This morning peddling through Rock Creek I noticed a rather unusual mode of transportation parked in one of the lots….
So let’s go by wagon! Just makes you wonder where the horses are…
Well, better late than never – here are the results from my little “experiment” last week.
Day 1: Ride to and from work via bicycle (the road bike).
Total Distance: 26.3 miles
Total Time: 1:57:33
Average Speed: 13.4mph
Calories Burned: 982
Money Spent: $0 (yay for free bike parking at work)
Day 2: Drive to and from work … yes … I had my heart rate monitor on and the GPS running in the cup-holder next to my coffee
Total Distance: 25.05 miles
Total Time: 1:25:56
Calories Burned: 171
Average Speed: 16.9 mph
Money Spent: $4 parking; estimate about $4.60 in gas (25 miles ~ my car gets about 19 mi/gallon and with gas costing about $3.50/gallon = $4.60 to go 25 miles) for a grand total of $8.60
Winner: Going By Bike (as if there was even contention for the car…)
Not so surprisingly – I burned more calories riding to work as opposed to driving. A lot more. Almost six times more. What is a little interesting – is that while riding my bike was about 1.25 miles farther than driving – it was still only 32 minutes faster going by car versus going by bike. And sure, half an hour can be a lot of time – when you’re going by bike you’re doing double duty and commuting and getting a work-out in. However – you take that to a round-trip commute, and it’s only 15-minutes faster by car each way. Plus – when you look at it – my average speed on the bike wasn’t that much slower than my average speed in the car (3.5mph faster in the car). When you see it by the numbers – and in terms of being healthy (burning calories) and saving money (almost $9/day!) going by bike is the way to go!
In the course of commuting by bike – I’ll often compare stories with friends of mine who go by bike as well, recently, one of my good friends, Damon decided to change up his commute and try a new form of momentum for getting to work. It’s a neat idea and seems to work for him.
So enjoy and check out guest Bloggger, Damon Taaffe, who is now Elliptigoin’ places!
For the last couple of years, I’ve been commuting to work by bike come hell or high water, and we’ve had a little of both. It’s about 7 miles each way, mostly downhill in the mornings on the way to work, and mostly uphill on the way back. It’s gotten to the point where I just don’t even think about traffic anymore, because it doesn’t affect me; in fact, I can tune into my favorite podcasts and enjoy the outdoors, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
|My green Elliptigo 8s. No, it doesn’t get strange looks. Why?|
One thing I didn’t quite count on is how much work this thing is. It’s a 45-pound mantis of hurt. The leg motion is almost entirely forward and back, and with the toe cages I have on it, it’s hip flexors and glutes. My commutes, which used to be just moseying along on my road bike, are now very serious cross-training. Even in the relatively cool 60s and 70s, I get home dripping with sweat. But, because it targets the running muscles, I’m able to get in a quality bike workout afterward without much interference at all, as that’s quad-intensive. The weight-bearing nature of the activity also makes it a much more efficient calorie burn than a normal bike.
Aside from the price — $2400 or so, although there’s a 3-speed model in the $1800 range — the other potential downside I’d mention is that, due to its 45-pound weight and somewhat awkward shape, it’s not much fun to carry. If someone lives at the top of several flights of stairs and has to carry his bike up or down each day, the Elliptigo may be frustrating.
My friend sent me a link this morning to a diagram about bike commuting … pretty amusing but also pretty true about bike commuting…. we suffer through the summer and winter for a few brief glorious days (intermixed with downpours) in the spring and fall …
And if you’re curious about my little “experiment” – results will be forthcoming
With cooler temperatures and shortening daylight hours – the bike commute is now starting to double for me as commuting/training. I tell myself that while the paths and backpack makes me slower – in the long run – it helps. I hope That said – I finally remembered and was prepared enough this morning to start a “going by bike” experiment that I’ve had on my mind for quite some time. And while I can’t exactly call it an experiment, since I’m 90% sure what the results will be – so perhaps we’ll call this a “truthing” exercise. So what is this experiment pray tell? A comparative study between riding to work and driving to work. And yes – while it’s almost a known that on any given day driving is slightly faster, while riding most likely is healthier (burns more calories) I thought I’d do it by the numbers and see just exactly what the differences are. How so? Simple. Today – instead of just jumping on my road bike (the e-bike is still in need of some serious repair) and heading off on my way, I took the extra minute to put on my GPS and heart-rate monitor before I leave. Dorky? Perhaps. But I’m a scientist by training anyway. I let the GPS run from the time I left my apartment in Arlington, until I hit the parking garage at my Silver Spring office. Just a rough look, even before I downloaded all the fancy data, and one-way to work, which ended up being about 13.45 miles took me one hour and 32-seconds. Okay – not a land-speed record by any means, but again, not awful considering some stop-lights, bike-trail traffic and of course carrying a back-pack full of clothes, lunch and other necessities for the day at work.
So the next step – get the total time to and from work, and then tomorrow, when it’s supposed to be rainy and nasty, drive to work, and be a real big dork and wear my heart-rate monitor and put my GPS on my dash-board. Then stay tuned for the results!!
So while I’ve been a little MIA here – I’ve still been rolling around on 2-wheels as much as possible. With this being the first September since moving to DC that I’m actually in town – I’ve discovered how many fun outdoors things there are to do here in the fall! And did I mention cyclocross? Amazing sport and a great way to have fun on the bike.
Okay – anyway …
Next Thursday, September 22, is CAR FREE DAY! And also the 1-year birthday of DC’s Capitol Bike Share (an awesome program if you haven’t already checked them out!) So here’s another great opportunity to give going by bike a try – and not just to work! Take your bike to the store, to the gym, anywhere you typically take a car and see and feel the difference!
As I headed out the door last night to ride to my kickboxing class, I again pulled up the weather map on my computer to double-check that I’d be able to get to class, and back before the forecasted storms of the evening hit. 5:30pm 10% Chance of Rain; 6pm 10% Chance of Rain; 6:30pm 20% Chance of Rain. 7pm 65% Chance of Storms. Which in my mind equates to a 90% chance of it NOT raining until that goes down to a 35% chance of it NOT raining at 7pm. I’m okay with those odds.
So it looked like I would be in the clear, although I’d have to ride quick once my class ended at 6:20pm to avoid the approaching storms. Even the radar wasn’t showing much activity at this time. I did make sure to pack a tiny head light and tail light – just in case, then I grabbed my gloves and pedaled off to class.
It’s a quick 15-minute ride to the studio – and thankfully most of the way is on several of Arlington’s many bike lanes, but just as I was cruising down Clarendon Blvd passed the Whole Foods, I felt something drip on me. Rain?! No… the sun was out! But then another, and another. Sure enough, it was lightly sprinkling. So much for that 90% chance of it not raining. But thankfully it was just a sprinkle and before I even locked my bike up, it had stopped.
A few times during class, I noticed cars driving by with lights and windshield wipers on, I hoped the rain would pass quickly and live up to its mere 10% chance. Not such was my luck. As I packed up my wraps and gloves and headed out, there was a light rain coming down. And then I heard a huge crack of thunder. Time to ride and ride fast! I made sure I had a front and rear light blinking, and took off up the bike lane on Wilson Boulevard toward home. While it definitely was more than a sprinkle, thankfully it wasn’t drenching and I got home just before the big storm hit. So much for a 10% chance of rain…. but by
It’s been a brutal summer for going by bike – be it for commuting, errands or exercise, it was the hottest July on record. Yuck. And while August hasn’t exactly come in that much cooler, the past few days have been somewhat of a relief. Storm clouds cooled the sky on Monday, as I headed down the road on my skinny tires again to meet up with my friend Julie for a Monday night movie. I was a little warm by the time I got to the theater, but it made the typically sub-freezing theater feel OK. But it was after the movie, when I went to ride home that I was surprised by perhaps my first cool and refreshing ride in a very long time. The night was cool and there was a slight breeze. Seems like 9:15pm may be the perfect time to get a ride in! Not much traffic as I made my way home up Wilson Blvd in the bike lane, which, at times, can be a scary place between absent-minded pedestrians and clueless cab-drivers.
But the ride made me smile, and glad that I was able to take my bike instead of getting in a car to drive the mile and a half or battle with metro. I felt refreshed and ready to take on another week of riding … with hopefully more cooler days to come!
While my commuter bike is still out of commission with its de-funked back wheel, I’ve been taking to the streets on the skinnie tires, trying to utilize my road bike for transportation as feasible. We all know life gets hectic and there are never enough hours in a day to accomplish what you plan, so how do you still do it? Multi-task! Going by bike is a great way to multi-task getting things done all the while getting your work-out. This was my “hey I’m giving myself a gold-star” accomplishment last night, as I headed out on my bike to visit my parents.
Summer time seems to fly by, and half the things you want to do never get done in summer no matter how much you do multi-task. For me, I think I still somewhat have the college mentality that you have nothing to do in summer, save for a part-time job or lab work. But no, summer is now compressed into weekends, weeknights and those few holidays and days off, but you still manage to make the most of it … and spend hours on the bike!
That said – between races, trips and work, I’d been trying to find time to catch up with my folks before they headed out west for vacation, and after a busy weekend, it seemed that that wasn’t going to happen. Enter the bike! For most of us living inside the Beltway, getting outside of it on a weeknight is next to impossible, unless you want to spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in traffic. So, I opted to take my two wheels and ride the 20 or so miles it is from Arlington to my folks to say hi and have a good trip. No crazy DC-area traffic, just me, the W&OD and my bike for just a little over an hour and I got to see my folks, relax a bit, and get a good ride in to boot! Not a bad adventure by bike for a summer weeknight!