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Pedal Power: Biking to Save Money

Bikes aren't just for kids. In fact, it's the only means of transportation for many. Giving up your vehicle for your bike can help save you money!

"I buy all my groceries via bicycle, laundry on my bicycle -- I go to a restaurant ride my bicycle," said Crystal Hilts, "Whenever I go to the gym, ride my bike to the gym, ride my bike to school, ride my bike to work."

Crystal Hilts has not driven a car in more than a year.

"I think it's scary at first for people who don't understand the benefits but I encourage them come ride with me once and you'll understand," said Crystal.

Crystal says it was a research paper that started this radical life-style.

"I wanted to bicycle to meet people who ride to learn more about their lives and why they ride as the weeks went by I noticed I was riding more, happier not as agitated there's so much aggression that goes into riding a car and sitting in traffic," she said.

Not only that, but she's saving tons of money!

"I've definitely saved money because my husband and I not having vehicles we save probably a grand a month between the two of us," she said.

In fact, co-founder of the Green Bicycle initiative Susan Knapp says trading in your car for two wheels can save you tens of thousands of dollars over an entire year.

"The national average for people that are commuting between 35-44 miles roundtrip are spending roughly about $12,305 a year. Bicycle commute upfront is going to cost you anywhere from $1500 -$2000 upfront," said Susan.

Although you can find deals.

"I bought this (bike) on Craigslist because I was new to riding," said Crystal, "It was a good bike for me to start with."

It was in great condition and included all the accessories for just $250! Depending on where you live, you may not even need to buy a bike.

Cities across the country have bike share programs. You can rent a bike for as little as $5 a day or $50 for a yearly membership.

"It has several kiosks throughout your area that have up to 12 bikes that you can rent. It is really great for people who live and commute in the city. It allows them to not have to pay for parking," says Susan.

While Susan does own a vehicle, she and her husband mainly rely on their bikes and public transportation to get around.

"We do have one vehicle - we just went down to a one vehicle family we do have two teenagers so sometimes having to use your vehicle is a necessity," says Susan, "You can go to any of your local organizations for any city or state and find out what their mass transit systems are. He commutes about 12 miles round trip to work and on days that it's raining I'll usually take him to work in our vehicle then he'll ride home by bus or bicycle. It allows you to look at your city in a way you've never seen it before you're not in your vehicle looking at lights or the car in front of you. You're able to really look at your city."

Christie Nugent has a similar life-style.

"I've just always loved it. I saved up babysitting money when I was 14 to buy my first road bike and ever since then just addicted," said Christie.

This die-hard biker even picked up her Christmas tree on two wheels!

"I have another bike called a long-tail bike exercycle it's extra long and I was able to strap an eight foot Christmas tree to the side of it and rode it," she said. "It was interesting but made it home without any problems."

Aside from saving a lot of money, she says biking has been a great way to meet people.

"I'm very shy by nature so it was awesome to get hooked into the bicycle community because it was like instant friends with people who have the same passion for things as you do -- I recently took a trip to Oklahoma," she said, "Immediately in both cities I was in Oklahoma hooked up with the bike groups and went on bike rides with them and they instantly welcome you in."

For more information:
facebook.com/TheGreenBicycleInitiativeOfHouston
houston.bcycle.com
capitalbikeshare.com
bikesharephiladelphia.org
onbikeshare.com
denverbikesharing.org
altabicycleshare.com

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