I had a rivet on my right side pannier break when the kids and I rode the Medicine Bow Trail. Being the slacker I am I have not gotten it fixed, mainly because I only use the left one for commuting.
Well, this morning the rear rivet on my left pannier broke on the way to work. I'm sure I can make it home with what I have, but I'm going to need to get a rivet tool to fix them both (and probably the other two at some point in the future). I really wish I could afford to splurge on higher quality panniers, but unfortunately that isn't an option.
I did figure up that I am saving $10.75 a week in gas alone by riding over driving. And based on the 50 cents a mile figure I read somewhere (that's what it takes to operate a car) I am saving $44.50 a week by riding over driving. Having said that, it seems like I have to keep spending money to keep riding. Not that what I've spent on riding comes close to $44.50 a week.
I've spent maybe $500 this year riding my bike. I've had to buy a few tubes, two new sets of tires (one for the Giant, one for the Cannonball), fenders, a rear rack, cable cutters and a new jacket. I'm not going to say Motobecane and call it good at around $500 in the past 10 months. And really, when I outfitted the Cannonball to commute I spent $35 on fenders, $40 on a rack and $60 (I think) on tires. But those items should last for quite awhile. If I had to replace tires and tubes only I would be spending less than $200 a year easy.
Savings on gas alone if I ride for an entire year (50 weeks) would be about $540. Using the 50 cents a mile figure I'd be saving $2,225 by riding every day to work instead of driving. Too bad its not just fun money to spend, I'd be the proud owner of a Raleigh Sojourn right now. But its good I can ride and cut our expenses. That alone makes it worth the effort.
This year has been the first year I've relied heavily on the bike for transportation and since July it has been my sole mode of transportation to and from work. It took me a couple of months to get my system down and now I am pretty much an old hand at this commuting thing. I just have to maintain status quo.
In the future I see needing to replace my bottom bracket and my rear rim (dinged it on the Switzerland Trail), but otherwise I think I'm set. The rivet tool to fix the panniers should be $15 or less and will allow me to fix any future broken rivets as well. I've saved more money by doing a lot of bike maintenance myself. Sometimes its daunting, but so far I've been successful at everything I've attempted to fix.