December 17th 2018
Today I’m getting really frustrated with the standstill traffic on my commute to/from work. Thirty miles should not take an hour and twenty minutes to travel. That’s ridiculous. I’m almost sure I could cycle it faster than that.
Actually, hold that thought, I’m going to do the maths…
It’s 32.5 miles from my house to the office, if you travel along roads that are designed for cars. We’ll pretend that I am a cyclist that abides by the laws of the road (I know that’s unlikely, but bear with me), so I’ll stick to that route and call the distance 32.5 miles.
According to literally the first result when I typed it into Google, the average cycling speed of the general public in Copenhagen is… 9.6 miles per hour. Oh. That’s… slow. At that pace it would take me… 3 hours 22 minutes to get to work.
To be fair, I’ve been to Copenhagen, and it is absolutely full of bikes. It’s like the Amsterdam of Scandanavia (in fact, part of Copenhagen was actually modelled after Amsterdam, but this is a Maths lesson, not a history lesson).
I’d hypothesise that the average speed of bike traffic in Copenhagen is lower than what I’d be able to reach if I stuck to motorways. The next Google result tells me that, and I quote, “On a racing bicycle, a reasonably fit rider can ride at 40 km/h (25 mph) on flat surface.” That’s more like it.
There’s a large part of my commute to work that is downhill, although, as is the nature of hills, what goes down must come back up again. Because we’re theoretically going to be cycling to and from work, it’s obvious to note (to me, at least) that the net elevation of the round trip is zero. (Because we’re finishing in the same place that we started) That means that I can classify my entire commute as “a flat surface”, right? (Stick with me, people)
So, if you were to classify me as a reasonably fit rider (why thank you) and gift me a £3,000 racing bicycle (why thank you) then I could do my 32.5-mile commute in… one hour and 18 minutes. A full two minutes faster than it took me to get home in the car today.
Well, there’s that sorted. It actually is quicker to cycle. All I need now is a £3,000 racing bicycle, a helmet, some thick socks, a fondness of getting hit by cars, immunity to hypothermia, and four years of intensive training on said racing bicycle to be able to get up to the required speeds in order to shave two measly minutes off my commute.
Until tomorrow, now that I’ve said that, I think I’ll stick with the car.