Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bicycling as a "second job" pays $20 per hour

Riding a bicycle in the Houston area gets you point-to-point at about a 12 MPH average speed. Driving a car point-to-point in the Houston area, very roughly, doubles the bicycle average speed to about 25 MPH. Case in point: from my northwest suburban home to the Houston Galleria business district, about 25 miles, it could take an hour on average to drive. Worse at peak times, better at slack times, but an hour is a typical average that I use for time budgeting.

The cost of driving is 60 cents per mile (according to the IRS). The cost of bicycling is about 1/10 of that, or $0.06 per mile (could be less, but these are my costs).

If I bike ride 25 miles, it will take me two hours. If I drive, it will take me one hour. But I'll save $13.50 in the process, so riding a bike "pays" me $13.50 tax-free for that extra hour spent. I would have to earn about $20 per hour before Federal income taxes and SocSec/Medicare deductions to get back $13.50 after-tax. Everything depends on my particular tax bracket, of course.

I like the thought that I get paid $20 per hour to improve my health, and see the outdoors and wildlife.