Monday, May 18, 2020

Bike Commuting Wrap-Up: Coronavirus Edition

With our school year drastically "truncated" due to COVID19, and with the announcement that we are definitely not going back before Fall, I suppose it's time for a look back at my bike commuting numbers for the year.

Up until the shutdown, I was actually having a pretty good year, commuting-wise. One of my best, in fact. I was well on track to be able to ride over 100 days, and I am fairly certain 110 might have been within reach. Well, we all know what happened next. Schools and many businesses in Ohio (and across the country) were closed in mid-March, and that put a cap on my commuting numbers until next year.

At the time the shutdown happened, I had ridden 82 days -- not too far off the 90 days I had set as my "minimum" goal for the whole year back in August. But given the truncated schedule, that still gave me a bike-to-work average of 61%. Considering that April and May are usually pretty good riding months for me, I'm sure that had we not closed early I could have improved that average, and nothing that I've seen of the weather we've had since March tells me otherwise. But 61% is still one of the better years I've had. In fact, last year I had only reached 80 days overall in a normal full-length school schedule. I beat that with 2½ fewer months of work!

So, here are some numbers. As already mentioned, 82 days gave me an average of 61%. At 28.5 miles each day, that works out to 2337 miles, and a savings of somewhere around 82 gallons of gas. At current gas prices, that's a savings of around $150, or somewhere in that neighborhood (gas prices have been pretty cheap the past year, haven't they?).

This also helped my long-term average slightly. I've been commuting by bike regularly for about 8 years now, and with this year factored in, my overall average ticked up slightly to 54%. In 8 years time, I calculate that I've ridden more than 21,000 miles just going to and from work.

I wish I could have gotten some more pictures from my commuting rides - but I was still riding in complete darkness through my entire morning commute when things shut down in March. So I'm going to have to post a re-cycled photo from the ride to work. Sorry about that. Here's a good one from last year - maybe I'll end with this:

. . . And let's just see what next year brings.


  1. Not sure if I should laugh or cry. I did a wee calculation of 82 US gallons converted to litres multiplied by fuel cost per litre multiplied by current bad exchange rate and here you would have saved $460.75. No wonder so few can justify cycling on cost...

    Still impressed with your commute.

  2. The economic case is stronger if one can ditch the car entirely. Depreciation, insurance and other costs of ownership tend to be the dominant factors in the overall cost of owning and running a car.

    If the full externalities of car use were also incorporated into the running cost it would be a no-brainer...