There are lots of reasons to cycle including health, fun and convenience as well as often quoted financial benefits. So I thought about the financial side and have done some "back of envelope" calculations around the savings I make by cycling to work.
Saving over driving £1570 p.a.
Saving over public transport £1474 p.a.
Saving over walking £1856 p.a.
My normal trip is only 2.5 miles each way and I could get to work by car, by bus or by walking so I've done a comparison of all three;
Material costs by bike - 25mls per week, 1200 miles per year - New tyres & chain every 2 years (£30pa), new bike every 5 years (200pa) (I've previously used bikes for over 50,000miles so these costs are over-estimated). Annual cost £230.
Material costs by car - 25mls per week at 66p/ml (AA costing) = £16.50 per week plus parking at £21.00 per week. Annual cost £1800
Material costs by bus - £4.20 per day = £21.00 per week. Annual cost £1008
Material costs of walking - £0
Generally when calculating the costs of different forms of transport time tends to be ignored but spending extra time traveling can be significant so I've looked at time as well;
To return trip to work by bike takes up to 30 minutes a day.
Walking takes 110 minutes
Driving and parking takes 30 minutes
Public transport takes 60 minutes
So cycling saves 80 minutes per day over walking = 320hours pa
Or cycling saves 30 minutes per day over the bus = 120hours pa
Cycling takes about the same time as driving.
Costing the time even at the national minimum wage gives an idea of costs (really I value my time much more highly than that);
So accounting for actual costs and for the times saved by cycling my short commute by bike shows significant savings over other forms of transport. For the full year my savings are:
Saving over driving £1570
Saving over public transport £1474
Saving over walking £1856