For the sixth consecutive year, the bicyclist won. Following all the rules of the road, the cyclist covered the 3.15 mile commute in 18:35, 6 minutes better than both the driver (24:50) and the transit rider (25:15).
The Commuter Race remains a simple illustration of the benefits of bicycle commuting. Consider the costs involved in the three modes of transportation involved:
- Yearly cost of a bicycle: $250
- Yearly cost of SEPTA: $996 for twelve monthly TransPasses
- Yearly cost of a car: $7,630 for a small sedan driving 10,000 miles a year (source: AAA)
All three methods of transportation have their benefits and drawbacks. But nearly 50% of the US working population commutes five miles or less to work. A 15-minute bicycle commute each way meets the CDC's minimum recommendation of 30 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical exercise. With the summer upon us, it is a wonderful time to join your fellow Philadelphians and give bicycle commuting a try.
Many thanks to Zipcar for providing the car and driver. The Bicycle Coalition's Commuter Race is part of Bike Month. For other Bike Month events, check out our events page. For a more colorful account of the Commuter Race itself, see below (click post title to read further):
The four commuters gathered on the sidewalk across from Mifflin Square at 7:45 am this morning.
They greeted each other warmly, but in idle moments, they sized up their competition.
Two bicyclists, one Zipcar driver, and one SEPTA passenger, standing on the sidewalk at Mifflin Square. Their goal: to get to the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall as fast as legally possible. The prize? Glory for self and glory for their mode of transport.
Caroline, our official timekeeper, shouted "Go!" and the four took off.
|Our bike riders peel out.|
|The Zipcar heads towards open road.|
|The SEPTA rider, stylish commuter's hat secure, makes for the bus stop.|
The driver was Zipcar general manager Peter Bruvik. Peter selected a silver Mini Cooper convertible from the Zipcar fleet, braving rain-threatening clouds to let South Philly breezes ripple his hair on his way up Broad Street.
The SEPTA commuter was the Bicycle Coalition's own Cy Maramangalam. He queried Google (an American company which offers free transportation advice) for the best public transportation route. Google's Map Department advised Cy to take the 79 bus down Snyder to Broad Street, and connect to the Broad Street Line. Cy read the Metro and admired his hat in the reflection off the murky subway car windows.
Meanwhile, a rowdy band of transportation enthusiasts waited in front of the Municipal Services Building with a nifty generator-powered race clock. The crowd hummed with chatter about commutes and signal timing and traffic flow algorithms. Then, suddenly, the innocent voice of a child pierced the air: "Look!"
The race for second place was tight. The Zipcar pulled up to the curb at 24:50.