Monday, September 26, 2011

New Goal for 2012!

One of my "goals for 2011," if you're of the sort to make and track goals, was to ride my bike on at least half of the days this year. This has turned out to be an easily attainable goal, thanks to my employer's awesome "healthy wellness program" that permits me to exercise for three hours a week, in one hour increments. Between that, every other Friday off work (again, than you kind employer), holidays, and weekends, it's been normal to get at least four rides in per week, sometimes more.

If I just match the pace I set last October, November, and December, I'll meet my goal of "riding the bike half the time in 2011."

So for 2012, I think I'll make it more of a challenge.

My goal in 2012 will be to spend more time riding my bike than I spend riding in a car!

As I maintain my fuel economy numbers, I also keep track of how long it takes me to get home from work each day. At first, I kept track to see if there was any pattern to explain why some days took 40 minutes and other days took 120 minutes (there is a kind of pattern that supports the theory that Thursdays and Fridays take longer, but it's also kind of common knowledge). So I have pretty good data for the length of my trips home.

If you took my drive home times for the year and divided it all out and included weekends, I spend about 0.55 hours a day driving home. Yes, it's not really an accurate answer, because I don't drive home from work on Saturdays and Sundays (because I don't go to work on those days), but for the sake of "can I ride on my bike as much as I drive in my car" purposes, it works out.

So right off the top it looks like I'll need to ride my bike for an average of 35 minutes a day.
But wait! This doesn't take into account my commute times on my way to work, which tend to be steady at about 40 minutes each morning, which rounds out to roughly 26 more minutes per day, since I get every other Friday off. So that's about an hour a day I'd need to spend on my bike, or 7 hours a week.

But wait! There's even more!

It's looking like my office will be moving from its current location near Potomac Mills to a building that's about 10 miles closer to my home, but a little more "surface streets" overall. This ought to shave about 10 minutes off my morning commute, and 20-30 minutes off my evening commute. And this would make my effort a little easier.

Just for grins, I rode my bike close to 22 hours in August, and went to work on 21 of those days. So on the surface, my goal looks easy if I can keep up my current efforts. But wait! There's MORE!

In order to do it right, I'll need to track my time in other cars, too, as on weekends we usually drive places as a family in the minivan, and there's a couple/three big trips that normally happen as vacations road trips, too. So that time needs to be considered as well.

So with these factors and sensible rules set in place, and the predicted but not certain move of my office to a closer location, I think this goal for 2012 to spend more time on my bike than I spend in my (or any) car is an achievable challenge.

I'm going to need to invest in a stopwatch of some sort to do this right.

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