Wednesday, November 16, 2011


For grins, I decided to compare my vehicle and bike commute times and distances. I've been tracking my bike commute mileage and time via the MapMyRide app on my phone and for this experiment I tracked the time and distance from unlocking the bike at the bike rack to dismount in Scott 's parking space. For the vehicle commute, I used the stopwatch function on my phone to track my time from unlocking the truck to turning it off at the destination and the truck's odometer to track distance from parking space to parking space.

Bike Commute
Time to/from work: average 25m 20s
Distance: 4.77 miles

Truck Commute
Time to work: 14m 28s (huh. I've always thought it was only 10 minutes.)
Time from work: 20m 30s (huh. I've always thought it was at least 30 minutes.)
Distance: 5.0 miles

There are a couple of surprising results. If you'd asked me before this comparison, I would have assured you that the bike route was a longer distance. How could it not be? I have to swing way north of the direct (vehicular) route to the campus, but then again, the bike route is more diagonal than the right angles of the vehicle route.

The most surprising, to me anyway, results have nothing to do with the comparison between modes of transportation. Both drive times were completely different from what I've assumed them to be. And that twenty minute drive home? A solid ten minutes of that drive is spent sitting at stop lights. I didn't think to time lights on the drive in, but I tend to hit more greens in the morning.

What does all this SCIENCE mean? Not much, in the grand scheme of things. It takes more time to bike -- but not that much more -- and then I need a cool-off period after locking up the bike (and before facing people) that isn't necessary after driving. On the other hand, I'm pretty much guaranteed fifty minutes of physical activity when I don't drive the truck. Despite saving time with the truck, I don't really do anything special with those extra fifteen minutes and I'm usually crabbier after driving in evening traffic.


  1. I'm always amazed at my perceptions with driving vs riding, and the actual time it takes. I used to leave an hour before I had to be anywhere in town if I was riding, and then I would arrive with ridiculous amounts of time to spare. I still find myself leaving far earlier than I need to for very short distances, but I think it's interesting that you actually timed them out (and learned that it really isn't much). Probably something a lot of us should do to really know the actual time it takes. :O)

  2. For me there is about a 4-5 difference between driving and pedaling....

  3. I swiped this idea from a local-ish blogger who also tracked the monetary and heart rate differences. She got into the nitty-gritty details. I wish I could remember who that was...