James D. Schwartz of The Urban Country recently calculated that Americans work on average two hours out of every day to pay for their cars. Now he’s figured out that a bicycle costs only 3.84 minutes. And that’s being conservative, assuming you’ll drop $1,500 on a new commuter bike every five years, after which it will have zero value.
Now, let’s be fair: Most Americans are trapped in an exurban sprawl dotted with Walmarts, strip malls, and assorted other architectural bed sores. And it’s not only because we don’t want to put up with neighbors who are sort of not like us in a way that would make us feel conflicted about our unacknowledged privilege — it’s also because you can get more house for cheaper. So just being in a position to bike to work would mean you’d probably pay a lot more rent. But once you’re installed, you’d be spending 3 percent as much time paying off your vehicle — which frees up a lot of your working time to pay that city-living premium.