Challenge A Friend to Commute by Bike

Very interesting video (at bottom of post) where a long term driver is challenged to swap his car for a bike and try a week of commuting by bicycle.

It is a very good advert for the advantages of cycling to work. He comes across as a typical motorist who is honest about his experience of travelling to work. (Though, I don’t understand why people get really irritated when they see cyclists not wearing a helmet.)

The interesting thing is that he soon identifies two major advantages to cycling to work.

  1. It’s much quicker by bike. He gets really frustrated sitting in traffic jams. He loved being able to beat the stationary traffic on his bicycle.
  2. It made him realise how unfit he was. Cycling to work is at least some exercise.

As well as these benefits, presumably he

  • Saves money – less petrol, less parking costs, bike maintenance cheaper than car maintenance

Society Also Gains

  • Less air pollution
  • Less traffic congestion
  • Fitter population less likely to contract heart disease, leading to lower health care costs

Why Don’t People Try Cycling?

The sad thing is that despite the obvious benefits of cycling, he never considered doing it before. People seem very reluctant or don’t even consider cycling as an alternative. 50% of car journeys are less than 4 miles, 25% are less than 2 miles. This kind of distance is within the reach of nearly every adult.

Empathy of Cyclist and Motorists

By cycling he did become aware of some difficulties faced by cyclists – how drivers can pass very close – how pedestrians can step out into road without looking.

Even if he only commutes by bike for this one week – he will be a much better driver in the future. He will have empathy for the cyclists on theĀ  road. There will be less feeling of ‘them and us’

Being a cyclist makes you a better motorist. I also believe being a driver can make you a better cyclists. See: Perspective of a motorist)

The Big Cycle to Work Challenge

Now I’m motivated to try and find a friend and challenge them to try cycling to work for a week rather than using the car. This challenge will be difficult, because it involves:

  • Finding a friend
  • Finding a friend who isn’t a cyclist
  • Finding a friend who both drives to work and is willing to give cycling a go for a week.

Is there anyone you could challenge to cycle to work?

Perhaps rather sponsoring people to do allĀ  these 50 mile charity cycle rides, we should start sponsoring for charity people to cycle to work.




5 Responses to Challenge A Friend to Commute by Bike

  1. Ryan Charlesworth December 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Amazingly depending on the time of day a 22 mile commute can take a similar time by car as it does by bike

    I ride between Nottingham and Derby and it takes roughly an hour to trave to work during rush hour. On a bik it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes? The extra health benfits an feeling i get from cycling far outweights the loss of 15 minutes. The crazy thing is when moving I travel at up to 80 iles and hour by bike its 20.

    Goes to show ho long I am sat idle in a car??

  2. No November 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    I couldn’t understand his insistence on other people wearing helmets either – leave it as personal choice.
    I also didn’t think his comments on pedestrians were that great – they do have a right to use the road and the one I think he almost hit had not just ‘leaped out’.

  3. John Gallagher November 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    As a cash-strapped student living in south London in the early 80s, my house-mates and I tried various means of getting to college in central London, a distance of about 7 miles or so. The approximate times taken for the different modes of transport were:

    1. moped – about 15 minutes;
    2. bicycle – average about 25 minutes, quickest time was 22 minutes;
    3. car – about an hour, much more if on-street parking spaces were rare;
    4. tube – about an hour, plus walking to / from tube stations;
    5. bus – about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

    Incidentally, the moped was a single-seater and the car was a rapidly dissolving (and not very reliable Mini).

    The bikes won the day …

    • tejvan November 29, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Very interesting. That’s a huge time saving. It’s crazy so many people spend two hours a day driving to work.


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