Photo: My personal Bike, which was purchased in 2006 and is still working fine today.
I don’t exactly remember when I read the MMM biking challenge, but I took that challenge and ran with it. Multiple times, I have used my bike as a way to save on gas and use my own energy to get places. Mr. Money Mustache swears that the best way to save money is to bike daily on your morning commute and bike for errands. He suggests the use of a bike trailer to haul the supplies back in. He outlined the importance of biking as a strategy to get rich in his article titled, “Get Rich With: Bicycles.” I agree that biking can save on the use of gas, which in the end eventually saves you money in the long run.
There are two benefits to biking for errands. First, biking is good for your finances. Financially, you can bike everywhere you go and save on the gas that it costs to fill up your car. Also, by using your car less, there will be less expenses due to car failure. Secondly, biking is good for your health. You get to accomplish two things when using your bike. One you get groceries and two you get a workout in. You are using your own energy to move the bike, whereas, in a car you use gas which powers the engine in a car. That engine allows you to take a cushy ride in a comfy seat. Sounds great, but it does not benefit you in any health ways. Lastly, these two benefits will help you become healthier and help your coin grow. It's the little things that help you spend less.
In October of 2011, MMM challenged his readers to use a bike trailer to get groceries. This article gave a great personal experience from Mrs. Money Mustache, who for the first time biked to get groceries. It was a great article that inspired me to try it out. One problem: I don’t have a bike trailer. So, I took the challenge by biking down the road with nothing but a book bag. Here is my story of taking the MMM challenge in the spring of 2015.
It was a beautiful spring day in Houston, and I decided that I was not going to drive over the weekend. I was going to use my body to do everything. This particular weekend, my wife was working at the hospital which made getting the groceries my job. So, I put on my backpack, strapped on my helmet and biked down the road. We live in a rural area outside of the city of Houston, so the closest grocery store is 5.5 miles one-way.
The ride was beautiful as I biked through the Texas country side. I traveled by creeks, ranches, goats and cattle. I am big fan of nature and love looking out at the open spaces of the country side. This comes from my upbringing. I grew up on five acres and my mom’s house was surrounded by cornfields. It is wonderful to be one with nature and learn to enjoy the surroundings. After living in Houston for even just a little bit, I started to miss my roots in the nature. Luckily, my wife’s parents live in a beautiful area just outside of Houston, which gives me access to this great scenery.
I biked through the country side and eventually to civilization. I biked under the toll road and into the Kroger parking lot. I was about to lock my bike up, when I realized that I had forgotten my wallet. This would make it challenging to buy groceries, but thankfully I only used my energy to get me to the store and I didn’t waste any gas. So, I got back on the bike and biked the 5.5 miles back to the house.
I had told myself that I was going to get groceries with my bike and I would not be defeated by this little mistake. So, I grabbed my wallet and hoped back onto the bike. I made the 5.5 mile bike ride through the country side again. This time when I got to Kroger, I locked up my bike and walked into the store. The shopping list was small, since all I had was a backpack. I purchased the items and filled that backpack up and headed to the house.
When I got home, I felt like a million bucks. It felt great completing a 22-mile bike ride in total and I accomplished two goals. I got the groceries and I used physical energy and my bike to get those groceries. I took the challenge and crushed it. So, I challenge you to save some gas and take the MMM biking challenge. You will feel great with the accomplishment that you have made.
On a side note, I have gotten groceries multiple times since taking the challenge. Even one time I went to Sam’s club on my bike, which is seven miles one-way. Not only have I been biking more for groceries, but I have biked home from work four times this last spring. My wife and I would car pool on days that she had clinical near my school. On the days that I had practice, we took my bike and I would bike home, because my wife got off two hours earlier and I didn’t think it made sense for her to wait for me. Therefore, I made the 15 mile bike ride home instead of taking a car. This saved us a lot of gas. Therefore, anything can be done! You just got to believe and take a chance! It doesn’t hurt to try.