permalinkBicycle Commuting Update
March 21, 2014
I'm well into becoming a regular cycling commuter now and have some updates
on how things are going. I'm doing it 2-4 times per week now, and am down
to average ride times in the low 50 minute range. In total, I've ridden over
For a quick summary, there are several things that make this work well.
First, there are Class I (separated, no cars) bike paths for almost the
whole ride. No stops or traffic makes up for a slower top speed. Having
both boys at the same day care is also very important. On days I'm dropping
off or picking up the boys, I can leave early, drop them off (they'll take
Devin to his school, then pick him up after), leave my car in their lot,
ride to work and back, then pick them up and head home.
The benefits of this commute are numerous:
Health - I've dropped several pounds on the scale, and inches around the
waist. I'm much faster and much less tired after rides from when I started.
This alone makes the endeavor worthwhile.
Time - This has gotta be the most time efficient workout possible. Driving
takes 45 minutes each way commute and is basically lighting time on fire.
Recovering that time gives me almost two hours of working out, for only
30-40 minutes out of my day (5-10 minutes extra ride time, 5-10 minutes
extra gear time, each way). But it gets better! I swear I get that time
back and more with extra energy at night. When I ride to work I'm able to
stay productive much longer into the night. And these are valuable hours
after the kids are in bed!
Money - I'm saving some money by not driving my car. These calculations get
really complicated really quickly though. The gas ($.20/mile) is a certain.
The wear on my car ($.10/mile) is a good bet to add into the mix. Insurance
is marginally cheaper with fewer miles, but hard to calculate. If it helps
stretch out the lifetime of my car(s) enough that I buy fewer over my
lifetime, that's a HUGE win, but also hard to calculate. On the downside, I
usually pay for extra child care in the mornings to leave earlier so I'm not
losing that 30-40 minutes (see above) of time at work. Also, I tend to eat
a bit more lunch, which never wipes out my daily gas savings, but can
certainly put a big dent into it. Some cheap, healthy snacks at my desk
have helped there. Now, I've plowed all these savings back into gear, plus
I've "borrowed" a bit some more for some nice upgrades, so it'll be a while
before this actually shows up in my pocketbook. One thing is for sure
though - it's a lot cheaper than a gym membership!
Traffic - 14 of the 15 miles on my ride is flat-out with no stops. I only
have to dodge slower bikes and walkers. This leaves a much lower variance
in my travel time, where driving can be anywhere from 35min (really good
day, off-peak) to 1:10 (really bad day). I can plan on being home within 5
minutes of my best ride time. Instead of worrying about traffic, I worry
about which way the wind is blowing.
External Benefits - I'm reducing your traffic, pollution, gas, and health care
costs. You're welcome! I hope that outweighs the extra food and water I'm