In this experiment I only test manually powered vehicles. While electric vehicles are great, the majority of electric energy is produced by burning coal. I thought this took away a bit from the green-ness of it. The three vehicles I will be comparing to the car are a caster board (ripstick, wave), a scooter, and of course a bicycle.
Last thing before we get on to the actual experiment. I'd just like to say how great it is that Instructables is doing a "Green" contest. I'm going to make multiple entries (if that's allowed). I got this one done so quickly because I had already been doing it for a school project. Well, enough about that, lets get on to the experiment!
Step 1: The Testing Course
Each vehicle will get one overall time (the time it takes to run the entire course). In additon to the overall time, I'd like to time how long it takes each vehicle to do segments of the course, namely the uphill, downhill and flatground portions.
Step 2: Subjective?
Step 3: Trying to Keep Things Constant
Hopefully this will keep the results accurate.
Step 4: Car (Control)
TOTAL TIME (One mile, Varied Terrain): 185 s
Flat Ground: 8s
NOTE: The distance of the uphill/downhill test is not equal to the flat ground test. These figures are intended for comparison to other vehicles.
Step 5: Caster Board (Ripstick, Wave)
TOTAL TIME: 1617 s
Flat Ground: 53s
Downhill: 9s NOTE: I wiped out at the end of this run. Ripsticks do not make sharp turns well.
Step 6: Scooter
TOTAL TIME: 814s
Flat Ground: 36s
Downhill: 6s (No painful ending this time!)
Step 7: At LAST! The BIKE!
TOTAL TIME: 436s
Flat Ground: 15s
Step 8: Analyze The Results
The bike makes the best overall time of the alternative vehicles. It doubles the speed of the scooter, and goes at 4 times the speed of the ripstick. Of course, I've clocked the bike going far more than 4 times the speed but on a full mile run, trying to keep a pace, that is the result I get.
The scooter and the bike tie on the downhill run. The ripstick finishes a few seconds behind. The scooter's downhill speed sticks out compared to the others.
On the uphill run, the bike blows the other two away. The ripstick once again finishes in dead last. The uphill run has similar results to the flat ground run.
Step 9: Conclusion
The pro of the bike is that it saves you time on the actual commute. The con is that it probably can't be taken with you into your job and will have to be chained outside.
The pro of the scooter is that it is easy to fold up and take inside with you. The con is how long it takes to ride.
Finally, the ripstick may be fun to ride, but is difficult to learn and is very slow.
The spread sheet with all of the information can be downloaded or looked at here.
With this information you can make your decision on which green vehicle you will be riding. Please consider using one of these in place of your car whenever possible.
FINAL NOTES: In the science community, feedback is always important. It helps to come to a better conclusion by sharing results, ideas, and criticism. So please... feedback! Thanks in advance.