Switching between different bikes is a lovely reminder of the variety that is possible in cycling.
I have a reasonable stable of bikes and they are all quite different from each other. Compare this to cars.
Firstly, purchase cost. You can have a wide range of bikes (cargo, race, mtb, fixed gear, touring), in fact a range of bikes for the whole family for less than the price of one family car. Imagine how far £15,000 (guestimate of the average price of say a Ford Focus) could go on bikes, that is 15 excellent bikes, or 30 pretty good bikes or one fandabbydozy cargo bike and 10 excellent other bikes.
Second, running costs. Your bikes are going to be incredibly cheap to run compared to the car. No filling with fuel, far less expensive servicing & insurance, no tax, no parking costs.
Third, versatility. Your one road car can’t do everything. If it is going to be suitable for taking the family on holiday then you won’t be able to use it for track days & it likely won’t be a huge bundle of fun to drive. Neither can one bike do everything, but who cares, if bikes replace a car you can afford more than one 🙂
Fourth, life span. Your bikes will have a far longer lifespan than your car. Since we started buying better quality bikes we have not had one fall apart or that was no longer worth keeping. We have passed one onto a friend who uses it for daily transport, we have passed several along through the family as the boys have grown up. We have sold a few onto new owners for good prices. It has been worth spending some money on upgrades and replacements for worn parts. We have bikes that we fully expect to be serviceable if we reach retirement (plans for touring the UK on our Trice tandem recumbent trike during our retirement occasionally surface). During the same time period we have worked our way through a number of cars that reached the point where servicing costs, reduced reliability, poor economy, changed circumstances forced an expensive change.
Fifth, options. While I suggest having multiple bikes instead of a car the truth is that by moving away from a car many more options are open to you. You could take a less well paid job (but maybe more satisfying, or less stressful or more worthwhile, or more local, or fewer hours or nice company or …), you could use the savings to move to a different home (closer to work, family, friends; more comfortable; …), you could have more leisure time (especially if you get enough exercise cycling to save on gym costs & time), you could enjoy more things as you get healthier. The car is often sold as giving us choice and freedom whereas in fact it becomes a ball and chain holding us down and denying freedom of choice.
If you have not tried riding a different sort of bike then why not consider giving it a go. They all have their advantages and a stable of them offers some great choices.
My stable includes:
- Bullitt Clockwork Cargobike (what I ride most as I use it nearly everyday for work and general transport)
- Trek Pilot 1.2 (a light touring road bike. ie with drop handlebars, a rack and triple chainrings)
- Pearson Touché (fixed gear with mudguards, rack and chainguard: simple & reliable, a joy to ride and very good for improving my pedalling style)
- Birdy Folding bike (not quite as small as a Brompton, but incredibly useful when travelling by train for transport at both ends)
- Giant Full Suspension Mountain Bike (for bouncy off road fun, will tackle most terrain in most conditions with the right tyres)
- Trice X2 recumbent, tandem, trike (the best way to enjoy riding with Jane, ultimate in comfort with superb touring capability)
- Trice XXL recumbent trike (currently somewhat stolen by Jane; fantastic for solo touring; all day riding and my choice for riding in icy conditions; gives the biggest grins ever when zooming downhill)
But notice for the versatility that all but one of these (the Bullitt) are shared with the rest of the family. I don’t have or need solo use of any of these (yes it helps that size wise we don’t need a huge variety of bikes). So we all benefit from the variety possible by not spending our money on cars.
Bikes: everyone should have some variety 🙂