Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Check out what a wuss I am

I've spent the past month with my mind on business and investments, and not more important things like frugality and biking. This month was Anti-Automobile April so I've also had my mind on how much I've been driving. I've commuted to work by car every week day. I haven't biked at all. I've walked to the grocery store three times.

Where there's a week day, 6.6 of the car miles are commuting. I drove 202.8 miles this month, of which 146.2 were from my commute. I walked 4.6 miles, not counting walking the dogs. I biked zero miles.

Day Car Walk Comments
1 6.6 1.4 walk to grocery
2 6.6 0
3 6.6 0
4 6.6 0
5 6.6 0
6 0 0
7 0 0
8 6.6 0
9 12.8 1.4 errands, walk to grocery
10 11.6 0 library
11 24.6 0dinner out
12 6.6 0 0
13 14 0 friends house to hang out
14 0 0 0
15 6.6 0 0
16 6.6 0 0
17 6.6 0 0
18 6.6 0 0
19 6.6 0 car pooled with our friends for dinner out
20 0 0 0
21 0 0 0
22 6.6 0 0
23 12.8 0 0
24 6.6 0.4 saved a trip by staying late at work and walking to a local meet-up
25 6.6 0 0
26 6.6 0 0
27 8.2 1.4 friends house to hang out; walk to grocery
28 0 0
29 6.60
30 6.6 0
202.8 4.6 Total

If you've ridden your bike even once this month, you did better than me. I want to draw attention to this for two reasons.

First, showing up is terribly important. To be dramatic: "History is made by those who show up." Showing up is also most of the work (especially for me), and I'd say it's more important than finishing. As soon as I get on my bike, getting to and from work is a breeze. It's fun and I enjoy it. It's deciding to get on my bike as soon as I get out of bed, and then following through, that's the difficult part.

Second, relative status is at least as important as absolute status. I am tied for last place in the category of "distance biked" over the past month, no matter who you compare me with. If you even made one trip to the grocery store on your bike this month, and your friends don't even own a bike, then guess what: you beat their socks off. You are awesome and you should be proud. To reach the top 5%, you must simply kick the ass of the other 95%.  I wish I could find a statistic for average distance biked by an American over any period of time, but I bet it's not too high.

I obviously must change my habits. There are two things blocking me from a frictionless decision-making process of waking up in the morning to getting on my bike and starting off to work. First, I need to get my bike ready, which entails pumping the tires and making sure the handlebar is the right height. Second, I need to track down my bike clothes, work clothes, and a towel and soap (for showering at work); then lay them out before I go to bed at night. That way I can roll out of bed and be ready without thinking.

How did everyone else do on Anti-Automobile April?


  1. I rode 95 miles, 3 trips to the gym/store & 2 commutes to work. Unfortunately, it wasn't as much as I wanted, because I've been getting knee pain on my rides to work! Maybe you'll make it anti-automobile May :)?

    1. Nice! At the very least I'm going to make it a Moderate Mustache May :). I'll definitely get my bike on this month.

  2. Do you need me to come over there and pump up your tires for you? Is that what it's gonna take? ;)

    I didn't keep track of my miles, but I haven't ridden a car to work in 2 years, so I'm guessing I'm above average?

    On a more serious note, what kind of climate and terrain are you biking on when you commute to work? And, what type of clothes do you wear at work? Personally, I wear jeans or shorts and a t-shirt everyday, so I don't wear "bike clothes" and I don't bring a towel because I don't get close to sweating on an easy 3.5 mile ride in the morning. If I had to wear bike clothes and take a shower, that would certainly make it inconvenient...

    1. That would absolutely do it :D. And nice job biking!

      It's pretty flat, and while it gets hot and humid during the summer it's never too bad in the mornings. Still, I tend to sweat a lot when I bike. Now that may go away as I get stronger but I'm not counting on it -- last year in my t-shirt and bike shorts I got sweaty even after I had been biking for a few months.

      Biking to work in normal clothes is still something I might try. Our dress code is pretty casual and I can't see anyone giving me a hard time about it.

      Showering at work has its perks, though. Not having to shower before leaving the house means I can get up and go quickly.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Out of 21 working days, I had 15 by bike, 6 by car. That's 417 bike miles, 133 car miles (biking is a longer route to find safe bike lanes).

    I'm envious of your short commute. I didn't think mine was bad, and it's actually a great distance for doubling it as my workout, but I take a hit to the wallet every time I decide to drive.

    1. Wow, that's fantastic. Your commute isn't too bad... around 12 miles each way? I picked my house specifically based on where my office is. It has worked out so far, although who knows what will happen if I ever decide to take an opportunity elsewhere.

  4. I'm with BNL. I ride 4 miles each way to work every day in jeans and a polo or button up. Based on your distance, if your elevation change isn't dramatic you don't need bike clothes or to take a shower at work. That would hold me back too. You'll be sweaty the first few times but your body will adjust.

    As Nike said so succinctly, Just Do It!!!

    1. I think I'll give it a shot. There are worse things than being sweaty -- like not biking at all.

  5. I biked about 308 miles in April. I don't have a car here in Japan however so I had no other choice. I think if you don't leave yourself a choice but to bike you will do it (you still gotta work don't you?) Lend your car to someone you trust or leave it at some ones place (again who you trust) forcing yourself to bike. Don't leave yourself any excuses not to. Might seem extreme but it will pay off in the long run.

    1. Haha yeah, you were the one who tried to convince me go to car-less back before I bought my Fit? It's certainly good advice. I just probably won't follow it :-/

  6. I wussed out! No biking. But I substituted with increased commitment to going to the grocery store either by walking, or on the way back from jogging (sorry to other Hannaford customers). Carrying groceries home does eliminate needless spending!

    For biking though I have a real problem with unimproved, seriously dangerous roads between my house and work. Tried the biking thing last spring and got run off the road by a gas tanker. The towns are building a bike path that would service my commuting route, but that's not for another 3-7 years. Still thinking about how to handle this.