Sell your car for $796,000.00

Stokemonkey early-adopter Bill Manewal sent this:

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that car-ownership costs are the second-largest household expense in the United States. In fact, people in the average household spend almost as much on their cars as they do on food and health care combined for their entire family — about $600 per month.

If you were to forego the luxury of owning an automobile and were to instead invest that $600 per month at just 10% for 25 years, you would have $796,000.00 in your investment account. Over the last 100 years, the American Stock market has averaged an annual return of over 11%, so you wouldn�t have to be any kind of expert investor. Just buy a mutual fund or ETF that invests in the total US Stock Market such as those offered by Vanguard or Fidelity and you could retire reasonably well after just 25 years of work or have the financial independence to do what you really want to do.

“Stuff” which includes cars ultimately gives little meaning to life and is a sinkhole on your road to financial independence. The Bush Administration may, however, charge you with failing to contribute your fair share to air and noise pollution, traffic congestion, global terrorism, and the justification for his very profitable wars.

Now, I don’t know about the stock market. We’ve used our car-free savings to pay off the $40K liberal arts student loans, live in nicer places than otherwise possible, buy a house and fix it up, sell it and buy better outright, have a kid, start a company, and equip ourselves with the finest bicycles and related equipment ever, among other things, in, erm, eleven years. Of course, we worked a lot too, and still do. Having no car has never hurt, not in five different states!

10 thoughts on “Sell your car for $796,000.00”

  • Lexxa

    This post flatters my innate cheapskateness. “No, I’m not cheap! I’m a shrewd financial planner!”

    I followed the link and browsed through the photos of Bill’s, um, vehicular unit.

    Bill has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.

  • Jim

    I must say that I really dig the OIFS sticker in one of Bill’s pictures. I think Bill mentioned such a sticker previously in comments, but I wondered if he was pulling our legs. Guess not. Maybe I really should have those t-shirts printed…

  • Todd

    Lexxa, I should warn you not to park your bike next to Bill’s, because when you come back all nonessential parts will have migrated from yours to his. The exception is if your bike is a track bike. In that case, it will be at least a 3-speed when you come back, with maybe a horn.

    Bill was Stokemonkey’s most active remote beta tester in 2005. His bike is like the Olduvai Gorge of late Stokemonkular development, the many strata of which lay bare the mutant vigor and occasional evolutionary culs-de-sac of the species.

    Bill has great fun passing roadies uphill in SF, or at least he did before moving to a 60T Stokemonkey drive ring, which in conjunction with the Rohloff hub and 30Ah of lithium polymer batteries equip him ideally to keep the streetcars rolling during blackouts.

  • mike

    Wow, Bill’s bike is something of a creature. I applaud his enthusiasm… but it seems over done! What happened to just pedalling? And that suspension! A thudbuster and a sprung Brooks! Seems you need the Stokemonkey just to pull all the accessories around!

    Will we enter an age of SUV bikes, simply because we have electric assist?

    Go Bill, if it suits you…

    …but I’ll take my dreams of an alternative bike thing vehicle and keep em a lot simpler than yours.

  • Bill Manewal

    Thanks, I think, for all the attention… here’s my ‘splainin…

    Jim, Thanks for the OIFS idea and yes, print those Tee�s and get them out by the millions to cyclists. Your retirement funds will be secured within a year or two!

    Todd, Believe it or not, I actually strongly appreciate, and even endorse, the minimalist bike approach. My tandem is stripped lean and goes like the wind. I’m actually thinking of trying a track bike and the ONLY thing I’d add is a front rim brake and that’s only because of SF hills and traffic congestion.

    But, um, yes, the Bike That Ate Detroit is over the top. I intended it that way for a couple of reasons:

    1) I do love gadgets & I wanted this to be a platform to try different things, but only out of a considered reason for each addition’s utility. (For example, I just added the brass bell after riding Lake Merced’s bike/pedestrian path and realized my air horn was less than polite, but the air horn is a necessity in SF traffic sometimes. So keep both. And isnââ?¬â?¢t the brass beautiful?)

    2) I wanted to create a MonsterMonkeyBike that got noticed, in order to spark curiosity, but, hopefully, not revulsion. I get in lots of conversations and if you (Todd) would ever send me some business cards, I wouldn’t have to get people to try to remember “” until they get home at night. I may have to make some business cards for you, but you’re a much better designer!

    Besides, I happen to like the state-of-being called “mutant vigor”. Maybe I’ll get T-shirts printed up with THAT slogan.

    Mike, You’re absolutely right: over done. Over the top. Nothing succeeds like excess. But as a matter of fact, I do quite a lot of “just pedaling” on this rig. I’ve achieved as low as 10 Wh/Mile (in SF hills, remember) when I’m trying for extra range. On the levels it pedals just fine, and the close, even increments of the Rohloff’s 14 gears come in very handy. I get to feel all purist until the next big hill comesââ?¬Â¦ and I roll on the throttle to smugly pass the spandex-carbon frame-drilled chainring-shaved legged dudes.

    Now, as far as the Thudbuster and sprung Brooks are concerned… This started when I experimented with airless tires made to a 120 psi. equivalent. Ouch! I’ll never do that again. But I’ve left all the springs on because unlike your enlightened neighborhood, I ride in San Francisco, notorious for potholes that can swallow small sports cars. And patches that stick up above the street surface 3 abrupt inches. And hundreds of steel plates with no asphalt ramps on the edges. I can’t always see the land mines coming, since I’m watching no-signal car drivers on cell phones, SUV drivers who think they’re in their living rooms, in-your-face bus drivers, I-Poded pedestrians wandering anywhere they want at any time, double-parked delivery trucks/semis/buses/taxis/pimp limos, and, of course, car doors opening in my path. So I like all the butt/spine/neck/hand/wrist shock protection I can get. I wish there was some way to rig up a rear shock. Or a water bed.

    Actually I HAVE had the thought of what the Monkey could do if it weren’t saddled with a 100 lb. bike, carrying 30 lbs of work stuff and 180 lbs of butt. And I have considered that I’ve overdone things in an SUV kind of way simply because I have a motor to help me out. In the end, I concluded that it all works together rationally and appropriately for a working heavy hauler on some tough streets, and I AM 62 years old, so I deserve some real cush since I’m on it all day long.

    I’m eager to see your simpler version on your nicely done website. Bring it on!

    Finally, at the risk of being too long-winded (long-typed?), here’s a quote from a younger generation Stokemonkey prospect after seeing my photos. I’m sharing this because I love his hyperbolic enthusiasm:

    “This bike has serious badass exuding from it. I didn’t think that was possible for any bicycle to achieve.

    You know when you see somebody riding down the street with some tricked out mountainbike with shock absorbers pointing in all directions and enormous knobby tires making that energy wasting SUV howly hummy sound? The guy riding it feels like a badass but anyone who knows about bikes is chuckling at the poseur. They’re like the dudes in driving little Hondas with the screaming, giant exhaust pipes, and wings you could hang glide with. They only inspire respect to the extent that you hope the drivers can get out of their own way and don’t self-immolate next to you.

    But your bike is authentically menacing in its strength and utility of purpose. Wow. Very cool. You HAVE to respect it. It’s like a well worn fatigue jacket with a peace sign sharpied on the back. Even a flagwavin’, bushvotin’ chickenhawk dipshit knows better than to meet the thousand yard gaze of its owner. He shuts his mouth, turns around slowly and then, quickly walks away.”

    Oh yeah! (My part played by Clint Eastwood, no doubt)

    And yesterday, on my ride home through the Mission District, some Latino dudes in a low-rider yelled at me, “You a gangsta!” And gave me big grins and thumbs up. Who knows what Stokemonkey SUV’s will inspire?

    I had the thought of bolting on a 4-in-1 motorcycle exhaust on one side of the Xtracycle and putting a big bunch of plastic roses in the back exit pipe. Nah, that would be TOO much. Or WOULD it?

  • Buddy Bonner


    After that description of your badass bike, please hook us up with some pictures…if it is linkined on this thread, I have missed it.


  • Todd

    Buddy, Bill’s badass bike is linked to his name in the post, the only link in the post.

  • mike


    Thanks for the reply!
    I do LOVE it… especially as a platform for experimentation… just commenting as I’ve recently gone through a mini purge of technology and accessories on my bike – I’m trying to go farther, with less “stuff”. I also ride Brevets – so I’m always trying to balance stuff I MAY need with stuff I DO need.

    I love the “badass” desctription. I think some neon ground glow, an air freshener, and defeinitely a go faster wing thing on the back would do it.

    Pimp my ride gets a whole new meaning.

    -Cheers, Mike

    PS – We do have the occasional car swallowing pot hole here in VT, and if I were to guess, 50% of our roads are still dirt, so I do think about susepension as well…

  • Bill Manewal

    Thanks,Mike, for the air freshener idea. I would have NEVER thought of that on my own. Just think of the consequences to urban air quality if every cyclist had one or two dangling from their bar ends!

  • mike

    Maybe we should forgo the air freshener and carry around Bonzai on our racks… nothing like a good ole natural CO2 filter!

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