Everyone knows that long ago I ditched a car in favor of riding my bike to work. Every day since, no matter the weather, I’ve enjoyed my commute on a bike way more than any of my past commutes in a car. Yesterday, for the first time, I had a chance to commute on on my bike not between home and work, but from work to work.
To explain, my office has roughly a hundred employees that meet up quarterly to talk about items pertaining to us all. There isn’t a conference room in our building large enough to fit us all, so instead we have the meeting in a separate building with larger meeting spaces.
Bicycles are often the quickest way to get around, especially for short trips, even in car-dominated suburban cities.
The building we meet in is about half a mile away from our office and while most people walk to the meeting, a good number people choose to drive their cars. That always surprised me because car parking is scarce at both our office and the other building. Factor in time spent re-parking a car at each end of the trip and suddenly driving takes just about as long as it does to walk.
The day of our most recent meeting I had my bicycle sitting next to my desk so, instead of walking or driving, I pedaled.
Riding a bike to the meeting allowed me stay around the office and work for about 5-10 minutes longer than anyone who drove. On the return trip I also got back to the office 5-10 minutes sooner than everyone trying to fight for space in our office’s parking lot.
During the extra time I had, after cruising along on my bicycle next to grid-locked traffic (all of which was a result of our meeting), I started to do a little math. If you take the low end of my assumptions of time saved and multiply it by the number of employees at the meeting, it adds up to be a pretty significant amount of wasted company time. Assuming 5 minutes are saved at both the beginning and the end of the meeting, and assuming there are exactly 100 employees in the meeting, that’s 1000 minutes of time saved if everyone chose to ride a bike like I did. That’s 16 hours and 40 minutes, or roughly two full productive work days saved by simply ditching the car and stepping on to a bicycle.
Weapons in the fight against lost productivity.
That time savings is especially impressive considering that the area around our office has little in the way of complete cycling infrastructure. At times I was forced to wait in line behind idling cars, but still with only the few bike lanes present I easily beat my coworkers’ motor vehicles. If there were complete, safe cycling infrastructure available I likely could have saved even more time. Other people in my office might then choose to ride their bikes too, resulting in additional productivity savings for my company.
This is just one of many facts supporting the notion that riding a bike is often a better choice than driving a car.