the bicycle as a form of transportation, a little experiment

Had an interesting conversation with a guy at the coffee shop today about the bicycle as a form of transportation.  He flat out told me it was more inefficient then a automobile for short in town distances, under 10 miles.  He also added I was being unpatriotic in not helping the economy.  But thats a different conversation in itself.  After I got back on my bicycle and headed out, I got to thinking…

Wal-mart is 3.3 miles from my house in the shortest drivable route.  So I went home, and got in my truck.  It took me 15 minuets to get there, and 17 to get home.  Not counting looking for a parking spot.  I went in and looked around so it wasn’t a wasted trip.  After I got home, I loaded the panniers on my bike and headed back, taking the same route.  Stopping at all stop signs and red lights, I made it there in 13 minuets, and took me 14 to get home.  The route home was also with 20 or so lbs of groceries in the bags.  Now if you add the 2 minuets or so it took to find a parking spot, it seems I proved him wrong.  That was not the purpose of this little experiment, but just goes to show.  I wonder what was more efficient.

I will add that this was ridden at a lazy enjoy the spring weather pace, and could have easily went faster.  I got a little exercise, enjoyed the sun, and actually had a faster average speed.  This is due to waiting in traffic, and studies show, I was safer on my bicycle then in my truck.


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