This article originally appeared on USMFreePress.org
From insurance payments to oil changes, cars can be just as limiting as they are liberating. However, there is one method of transit that is a bonafide budget saver.
There is a long list of costs associated with the proper maintenance of an automobile, and for a college student, this list can often be too expensive. One might soon realize that a large portion of one’s bills are taken up by the mechanical and legal maintenance of your vehicle.
Many USM cyclists believe they can offer you the two-wheeled, engine less freedom that you never knew you had.
Cyclists are not as restricted by stop lights and roadways, which can greatly shorten commute times, and they have the added bonus of exercise. According to Hegor Malenko, a senior biology major, cycling is an inexpensive and efficient means of transportation.
“I sold my car last fall, and I biked through the winter,” said Malenko. “I save approximately $500 a month, from just not owning the car and not paying for upkeep costs like insurance and repairs.”
When you’re no longer paying for electricity, solar panels quickly pay for themselves. The same principle applies to bicycles and automobiles, with a much smaller investment. Even though green technology has made substantial progress in recent years, transitioning to it still bears expensive startup costs.
According to Dylan Rochman, a senior studio art major, being entirely green might not be financially feasible for everyone, but through minor alterations in your life, you can live green while still saving some, too. The switch to cycling saves on not just gas but vehicle repair costs as well
“I definitely couldn’t afford to pay for gas or a car. For me it’s mostly been about saving money and keeping me moving,” said Rochman. “I don’t know a lot about car maintenance, so it’s nice to have a relatively simple machine. If something breaks, I know how to fix it.”
According to Rochman, cycling offers an opportunity to make a positive transition in your life both financially and physically. But for Tyler Kidder, the assistant director of sustainable programs, and others concerned with sustainability, the switch to cycling is about much more than just saving money. The sustainability program at USM focuses on reducing environmental impact from recycling and sustainable landscapes to promoting alternative transportation.
“It sort of kills three birds with one stone: transportation, you’re saving the world, and you’re getting exercise,” said Kidder. But money is not all you will be saving, according to sophomore biology major, Justin Desper.
“It’s definitely easier getting around town,” said Desper. “I love getting to school and not having to park in the parking garage. But even biking around places like Back Cove after class is a huge benefit.”
Whether you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, get healthier or just save a few bucks, a simple switch to a bicycle can be that complete package. Don’t have a bike? One easy way to get one at a good price is at the Great Maine Bike Swap on April 27 at the USM Sullivan Gym.