Girl riding bike with her younger brother on sidewalk riding a scooter. Both smiling and having a blast.

10 Years Riding the Bus = $84,000 Saved

Girl riding bike with her younger brother on sidewalk riding a scooter. Both smiling and having a blast.


Sitting on the couch last night was chatting with the spousal equivalent (“SE”) about how NextDoor is awful. Cue a recent bus rider shaming post that really bothered me:

NextDoor somehow is worse than both Facebook and Twitter. Please @ me.
NextDoor somehow is worse than both Facebook and Twitter. Please @ me.

We talked a bit and then realized SE has been riding the bus to work, or biking, for the last 10 years. Wow, time flies. Somehow, neither lice nor French whore encounters have been a problem. #praise

There are a number of reasons that transit SE likes to support and use transit:

  • Traffic congestion reduction (buses move far more people than the typically single occupant cars common in the US)
  • Cost savings
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Social unity / exposure
  • Etc

On the cost savings front we estimated that over the last 10 years we saw approximately $84,000 of savings for our family.

  • $200 per month parking x 10 years = $24,000 (Comparison from co-workers)
  • $6000 per year vehicle cost x 10 = $60,000 (About 1/3 less than the average cost per year from AAA since Cali is hella expensive but we’re cheap. Results may vary.)

SE bus cost is covered by employer so if paying the $72 monthly out of pocket would reduce the savings by $8,640 for a total 10 year savings of roughly $75,360.

We took the savings and went on a fat family trip to Vegas and Hawaii which was awesome. Just kidding. We put most of it into index fund investments to grow and throw off dividends until the end of our days.

Wanted to share our public transit savings story in case you’re also interested in saving the better part of $100k every 10 years and putting it to work for you instead of sending it out the exhaust pipe.

This photo represents the latest success story for a recent trail connection within Chollas Creek Regional Park.

Prioritizing Chollas Creek Bikeway

This photo represents the latest success story for a recent trail connection within Chollas Creek Regional Park.
This photo represents the latest success story for a recent trail connection within Chollas Creek Regional Park.

The vision and goal to establish a safe and comfortable bikeway with community parks from La Mesa and Lemon Grove through City Heights, Oak Park, Encanto, Mid City, Barrio Logan to the San Diego Waterfront should be a top priority for mobility, sustainability, waterways, and health. In my opinion, this would be the most equitable active transportation bike project in San Diego County that protects our valuable Chollas Creek watershed, bringing economic, environmental, and health benefits to the community and city, while providing our residents with safe and comfortable access from the urban neighborhoods to the waterfront and downtown San Diego.

The proposed bikeway is just part of the larger plan for the Chollas Creek Regional Park that has visions of establishing sustainable eco-villages, along with healthy parks and waterways, while connecting schools and residents to the natural environments for health and happiness, in a place that has been neglected and overrun with freeways and pollution for far too long.

I've personally tried to explore riding along or near the creek to find myself stuck among freeways and no way to cross. The creek was nonexistent in some areas and filled with debris and pollution in other areas. Under the old neglected concrete water way, there is the light of potential and the creek is seeking our attention. It has the potential to become something amazing, capturing and reclaiming our water in an ecosystem that the locals can become engaged in, be proud of, and be active in protecting. This pathway would greatly benefit the local communities, the region, and our most valuable resource, our water.

It is critical we begin to protect and support the existing watersheds in San Diego. By creating pathways along waterways, connecting South-of-the-8 communities of concern to beautiful natural spaces in their own backyard and letting the residents engage and appreciate the water and the natural environments and the history the area when it was taken care of by the Kumeyaay before the industrial colonization.

A big shout out for the leadership at Groundwork and Board Member Vicki Estrada, for creating a coalition to collaborate and support the prioritization and funding for this incredibly valuable resource. Over the years the coalition members continue to engage in clean-ups, urban hikes, and visioning sessions to help communities adjacent to creek reclaim the watershed, and are ready to work with the city to pursue grants and funding to rehabilitate and activate the Chollas Creek Watershed and create a Chollas Creek Regional Park for the residents of San Diego. More information about specifics of this important connection can be found at

This map shows the Chollas Creek Watershed and a proposed pathway connecting schools, parks, neighborhoods, and businesses. The other photo shows the benefits of creating healthy sustainable community projects while protecting our waterways and providing a safe place to walk, bike, travel, commute, and enjoy nature while in our city.

Chollas Creek trail status

value slide

Nicole Burgess and friends in San Diego

Sharing bike love while I venture to Croatia, the Adriatic, and beyond

Nicole Burgess and friends in San Diego

I'm excited as I depart for Croatia for my fourth Climate Ride and thank all my friends for the continued support as I learn, explore, and engage with unfamiliar territories. I'm making the best of my long flight and will continue onto Munich and take a solo adventure down the Danube to Austria. From there, I will indulge in an all inclusive tour through Italy and Slovenia. I'll plan a pitstop in Utrecht to admire the beautiful infrastructure that makes me proud to have Dutch blood. I imagine the weather will bring me back to paradise in Point Loma, but who knows maybe I will just head south to Sevilla where they have been prioritizing safe bike infrastructure, in a city similar to San Diego.

As I am excited for my adventures, I'm also excited to leave some bike love in San Diego and have found beautiful riders for the many bikes in my garage that like to be ridden.

I've become a big fan of electric bikes as they have proven to become an efficient mode of travel. Just the other day, I left a meeting with Mayor Faulconer in Downtown San Diego to an event with Hasan from SANDAG at Mid-City Community Action Network (CAN). My ebike commute took approximately 25 minutes, which was the same amount of time that it took SANDAG staff to get to the event in a car, and was quite faster than transit (the bus).  It was fun, healthy, and powerful.

Since I understand the values and joys of commuting by bike, with both electric or human powered bikes, I'm excited to share these joys with others.

Kim Heinle from Linda Vista CDC was the first to jump in on a bike challenge. Her commute is from PB to Linda Vista Community Center, a nice commute in SD, but Linda Vista is a challenging hill to go up everyday on a regular bike. Kim rides on occasion but opts to walk her bike up Ulrich as LV is too challenging on a regular bike, hence an ebike made perfect sense. As ebikes are heavy, we were also challenged with how to carry the bike up a flight of stairs.  Therefore, we decided the foldable ebike, the Vika Blix, would be the best option.

Kim got the bike on a Sunday and I was thrilled to get at 7:30 AM text from Kim that she'd already arrived at work and loved the ride. I look forward to hearing more about her experiences as she tries to put more miles on the bike than on her car.

Sophie Wolfram was also interested in the challenge but also needs to carry bike up a flight of stairs. She'll be next in line to try the foldable bike when I get home.

Our next friend to get rolling on a bike is Ryan Beal, a volunteer for CAC. I met Ryan at the recent event at Mid City Can and briefly chatted about his desires to try to be multimodal from Escondido to Kearny Mesa. I had the perfect bike, a Surly, that was just waiting for a rider. Ryan did use bike/transit in LA and had good intentions for trying it out in San Diego. “Baby steps” for becoming an active commuter is important.  No pressure, no judgement. What are the obstacles, challenges, joys, and benefits that Ryan will encounter. I can’t wait to hear about his journeys when I return. I honestly think he will be hooked and will be traveling by bike for his next overnight vacation.

Then there’s Rosa Olascoaga, a beautiful young leader for Mid-City Can advocating for safe streets and better mobility options for the residents of City Heights. Rosa is a new rider and borrowed the electric Blix Avanti for a ride to Tijuana with Los Cruzadores last weekend.  This was a fabulous ride, joined by more than 125 riders, exploring the communities from Barrio Logan, National City, Chula Vista, San Ysidro, and into Tijuana for a night of fun. The first day was a 30 mile ride for Rosa and she rocked it.  She was excited to experience riding the electric bike and mentioned that she would like to try an electric bike to commute from Paradise Valley to City Heights. It was perfect timing, and she would become the next rider to explore the opportunities and joys of riding through San Diego on a bike. I'd have liked to have been in town to show her how to navigate properly in traffic, but hoping some of our friends will help her with this skill and lead her to safe and blissful riding. We must be patient and take time to feel comfortable riding in traffic. For me, I grew riding up as a kid, but my daily commutes as an adult was a simple 1.5 miles to the neighborhood school twice a day for six years. That is what really transformed my tansportation choices and  why I now use my bike for transportation.

As our region indulges in the conversations of transportation with SANDAG, MTS, cities in the county, and locally within our communities, I do believe it is important for our leaders to become active commuters and to ride a bike to have better understanding and perspective for the benefits of bikes.

If you're interested in the challenge and want to try to change your commute, please feel free to reach out to me ( Nothing makes me happier than seeing new friends experience the freedom of riding a bike and escaping a car for local commutes.

Although I'm on the opposite side of the world, I send good vibes to these new riders and all of you that have been blessed with the beauty of riding a bike.

Ride on friends and may we all shine together for health and happiness.

Nicole Burgess
BikeSD Board President

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 6

A summer ride to Ruffin Road in Linda Vista to see the Garden

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 6

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 1

BikeSD Board Members, Nicole and Natalie, led a fun ride to Ruffin Road to visit an amazing food garden in the heart of Kearny Mesa. The day was fabulous and many thanks to all the riders that came out.

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 5Meeting in Old Town with a diverse group of bikes and riders, we first headed through Morena Blvd and I-8 intersections. We encountered fast vehicles and this became one of least favorite segments of the ride. I'm happy to say that Caltrans is painting new striping throughout the small corridor but unfortunately, I don’t think it will make it more comfortable nor safer.

We ventured up Linda Vista Road, Aero Drive, Kearny Villa Road, and Balboa Ave to Ruffin Road, enjoying the sights and neighborhoods along the way.

When we arrived, we enjoyed walking through the garden seeing the plentiful fruit, birds, flowers, bees, and more. We learned about sustainable practices in the garden and on the property. We grilled up delicious open-faced zucchini sandwiches with homegrown tomatoes, Bitchin Sauce, and arugula. Dessert was grilled raisin challah bread with almond butter. All very tasty!

After a nice visit with property owner Peter Aardema, beekeeper James MacDonald, and gardener Paula Gandalfo, we headed off in different directions. Brother Pete biked back to Solana Beach, a couple with electric bike-pods headed east to El Cajon, the Pacific Beach group headed west out Aero Drive, and the rest went down through Qualcomm and west along the San Diego River.

Thank you to all that joined to make it a successful and memorable day. BikeSD looks forward to hosting more rides to the garden. Stay tuned and join us for the next ride.

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 2Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 3Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 4

photo of Nicole's touring bike.

Why I Ride - message from our new board president

Inaugural message from Nicole Burgess, new BikeSD board president.

If you know me, you know I love to ride. From near to far, in flips or Uggs, nothing
beats the beauty of pedaling for a cause.

Whether it’s pedaling for my groceries or to advocate for better bike infrastructure,
the best reward is for my mind, body, and soul.

Enjoying morning smiles, head nods, and waves among other riders, walkers, and
friends on the road while feeling gratitude for living in a beautiful city with amazing
views in all directions.

I ride to keep my body moving and in good shape while protecting and embracing our
beautiful environments. I immediately feel the stress being released as I begin to
pedal into the fresh air and can’t imagine a better place to be.

This all happens while going from one place to another. And with my new role as
President of BikeSD, it is my hope that I can inspire and create safe paths for
others to enjoy commuting by bike. Please join me and BikeSD on this adventure to
make San Diego a wonderful place to ride, live, and explore.

Ride more. Ride often. Ride with BikeSD.