Should You Sell Your Car and Ride a Bike

As I was riding in to work this morning I was checking out the skyline of Chicago, the beautiful sunrise, and cars.  I actually think about cars on my bike ride to work quite often, I would love to say it’s all positive as I watch a BMW 7 series or Range Rover go by, but that’s not the case very often.  Most of my immediate thoughts involve making sure the driver is paying attention and actually sees that I’m a person on a bike and it’s bad to hit people on bikes or people in general at that.  This morning a few thoughts came through my head as a black Range Rover Sport passed me, I know I should have pedaled faster to show who’s boss, but instead my mind went elsewhere.

What would it be like to own a Range Rover?  What monthly payments are?  Can I afford this car?  Would I really need a Range Rover?  Do you think the guy driving looks at my bike and thinks “I wish I was riding my bike today?”  Are his financial goals like mine?  Does this guy make a ton of money and this is the equivalent to me buying a new bike?  Is this guy drowning in debt?  Finally, I wonder if this guy should sell his car and buy a bike?

Of course we can’t answer all of those questions and I don’t intend on taking down his license plate and hiring a private detective to dig up this man’s financial details, although could be an idea for a documentary or reality show, feel free to bring me in for consulting work if you do.  Let’s answer a couple of the easy questions first.  A simple search shows that the base model for this model is $64,950, the typical car loan is 60 months and let’s use 0% rate for financing, this gives a monthly payment of $1,083.  Some may look at that number and be horrified, others quite reasonable, myself I’m leaning towards the horrified column.


This car drove by me this morning, minus mountains and sticker telling me the price

Can I afford this car?  The answer for me personally is Yes, however I would need to cancel my 401K contributions entirely, which is $1,500 per month.  That’s using the definition of afford that many Americans use today:  I can make the payments.  However, the cold harsh reality is I cannot afford this vehicle unless I use the limited definition that is set forth today.  I would be choosing a Range Rover over wealth and financial security. That for me is not a choice I would like to make.  On top of that I wouldn’t even need this vehicle.  I live in Chicago which has one of the best transportation systems in America, a growing bike lanes, and less and less space as each new high rise, grocery store, and parking lot are developed.

While my personal affordability may have been answered I don’t think that Mr. Range Rover owner has many thoughts of riding a bike, he is more likely to look at my Trek bike as just another hipster who’s broke and can’t afford a car.  More funny to me is being classified as a hipster or broke, I’m not sure which one I’m further away from.  A hipster is a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.  I guess I have my hipster moments then, but mostly I’m just lean towards staying away from the mainstream.  I have dreams of wearing a pair of cargo shorts and a white t-shirt for the rest of my life and occasionally getting fancy with jeans and a polo shirt.

Something that’s interesting to me is  7-10 years ago I would have never envisioned myself riding a bike to work, I had more dreams of “owning”, having a car loan and payment, a Range Rover than a Trek.  I saw big dollars, big spending, and big debt.  I didn’t see riding my bike to work for fun, owning rental real estate to create wealth, or using Personal Capital to track all of my income, spending, and net worth.  My mindset has changed, my thoughts on expensive cars has moved to high saving rates and reducing unnecessary costs.  If you ever want to do something whether it be lose weight, exercise, make more money, get promoted, learn a new language, it’s all about the mindset.  Once you decide to do something that’s when it all happens.

The article is titled “Should You Sell Your Car and Ride a Bike” and I purposely danced around the question.  There is so much more to the answer than a yes or no, everyone is different.  Cost, payments, where you live, stuff vs wealth, spending, income, budget, and finally mindset.  Should you sell your car and ride a bike?  Sounds fun, adventurous, crazy, ludicrous, health conscious, impossible, and many more adjectives that a thesaurus would school me on.  I didn’t write this to answer a question, I wrote this because I looked at a $64,000 car and started to day dream, I had questions and thoughts.  I know that some day some time in the future we are all going to look at a nice car or get sick of riding down the bike lane and have to consider what’s important to you.

I sold my car years ago and now I ride a bike a couple times a week.  So I guess in the end my answer is Yes, but it’s more than a question and an answer it’s an entire mindset.














11 Responses to “Should You Sell Your Car and Ride a Bike

  • It all depends, of course. First off, who says you need a $64,950 car? Not I. Those luxury cars are expensive to maintain. Simple oil changes cost more, insurance, monthly payments, car registrations, etc. What’s wrong with a Honda Civic, Fit. A two or three old car even. Solid, dependable and priced more along $10k or less even. I’d love to go bike only but with baby DivHut it’s not practical yet. Still, it’s something to think about down the road.
    DivHut recently posted…September 2016 Stock ConsiderationsMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 month ago

      Need would certainly be a stretch for a 65k vehicle. I’ve gone through those extra costs and learned my lesson, but it’s hard not to have your mind wander when a shiny new object drives by. Bike only would be a challenge, baby or not:) That’s I guess why they call it a challenge. I enjoy just trying to get out a couple times a week, been fun so far!

  • This write up tells about a fascinating difference between riding a bike and a car. You can read this article for fun and you will understand what all things can come in the minds of people sitting on two different seats- one in the car and one over the bike.

  • Well, the truth is I have always wondered what it is like to own one of those luxury vehicles. I think it would be cool to drive. However, I will not do the payment thing or stop my 401k for it. If I had unlimited income I might buy one for shits and giggles, but that is about it. In terms of having a car I need one because my commute is 45 minutes away. I wish we could do the mustachian thing of moving closer, however, the house we bought in another state is over $150,000 cheaper, my payments are cheaper than the rent, and I build equity, plus I love the city we live in.
    Jason recently posted…Suffering from Financial ADHDMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      4 weeks ago

      I’m with you Jason on valuing the 401k and not having debt more than a vehicle. I don’t think living as close to work as possible is the right thing to do financially or emotionally every time. We personally live 8-10 miles away and have excellent public transport and an ever growing bike population and in our case the closer you get to work the more expensive our housing and actual costs would be. Our transportation costs for this year will be incredibly low, especially as a function for to and from work.

  • There is no way we would spend $1000 a month for a car. We drive very low cost options. But with 5 little kids, being dropped off at 2 schools in a Montana winter, we will probably have the mini van for a long time. =)
    Ms. Montana recently posted…Protecting Loved Ones from Financial FraudMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 weeks ago

      I wonder what the cost breakdown is for those who exchange cars every 2-3 years vs those who keep the cars 10 years, assuming both have a loan. We all have different lives, factoring in 5 kids and different locations, I’m sure there are ways around transporting them but I doubt you would really want to or at least I wouldn’t for safety and convenience sake.

  • Well I can tell you since I moved to Indianapolis and live pretty much downtown, my bike has seen a LOT more use. Given that the weather is nice, we (my wife and I) just love taking our bikes everywhere now. In fact, since I have been living here (2 months now), I have only had to fill up my gas tank twice! This is from having to fill it up once a week when I lived in Austin. Saving so much money on gas. Love it!
    Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries recently posted…September 2016 Net Worth Update – How To Track Net WorthMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 weeks ago

      That’s great! I’m not terribly familiar with Indy, but I imagine big city with more bike friendly streets and trails which makes biking easier. The gas savings is obviously a bonus, now you can spend that money on new bike gear;)

  • My wife and I have considered relocating to Portland and selling one of our cars. I think that is the most “biking” city in the US. Anyhow, nearly everyone should be able to get by with a ~$5,000 car to get from point A to point B. There is NO need to shell out $80K for a BMW i7 or whatever they are called!
    Derek @ MoneyAhoy recently posted…How to Create Your Own Website for Your BusinessMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 weeks ago

      I wonder if Portland is the idea place to bike, while they may have the most “biking” might be congested more, I guess it would be interesting to learn more if someone would take a big decision like that. 100% agree cars are a pure luxury, a honda civic gets you to point B the same as your BMW i7 (is that a real car? glad I don’t know).

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