How much does your cycle commute cost?

Lego bike mechanic

I’ve started this page with the intention of tracking all my essential spending to keep my bikes going on my year round commute. I will probably be using 3 bikes over the course of the year, however this will not make it either more or less expensive as the running costs will be shared and spread over them all. None of them are new so there is significant wear and tear already!

As a starting point I will not include the setup costs needed for purchasing a bike and equipment as these can vary wildly depending on what you buy, when you buy and where you buy them. Also, buying bike related items is more than likely to be far cheaper than buying a car. What I am interested in is the ongoing cost of maintaining and running a bike (or bikes) while doing a commute throughout the full year. Any repair bills, components purchased, clothes and the like will be included. Luxuries and non-essential items will not (not that I buy any of those…). So when something gets added or replaced on my bike it will go into the log and at the end of the year I will have an estimate of the cost per mile.

The total cost so far is…

£ 0

Previous chain and cassette were completely worn out so had to be replaced (see oooh shiney post). Cassette was purchased from ebay on a discount day, chain came from wiggle and brake cable was a Planet X cheapie.

  • Cassette (105 R7000 11-28) – £25
  • Chain (KMC X11) – £20
  • Brake Cable (Generic) – £1.99

The new chain and cassette did not get on with my chainset so I had to get a new one (see totally worn out post). In addition my brakes had been giving constant problems freezing up in the winter so I bought some new outers. Both came from chain reaction cycles with a great price on the chainset (£10 discount on their Jan sale items)

  • Chainset (105 5800 53/39) – £53.99
  • Brake Outer (Lifeline) – £2
  • Chain Link Pliers – £4.99
  • Cable Snips – £6.99

Front wheel of my winter Vitus bike was broken (Wibble Wobble) so needed it’s bearings replaced by my bike shop. A speedy 2 day turnaround was much appreciated.

  • Wheel Bearings (Vision wheel, parts & labour) – £53.98

My original commuter was restored to something approaching it’s former glory (Double First (Part 2)). Costs of £75.62 were worth every penny!

  • Seat-post (eBay link) – £14.95
  • Seat-post collar (eBay link) – £2.69
  • Cassette (eBay 105 R7000 11-28) – £25
  • Chain (Planet X) – £14.99
  • Cables (Planet X) – £2
  • Rear Brake Caliper (Planet X) – £14.99
  • Bar Tape (Halfords) – £1
  • Chain Tool (Halfords) – £7.19

Brake pads and a gear cable to improve shaky performance (Spring Cleaning and Cranky). 

  • Cable (Planet X) – £1
  • Brake Pads (Planet X) – £3

Brake pads were the only expense encountered during May. Worn out front pads on my Boardman bike (3,820 miles).

  • Brake Pads (Planet X) – £3

Big tune-up on the Boardman bike cost a fair bit in June. See June Tune-ups page for more info.

  • Cables – £45
  • Jockey Wheels – £10
  • Cassette – £28
  • Chain – £20
  • Bottom Bracket – £30
  • Headset – £30

My Boardman bike had a big emergency repair just a few days before my holidays. See Holiday Cycle Epic – Part I for more info. The chainset and pedals had both been on the bike for over 19,000 miles so I don’t suppose I can grumble too much.

  • Chainset (Tiagra 4700) and pedals (M520) – £160
  • Wheel Truing – £10

Very cheap month with the only expense being a repair to my free-hub on the spare Vitus bike.

  • Free-hub repair – £20

Another cheap month with the only expenses being a new jersey, brake pads and gear cable.

  • Jersey (Evans Cycles) – £40
  • Brake pads (Planet X) – £3
  • Gear cable (Planet X) – £1

Stocking up on a few summer jerseys, with bargains to be had on summer stock. Also found some nicely priced winter longs to replace my aging set.

  • Jersey x4 (Halfords) – £20
  • Caratti Bib Longs (Rutland Cycling) – £14.99

Replaced my worn rucksack cover and purchased a new neck buff.

  • Rucksack cover (Proviz) – £20
  • Buff (Proviz) – £10

A snapped chain needed replaced and a bit of a stock up on items from Planet X.

  • Jersey x4 (Halfords) – £20
  • Carnac winter crab gloves (Planet X) – £13.50
  • Carnac helmet (Planet X) – £15
  • Bike polish (Planet X) – £4
  • Multi tool (Planet X) – £4

Cycle Commute Cost Comparison

As an interesting comparison I thought I would compare the cost of 3 possible commuting options available to me over the course of a year. 

  • The first cost (obviously) will be cycling as outlined above.
  • Secondly I will include an estimate for driving to work.
  • Finally I have put the option of public transport in.

The drive to work is 19 miles each way and my car does approximately 40 miles to the gallon. With current fuel prices of £1.20 per litre (0.22 gallons) it would cost me approximately 14p per mile in fuel alone. I have also allowed another 15p per mile for wear and tear on the car and general upkeep. Generally it is accepted that motoring costs around 50p per mile when you consider depreciation, maintenance, fuel, etc. Therefore, I believe my 15p is fair although possibly a little on the low side. 



For me this would involve a train, then bus to the office (with a brisk 30 minute walk to the train station as well). I have allowed the train cost of weekly tickets which would amount to £40.50 per week, or £8.10 per day. There would also be £3.40 for the daily return trip on the bus. It is also by far the longest journey in time taken and has more restrictive times to keep.




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