While it’s readily assumed that cycluting saves money, it’s nice to reflect, now and then, on exactly how much money we’re talking about when commuting to work by bike rather than by car. For starters, I used the MASSrides commuting calculator at http://www.commute.com/commuters/calculator to find out how much my typical commute would cost in a car. If I work an average of 20 days per month – and I do – it would cost me $4,417.80 per year to drive to work in my 2003 Honda Civic EX. So, that’s about how much I save by biking to work every day, year-round. Add to that, however, the fact that I save $70/year on my car insurance because of a low-mileage discount of 12 percent. And who knows what I save in medical expenses by staying in shape on my bike on a regular basis? Anyway, it’s safe to say I save at least $4,500 a year by cycluting, instead of taking my car. Multiply that by the five years I’ve been doing the same 14-mile round trip to work and I’ve saved more than $20,000 since I started that job. What could I do with that kind of money? Get this: I could buy a brand new 2011 Honda Civic EX. Honestly, that would be just about the last thing I’d do. Instead, I’m going to use my 2011 year’s worth of savings to take a nine-day, guided expedition to Ecuador next February. Cost: $4,500. That includes air fare, lodging, meals, days trips, guide … the whole shebang. That may not sound like a big deal to some of my cycluting sidekicks who make six figures in the technology sector, but I make $45,000 a year (gross pay) at a Senior Center. Simple math: I give myself a 10 percent raise by cycluting. OK, that’s enough calculating to remind me what my response could be when someone challenges me by saying, “Give me one good reason why you’d bike to work every day of the year.”
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
News item: Boston ranks No. 8 on the list of top 10 traffic-congested cities in the country. “The average commute during worst driving hours is 33 percent longer on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Boston is at its worst on I-93 between Exit 5 and Exit 15. This 10.4-mile stretch of road usually takes 10 minutes to complete with no traffic, but can take 29 minutes during rush hour and even up to 38 minutes Wednesday mornings. Another study finding: Rush hour is no longer rush hour. It's nearly 24/7. Those are among the conclusions of a study by INRIX, a Seattle-based provider of traffic and navigation services.” – boston.com Not surprised, right? On the other hand, what does surprise me is that alternative means of transportation are largely dismissed as viable, either for commuters who continue to drive cars, or for legislators who apportion tax revenue to road projects that encourage people to drive them more and more. It’s like voluntarily sticking needles in our eyes while complaining about the pain. Ever wonder what amazing projects to boost bicycling could be done with even half the money spent on road construction? I fantasize about it frequently. How elevated bikeways along highway routes and main city streets? One of my favorite dreams became real, albeit temporarily, when I participated in the Hub on Wheels bike ride for the first time, last year. On the first few miles of the ride, bikers pedaled without a care in the world along Storrow Drive, which was closed to motor vehicles. That’s right. Not a car or truck in sight. I was euphoric, cranking along on my bicycle along thousands of other proud pedal people. That’s the kind of congestion for which Boston and its suburbs should be gaining national headlines. For now, I’ll have to settle for my daily 6.5-mile Beverly-to-Salem cyclute, during which I routinely pass more cars than pass me. No surprise there, either.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
"A 74-year-old bicyclist was killed yesterday morning in a collision with a car near the corner of Tremont and Arlington streets in Boston, according to authorities. Police did not release the man’s name yesterday nor the cause of the crash, which happened at 8:10 a.m. in busy South End traffic. But it occurred at a time when solar glare can cause problems for drivers turning east on Herald Street. The white sedan involved in the crash was facing that direction." That story recently re-inspired me to start posting to this blog again, as much as possible. Truth is, I retired from a 16-year career in journalism, several years ago, because I felt I'd used up every word in my head. After starting this blog, I realized I wasn't ready to resume writing for this, or any other reason. Thoughts still fill my mind when biking, though, so I'm going to share them here, as often as I can imagine. Even before seeing that news item, above, I'd been thinking about the dangers of "solar glare," and entertained myself, on a recent ride to work, but composing this ditty:
When biking in sun, please be reminded
Your shadow will point to the drivers most blinded.
When shadows are longer you're harder to see
The shorter your shadow the safer you'll be.