Tag Archives: car vs bike

Traffic Pseu-nami: Winning isn’t everything

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know the results of today’s race between myself and ace political reporter, Ian Donnis. If not, you can probably figure it out from the title of this post. If not that, I’ll say it plainly:

I LOST THE RACE

I arrived at the office to find Ian, sitting in a chair in the front of the office – looking, well, smug I suppose. And as a certified smugmonger myself, I can’t fault a man for feeling smug. According to Ian, I lost by about 4 minutes.

I won’t bore you with a long account of the race, instead I’ll bore you with a short account of the race. If you missed it, see the post outlining the genesis of the race and the rules of the road.

It was a lovely fall day in Rhode Island. Ian and I met at his home in East Providence:

I mentioned the lack of missile mounts because the previous evening, Ian had been posting trailers for the 2008 film, Death Race. Although his Camry was free of weapons, I’ll note that it had been backed into his driveway before the start of the race, perhaps for a speedy start?

It’s a shame that I had to pixilate my face in order to preserve my quasi-anonymity. Due to the pixilization, It’s difficult to make out that I was sporting the proper “eyeglasses outside of helmet straps” setup as prescribed in The Rules (#37).

What’s not difficult to make out is that my helmet looks like a giant mushroom on top of my head. Oh well.

After simultaneous tweeting, we were off!

I caught Ian at the first two lights, but he soon passed me and was out of sight. It turns out that there was almost no traffic in downtown Providence today (despite predictions), and the parking wasn’t so bad either (as long as you have a monthly spot). So, I lost. But only by 4 minutes, which really isn’t too bad – that’s a lag of about 1 minute per mile between a 1 human-powered vehicle and a 133 horse-powered vehicle. I wasn’t at a full sprint, but I was moving pretty good and I was a bit sweaty by the time I got to work. I brought a change of clothes and used the “office shower” and I was pretty much good to go. I still prefer my leisurely commute on my bike with the rack and panniers.

The "office shower" - pretty effective, actually.

A big thanks to Ian for letting me cajole him into the race and not totally gloating all day. I will happily buy him lunch.

Thanks to everyone else for following the race and rooting for me (no one was rooting for Ian, right?) I’m happy to report that the race was such a big deal that it was covered by the Associated Press! (if “mentioned in tweets by an AP reporter” counts as “covered by the Associated Press”)

Despite this loss, I’d happily take on other challengers, if anyone is interested in how quickly once could commute by bike in Providence. Same rules – I’d meet you at your house and we’d head into downtown Providence at the same time, obeying signs, speed limits, signals, etc. As long as your home is within 10 miles of Providence, and you work in or close to downtown.

Even better, although it wouldn’t be a race – if you are interested in commuting by bike, but aren’t sure how to do it, I could meet you at your home, and we could bike in at the same time. That could certainly make for an interesting post. It’s been quite a while since I did a “bicycle commuter profile” post, so I’d even be up for tagging along on another bike commuter’s commute, just to compare to my own. Hit me in the comments if you are interested.