As spring slowly gives way to summer and temps begin to heat up, bicyclists everywhere are heading out to their garages, tuning up their wheels and hitting the pavement or trails.
About 100 million Americans ride a bicycle each year, including 34% of people over the age of 3, according to a survey by Breakaway Research Group for People for Bikes.
Few forms of exercise are as fun or relaxing as a long bike ride. Cycling is the perfect way to boost both your physical and emotional health. It’s also a wonderful way to boost your bank account.
Following are five ways that your trusty two-wheel ride can make or save you money this summer, and they don’t involve driving a pedicab — although that’s an option, too, if you’re up for the challenge!
1. Commute to Work
Your boss might actually pay you to bike to the office. Sound appealing? Speak to your company’s HR rep about the federal Bicycle Commuter Act. Here’s the rundown, according to the League of American Bicyclists:
Any employer, if they chose to do so, may provide a reimbursement of up to $20 per month for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee in conjunction with their commute to work by bike. The reimbursement is a fringe benefit paid by the employer [so] the employee does not get taxed on the amount of the reimbursement.
Even if your employer chooses not to participate, you can still use bicycle commuting to pad your bank account. Claes Bell, mobile editor at Bankrate, commuted on two wheels for nearly 5 years. In an article at Bankrate, he wrote that he and his wife saved a bundle by becoming a one-car family:
According to my calculations, over that period we saved around $7,219, which helped us accomplish financial goals like improving our home and building an emergency fund.
These savings aren’t surprising when you consider how much people typically spend on car payments, gas, insurance and car maintenance, or even on public transportation.
2. Work as a Courier or Delivery Person
If you love to ride, you may want to consider becoming a bicycle courier. Companies like Postmates hire couriers to deliver goods on demand to customers in major cities.
Although you can technically use any form of transportation to deliver the order — as long as you get there fast — you’ll save gas money and pocket more cash by pedaling to and from destinations.
You can also check out Instacart, a similar service that deals exclusively in grocery delivery.
3. Rent Out Your Bike
Not planning on pedaling for a few days? Sure, you can let your bike sit in the garage when you aren’t using it. Or, you can build wealth by renting your bike to those in need.
Spinlister, a global bike share service, is essentially an Airbnb for bicycles. You list your “bike for rent” on the website. Spinlister keeps 17.5% of the rent you earn. You get the rest.
So, rent your bike for $20 for an hour, and you keep $16.50. And the company says it will reimburse you up to $10,000 for damage, theft or loss.
4. Use Your Bike for Errands
The next time you have a bunch of errands to run, opt for two wheels instead of four. This can net you a lot of green in the long run, according to Mr. Money Mustache.
Let’s start with the bare minimum: Any mileage you put on your bike instead of your car saves you about 50 cents per mile in gas, depreciation, and wear and maintenance. From this savings alone, doing a couple of bike errands per day (4 miles) in place of car errands will add up to $10,752 over ten years.
Plus, think about all the health and environmental benefits!
5. Cancel Your Gym Membership
Why dish out all that dough with a fancy gym membership when you can buy a bike and reap similar — or even better — benefits for a fraction of the price? According to the website I Love Bicycling:
As anyone with a gym membership can tell you, gyms are expensive. At least with an exercise routine that involves biking, you can pay a onetime fee for the bike and get several years out of that purchase before the bike wears down. The bike lasts longer the less you strain it and keep up on the little bit of maintenance the bike may require. In the long run, this will save you money on gym memberships or exercise equipment.
[Editor’s note: Finding creative ways to save money can help you get out of debt faster and, as a result, make progress toward improving your credit. You can keep track of how you’re building credit by getting a free credit report summary, updated monthly, on Credit.com.]
More from Money Talks News:
- Boost Your Financial Fitness With These 11 Small Money Moves
- Anatomy of an Online Deal: How I Paid $4.75 for a $25 Item
- 11 Small Money Moves That Will Make A Big Difference
Image: Leonardo Patrizi