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Free wheeling

Bikes are booming, powered by riders wanting to get fit, glide through traffic, do the right thing environmentally, and yes, save money — which you can, lots of it. Just 40kms per week by pedal, not petrol power, can save you around $1200 a year. Our first bike is a milestone of childhood. But these days plenty of adults are re-embracing bicycles, an option that delivers plenty of benefits including savings on fuel and greenhouse gas emissions while providing a good physical workout. According to a 2008 report by consumer group Choice, around half the car trips taken in Australian cities involve distances of less than five kilometres — an easy bike ride.

Your car could be costing over $11,000 annually

Running costs could range from $75 a week for a one-litre hatchback to $360 a week for a 4.5L 4WD. If we take a midpoint cost of $220 a week, your car could be setting you back up $11,440 each year. These cost estimates from NRMA are based on an annual driving distance of 15,000 kilometres and include depreciation, registration, comprehensive insurance and other  expenses. To see how much your particular car is costing, visit the NRMA’s car operating costs calculator at

Hit the road for under $1,000

Now let’s compare the costs associated with bikes. At the lower price end, expect to pay around $400 for a basic urban road bike. Add in bike shoes, gloves and a helmet, and you could be pedaling your way to big savings for well less than $1,000. The NRMA says a medium-sized car will cost you around 62 cents per km. So using your bike to travel just 40 kilometres each week could generate savings of about $100 each month or $1,200 each year — a handy amount of money you could be investing. Think of the benefits. No more gym fee. Gliding through frustrating traffic jams. And the chance to save some money coupled with the fun of freewheeling down the road.

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