against my tax dollars being spent on foreign non USA made equipment.

Gosh Don, is it possible that every single person who looked at this, from DDOT and DOT, didn't notice it was illegal?

Turns out the answer is no. You can get a waiver from the Secretary of transportation (See section j) for a whole host of reasons like the product not being made in America - which it turns out is the case. And DDOT did get a waiver. So they didn't break the law.

As for being against tax dollars being spent on foreign-made products - I guess that's how you feel about the government buying imported oil?

I personally don't think that protectionism is the solution to our economic problems - and I bet Boeing would agree.

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