Terri Elioff

Terri Elioff bikes to work, the grocery store, the hardware store, and even to gala evening events in heels. Her decision to give up driving a car benefited more than just the charity who received the vehicle as a gift, it also had a positive impact on Elioff’s pocketbook. By her calculations, Elioff says she saves thousands of dollars by not owning a car.

“I found myself driving to the community center to work out, and I thought to myself, why? Wouldn’t I get a better benefit if I walked to the community center, or if I rode my bicycle to the community center?” Elioff says. ”So I ride my bike to work every day and I ride it home, and if I do nothing else, I’ve gotten an hour of exercise.”

Elioff was quick to note that she has not given up cars completely. Her friends have cars, and her daughter shares a car with her when needed. In addition, Elioff is a routine Zipster through the car sharing service Zipcar, which lets her use a car for about $10 per hour. Occasionally she will rent a car, taking advantage of rental specials from commercial agencies that can be as low as $9 a day.

She traverses the city on one of three bikes, including a Mixties Bike, and is sometimes seen pulling a trailer or using saddle bags.

“You’d be amazed what you can carry on a bicycle,” says Elioff.

For those considering becoming a bike commuter, Elioff suggests looking for an alternate route to get from home to work that might be the most bike friendly.  he suggests weekends or any non-work day as the best time to try out a new route.

“Plan your route when you don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time,” Elioff said.

Elioff bikes no matter what. She’s even tried biking in ice – something she says is not very pleasant. When inclement northwest weather hits, Elioff recommends bike fenders that can be permanently attached to the bike or just snapped on when needed.

Her last piece of advice? “Have a good raincoat.”

What’s the last trip you’ve taken on a bike?  Share your story in the comment section.