Friday, February 25, 2011

Get Your Motor Running!

Or, How My Bike is More Efficient Than My Car.

I rode my bike to and from work twice this week. With Cobb County schools out for winter break and the nice springy weather, it was a perfect opportunity to reaquaint myself with the joys of traffic on the bike.


I had a lovely time. People waved at me and I got to enjoy the outdoors. You really feel like you are getting away with a good trick and sticking it to "the man" when you use your bike for commuting. And, taking a detour down a pretty street on the way in is almost scandalously fun. : )

As I rode, I was thinking about how on days when the kids are out of school (not as much traffic), I am not that much slower on the bike than in my car. Aside: I know that I would be faster if I rode up to the front of the line at stoplights, but I think that is rude. I only lost about eight car lengths between my office and the Corner Grocery, which is about 3 miles. Pretty good given the hills involved!


So anyway, I began to calculate in my head while waiting at a stoplight and here is the math:


My car goes 30 miles on a gallon of gas. Well above average. Doug's Aviator got 12 miles to the gallon.

A gallon of gas costs roughly the same as a gallon of milk.

A gallon of milk is sixteen 8 oz servings of approximately 125 calories each (2% milk since that is what we use) or 2,000 total calories.

I burn approximately 40 calories per mile on my bike when averaging 3-4 minutes per mile.

2,000 calories divided by 40 calories per mile = 50 miles to burn 2,000 calories.

Therefore, I get 50 miles to the gallon! Almost double that of my car!

Now, I know that my bike (40 lbs when loaded with rack, panniers, computer, clothes, toiletries, etc) and I (125 lbs, give or take) weigh significantly less than my very small car (2,496 lbs) so that means that my legs powering my bike are not *really* more efficient than the car, but it does beg the question of why everyone insists upon driving such large vehicles - the automotive equivalent of carrying your house around on your back everywhere like a snail.

I keep my work shoes under my desk and leave my purse at home when I ride to work because every extra pound makes it harder for me to pedal. Maybe we should think of that when we shop for transportation. Hm?

1 comment:

Lauren said...

That's awesome that you can do that!
You see, I'm insanely jealous of the people that get to ride their bikes to work. Is it too far for me to ride (25-ish interstate mile each way)?

Not really. I just have a hard time with the S'Side Representin' on the B-I-K-E.

See, I'd either have to make the trek UP 19/41, through Riverdale, Hapeville, Lakewood, etc. Heavy traffic areas in "not the nicest parts of town... Up/Down/Over roads that the city of Atlanta thinks "changing the name will change the road..." (Stuart Ave, Lakewood, et al)

OR, I'd have to come up Hwy 42, which turns into Moreland, which again, goes through some not nice parts of town...

No problem in a car, scary and sketchy alone on my bike...