Is cycling to work really cheaper than public transport?

Is cycling to work really cheaper than public transport?

For city-dwellers, it makes sense that cycling is always cheaper than driving or taking public transport. But is that actually the case?

On the first day I commuted to work by bike, I woke up earlier than usual, overstuffed my backpack with snacks, clothes and towels and hit the road at 07:30.

After a few miles, the GPS route I was following disappeared, forcing me to pull over to find the route again.

Meanwhile, lorries and angry drivers were honking and overtaking me at high speed at a very busy junction. After more than an hour in the saddle, I finally arrived at the office, stressed out - but on time.

For those of us who live in crowded cities with bad traffic and scarce parking, there are two main options for commuters: public transport and cycling.

When you compare the two, it seems like an easy win for the former: cycling costs less and is good exercise.

It's these factors - along with expansion of bike lanes and cycling advocacy groups - that are helping drive growth in bike commuting in many countries around the world.

In the US, according to the US Census Bureau, the number of commuters by bike increased by 60 per cent over the past decade (from 488,000 in 2000 up to 786,000 during the years 2008-12) and 40 per cent from 2006 to 2013 (from 623,000 to 882,000), even though they still account for just 0.6 per cent of the total commuting population (a whopping 143 million workers).

In London, according to the most recent census data, the number of cycling commuters more than doubled, from 77,000 in 2001 to 155,000 in 2011.

In the UK as a whole in 2014 (the most recent year available), a record 183,423 employees participated in the Cycle to Work scheme, a Government's scheme that enables employees to get bikes and accessories tax-free through their employers.

When I lived in Turin, Italy I always cycled: compared to public transport, it was always faster and almost cost-free. I thought the same would apply in London.

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