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Saturday, November 15, 2003


New at the bottom of the right-hand side column is a listing of bike related expenses I have incurred this year since I started commuting back in March. I started riding the Giant, then switched to the Diamondback a short time later when my brother gave it my way. Both bikes in fact came from Michael, so your start-up expenses may include the costs of the bike if you don't have one (and helmet of course). Other items I got as hand-me-downs or for cheap at garage/yard sales include 2 air pumps, the cycle computer, and a bike maintenance book. Some of the items are tools or other materials (such as reflective tape) that can be used for either bike, and are investments for future use, so future years would not incur the same costs for all of these items.

To put this in perspective, Ken Kifer's site has a breakdown of yearly auto costs via the American Automobile Manufactures Association, Inc. Total fixed costs (depreciation, insurance, license/registration, other charges) in 1997 was approximately $4,228; and variable costs (gas, oil, maintenance, tires) was about 10.8 cents per mile. So you can figure this out for what it may mean to you. Of course this would be for a new car, because a used car would not nearly incur as high of costs for depreciation or insurance. For a full analysis, visit Ken Kifer's article Auto Costs Versus Bike Costs.

For a change of pace, I also tabulated the value of the produce I harvested from my little garden (~ 65-70 square feet) this year. This doesn't include any bonus value from value added items such as the sun-dried tomatoes I made, nor does it include all organic prices (which our garden was of course) as I couldn't verify them at the time I was calculating this. And it doesn't include the value of items I may still harvest such as beets, carrots, and fall garlic. Finally, I have not figured costs for the year yet. A number were high costs that will be investment purchases such as wire for hoops and cover cloth for season extension/bug control. I'll try to figure these prices at a later date.

Here we go:

Salad Mix 4#5oz - $25.88; Cilantro 3.75 bunch - $2.81; Cucumber 35/23#10oz - $17.00; Beets 12/2#8oz - $2.15; Basil 7 and 1/2 cups - $10.00; Zucchini 4/5# - $5.00; Sweet Peppers 11/1# 11oz - $5.00; Cabbage 4/3# 8oz - $2.00; Tomato 72/52#10oz - $131.00; Soybeans 12oz - $2.99; Gourds 18/3#6oz - $9.00; Honeydew 1/2# - $1.99; Chili Pepper 41/8oz - $2.99.

For a total of $217.72, almost two full months value (we spend about $120 per month) worth of groceries for us.

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