Get paid $10 an hour to ride your bike

My personal hero is Mr. Money Mustache. It feels a little silly to say this after having read his posts for all of two weeks, but his perspective has literally been life-changing. I highly recommend reading his blog. Do what I did and click the link for the Maximum Mustache and begin reading the blog (essentially) front to back. I am still a little over two years behind at this point, yet I have learned more about finance and personal wealth than I have in my entire life up to this point.

A decent amount of what The Goblin Chief is about will be reflections and tangents inspired by what I’ve learned. In two weeks I have gone from resigned to a lifetime of work, struggling to overcome debt, to being brimming over with energy (seriously, I’ve become an insomniac in the best of ways) and working diligently to retire at age 45, 16 years from now — and have the math to back it up!

A central tenet of MMM is ride your bike. Don’t own a bike? Buy a bike. Craigslist is your friend, especially this time of year, but even if you have to buy new on Nashbar your $300 investment will pay off in around a month. Don’t have the money? Sell your car (or something) and buy a bike. Once you have the bike, buy a bike trailer. If you’re single or childless, a cargo model like this one is your best best, but if you’re like me and have kids, go on Craigslist and score a Burley for 20% of retail.  More on trailers in a future post.

If you need to go somewhere more than 10 miles away OR are planning on hauling more than 50 pounds, or something that simply can’t fit in the trailer, you can still use your fossil fuel dinosaur. For every other trip and errand, use the most efficient engine in the world: YOU.

It will suck at first. My legs have discovered new levels of pain. Sometimes I have been so gassed I have to get off and walk for a few minutes. You’ll get lost (turning 7 mile rides into 15 mile ones), or stuck navigating around hills or intersections you’d never have blinked twice when using a car. With a little intelligence and the help of Professor Google, however, your most common routes will quickly become second nature on the bike.

What’s surprised me the most is how much energy I have. My calorie usage has probably increased 50%. I am constantly hungry, but I’m also so full of energy that it’s a struggle to sleep or even crash and relax.

You’d think it would be the reverse, right? FUCK, I rode my bike all the way to work and back. I’m BEAT. I need to zonk out in front of the boob tube and drink 8 beers.


I dedicated this summer to teaching all 3 of my kids (age 3,6,7) to ride bikes, so we have been fairly active. That said, “fast” biking with a 7 year old is at most half my speed when alone. My cardio is seriously weak. I was tempted to take a picture of myself without a shirt on to show I am not Mr. Athlete, but I don’t want to scar you, the reader. Take my word that I am not Superman. I have lost a lot of weight, from 290 pounds down to 215 in 4 years, but I am far from ripped. Maybe it’s an initial high that I will later recover from, but I am incredibly full of energy and motivation – only since beginning hardcore, non-recreational cycling.

What do I mean by non-recreational cycling? Biking WITH a trailer 100% of the time. The trailer is for kids under 4, for stashing goods, for carrying dress clothes to work without having to stuff them into a backpack. Non-recreational cyclists are NOT biking for exercise (though it is an added bonus). They are biking to get from A–>B for FREE. Yes, it takes longer, but America in general needs to slow the FUCK down. No one needs to be ANYWHERE immediately unless you’re in labor or bleeding out.

Since I don’t work full-time, my first week I took a few long rides with my girls (they currently max out at about 5 miles one way, 10 miles roundtrip, with about 2-3 breaks to check out nature). I ran a few errands. When the weekend came, I biked to work, which is 15 miles roundtrip, except when I get lost and turn that into an excruciating marathon of 15 miles through construction zones in pitch dark. I have started keeping a spreadsheet of my bike rides that you’re welcome to follow along with. Beyond the health and psychological benefits, however, it boils down to money. Biking is a godsend to our budget.

Driving a car costs a shit-ton of money. News broadcasts  Fear mongers focus on the “price of gas” but, in reality, this is a minor factor in vehicle ownership. Let me drop a truth bomb on you about owning a car:

  • Cost of driving = $0.50 per mile (depreciation and maintenance) + Fuel costs (dollars per gallon / average mpg).

50 cents a mile! Holy crap! My current vehicle, a 2000 Toyota Sienna, averages 20mpg. At $3 a gallon these days, that adds ANOTHER $0.16 cents. That’s $0.66 a mile altogether

As long as you’re avoiding serious grades, 10 miles an hour on a bike is easy-peasy even for the Mr. McFlabbies of the world. Translating this into AFTER TAX dollars, it’s like earning $10 per hour just for riding your bike.

That’s serious cash as it compounds. Try it out. Seriously. No excuses.

Still have excuses? Describe your Excusitis in the comments and the Chief will prescribe a cure for you.


4 Comments on “Get paid $10 an hour to ride your bike”

  1. Gero1369 says:

    Hi Goblin Chief,

    I saw you post on the MMM forums and saw that you’re in Milwaukee. I’m in the same area (Butler to be more exact. <a href=",Oo3geeHbiroNT9ydZTB6TnKxQHbfWMiUCIISk1NL6IuH0ZcAmLclBc_1dMg03J8myWQ0gLPcfntcoJF_oVyYGA8Ui5ok-FODHl7yJtOIJg2NL2k-lgqcQxEpdLogjudKa5poMnLbB9cCh9Gf6ZtH3eiDzuqk72bdpWLWD_tPMaWigUHxXpdx45h-9MMBHXVGTTsbnjaw&quot; target="_blank"See a map ). I haven’t looked too much at your blog thus far, but I’ll definitely be reading it. You got me with the first sentence of your first post here: “My personal hero is Mr. Money Mustache.” I’ve been reading his blog for quite some time as well. I did like you and started at ‘the beginning of time’. I’m now up to the beginning of this year or so (2014). If I remember correctly, I heard of his blog from an interview he did with David Pakman ( ). Where did you hear of him? I’ll leave you be for now. I am excited to see someone in the area that embraces the Mustachian life. I’m hoping to get much better at doing so now and in the future.

    • David says:

      Thanks for reading!

      I learned of MMM when someone on my FB friends list shared his article about the Circles of Concern versus Circles of Control. Which is funny, because that’s not about personal finance at all, but that was what hooked me 🙂

      Not sure if there’s going to be a meet up in the MKE area or not this year, but if you’re into biking at all I’m always up for rides.

      • Gero1369 says:

        Thanks for the quick reply!!
        I read that particular post not too long ago. Are you aware of any Meetup groups or any other similar groups of FI people in general or Mustachian folks in particular in the area? I doubt that I’d be able to make many meetups if there are, but it’d be great to know. As for bike rides, I am unsure there as well. I have a full-time job as well as a full-time home life (two young kids and a wife that requires pretty much my every waking moment). I haven’t started riding my bike to work, but I do take the Freeway Flyer to my job downtown (currently in the new ‘Mayfair Collection’ on Burleigh). I really should be biking to there at the very least, but I can make great excuses for being the wussypants that I am on that front 😉 How far are you from Butler (53007)?

      • David says:

        Happen to be at the park with my kids, hence the quick reply 🙂

        I live about two miles east on Burleigh from where you work.

        There is a thread for Milwaukee in the meetups category of the forums. I ride weekly with the guy who organized the last one, which all of two people attended, but there are more Mustachians here than last year. On Jul 23, 2014 2:45 PM, “The Goblin Chief” wrote:


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