Making money while riding my bike to work

by Erika Torres
46 comments

Well, congrats to John who was the first one to guess correctly that I crashed into a carport post. I swear it just showed up out of nowhere…causing $4,000 worth of damage in the meantime. Thank goodness for car insurance…

As upsetting as it is to still have to pay for the deductible (hello, emergency fund!), there is a silver lining in all of this. I found out that my company actually pays you to ride your bike to work. Say what!?

I had always talked about riding my bike to work–mostly for the exercise and to save money on gas. Two things stopped me:

  1. I don’t have a bike
  2. I could very well be the world’s worst bike rider.

I haven’t really ridden a bike since I was about 5, when I still had training wheels. What happened was I was riding my bike, and showing my mom: “Look, mom, no hands!” when I let go of the handlebars, and completely ate sh*t. As I picked myself up, a bee hive was attached to my right hand. True story. I freaked out and pretty much never rode a bike again.

BUT that all changed when I found out that my company gave you $250 toward the purchase of a bike. In addition, you get $4.20 per day just for riding your bike to work, plus $.20 for each additional mile you ride.

Since I live about 3.7 miles from work, I get $1.60 for the mileage, plus $4.20 for the incentive, for a total of $5.80 each day I ride my bike to work. Doesn’t sound like much, but I am also saving money on gas. And if I were to only ride my bike 5 times a month, I would get $29 a month!

And who am I to turn down free money?!

I practiced riding my bike on Sunday with Eric. The hardest part for me is getting on and getting going, but once I’m rolling I’m good.

I’m lucky in that there is a bike path that takes me from my house and drops me off about a quarter mile from work, so I only have to be on the road for about a quarter mile.

Today was my very first bike ride in and I only ate sh*t once! Luckily, nobody saw.

I hope to bike to work at least three times a week. Per the $250 buy-a-bike incentive, I have to bike in to work 31 times round trip in one calendar year.

At 3x per week, I’ll be making about $70 a month! I also hope to only have to fill up my gas tank once per month, instead of twice, providing an additional $55 in savings.

I also won’t be renewing my gym membership when it expires next month, saving an additional $350.

Does your company offer any really great incentives? What would it take you to bike to work?

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46 comments

Chandler May 24, 2014 - 5:17 pm

You didn’t even factor in the $20 per month federal tax credit for bike commuters.

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Budget & the Beach November 9, 2012 - 6:35 am

That’s awesome! Can I ask you what part of Socal you live in? It isn’t easy finding good bike paths to work here. I live in the south bay in El Segundo. We have a lot of bike paths, but I work from home so I guess my commute is pretty easy. 🙂

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Frugal(er) October 30, 2012 - 5:16 am

That is so awesome! To think I’ve been riding my bike to work for free, like a sucker! Just kidding. It’s awesome that your work offers that kind of incentive–I really wish more did. I love biking to work, it wakes me up and makes me feel better the whole day.

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Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals October 28, 2012 - 3:38 pm

This is absolutely incredible – I wish my job had paid for me to bike! And $250 ensures that you’re going to get a good model instead of whatever’s the cheapest option at Walmart!

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[…] Erika is getting paid to buy a bike and ride it to work! […]

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Vanessa October 26, 2012 - 4:41 pm

I can’t believe that they *pay* you to ride! I guess it makes sense because of the decreased health costs associated with you being more fit 🙂

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Maggie@SquarePennies October 26, 2012 - 11:41 am

This is great! You are also saving on wear and tear on your car, so you shouldn’t have to pay for maintenance on it as much/soon. You might be able to get a lower insurance rate also if you are driving less to work. Ask your insurance agent about it. Once you add it all up, you can really be saving a lot.

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Ashley October 25, 2012 - 9:47 pm

Hello!
Just spent all afternoon reading your blog, and i absolutely love it! I found it when I googled half marathon blogs : ) However, I am happy to know that someone else loves budgeting as much as I do. Looking forward to future blogs.
Ashley

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Cassi October 25, 2012 - 4:47 pm

That is amazing! I personally ride my bike everywhere because I don’t want to pay the high fees for dealing with a car, and I love it.

Cars < Bikes

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Savvy Scot October 24, 2012 - 3:00 pm

I cannot believe you get paid to cycle to work!! That is freaking awesome… and the incentive to exercise free too 🙂

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CF October 24, 2012 - 1:10 pm

That’s a pretty cool benefit! I would totally get a bike if my company offered that. Usually, I take transit to work while Brian walks to work.

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Catherine October 24, 2012 - 6:49 am

Also, I read you guest post today…if I waited to be debt free before babies. it would be well beyond my fertile window!

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mrsplungedindebt October 24, 2012 - 6:48 am

That’s crazy incentive, what a good idea! I live much too far from work to ride a bike but I totally would if I could! Good luck!

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Jessica @ Budget For Health October 23, 2012 - 5:02 pm

I love that idea! I started an employee wellness program at work because so many people get their lunch out of the vending machine and sit all day. We have some funds to use…this may be the next idea! It would be a little hard come winter in Michigan but still an awesome idea.

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CelloMom October 23, 2012 - 3:00 pm

To everyone who is jealous of the bike bonus: Why wait for your employer to put the icing on the cake? You’ve got your cake, you know: look carefully at all the savings she’s getting by switching from car to bike: it’s less on gas (heaven knows that’s expensive lately!) and also less on car insurance. Look up true car costs at Consumer Reports: when you add in maintenance and all the other expenses, it comes to $0.46 – $2 PER MILE (depending on what you drive).

Start biking to work, whether or not your employer pays you for it! You’ll save a bundle now, you feel better, you’re much more focused at work and come home more relaxed, and you’ll save on health care cost down the line: why wait?

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Frugal(er) October 30, 2012 - 5:19 am

I agree! I started biking or walking the two miles (one way) to work, and I’ve saved hundreds on gas and burned a lot of calories.
Biking to work also makes me seriously reconsider side trips to the grocery store or other places for things I don’t strictly need. Yeah, I could bike a little further to get this stuff, but it’s a lot easier to talk myself out of it too.

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Tiffany October 23, 2012 - 12:51 pm

I found your blog through Blogher and boy getting paid to ride your bike to work is the BEST idea ever! For about 3 years we were a one car family and I rode my bike to and from work every day – 4 miles round trip. I knew we were saving money by only having 1 vehicle but that extra money if I was getting paid to ride my bike would have been awesome. Now I live over 30 miles away from my work so we had to get a second car and I am no longer riding my bike – maybe I should get my employer to pay me to ride the bus!

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Nicole October 23, 2012 - 12:04 pm

That story made me laugh so hard!! A beehive on your hand??!! Lol oh wow.

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John S @ Frugal Rules October 23, 2012 - 9:36 am

That’s an awesome benefit! I run my own business so this is not a benefit I have. At my old job they did not offer it, they only offered a gym subsidy. I say if they’re paying you to do it, then go for it.

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SavvyFinancialLatina October 23, 2012 - 8:09 am

That is so awesome!
Do you change/shower at work?

I know if biked to work, I would be super sweaty once I got to work.

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newlywedsonabudget October 23, 2012 - 8:21 am

I actually wasn’t that sweaty, but I bike pretty early (7 am) so it’s not hot outside yet and the air keeps you cool. I do change at work–we have locker rooms, and I keep a locker full of toiletries. I could shower here too if I wanted to, but haven’t seen the need yet.

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Ordinary Bob October 23, 2012 - 6:56 am

There’s a federal program that encourages employers to get their employees riding their bikes. Here’s the info: http://www.commutercheck.com/about.aspx

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Jordann @ My Alternate Life October 23, 2012 - 6:30 am

WHERE do you work? That is awesome! I would totally do that. It’s a win-win-win situation.

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newlywedsonabudget October 23, 2012 - 8:15 am

I work for a utility company and it’s a benefit offered by human resources 🙂

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Shaba October 23, 2012 - 6:08 am

That’s probably the coolest incentive ever.

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Army Amy* October 23, 2012 - 2:13 am

That’s so cool that your employer does that! And it sounds like it really works out well since you don’t live too far, and you can mostly be on a bike path. I lived only a few miles from my previous place of work, so I considered biking to save gas money and get the exercise. But my biggest concern was that I’d show up to work all sweaty and wind blown! Do you just ride slowly to avoid that? Or maybe the weather is cool where you live?*

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newlywedsonabudget October 23, 2012 - 8:07 am

Well it’s all flat, and I’m going at a pretty easy pace. I don’t get that sweaty but I guess if I ever did, I could use the locker rooms at work. I have my own locker, so I just keep some toiletries in there.

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Tanner October 22, 2012 - 7:59 pm

I borrowed a bike from my parents with the intention to ride it to work. However, the lack of sidewalks and very, very narrow hill-type streets discouraged me. That, and the fact I didnt know how to ride a bike. Still dont, though I am getting better. I still steer towards cars as they’re coming in, which would be a real danger! I think if I had access to a program like that, I’d totally try harder. But for my safety right now, I think I’ll just ride around the neighborhood a few times.

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Ordinary Bob October 23, 2012 - 6:55 am

Few places allow bicycles on sidewalks. You should consider driving your bicycle. It is a vehicle. Check out bikeleague.org for lots of resources on using a bicycle as a vehicle. I bike commute regularly. I’m a loser – I lost 20 pounds, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. I’m not looking for them, I hope they stay lost.

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Captian and Mrs Slow October 25, 2012 - 12:44 pm

Found something simular, excellent advice on how to ride

http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter2a.htm

I would check out Mr Money Mustache’s blog, biking to work is the ultimate Bad Assisty.

BTW why is everyone so afraid of a little shit this days, not like like your writing for a newspaper.

PS my name is for the fact we live in a bike friendly city and we are the slowest riders around, very embarrassing

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Teacher Girl October 22, 2012 - 7:15 pm

Oh my gosh, that is awesome!! If my job did that, I would totally bike to work.

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Michelle October 22, 2012 - 5:45 pm

Wow that’s awesome!

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Amy October 22, 2012 - 5:43 pm

That’s such a great incentive! Plus, you kill two birds with one stone with getting some exercise in. I would love to bike to work. I live about two miles, but I’m too chicken to ride on the buys streets.

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jp October 22, 2012 - 5:06 pm

so wait, is it the company you work for that pays you to ride the bike, or your insurance company? If it’s your insurance company, who the heck are you using?!! I want that!! SOOO jealous!

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Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies October 22, 2012 - 4:23 pm

That’s pretty awesome. We don’t have any incentives like that, but it would definitely make me consider it if we did.

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Mo' Money Mo' Houses October 22, 2012 - 3:17 pm

Umm if my company paid me I would totally ride my bike. I also haven’t ridden my bike since i was a kid though so I hope I can still remember how to stay upright!

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CeCe @Frugalista Married October 22, 2012 - 3:14 pm

My husband and his friends can ride 25 miles + on their bikes and me….like you before I don’t even have one. My job is a 14 mile drive so it would never be possible for me as I don’t expect to ever become THAT skilled but I think it would take A LOT to get me to do it!! I imagine showing up at work all sweaty and icky and we don’t have any shower resources. My husband was going to participate in bike to work day-he’s about 14 miles from work as well but the logistics of it hung him up. He forgot to leave clothes at work or something and he didn’t do it. Sounds like win-win for you. Money from job, gas saved and major daily exercise.

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Kim October 22, 2012 - 2:45 pm

So. Jealous! ThatisAll.

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Lea October 22, 2012 - 1:40 pm

That’s incredible that your company does that! I walk to and/or from work (a 35 minute walk or so) and one day I found a $20 bill on the ground! It pays to leave the car at home.

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