Greetings peeps! Happy Friday.
Well I sat idly by during MMM’s Anti-Automobile April challenge, but I got out on my bike yesterday and rode to work. Partially because my car is nearly out of gas, and partially because I had had a dream the night before that I biked to work and magically the rest of my life got better. I have a tendency to act on dreams when they make sense. So I am claiming preliminary credit on Anti-Auto-August.
I live about 10 miles from work, with mostly wildlife conservation areas and bodies of water in between. It’s a nice ride for the most part, because I utilize miles of bike path and even hop on the sidewalk like a weenie in the higher traffic areas. No one else is using the sidewalks because there are miles-long stretches of no-sidewalk throughout the course that prohibit pedestrians from getting to these areas on foot. Overall a nice commute that would be much better if they would agree on and build the Mass Central Rail Trail, which would cut straight through and connect my town to my workplace with car-free bike path over 7 miles as the crow flies.
View from the bike commute, when you are going by slow enough to have a look and appreciate.
Some numbers: I calculated at one point that my car’s fuel economy yields a cost of $0.15/mile for gas. That rings up a driving cost of $3/day for the 20-mile roundtrip commute. So yay! I saved $3 yesterday. Biking everyday would save $54 monthly. Interesting.
Also, on the topic of the intersection of fitness and finance, my clever colleague (who also bikes from my town) made the following point. I typically spend 45 minutes roundtrip commuting in the car. Then I aim to spend about an hour working out in the evening, running 4-5 miles and possibly doing some weights or calisthenics. (For the record, this part doesn’t always happen.) But ideally I am spending almost two hours doing things every day. Going to work on bike, the 11-mile ride takes about an hour. Two hours roundtrip. And the workout on the bike HAS to get done, because that is my ride home. So it’s about the same amount of time spent doing things, but with bike-commuting it is all exercise, and no time spent firing up the vehicle and spending money on gas. Pretty compelling.
But, you may ask, since I am dedicated to running, how does bicycling compare? While I believe running to be the most hardcore of all of the aerobic exercise native to the Great Outdoors, I did find an equivalency that piqued my interest. I read somewhere that biking is conservatively considered 1/5 the difficulty/efficiency of running. So my 22-mile bike commute is like a 4.4 mile run. Every day. Right on the money for my running goal (which is to run 20 miles a week).
I think of biking as very hard compared to running, but that is because I am pretty bad at biking! It would be a good cross-training workout, but in reality I probably will not bike to work very often until the Rail Trail is completed (outlook according to MA DCR is 2020…). Even with the current bike paths and sidewalks, the street is not in the bicyclists’ favor. However it was fun yesterday, and it is interesting to think about the potential fitness and finance results of giving the car a break.
Would you consider biking to work?
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia