One of the things I like the most about commuting by bike is that I know, no matter what is happening in the world, that I’ll be able to make it to work or home safe and sound within just about 15 minutes. I can rely on pretty much the same ride, each and every day – making it easier to plan and live the rest of my life.
Want proof? Since I got a smartphone in March, I’ve been hitting “start” and “stop” on an app called RunMeter every time I’ve ridden my bike now for almost 9 months. This has given me a record of how long I ride, my speed, and even a Google map for every ride – over 2,600 miles. While it’s fun to look back at a long weekend ride, every time I ride directly from home to work (or vice versa), I also tell the app that I’m on my “commute.”
Here’s how long my 3.1-mile commute has taken over the past 9 months:
The crazy thing is, this is everything – the whole range of wacky stuff everyone can encounter on their commutes:
- Weather from the frosty mornings in March to the 100-degree days of July
- Rain, sun, clouds, ice, even earthquakes
- Days when I was hauling 20 pounds of groceries, and when I wasn’t
- Mornings I was in a rush and stressed, and times I wanted to go slow and smell the roses
- Construction, double-parked cars, traffic lights out
- Alternate routes, mechanical problems
All of that unpredictability is in the chart above. Only a couple times did it take more like 20 minutes to get home. I still don’t have a winter in there yet, but that’ll come over the next few months.
I’d only logged 230 one-way commutes because most of my evening rides have taken me to farmer’s markets, errands, or plain joyrides – trips I didn’t tell my phone were strictly “commutes.”
So, all told, I can go between home and work in between 12 and 15 minutes like 80% of the time. Rain, sun? 12-15 minutes. Downtown a mess because of an earthquake or a Christmas Tree lighting? 12-15 minutes. Thunderstorms? 12-15 minutes. When I wake up in the morning, the traffic reports of inner loops and Nutley streets and whatnot is totally irrelevant to me. I read the weather forecast for how I might dress that day, but that’s about it. I can count on getting to work so consistently that I don’t really think about traffic at all.
Bicycling makes it pretty darn reliable to get to and from work – making it a lot easier to focus on all the rest of the more important things in life.