Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Anything Goes Commute Challenge: scoring it

OK, it's time to wrap up the Anything Goes Commute Challenge and analyze the results!

Solo ride
Group ride
Solo auto
Company bus/ride home
Solo ride variants
Pannier ride
Overall time (minutes)
50-58
50-58
25-35
42-50
75-90
50-58
Exercise time
50-58
50-58
0
15-18
75-90
50-58
Reading/relaxing
0
0
0
30
0
0
Cost ($)
-1.4
-5.4**
-1.4
-5.4
6.73
-2
)
-1
-5
-1.4
-5.4
Bliss factor
7
7
0
5
8
7
Positives
6
5
4
5
7
8
 Biggest downside*
Can’t carry heavy load
Early departure
Environmental impact
Dislike steep climb on ride home
Longer ride is impractical if I need to get to work early
Heavy bike harder to carry down stairs
*ie, the factor I find most significant
**our reimbursements changed- we now get a $6 payment for bike commuting, so I have updated the numbers accordingly

Take-aways from the table:
Most expensive: driving.
Fastest: driving
Most flexibility: driving
Least satisfying: driving (I didn't emphasize this in the posts, but it bugs me that I pollute and consume excessive resources by solo commute driving)
Most exercise: riding, especially the alternative routes which add on miles/challenge
Most fun: riding, plus social benefit when I commute with others
Least stressful: riding (except for the getting up early part), company bus/ride home option
Biggest challenge for riding: getting up early, carrying stuff (but, pannier system partly addresses the latter)

Things I didn't consider:
Taking public transit (cumbersome, requires multiple transfers)
Riding home from work (I always take the bus-ride home alternative)
Taking company bus to work (I should try this again)
Carpooling (I don't have obvious companions for this)

Overall:  I give the win to the bike commute.

Despite this, I bike commute 2-3 times a week at best. Definitely something to keep plugging away at, and this commute challenge has afforded me the opportunity to think about some other options for getting into work. The most obvious was getting my pannier-enabled commuter bike up and running so I can ride in when I have my work laptop at home (implimented! Yeah!). Another is to find an alternative route for post- 7am starts so I can ride in a little later if necessary, rather than driving because I dislike my normal cycling route at that time due to heavy truck and freeway traffic on a portion of the route.  I have an alternative route in mind that I'll try out soon. Update: I was pleasantly surprised to find alternative routes that I consider pleasant to ride in even with a departure as late as 7:30 am. It turns out that meandering out of the city a slightly longer way (taking me through four more neighborhoods) has fairly modest traffic. By comparison, my canonical direct route out of the city has heavy truck and bus traffic and chaos created by several freeway on and off ramps, and it is this aspect that makes the ride sort of harrowing after about 7am.


This post is part of my Anything Goes Commute Challenge series. Click here to read more posts in the series.


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