Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

I'm stunned. biking is FASTER than driving on my commute

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

I'm stunned. biking is FASTER than driving on my commute

Old 06-28-10, 10:04 AM
  #1  
mtalinm
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtalinm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston)
Posts: 2,215

Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm stunned. biking is FASTER than driving on my commute

I ride 13-14 miles from the suburbs to downtown Boston, not every day but enough to average 100m/wk.

today I had to drive to work, so I decided to shadow my usual bike route and see how long it took.

to my amazement, it took a few minutes LONGER to get to work by driving. I was stunned, as I had been assuming that by pedaling I paid a penalty. (and it is still a little faster to take the train to the subway - but only 5m faster I think).

note that it was rush hour, so traffic certainly played a role, but that's part of the point isn't it?
mtalinm is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 10:26 AM
  #2  
mustachiod
Senior Member
 
mustachiod's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 699
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i've never driven my route, but i know from all of the cars that I pass that I am getting home much faster than if I was driving. Also factor in the cost of gas/parking/maintenance for an added bonus
mustachiod is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 11:25 AM
  #3  
gholt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Layton, UT
Posts: 686

Bikes: 2004 Giant OCR, 2002 Specialized Stumpjumper, 2008 Trek 6500 Disc

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My route is about 3 times longer by biking. 1 hour or so, but it beats driving.
gholt is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 11:33 AM
  #4  
demoncyclist
Senior Member
 
demoncyclist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Medway, MA
Posts: 2,727

Bikes: 2011 Lynskey Sportive, 1988 Cannondale SM400

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
In an urban setting, during periods of heavier traffic, cycling is generally faster than driving the same route. My commute from Medway to Wellesley is 45 minutes by car and 70 minutes by bike, but that is a more rural setting where traffic isn't generally a concern for anyone.
demoncyclist is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 01:16 PM
  #5  
ptle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I once raced my girlfriend from my apartment to hers. It's about 3-4 miles apart. I beat her by about 45 seconds... This includes parking and everything. This was also in the middle of the night (1am or so) so there was no traffic at all. If there was traffic, I would have beaten her by more than a few minutes probably.

Getting around campus and downtown, you can bet that I can get around faster than a car. A big time advantage is that I can usually park my bike right outside the building.
ptle is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 02:05 PM
  #6  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,384
Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 800 Post(s)
Liked 206 Times in 161 Posts
Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
I ride 13-14 miles from the suburbs to downtown Boston, not every day but enough to average 100m/wk.

today I had to drive to work, so I decided to shadow my usual bike route and see how long it took.

to my amazement, it took a few minutes LONGER to get to work by driving. I was stunned, as I had been assuming that by pedaling I paid a penalty. (and it is still a little faster to take the train to the subway - but only 5m faster I think).

note that it was rush hour, so traffic certainly played a role, but that's part of the point isn't it?
Howdy neighbor,

As you know, I do basically the reverse ride as do you, from Kenmore Square to Norwood, about 14 miles, via four different parallel routes, each about one hour plus a few extra minutes. In the early morning (before about 7:00 AM), traffic in my direction is light on my route. If I drive the direct route, it's about thirty minutes. My other roundabout freeway routes via Mass Pike and Route 128, or via the Southeast Expressway and I-95 (the "SEXway" as I call it) are also about 30 minutes each, though the latter route is more likely to encounter traffic jams on weekday mornings.

My best times are when I leave before 6:00 AM and I can cycle across intersections "at will."
Jim from Boston is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 02:20 PM
  #7  
mtalinm
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtalinm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston)
Posts: 2,215

Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
hey Jim, that's a great point about blowing through intersections in the early morning. never thought of that but will give it a try as I go through about 3 dozen traffic lights on the way to work.
mtalinm is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 02:26 PM
  #8  
cyclezealot
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Posts: 13,210

Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1385 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 30 Posts
California Freeways during rush hour often move at 10 mph or less. It's not at all uncommon to find your bike a miles or two down the road before auto traffic so much as gets through one traffic light.
__________________
Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living










^ Since January 1, 2012
cyclezealot is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 02:28 PM
  #9  
AndrewP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Montreal
Posts: 6,521

Bikes: Peugeot Hybrid, Minelli Hybrid

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
My 28 km bike route (35% on MUP) takes 70-80 mins. My 35 km drive (70% on expressways) takes 40-55 mins. The variation in bike time is due to the weather, while driving times vary according to traffic. I have read that generally bikes are faster for cars in cities for distances under 9 km.
AndrewP is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 02:47 PM
  #10  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 21,388
Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12445 Post(s)
Liked 3,818 Times in 2,135 Posts
Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
California Freeways during rush hour often move at 10 mph or less. It's not at all uncommon to find your bike a miles or two down the road before auto traffic so much as gets through one traffic light.
As far as anyone can tell, the rule here in Seattle is to flip a coin, and expect brutal stop and go freeway traffic if it comes up heads. Or if there's a big yellow thing in the sky, confusing drivers and slowing the highway to a crawl. Or if it rains. Or if there's a game. The rest of the time, I-5 lets people move along at their customary 60 mph speeds.

From my work to my apartment, there's about a 50/50 chance that a bike will be 5 minutes slower; if it's not, it's likely to be 15 to 90 minutes faster.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 02:54 PM
  #11  
bhop
Senior Member
 
bhop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,894

Bikes: Bianchi Via Nirone 7, Jamis Sputnik

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My commute's around 13 miles too.. it takes me around the same time to get to work in the mornings whether i drive or ride, but the afternoons are always faster on my bike.
bhop is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 02:58 PM
  #12  
swankgd
Rational Hedonist
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: OC, CA
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I discovered last week that I can beat the bus I normally take to and from work by biking. It's a 9.2 mile ride, I did it in 1 hour (would have been less but I kept stopping to pull out my phone to check if I should just grab a bus). The bus ride would have been ~1:15 (thanks to stops and wait time between transfers). That discovery has prompted me to switch to a bike commute instead of bus.

Just over a week ago I was driving ~90 minutes every single day. Now I'm going to be biking ~100 minutes ever day instead. Life upgrade.
swankgd is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 03:28 PM
  #13  
onyourback
Senior Member
 
onyourback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For my 8 miles the car is usually 5 minutes faster and then I don't have to change clothes and all that. I don't do it to save time though so its all good.
onyourback is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 04:18 PM
  #14  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,384
Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 800 Post(s)
Liked 206 Times in 161 Posts
Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
hey Jim, that's a great point about blowing through intersections in the early morning. never thought of that but will give it a try as I go through about 3 dozen traffic lights on the way to work.


Hey mtalinm,

I would never ride with any cyclist who rides the way I do. Seriously though, I cannot endorse riding through red lights or stop signs, listening to an I-pod while riding, or filtering through stopped traffic. On the other hand good lighting, a rearview mirror, and a heads up attitude are highly recommended.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
As far as anyone can tell, the rule here in Seattle is to flip a coin, and expect brutal stop and go freeway traffic if it comes up heads...Or if there's a game...
One joy of being a cycling denizen of Kenmore Square (the site of Fenway Park) is not driving on a game day (though see my above proscription about filtering through stopped traffic).
Jim from Boston is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 07:29 PM
  #15  
bengreen79
Allez means go.
 
bengreen79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Two Rivers, WI
Posts: 894
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
My commute is 5.1 miles. My longest drive was about the same time as my fastest cycle commute - about 16 minutes. Normally though it is about a 9 minute drive and a 23-26 minute commute.
bengreen79 is offline  
Old 06-28-10, 08:49 PM
  #16  
swankgd
Rational Hedonist
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: OC, CA
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Whee! Tonight I discovered that by taking a dedicated bike trail, I can commute in almost the exact same amount of time that it takes to drive! Happy happy day!
swankgd is offline  
Old 06-29-10, 04:47 PM
  #17  
darkadious
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 260
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
today I had to drive to work, so I decided to shadow my usual bike route and see how long it took.

to my amazement, it took a few minutes LONGER to get to work by driving. I was stunned, as I had been assuming that by pedaling I paid a penalty. (and it is still a little faster to take the train to the subway - but only 5m faster I think).
well... if you took the "normal" driving route, i assume you would have gone faster
darkadious is offline  
Old 06-29-10, 04:57 PM
  #18  
1nterceptor
LET'S ROLL
 
1nterceptor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,775

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 26 Posts
Bikes are perfect for urban areas:

https://www.streetfilms.org/bike-vs-car-vs-transit/

Last edited by 1nterceptor; 06-29-10 at 04:58 PM. Reason: add link
1nterceptor is offline  
Old 06-29-10, 06:31 PM
  #19  
Grim
Senior Member
 
Grim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,993

Bikes: Cannondale T700s and a few others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Takes 14-15 by car 18-20 by bike . If traffic is really bad the first 2 miles on the way home is faster by bike. After that I can run 50mph in the car in a few spots. My commute is 4.3 miles and traffic is normally not all that bad regardless. Just found out for sure that end of August my office is moving 2.2 miles CLOSER.
Grim is offline  
Old 06-29-10, 07:20 PM
  #20  
sci_femme
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Southeast
Posts: 756

Bikes: cyclotank

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
mtalinm - don't be stunned. Any metro area has to be like this. One reason I looove commuting on Fridays is that I have a guaranteed arrival in an hour instead of whatever vengeful traffic gods feel like. Also, public transportation here is - for all practical purposes - non-existent.

Ride Safe

SF
sci_femme is offline  
Old 06-29-10, 08:55 PM
  #21  
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,196

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 8 Posts
My commute is only faster by car if I take the freeway, but even then I have to take part of my bike route to avoid the traffic jams on the all the main roads, and then there is parking.
hairnet is offline  
Old 06-30-10, 02:54 AM
  #22  
zacster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 6,939
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Liked 207 Times in 167 Posts
Car, subway, bike, it's all the same time in NY. Maybe I can get to my office in a little less time by car on a weekend morning. But maybe not. And fuggedaboudit in rush hour.
zacster is offline  
Old 06-30-10, 06:31 AM
  #23  
vtjim
Belt drive!
 
vtjim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Posts: 2,614

Bikes: 2011 Trek Soho DLX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If I did what most people in my building do, it would usually take me longer to get to work by car, too, and this is "unpopulated" Vermont. We have to pay to park, or use off-site parking and take a free shuttle. Most people don't pay to park. If I drove to the shuttle parking, that's about 15 minutes. The bus comes every 15 minutes. The ride to the office is about 5 or 10 minutes. So best case I'm looking at 20-25 minutes. It takes me that long to ride door to door.

If I paid to park, it would be about 15-20 minutes. And I'd get fat.
vtjim is offline  
Old 06-30-10, 06:53 AM
  #24  
Boudicca
Conquer Cancer rider
 
Boudicca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,039

Bikes: Fun bike, city bike, Bike Friday, Brompton (also fun bikes)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Britain's Top Gear TV ran a program where four people, with bike, sports car, powerboat and public transit, had to get from one end of London to the other, and obey traffic rules while doing so.

The bike won.
__________________
Zero gallons to the mile
Boudicca is offline  
Old 06-30-10, 11:49 AM
  #25  
mtalinm
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtalinm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston)
Posts: 2,215

Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sci_femme View Post
mtalinm - don't be stunned. Any metro area has to be like this. One reason I looove commuting on Fridays is that I have a guaranteed arrival in an hour instead of whatever vengeful traffic gods feel like. Also, public transportation here is - for all practical purposes - non-existent.

Ride Safe

SF
wouldn't've been so surprised except that most of my commute is *not* in the city. it's 13.5 miles, mostly outside of downtown.: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/38711270
mtalinm is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.