Bicycle Calculations

I’ve come to en­joy rid­ing my bike to work, even on days like to­day when it is 82 de­grees at 7:30 in the morn­ing. It saves me mon­ey and is good ex­er­cise. For me it doesn’t take much longer than dri­ving ei­ther. Time seems to be the #1 fac­tor that peo­ple ask about; there seems to be an as­sump­tion that rid­ing a bike is a waste of time when a car can zip along much faster. In the long run that is true, but at the same time in a car a per­son doesn’t get much ex­er­cise, un­less they’re yelling with road rage. I look at my bike ride not as trans­porta­tion time, but as ex­er­cise time. Biking is very much the most ef­fi­cient reg­u­lar means of trans­porta­tion for me. The time dif­fer­ence is neg­li­gi­ble, the cost sav­ings is enor­mous, and the ex­er­cise is good for me. I de­cid­ed to do some cal­cu­la­tions. To see just how well it is work­ing out.

I used this Bicycle Ride Calorie Calculator and the Gmaps Pedometer. And I al­so did some math on the cost sav­ings as well. First the Exercise.

My route, ac­cord­ing to the Gmaps Pedometer, is 3.3 miles each way. A to­tal of 6.6 miles a day, or 33 miles a week. The ride takes me 40 min­utes round trip, un­less the wind is par­tic­u­lar­ly pow­er­ful. Plugging in oth­er de­tails re­sults in 220 calo­ries burned per day, rid­ing to and from work. That’s about 130 work days if I ride from May through October. I’m not go­ing to take off days for rain or any­thing like that since it prob­a­bly bal­ances out based on the fact that I can prob­a­bly ride in April and November as well. So, 130 days. That’s 28,600 calo­ries, or just over 8 pounds. We’re al­so ig­nor­ing car­dio im­pact and mus­cu­lar im­pact from rid­ing up the hills in the Flats.

Now, on to cost. Parking in the lot be­hind my build­ing is $100/​month. That’s $600 saved from May through October if I drove. Say I have to fill up once a month [cur­rent­ly it is about every 6 – 8 weeks] and that the fill-up costs $40. That’s $240 saved from May through October. I’ll ig­nore car in­sur­ance and ser­vic­ing. That’s $840 saved in six months, just from rid­ing a bike.

If I took the RTA, which I do in the win­ter, a month­ly pass is $58. Riding my bike to work in­stead of tak­ing the RTA saves me $348 from May through October.

  • $840 saved ver­sus dri­ving
  • $348 saved ver­sus RTA
  • I’m in bet­ter shape.

I don’t see a down­side.

And since the num­bers are sit­ting there, win­ter bus-rid­ing saves me $492 ver­sus dri­ving. I could talk about en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of low­er­ing my car­bon-foot­print and the ben­e­fits of liv­ing and work­ing down­town as well, but I’m tired of do­ing math when I could be out walk­ing around my new ‘hood.

8 thoughts on “Bicycle Calculations

  1. good post adam.

    con­ser­v­a­tive es­ti­mates es­pe­cial­ly with con­struc­tion on that bridge..

    i nev­er fig­ured out what i save rid­ing to work main­ly be­cause its just a cou­ple miles.

    map my ride [ http://​www​.map​myride​.com/ ]does sim­i­lar to what gmaps does but is a lit­tle more fun, check it out.

  2. Wow, it gives the topo­graph­ic in­for­ma­tion as well. Almost 200 feet dif­fer­ence be­tween the high­est and low­est points on my route. Cool.

  3. if you’ll let me nit­pick…

    don’t for­get that you have to buy more food to sup­ply those calo­ries you’re burn­ing.

    i don’t con­sid­er it a down­side, but nor is it neg­li­gi­ble…

  4. Heh. I don’t re­al­ly no­tice my­self eat­ing more than usu­al in terms of vol­ume, my gar­gan­tu-smooth­ies prob­a­bly re­place what­ev­er calo­ries I’m burn­ing and then some. You’re right about the food vari­able. I don’t re­al­ly know how to quan­ti­fy it though.

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