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£1,250 for a travelcard? You could get a bike for that!

Cutting through the congestion and having a more enjoyable journey to work are the most common reasons people commute by bike in London, but with today’s fare increases riding a bike in the capital makes even more financial sense than ever.

Transport for London claims that travelcard prices have risen by an average of 3.1 percent, but that masks some far steeper increases. A zone 1-4 travelcard is now £1,800, up from £1,688, an increase of 7.3 percent.

But even a travelcard for central London’s Zone 1 and 2, which takes about 40 minutes to cross by bike or Tube according to the TfL website, now costs £1,250 per year.

As the CTC’s Chris Peck points out, that’s enough for a decent bike and all the trimmings.

“With prices on public transport again rising, the benefits of cycling to the pocket are becoming even greater,” said Chris.

“For those on a tight budget, cycling is not only be the cheapest way to get around London, it’s also the fastest way. For those who are sick of tube delays, strikes and strap-hanging, giving up a Zone 1-2 season ticket and taking up cycling could reward you with a budget of over £1,250 for equipment, which will buy you a very decent and reliable bike plus accessories.”

It’s good for you too. An oft-cited statistic is that new cycle commuters on average lose a stone in weight in their first year of riding. There are far more extreme examples of the benefits of cycling, though, such as the incredible shrinking cyclist Gary Brennan,who lost 26 stone

Transport for London says the price increases are justified by the need to invest in the network, but Labour has described the rises as “inflation-busting”, especially the increase in zone 1-4 fares.

The party’s transport spokeswoman on the London Assembly, Val Shawcross, said Boris Johnson was “saving people £4 a year on their council tax but is taking vastly more from them in higher transport fares”.

Janet Cook, from passenger watchdog London TravelWatch, said people were having to pay “an increasingly large share of their regular income on commuting”.

Or they could get a bike.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

12 comments

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jacknorell [988 posts] 3 years ago
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You could get a bike and a nice budget trip to to the Med for that!

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MrGear [86 posts] 3 years ago
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jacknorell wrote:

You could get a bike and a nice budget trip to to the Med for that!

If you also cancel your £30 a month gym membership, that gives you £360 to spend on crack too!

It's ever so moorish.

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giff77 [1283 posts] 3 years ago
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Seriously. What is it with people and their insistence in highlighting failure to wear a helmet in an article that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH HELMETS  14 14 14

Here's an opportunity to get more people on bikes without all the perceived safety accoutrements. Show them how much money they can save and improve their health by just pushing some pedals. I've had enough. I'm requesting a transfer to Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Doesn't matter which city.

And breathe.......

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Tripod16 [165 posts] 3 years ago
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I didn't even notice a cyclist in the pic, she must get some hi-viz too then!  19

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Tripod16 [165 posts] 3 years ago
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Before someone else sneaks it in: being ginger doesn't count toward your hi-viz quotient...  4

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ficklewhippet [92 posts] 3 years ago
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giff77 wrote:

Seriously. What is it with people and their insistence in highlighting failure to wear a helmet in an article that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH HELMETS  14 14 14

Here's an opportunity to get more people on bikes without all the perceived safety accoutrements. Show them how much money they can save and improve their health by just pushing some pedals. I've had enough. I'm requesting a transfer to Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Doesn't matter which city.

And breathe.......

Cos people like that sleep, breathe and make the porridge while wearing their helmets, just in case, you know ..  3

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Leviathan [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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You are taking the Ppe...
I was wearing a yellow jacket and helmet today. I think some people might have confused my yellow jacket for a Hi-viz one. They don't know it is ONCE Monday.

Just ride your bike.

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700c [1171 posts] 3 years ago
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That's all very well but not everyone can turn up at meetings all sweaty and/ or covered in crap from the road, carrying stuff. A comparison to a travelcard assumes you need to travel around zone 1 and 2 in the day as well..

If it's just the commute, then you'd use an oyster card, which is cheaper.

And anyway, I wouldn't blame anyone for choosing not to cycle in rush hour London -there are far nicer ways to enjoy our hobby!

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ragtag [219 posts] 3 years ago
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Not everyone, but a lot more people could cycle.

I'm riding from zone 5 (with no underground station) and a season ticket to a London terminal station costs £1,620.00. That is a substantial saving, even when you take into consideration servicing. Goes up to £2,136 with travel to any zone.

Oyster Card at peak time is £4.60 (Z1-5) so it works out more expensive than a season ticket which is between £3.37 - £4.45 on average.

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congokid [325 posts] 3 years ago
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Back in July 2011 the Guardian did an article about the financial savings that were possible through cycle commuting.

This of course took into account only the savings from travelling to work by bike, not all the other benefits that regular cycling brings such as other journeys, peace of mind, general fitness, etc.

In the comment thread someone called Steve posted a link to his cycle to work calculator, with which I was able to calculate I'd saved £28,440 by cycling to work over the years.

Just recalculated - £30,413 saved now.

[[broken link fixed - sorry!]]

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pants [239 posts] 3 years ago
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You only save by cycling if you cycle purely to commute, once you get into it cycling is a very expensive hobby.

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notfastenough [3728 posts] 3 years ago
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Well it is for me, but in all fairness it need not be as expensive as that (just don't tell my mrs!).