Calculate how much money you'll save by biking to work

(Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images/File) Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images/File

Last Updated May 23, 2011 10:40 AM EDT

Could you use an extra $65 in your wallet every week? Or $260 per month? Make that $3,120 per year. That's one example of what you can save by biking to work every day -- assuming you travel 20 miles round-trip and pay $5 per day for parking.

So say the numbers crunched by Kiplinger's biking-to-work calculator, a simple tool that helps you figure out the monetary benefits of two-wheeling it.

Just plug in the round-trip length of your daily commute, then any applicable parking fees and/or road tolls. The calculator's methodology is based on the IRS' 2011 standard mileage rates, which include gas, insurance, maintenance, and vehicle depreciation. (I have to wonder what the gas prices were when the IRS came up with those rates. You might stand to save even more.)

Not factored in: the huge health benefits you'll reap by switching from gas pedal to bike pedal. A 160-pound man biking at 20 mph burns roughly 40 calories per mile. If you travel 10 miles round-trip, that's 400 extra calories burned every day.

Now, obviously biking to work isn't always practical. There are factors like time, weather, and safety to consider. And you need a bike, which represents some initial expense. Plus, you'll get to work all sweaty, which adds other logistical challenges (i.e. bringing a change of clothes, getting cleaned up, etc.).

Nevertheless, even if you do it just once in a while, there's money to be saved and health to be improved. At the very least, why not lay out the pros and cons of pedaling to the office? (If you already have, or you're already a bike commuter, hit the comments and share your thoughts.)

Although I work from home, I sometimes hop on my bike and ride to a coffee shop for a change of scenery. Not quite the same thing, but it doesn't cost me anything but a bit of time.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.

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