One of the factors most commonly cited by drivers as their reason for hopping in the car is convenience. Sure we care about cost, and joy, and all the other stuff, but if it’s much faster and easier to drive then that’s what people will do.
The bike is a bit of a secret in this regard, because a lot of trips are actually faster by bicycle than by car. Rush hour commuting is a perfect example - it may seem like driving is faster when you’re rolling down the empty freeway on a Sunday morning, but add thousands of other cars to the mix and the recipe has changed (don’t believe us? Check out these direct comparison videos of commutes in Belfast for an example).
If saving time is your ultimate quest, here are two things to consider about riding a bike (and of course if you already know this then it’s perfect for spreading the word!):
1. What’s your actual average speed? This is the difference between driving during rush hour and on a weekend morning. Sure, the speed limit may be 30mph but you may actually average 10mph (and your route may be less direct - not a problem when you’re going fast, but those extra miles add up at slower speeds). We favour the simplest, most honest way to compare the two modes - try each one on the same day of the week and leave at the same time each day. Pick the route you’d prefer for each. Start the clock when you leave the house and then stop it as soon as you arrive at your desk (or wherever your destination is). This way you actually know what the difference in time is - and it may surprise you!
2. The never-ending quest for parking. Some destinations provide a wealth of parking (maybe your office, or the grocery store), but many other trips end with our least favourite dance of all time (well, the macarena is pretty bad too): the parking space dance. Where you spend almost as much time slowly circling carparks or streets looking for any space that could fit your car and won’t get you ticketed. By the time you finish the dance, you’re in a worse mood, perhaps late, and certainly not right outside. Riding a bike is not like that at all. Instead, you roll up to the entrance, secure to a rack or other sturdy object, and stroll in. What a joyous way to arrive!