Extreme Communting Costs
Continuing yesterday’s thread about the Times’ extreme bike commuters, I was curious about how much it would cost to purchase all of the gear mentioned in the story:
Having sheathed his legs in NASA-worthy Capo bib shorts — woven from high-tech fibers that compress leg muscles to minimize fatigue — he pulled on a pair of winter cycling tights lined with fleece from the waist to the thighs. Next came over-the-calf Smartwool ski socks under Sidi Genius 5.5 shoes strategically packed with chemical toe warmers. To shield his torso, he wore a wool base layer under an Italian long-sleeve racing jersey, and a windproof vest reinforced in front to block freezing gusts and meshed in the back to vent excess heat. On his head, an Assos Fuguhelm racing cap with vents on top to minimize sweating, and a pair of Oakley Jawbones sunglasses. The final touch: a pair of $19 insulated work gloves, coated with beeswax to make them water resistant.
So what would you have to shell out if you used this commuter as an example for your ride to work? A heckuva lot. I pulled prices from a variety of sources — Amazon, big-name cycling stores, and general outdoor retailers such as L.L. Bean and Campmor — and came up with a total.
- Capo bib shorts: $169.95
- Winter cycling tights: $49.99
- Smartwool ski socks: $25.95
- Sidi Genius 5.5 shoes: $149.95
- Chemical toe warmers, pack of 40: $35.75
- Wool base layer: $54.95
- Italian long-sleeve racing jersey: $90.96
- Windproof vest: $64.96.
- Assos Fuguhelm racing cap: $149.95
- Oakley Jawbones sunglasses. $200.00
- Insulated work gloves: $19
- Beeswax: $4.99
The damage? $1,016.40. And almost all of that total goes to cycling-specific gear that can’t be re-purposed as office wear. Spending that much is certainly any individual commuter’s prerogative — I have certain expensive wardrobe items that I believe are worth the cost — but the laundry list of luxury items has to be off-putting to the average would-be bike commuter.
As the title of Sarah Goodyear’s piece on the subject states, “You Don’t Have to Be Superhuman to ride to Commute by Bicycle.” You also don’t have to be rich.