Bikes, Cars, & Walking Oh My!

Transportation. It’s one of those things we take for granted when we’re younger, and even more so when we’re visiting somewhere with great public transit (buses, trains, etc); however, it’s something that I’ve got to start thinking about again in the next few weeks. As of very early January, I am the proud owner of Bubbles, my 2000 silver Ford Focus, the sexiest thing on 4-wheels. This means I can travel the 3 hours to my parents’ whenever I feel like it, or head to the other side of town to visit Target (pronounced Tar-jay). Bubbles is impractical to use for going to class (streets are closed during the day and I live on campus). I’ve driven to class twice, and both times it was to a night class while it was raining, and I planned to drive somewhere else immediately afterward.

Bubbles...isn't she beautiful!?!?

So, how to get to class? Walk, obviously. Well..I am a notorious over-sleeper and it’s hot, so I normally rode my bike…until it was stolen about a month before school let out. 😦 I may have left it somewhere on campus and forgot, but I definitely checked pretty much everywhere and it was no where to be seen. Now I have to make a decision to either buy a new one or walk everywhere.

My old bike was sort of like this, but green =(

Pic. Source

Am I so lazy that I wouldn’t go to class if I didn’t have a bike? Of course not, but there are places like my favorite Chinese place, 9 Dragon, and the Neighborhood Walmart, that are far enough away to make walking uncomfortable, but not far enough away to justify driving there. And it’s uncomfortable not just because of leg cramps, but because it can actually be dangerous [southern Louisiana in the summer is 110+F some days]. So what does this have to do with budgeting? For one thing, it’s not currently in my budget to buy a new bike (which I project costing around $150-$200), but do I need it? My first was already stolen…so how would I secure this one differently? Would I use it for more than riding to class? I have friends I could ride with and there are bike paths along the Mississsippi to take (so that I could work out in the beautiful sunshine).

So how good of an investment is a bicycle? It isn’t a huge initial cost (like a car). Upkeep includes airing the tires (we have free pumps on campus), making sure it isn’t rusted, buying a good lock. Upkeep for a bike isn’t expensive. Pros are that I could wake up later for class, I could bike to places I would otherwise have to drive to (Walmart, 9 Dragon, my bf, my bff, etc), and I would definitely exercise more (biking in a billion degrees is more appealing than running in a billion degrees). I am going to reevaluate my budgets for the next few months and see if there is money to take from other areas, and we’ll take it from there. So, takeaways: It sucks to have your bike stolen, having one can help you exercise more & use your car less (mother earth thanks you), & if I budget for it in September, I’ll get one.

-L.