Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bike v. Car

Yesterday, I had a meeting in "Riverdale", as the real estate agents like to call it. This is the area just east of downtown Toronto, south and east of the Don River. The routes by car and bike are both fairly direct, and work out to about 22 km building to building. It was the perfect opportunity for a friendly bicycle versus car competition.

I told my colleague I'd be biking there and, since I couldn't double him, he would have to drive. Thinking back, if I had put my bike in his car, we could have taken the car pool lane for a few kilometres, but it always seems so belittling to put my bike inside a car.

He left 15 minutes after me because he thought it was important to give me a head start, and I needed to cool off and change when I got there.

In the interest of science, I thought I should ride at a comfortable typical speed. Just kidding. I hauled ass. No running red lights, no weaving, just solid fast cycling.

I set off down Leslie and Don Mills, both major arterials. Don Mills has a bus-taxi-bike lane on the right, which I didn't like during the winter, but this time it worked well for me. Most taxis were very courteous and the buses just didn't bother passing me. The only annoying thing about those lanes are the people making right turns who have a hard time judging when to change lanes. I was on right-hook alert.

The final travel time for me, the cyclist, was 50 minutes. I arrived in the area after 45 minutes, but got a bit lost trying to find the building. It turns out the temperature was very comfortable, so I got changed after locking up my bike. I was ready about 3 or 4 minutes later.

I sat down, then wandered around looking for my competitor. After the entire head-start time had passed, I found the driver. He reported his drive also took 50 minutes, which includes some time because of trouble with the one way streets.

His trip was almost entirely on a major expressway. No part of the trip was in the downtown core. In fact, most of the trip was through suburban Markham and Toronto. We both averaged 26.4 km/h (16.4 mph).

As well as being a competitor, I'm also the judge. In this competition of bike versus car, the bicycle is the clear winner. I arrived in the same amount of time, and enjoyed the trip, paid near nothing, got some exercise and got to brag about it here.

Darren J 6/14/2006 12:50:00 PM


makes ya feel sooooo good EH . right on man :~)
My bike doesn't like riding in cars either. That's excellent you did so well in the competition. I seem to make the wrong car-bike challenges and lose!

Yesterday I had dragon boat practice and got there in my usual bike time but practice started late because everybody else (except one other cycler) drove and ran into both congestion and parking problems. Boring excuses.
Hi Darren, like the blog. I've started one on commuting in the GTA as well, check:

Take care.

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