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Two Wheels Are Cheaper Than Four

Three alterna-transportation evangelists on the many benefits of their chosen wheels.


This is part of "Live Large, Spend Less," a comprehensive guide to surviving (and even flourishing) in America's most expensive city. See all of the stories here.

Electric Bike: I hesitated when e-bikes arrived, recoiling at both implication and price—my electric bike cost me about $3,000, which is absurd compared with a Craigslist 10-speed. But the more appropriate comparison, I came to see, is not to a bike but to a car: Having sprung for a long, cargo-rated number, I can ferry wife, daughter, and self to our destinations without my historic hill dread. Do conventional cyclists roll their eyes? Sure. Two blocks back. —Chris Colin

Scooter: When I heard that filling up a scooter’s gas tank costs $4, I immediately sold my car. I got my motorcycle license for $33, bought a used cherry-red Genuine Buddy 125cc scooter off Craigslist for $1,800, and started chugging my way around the seven hills. While cost was the initial attraction—I’m now paying $16 a month in gas and virtually nothing to park, saving me at least $200 a month—never having to worry about endlessly circling the block in search of parking has proved invaluable. —Jenna Scatena

Motorcycle: You can get a decent motorcycle for $3,000 to $6,000, and after that it’s basically free: I fill my gas tank up about once a week for $13, I pay $2.50 for the bridge toll, and I can do most of the maintenance on my Ducati 750 SS myself. My employer allows me to park for free because I take up so little space. And because California allows lane-splitting, I can get from home in North Oakland to work near Union Square in 15 minutes. —Cody Bentley


Originally published in the November issue of San Francisco

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