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Cycling to Meetings - a Progress Report

Posted Jul 31 2009 9:34am
The month of July is drawing to a close. Here's a report on my experiment to replace car travel with bike travel for a month.

What did I find?

*There is no place in the city of Boston that is faster to reach by car than bike. I average 15 miles per hour on bike and 10 miles per hour by car. A car on Fenway Red Sox days can be a painful 5 mph experience.

*My Harvard and CareGroup offices are 1.2 miles apart. I can go from desk to desk in 6 minutes, since my Strida folding bike travels in and out of the building with me. Car travel is between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

*Parking in downtown Boston runs about $30 for the first hour. I saved more than the cost of the bike in one month of cycling.

* The streets of Boston are narrow, the potholes are deep, and the drivers are psychotic. I wore a helmet at all times, even for 1 mile rides between offices. The key to my success was to cycle in a predictable straight line, never darting in and out of traffic.

*Pedestrians and other bikes are even more hazardous than cars. I had numerous pedestrians (often walking into traffic while talking on their cell phones) nearly run into me.

*Rain can make cycling problematic. My Strida has fenders which protect me from tire spray, but wearing a suit while cycling in the rain can be tricky.

The bottomline - using a bike to commute in Boston saves me 30 minutes per day, saves gas, saves parking, and burns calories. If the rain stops, the pedestrians get off the phone, and the potholes are filled, life will be grand.

The experiment has been a success and I will continue to bike to all my meetings in Boston, April to November, weather permitting.
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