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Bike vs. Car through traffic snarls

Old 12-15-23, 08:38 AM
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Bike vs. Car through traffic snarls

I thought this article in today’s Providence Journal would be of interest to commuters. Earlier this week, the westbound side of a bridge on I-195 between East Providence, RI, and downtown Providence, RI was closed due to structural deficiencies discovered (which evidently are going to take months to repair). Obviously the rerouting of westbound traffic is causing major snarls in the area. So, these two newspaper reports decided to race to their office. One on bike, the other driving.

https://providencejournal-ri.newsmem...c981bc_134ae53

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Old 12-17-23, 09:17 AM
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My old 9-mile commute to work in Colorado Springs took 25 minutes by car and 35 by bike, 45 on the way home (uphill)...a total of 30 extra minutes commuting...but worth it. My current commute is 6 miles...also 25 minutes each way because of denser downtown traffic. But the bike ride is only 30 in and 35 home, so only 15 minutes more.

With both my old and new routes, there are now paths and MUPS not available to cars that are like worm holes, directly connecting parts of the city that have no direct street connection.

I ride in bike clothes and change at the office, so add another 5 or 10 minutes to change depending on the weather and amount of clothes.

Cycling may add a little to your overall commute time each day, but cycling may also add a lot to your overall time on earth.
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Old 12-20-23, 01:17 PM
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Years ago, one of my easiest and shortest commutes..
AM, 10 minutes more by bike.
PM, Exact same time.
On the bike, headed home, I would typically ride past a line of cars, three industrial blocks long, waiting to hit the freeway ramp.

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Old 12-22-23, 11:33 AM
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Top Gear did an episode in which they pitted a bicycle against a car, public transportation, and a boat in a race through London. The bicycle won. Great episode.

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Old 12-22-23, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
Top Gear did an episode in which they pitted a bicycle against a car, public transportation, and a boat in a race through London. The bicycle won. Great episode.
Student paper did something similar while I was in grad school, with one person on a bike, another in a car, and one taking the city bus. The cyclist won. I understood quickly why the bus-rider lost, but I had to read the article to discover finding a parking place took more time than riding a bike, even up the hills.
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Old 12-29-23, 10:34 AM
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According to a survey done by WNYC, the public radio station in New York City, the number 1 reason for commuting by bike is predictability of travel time. It's not the quickest way for most people, but today's time is likely to be the same as yesterday's time, even with variations in traffic and weather.
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Old 12-29-23, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
According to a survey done by WNYC, the public radio station in New York City, the number 1 reason for commuting by bike is predictability of travel time. It's not the quickest way for most people, but today's time is likely to be the same as yesterday's time, even with variations in traffic and weather.
I find this to be true. My suburban streets bike commute takes 45 minutes. My 20 minute drive on limited access roads has turned into 45-50 minutes if it rains during rush hour. Even if I take the bike route on those days, it takes 45 minutes to drive because traffic has backed up and everybody else is re-routing and jamming up the streets. Ticks the cagers off when a cyclist can pace them going home.
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Old 12-30-23, 07:11 AM
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Here in Philly, my car has an average speed of 13.7mph. My average on the bike is just under 15mph. The morning commute is "reverse", in that most traffic is coming into the city and I'm heading in the opposite direction, so by car it is twice as fast as by bike. The evening commute home is ALWAYS slow, and now that Rte. 1 has a detour due to crumbling infrastructure 300ft above the Schuylkill River, it's even slower. My car commute home lately has been easily over an hour, while the bike ride reliably takes 47 minutes. The total commute time between the two on the best of days is 1.5 hours, but I always get home sooner if I'm riding the bike, and after 8 hours of work, it's necessary to clear my head.
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Old 12-30-23, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
According to a survey done by WNYC, the public radio station in New York City, the number 1 reason for commuting by bike is predictability of travel time.
This ^^
Even though the majority of my commute is on a train ("heavy rail"), my overall commute time is predictable. Of course, when there is a problem with the train (mechanical failure, switch/signal malfunction or- worst of all- pedestrian strike), everything goes to hell; luckily, these times are rare. I could reliably get to the station near my home on foot. but the longer stretch from the destination station to work requires a bus... and there's the problem. If there's a bus waiting, I can make an 8:00 class with a few minutes to spare; otherwise... fail. With the folding bike, I get off one stop early and get to work with 20 minutes to spare every time. As long as I don't have a flat! (Spoiler: Marathon Plus tires have eliminated flats... it's been literally years since I had one. Knock wood!)
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Old 12-30-23, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks
when there is a problem with the train (mechanical failure, switch/signal malfunction or- worst of all- pedestrian strike)\
Those "lazy" pedestrians would gladly get back to work if the railroad paid more
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Old 12-30-23, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Those "lazy" pedestrians would gladly get back to work if the railroad paid more
Hmmm... that's a different kind of "strike".
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Old 01-03-24, 10:32 AM
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In the summer months my bicycle commute is about 5 - 15 minutes (actual pedaling time*) longer than driving would take, depending on where I'm going that day (my work location varies.)

In the winter months, I slow down significantly and my bicycle commute ride times almost double. I find my average ride speeds decrease about 1 mph for every 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) drop in air temperature below 60. I feel like I'm working just as hard or harder, but the speeds are slower. I think it's a combination of heavier bikes, more clothing/gear and the fact that my body just isn't as efficient in winter temps, especially once the temps hit single digits or lower. Also a fresh snowfall before the plows run can easily turn a typical 20 minute easy summer commute distance into an hour and a half suffer-fest.

* One thing that our statements of bicycle commuting times rarely factor in is the time it takes to change clothes before and/or after the commute. With a car I can just walk out to the garage or parking lot and go, and then arrive at my destination and not have to change attire again. With a bike I need at least 10 minutes on either end to get into more cycling-friendly clothing.
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Old 01-04-24, 11:24 AM
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For the last 6 years until a few months ago, I had an 8.5 miles motorcycle/car commute route and a 12 miles bike route to get to work. The bike route was longer due to how narrow and unsafe for bikes the back road I drove on was so I'd add a few miles to be able to ride on the bike path. Driving was a consistent 15 minutes, give or take a minute and always slightly faster on a motorcycle. I only had one traffic light and 4 stop signs as I lived out near the boonies so non-existent traffic. Bike ride was 36 minutes pedaling time, 35 if I was seriously hoofing it. Add a few minutes onto that for waiting for some traffic lights I needed to pass through so total time was around 40.

For 2 months, I moved to a place in the city limits of the nearby small town. The commute by car/motorcycle got longer by 1.5 miles but the travel time jumped to 20 minutes minimum if I was extremely lucky. Usually it was 25 minutes but could creep up close to 30. My bike commute got shorter by 2 miles and pedal time dropped to 30 minutes flat, 33-35 including wait times at traffic lights.
Both of those bike commutes were long enough that I A) Didn't do them more than once a week and B) required dressing like I would for any serious ride so several minutes gearing up and what not.

For the last 2 months, it's been a serious change up. I'm now 3 miles from work regardless of how I get there. I live next to downtown but in the morning, there's surprisingly little traffic, at least on the most direct route to work. Drive time is a consistent 8-ish minutes as the intersections are forgiving and don't have the potential to slow me down much. The bike ride is a very consistent 12 minutes. I only have to cross two traffic lights, 2/3's of the ride is on a bike path and I'm only on a major road for 1 block.
Add in the couple minutes I allow for my cars or motorcycle to warm up and it's almost the same time as biking. Since I'm so close, I don't need to bother seriously gearing up for the ride. I'm just barely starting to get warmed up by the time I get to work so net even particularly sweaty.
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