Getting Motivated: Car-vs-bike

Once again, I’ve neglected my blog for a little while, leaving my reader(s) hanging. But I’m back with some exciting news! Are you ready to –


I didn’t heeeeaarr you! I said are you ready to

That’s better. The Get Motivated (registered trademark) Seminar is coming to Providence on Monday, October 3rd. I think I saw a billboard for this a while back and even though it has many inspirational speakers:

Bill Cosby, Lou Holtz, Gen. Colin Powell, Rick Belluzzo, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Forbes, Rudy Giuliani, & Bill Self

When I saw the billboard, my initial response was the same as when I see anything “inspirational”, be it a motivational speech, successory poster, or precious moments figurine,  that is, my response was “ugh.”

Then I forgot about GET MOTIVATED until this past Thursday when suddenly everyone realized that adding 12,000 people to downtown Providence in the middle of the work day was going to throw the parking and traffic situation into TOTAL UTTER CHAOS!

(note to new readers: there is an unusual amount of ALL CAPS in this post as compared to this blog in general. I hope you chose to return someday, I promise not to yell at you so much next time.)

As seen on some sort of television channel’s website:

The most insane part of this is that the threat of massive extra traffic has caused Providence Public Schools to delay the start of the school day by 2 hours. From their statement (pdf): “Providence Schools will operate on a 2-hour delay on Monday, October 3. All students and school staff should report to school two hours later than their normal report times. Students who ride buses should plan to be at their bus stops two hours later than normal…. Students will not be penalized for lateness on this day, provided they are in school at a reasonable time given traffic conditions at the time they are expected to arrive.”

So kids, take the morning off and show up whenever you please on Monday, because we have to make way for a giant motivational seminar / high pressure sales pitch and all the idiots who will drive to it at the same time.

RIDOT started using phrases like “traffic tsunami” which to me sounded similar to the famed “carmageddon” (or was it “carpocolypse”?) in LA when they shut down the 405 for a weekend. One of my favorite stories to come out of that event was the “bikes-vs-planes” race between the Wolfpack Hustle bicycle race team and a Jet Blue flight from one LA airport to another.  The bikes won by well over an hour. So I was inspired to issue my own challenge:

The first couple of potential opponents did not qualify for obvious reasons.

Despite not qualifying for a car-vs-bike race, I admire their moxie.

A potential challenger emerged in this snarky response:

The answer, of course, is never. And I usually ride so slowly that I don’t need a shower. I responded to @IanDon and then the backpedalling began:

After some analog tweeting (i.e. talking face-to-face), I cajoled Ian into accepting my challenge. I think he was still mourning the Red Sox September collapse and may have been in a weakened state. We didn’t really get to discuss all of the ground rules for the race, but here is my proposal.

1. The race begins at Ian’s home.

2. The race ends inside our office.

3. The competitors must obey all speed limits, stop signs and traffic signals and may not operate their vehicles in a reckless manner.

4. The competitors must park their respective vehicles in a legal parking spot and make their way to their respective desks.

5. Whichever competitor reaches his desk first is the winner.

6. There are no referees, both competitors are bound by the honor system to compete according to the rules.

We did not agree on a wager for the race, and although the traditional wager would be for “pink slips,” I don’t really want a 16 year-old Camry. Instead, I propose that the loser buys lunch for the winner at a reasonably-priced restaurant in the Downcity Providence area (that is to say, nobody’s taking anybody to the Capital Grille over this thing).

I plan on riding my road bike, but I will not wear the traditional “roadie” attire of lycra and spandex and such. Ian is welcome to wear lycra for aerodynamic advantage if he chooses. Although I don’t normally ride my road bike to work, I occasionally do and I will even carry the usual work-related items such as a change of clothes and my lunch.

So, tune in to the Twitter on Monday morning to see who will win this car-vs-bike race during parkopolypse.


9 responses to “Getting Motivated: Car-vs-bike

  1. In addition to the tons of caps, there is plenty of USA TODAY linking in this post.

    Looking forward to following the race. I’m happy to have been disqualified.


      Sorry for the DQ, bike vs. telecommute just doesn’t have the same pizzaz. If you want to challenge me to something like a “go get the groceries” race, I might be up for something like that.

  2. “… and may not operate their vehicles in a reckless manner.”
    Most RI drivers can’t meet this stipulation.

    Also… A better bet than lunch, more like the pink-slips, would be “loser has to commute the next day via the winner’s conveyance.” If you lose, it’ll take your smug factor down a notch. If the driver loses, his world will be opened to the possibilities sof cycle commuting.

    • That’s a good idea, Matt. However,


      Seriously though, after I looked at the map for the route (and the time – we’re leaving his place at 8:45), I’m not feeling so good about my chances. There’s just not much traffic over the Henderson bridge, and not enough lights between there and downtown. Plus, there’s that HILL! My only hope is that the parking garage will not have saved a spot for him.

  3. Pingback: Alternate Routes: The Wiggly and the Non-Wiggly | Car-Free in PVD

  4. Lamest. “Tsunami.” Ever.

  5. Pingback: Traffic Pseu-nami: Winning isn’t everything | Car-Free in PVD

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