Goal reached: 4,000 miles biked in 2016

1001161117editI really got into biking in 2016. My effort was more than just fitness, I really wanted to replace automobile miles with biking miles. For an entire year, I worked to eliminate as many car trips as I could with a bike trip.

It worked out pretty well and I have the numbers to help tell the story.

In all, I biked 4,000 miles. I saved some money and got in better shape. I would definitely recommend anyone considering bike commuting or biking more often in the new year to give it a try. I wrote about bike commuting for RichmondOutside.com:

For the first time, I tracked my cycling miles and routes in 2016. It started out as an experiment but became very addicting and definitely spurred me to bike more often. I used the Strava cell phone app, but there are many similar options. I didn’t begin the year with a mileage goal, but once I started seeing a consistent measure of how far I could ride, how many calories I could burn and how little time difference there was between my motorized commute versus my cycling commute, I was hooked.

I eventually targeted 100 miles a week, which ideally would include mainly commuter miles. My goal was to eliminate car miles. I biked more than 4,000 miles in 2016, with slightly more than 2,000 miles during my 115 commute rides this year — not including about 400 additional miles to work assignments. I also biked another 600 miles for errands, volunteer events, meetings and more. I biked so much that I dropped my rarely-used gym membership ($91 monthly), a parking deck fee at my old job ($40 monthly) and saved about $3 a day in fuel (plus wear-and-tear on my car). I lost about 10 pounds too, a nice bonus.

Of course, I didn’t make it to 100 miles every week, but I did achieve that goal 22 times. I biked in 95+ degrees and I biked at 10 degrees. Both extremes were tough and good lessons were learned, but everything in between was delightful.

My bike commute changed in July when I took a job with the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission. Round trip to downtown Richmond at my office at the Richmond Times-Dispatch was approximately 18 miles, but it is closer to 13 miles to Bon Air and back for my new job. Now that I’m a transportation planner, of course I have charts:

Commutes Time % Miles %
Total 114 145:32 2,035.4
Times-Dispatch 64 82:40 57% 1,166.5 57%
RRPDC 50 62:51 43% 868.9 43%
Daily Avg 1:16 hours 17.85 miles

And the averages:

Commutes Time % Miles %
Total 114 145:32 2,035.4
Daily Avg   1:16 hours 17.85 miles
Times-Dispatch 64 82:40 57% 1,166.5 57%
Daily Avg   1:17 hours 18.23 miles
RRPDC 50 62:51 43% 868.9 43%
Daily Avg   1:15 hours 17.38 miles

I even prepared a chart to illustrate the money we saved. I factored in $0.54 as the 2016 optional standard mileage rate used by the Internal Revenue Service to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Fuel savings   Daily commutes  
Avg price 1.97 Avg time 1:16
Efficiency 20mpg Avg miles 17.85
$ Saved $200.49 Avg $1.76
x $0.54 $1,099.12 Avg $9.64

I can’t say that I believe I saved $9.64 per bike commute, but that number does look more attractive than the $1.76 figure, especially considering that my old 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe died on us this year. Sunk cost. RIP.

My wife has been asking me, will I try to bike more than 4,000 in 2017? It will be tough because my commute is much shorter, but I certainly plan to stick with bike commuting as often as I can. A more realistic goal might be to increase the number of commutes from 115 in 2016 to something closer to the 251 working days scheduled in 2017 (of course, that figure does not take into account vacation days). How about 150? Can’t bike every day…

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