Do you use a bicycle to eliminate any in car miles?

Discussion in 'General' started by abcdpeterson, Sep 24, 2008.


Do you ride a bycicle to replace driveing? or...?

  1. 1 - Yes I use a bicycle to replace driving.

    8 vote(s)
  2. 2 - I ride bicycle for other reasons.

    3 vote(s)
  3. 3 - Both 1 and 2.

    17 vote(s)
  4. 4 - No I don’t bike.

    8 vote(s)
  5. N/A - I refuse to vote in bicycle poll. :D

    0 vote(s)
  1. abcdpeterson

    abcdpeterson Well-Known Member

    Sure, that's a good question!

    Anyone voting yes, any idea how much in car miles your replacing?

    2800. hmmm… good goal. You must be younger then me. :)

    when I got my electric assist bike 2 years ago it was September and summer done in Minnesota, I hit it hard. Unfortunately I have been slowing down ever since.

    At first I even road when it was below freezing and in snow flurries once or twice. I Just managed to get hit 1000 before I had to give it up due to snow that first year. The next summer I only moved the miles up to 1900. This year… I have only moved the miles to just over 2100.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  2. BillG

    BillG New Member

    Allen, my younger, smarter and better looking brother rode his recumbent from Mahtomedi to downtown St. Paul every day, rain or shine, summer or winter, for several years. In the winter, he just put on studded tires.

    But then, he would sometimes ride from Anoka around Mille Lacs and back in a day, or around Superior or down to New Orleans, so Mahtomedi to St. Paul was just a hop, skip and jump.

  3. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    because of the road setup here in st. cloud, there is no way i could ride to work. not to mention my replaced knee wouldn't like it.

    however, when i lived in crystal i used to bike to work at 494 and hwy. 55. i went down rockford road to just past 494 to fernbrook. it was about 11 miles. i was also in better shape 12 years ago.
  4. fuzzy

    fuzzy Mild hypermiler

    I don't work full time anymore, just seasonally as I ramp down to retirement.

    Over the past 4 years of work (6.5 calendar years), bicycle commuting displaced about 5100 car miles. I don't have the stamina to pedal this route daily, but pedaling increased sharply the day after Hurricane Katrina pushed gas prices above $2.50. Transit buses are available, but poor suburb-to-suburb routing in the Seattle region means that pedaling is faster.

    I do pedal at night (dedicated bike trail nearly the whole route). I won't start pedaling in the rain, but occasionally finish very wet.

    Also, more of the household's recreational rides start at the house, rather than with a drive to another location. This has greatly increased the number of car-free days. When helping train novice rider friends for the Seattle-to-Portland classic (a 205 mile ride), within about a month all but the one living the furthest away were strong enough to pedal to a central meeting location, instead to driving. Several of the women who would never have dreamed of riding alone at that time are now frequent bike commuters.

    This household does not go shopping by bike. Yet.

    -- Dean
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  5. YarSwiss

    YarSwiss C'est quoi 'hypermile' en Francais?

    Unfortunately I live in SoCal so being able to bike anywhere I really need to go is about nil. When I was in Europe, I took the train everywhere it could take me. I would bike to the train station, lock up my bike, take a train, then used a Micro scooter to get the rest of the way :D I really, really wish I could do the same here. Cost me like $150 for a year-long train pass, and I would use the train to travel about 30 miles everyday...

    I am going to be getting a scooter again, though, which I will use to shuttle myself around my college campus :p
  6. Elixer

    Elixer Well-Known Member

    I currently bike about 13 miles a day - 6 to campus, 1/2 to work, 6 and 1/2 home. It's taken me a long time to find a good route. It's hard to find roads with wide shoulders to bike on. However I bike through a lot of residential areas, avoiding the main roads.

    This semester I decided to not buy a parking permit for campus, which means it's much faster for me to bike. To drive I have to park in the far far lot, so biking is much faster. Even if I had gotten the permit, it only would have saved me 5 minutes to drive.

    I have to say that I sometimes don't like the stop and go in town when riding on a bike. It takes me a long time to reach top speed so when I have to stop I'm annoyed because of the loss of time.
  7. Scandinavian Gigolo

    Scandinavian Gigolo Active Member

    I ride 20 km per day, more if I have errands. The slight inconvenience is far outweighed by the health benefits, close and free parking, quick commute time, cheap repairs/maintenance, etc.
    I've been through the worst this land can muster - minus 54 degrees Celsius, gusting to 80 km/h winds, rain, sleet, snow - so excuses are hard to make, even in a city that hates cyclists.
  8. locutus

    locutus MPG Centurion

    When I was still at my last job I'd make the 13-mile round trip almost every day the roads were dry, down to like 15F. More recently I've biked to other errands/weekly activities. The choice between 80+ MPG and X miles/0 G is a pretty easy one. :) When I move for my current job I'll be 3 miles from work and anticipate biking or otherwise not driving as much as possible.
  9. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    The local roads and traffic make any sort of real biking impossible. The flatlanders don't know how good they have it. :)
  10. Nanci

    Nanci Well-Known Member

    I drive in ten miles, park at a strip mall, and ride seven miles to work. When I get back to my truck in the afternoon, I'm parked right there at the grocery store if I need anything! It's made a huge difference in my gas consumption.

    I also ride for fun. My longest ride ever was 375 miles. I'd love to ride around Mille Lacs! I have ridden around lake Okeechobee.
  11. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    i forgot to mention i used to do a lot of recreational biking.

    weekends i would go north from my house up to a trail that ran across the far northern burbs.

    i made several bike trips out west with an organized group called backroads. i did them in the flagstaff/sedona area, one that covered central utah including zion and the grand canyon, one down the oregon coast.....there were great fun and a wonderful way to see the country that we often don't see when we are in the car. several times i took the train to the location where the trip was, which added to the fun. i miss going out west. (i also hiked the grand canyon once, too)
  12. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Sadly, I go 26 miles to work. If it was half that distance and could avoid freeways, a bike would be an option I'd seriously consider.
  13. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Could you do that 52 mile round trip once a week? Once a month? It doesn't have to be all or nothing.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  14. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    I commute 2000-2500 miles by bike. But I figure I'm saving at least 4000 miles of driving. Because on days I drive, I'm more likely to run out for lunch or do errands on the way home. Biking 3-4 days per week forces me to reduce and consolidate those trips more. I still do some of them by bike, but I'm a lot more careful about racking up extra miles when my legs have to provide the power!

    Of course, someone recently pointed out to me that due all that exercise, I am likely to live longer and use up most of that extra energy I saved by not driving! :D
  15. mparrish

    mparrish Rosie the Riveter Redux

    500 miles since May here. I've graduated from an experimental ride to work on "National Bike to Work" Day to 50-75 miles a week commuting. That's what happens when you make your wife sell the SUV as she says "no problem, I get the Prius and you get the bike". :)

    How is Portland's biking infrastructure and acceptance of bikers? I ask because its reputation is AWESOME, and I'm wondering if it is really just "good" and only awesome compared to most US cities. Austin is above average, but still has a ways to go.

    If you could combine Austin's dry & mild weather (summer excluded ;)) with Portland's infrastructure, wow.
  16. rdprice64

    rdprice64 Still Learning

    I don't commute to work on bike, but I do replace most of the low-FE short trips with the bike. Ride to and from the gym (2.1 miles each way), Groceries - 12 items or less (1.6 miles each way), Target, Home Depot, Dick's Sporting Goods, Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster, the movie theater, the bank, the pool, Qdoba, Panera, and soccer practice (all within 5 miles).

    If we need more than my backpack can carry, then 1 or more of my kids come too and each of them loads a backpack as well. The two older kids have even started making these trips for us on their own.

    I would estimate that we avoid at least 500-600 miles per year over the last 10 years.
  17. nd4speed7

    nd4speed7 Well-Known Member

    Since May I have saved my car almost 1000 miles by commuting to work by bike. Now that fall is here I may have to start driving again, but we will see if I can brave the cold. I need to get some panniers so I can bike up to the grocery store and save even more mileage from my car. I should probably call up my insurance and see about a reduction in my rate since I have not been driving all that often.
  18. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Hey, way to go and welcome to the club!

    I suppose Portland is awesome compared to most US cities. At least judging from the horror stories I hear from many places. But my firsthand knowledge of cycling in the US is mostly limited to the cities where I have lived: Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, all of which are in the top 5. So I guess I'm spoiled, and I can tell you that all 3 cities are far from cycling paradise. We are certainly nowhere NEAR the level you see in the better European cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

    On the plus side, we do have an extensive on-street bike lane network (both city and suburban, though there are still major gaps), a strong advocacy organization, reasonably bike-aware road agencies with a strong dedication to problem solving, a growth management plan that has limited sprawl and kept more of the community within biking distance, and some of the most courteous drivers in the country. The vast majority of drivers interact well with bicyclists. Even with thousands of riders on the road, I don't see drivers honking at bikes very often. As I mentioned in another thread, I think it's been years since I've been honked at.

    Where we are lacking is that cops, prosecutors and the media often still have a strong bias against cyclists; many drivers are dangerously inattentive, as everywhere else; a small but significant number of drivers are still aggressive yahoos; the state highway agency (which maintains several of the major roads in town) is still behind the times; and we don't have an extensive network of dedicated bike paths/freeways like you find in cities such as Minneapolis (where I visited earlier this month). Difficult terrain in some sections of town has left enormous gaps in where you can get by bike, a problem not easily or cheaply fixed since many of those areas were developed during the bike [and pedestrian] ignorant postwar era. We also have the problem that so many new cyclists are coming out of the woodwork and don't have a clue about how the rules of the road apply when you're on a bike. Novice cyclists seem to generate a huge share of the bike-car conflicts that do occur, and we're not doing anywhere near enough to educate them.

    I think maybe the greatest thing about cycling in Portland is how its recent growth has become a positive feedback loop. Bike trips have increased fourfold in just over a decade, yet the number of crashes has held steady - meaning cycling is now four times safer. There really IS safety in numbers, and the more people get out on bikes, the more drivers get used to it, and the safer it becomes. A couple of years ago we were #1 in the country with 4% of commute trips taken by bike, and I'd bet it's increased by half since then. We now have more than one downtown river bridge where the number of bike trips per day can be counted in the thousands, and bike jams have become a significant enough problem that we recently added a bike passing lane to one of the bridge approaches.

    All this is great, but we still have a ways to go: a recent survey showed that 60% of Portlanders would like to commute by bike at least occasionally, but most still feel unsafe doing so. Part of that is education (most people think cycling is more dangerous than driving, when in fact it is not), but mostly it shows how much more could be done. That's why I think the LAB was premature in issuing its first Platinum rating to Portland. Having seen what's possible in Copenhagen, I don't think ANY American city is anywhere near a level that could be called Platinum.

    Ha! You're right, of course. Still, after riding in Minneapolis/St.Paul earlier this month (no, I was not there for the RNC), I was thinking how great it would be if you could combine Portland's mild weather with Minneapolis' infrastructure! MSP is still lacking in on-street bike lanes compared with Portland, but the extensive network of dedicated bikeways would be really great for longer commutes. Of course the Twin Cities' staggering sprawl is a major problem too, weather or not.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  19. Hadi

    Hadi Well-Known Member

    I have been able to eliminate 80 percent of my driving by riding a bicycle.
  20. Nanci

    Nanci Well-Known Member

    I've been burning with envy of bike commuters for several years. I finally decided to take the plunge and ride to work. It's only 17 miles, but the first ten are country-road dark, 55 mph speed limit which means most people are driving 65, and the first three miles don't have a bike lane. And I'd have to make the whole trip in the dark. But I wanted to see what it would be like. I hated it. I was alternately afraid of being hit, or of some serial killer passing me and laying in wait in the darkness ahead. To make matters worse, on the way home, I flatted for the first time in a couple thousand miles, and had to patch a tire in 95F sun. I was discouraged. But I had this idea: what if I parked in the nice strip mall lot ten miles in and biked the rest of the way? Sure it wasn't a perfect solution, since I'd have to drive some of the way, but it would cut my gas consumption nearly in half. I tried it, and I love it! The best part is, even if it's raining, or windy, or hot, or cold, I'm only out in it for 30 minutes, so who cares!

    Maybe you could find a good park and ride spot for your situation.

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