College Connect: A new bicycle isn’t worth it – YES IT IS!

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Daniel Levitt

“I’ll buy one at the start of the semester.” “I’ll buy one after my exam.” “No, seriously, I’ll buy one on the weekend.”

Sound familiar?

There’s only one time to buy that bicycle you need, and that’s now!

See, for all of those days and weeks that you delay the big purchase, your bank balance is being left exposed. But it doesn’t have to be big at all. The “green” website suggests says a study bike will cost an average of $350.

“Yeah, but I can’t afford two or three hundred dollars on a new bike right now” you may say. Or, “how much would a bike even save me anyway?”

Firstly, who said that you need a “new” bike? A quick browse through second-hand websites such as Craigslist or Gumtree and you’ll find decent bicycles, often only ridden a handful of times, for no more than $100.

So now that you’ve accepted you don’t need a shiny new bike, and that it will cost no more than $100, let’s delve into the numbers to see how much this initial investment will actually save you in the long run.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that you live too far to walk to class or work, and public transport runs from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. You have one evening class or shift a week that finishes at 9 p.m., so you’re left with no other option than to beg a friend for a ride, or pay the $8-12 for Uber just to get home. We’re also going to work on the basis of a 16-week school semester.

1 x Uber ride per week = $8-12
16 x Uber rides per semester = $128-192
2 x semesters worth of Uber rides = $256-384

Not convinced?

“But what about if you’re in college for four years?” you ask. Well, then we’re talking more than a grand spent just on Uber rides.

So the next time you ask yourself whether you can afford $100 (or less) on a new second-hand bicycle, ask yourself this instead: can I afford more than $1,000 on Uber rides over the next four years?

Levitt is a graduate student at the University of Missouri on the data visualization track. He is the graphics editor for the Columbia Missourian and is set to intern with Bloomberg News in New York this summer.


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