Guest blogger Greg Kushmerek continues his series of articles on bike commuting:
I am the parent of young children, one of which has recently started at public school. As with many working parents, I need to juggle my work schedule with their school schedules.
This week I tried a little experiment: compare a car-based vs. bike-based commute while doing school drop-off for a 15-mile commute.
- Put bike seat on back of bike.
- Load child on bike.
- Ride to school (5 blocks).
- Lock bike to fence (no bike racks).
- Ride back home and deposit bike seat.
- Bike to work
Bicycle: Dahon Cadenza (my slower, heavier bike). Arrive at work: 9:28
I was showered and working before 10AM. Had the work VPN been up that morning, I’d have had 30 extra minutes at home to check and respond to messages.
- Walk child to school
- Walk back home
- Drive car
Car commute conditions were a touch heavier than normal, but within the mean. Arrive at work: 9:10
Sacrificing the bike for the car (or forsaking the bike for the car — your call) doesn’t yield major gains, at least not for me. Had it been inclement weather or a good deal colder the car puts in a more obvious advantage. The time gains from the car are even a bit inflated when you consider that on car-day, I arrived at the school five minutes earlier. One could argue that less traffic would lead to bigger time gains, but I know I can get to work faster on my Felt (about 3mph / 5min faster).
Given a flexible work environment where some on-line work or staying a touch later is allowed, the time difference isn’t enough to warrant giving up the bike for the car.
For some people arriving 18 minutes later and sweaty is just a no-go. For those who live a lot closer to where they work, that time gap could practically vanish, and one might not even need to clean up.Posted: September 18th, 2009 | Filed under: Cycling, Transportation |