One thing people should understand is that, as a teacher, I tend to think of a year as going from August through May, broken up into two semesters. That makes it a little awkward to try to compare numbers with most "normal" people, who probably measure a year from January through December. Just sayin'. It also means I don't get to count the Summer months in my bike commuting numbers (I ride of course -- just not to work), which keeps the year-long numbers a little lower than they might otherwise be.
|In late August, on a brilliantly clear afternoon ride home,|
I caught this shot of two Goodyear blimps flying overhead.
For the entire Fall semester - from August through December, I've kept a total bike-to-work average of 75%. That's 3 out of every 4 days commuting by bike instead of car. The total miles of commuting by bike in that same period was 1795 miles. With gasoline selling at about $2.00/gal. on average during the last few months, I figure I probably saved $120 or more in fuel costs.
|In November, right after the daylight savings time change, |
I caught this stunning sunrise behind a Medina county
barn during the brief respite from all-dark morning commutes.
The worst single-month average was 66% in September, in which I drove to work 7 days.
Also, since August I've managed to lose 10 pounds, plus my wedding ring (yeah - it fell off somewhere last month and I haven't seen it since).
Here's how this year compares to previous years:
In 2012, I finished the Fall semester with a bike-to-work average of 57%. I went on to finish that entire school year with exactly 50%. That was the only time so far that I met my year-long goal.
In 2013, we had a good Fall, but things turned cold and ugly by mid-November, and worse in December. Nevertheless, I finished that first half with 59%. Single digits and sub-zero temperatures through January and February meant that I ended the whole year with 43%.
|A foggy Fall morning made these trees look ghostly.|
My number of days ridden at this mid-point has already surpassed the total number of days I rode in the entire 2014-2015 year.
You'll notice that the total average always falls in the second half of the year. It's pretty clear to see why when you consider that the second semester, the "Spring semester," includes January, February, and March -- all of which typically make up the worst months for riding in this part of the country. If those months are lousy (and they usually are) then it's just impossible to ride enough in April and May to make up the difference. For that reason, I try to ride as much as I can in the Fall to build up sort of a "buffer" for the Winter, and in that regard this season has been about as good as it gets.
|First light on a mid-November morning. My morning rides were rapidly returning to total darkness from start to finish.|
At this point, it's impossible to say what the months of January and February will be like - and any predictions the weather prognosticators might be making are likely to be as reliable as a Chinese counterfeit carbon fiber frame. But if we have as mild of winter as we've been having so far, I figure I stand a good chance of having my best bike commuting year ever.
And I probably just jinxed the whole thing.