Introduction: How a Bike Is Faster Than a Car

About: Long time bicyclist, bike commuter, bike tourer, recent bike builder/experimenter. I'm an energy consultant for hydro electric, solar and other renewable energy generation.

Just as the pen is mightier than the sword, ... the Bike is faster than the car (once we include all of the time it takes to manage each.)

A car may actually slow you down according to philosopher Ivan Illich's calculations, and my own.
We think cars are fast and we think they increase our speed. But they may actually be considerably slower than we think if we calculate the "all-in speed" of any form of travel by dividing our miles traveled via car by all of the time consumed by the car.

In the numerator: All of the miles traveled in a year

___________________________________ = All-in Speed (in miles per hour)

In the denominator: All of the time (hours) consumed by the car

Includes time spent: driving, maintaining, earning for car expenses etc.

Step 1: This Spreadsheet Calculator Helps You Figure Out the True Speed of Driving and Biking

Open the attached spreadsheet to calculate the all-in speed of a car and a bike. Move the slider bars to change the input info (or just type your number values in the green shaded input cells)
Check out the biking retirement tab to see how large your savings ( from not having a car ) can grow and see how that savings can support a nicer, longer retirement.

Test it out with all of your own assumptions and your own particulars.

You can put is your: driving speed, pay rate, car cost, miles driven, miles per gallon, gasoline price etc and the sheet will tell you the all in speed of your car in your life.

Play with the spreadsheet. Compare, and contrast and start to imagine breaking free.

You can design a good life for you.

My wife, daughter and I have always gotten by with only one car and a few different bikes. We saved so much money and put it in our retirement accounts, that we retired early.

Step 2: The Spreadsheet Also Has the Biking Retirement Financial Plan

The second tab of the spreadsheet lets you calculate how large your nest egg would grow if you put the saved money from dropping one car, into your retirement savings account.

My wife, daughter and I have always gotten by with only one car and a few different bikes. We saved so much money and put it in our retirement accounts, that we retired early.

Try out the financial plan. Play with it, dream a little. You deserve to break free.

Step 3: Now We Have Time for Bike Touring With Friends.

One of my favorite tours down the California coast with the tail wind and then taking the train back north to home. It seems like just giving the car 5 days off saves enough to pay the little extra for the trip vs staying home and driving places to do things.

Step 4: Push Your Car to Work Day

Sure those wimpy bike riders have their special "Ride You Bike to Work Day" celebration the second Thursday of May each year. Anyone can ride a 30 pound bike to work. That's not really impressive at all. But, It takes a real He-man car-lover to do something really impressive like Push Your Car to Work Day. Give it a try. You will get the idea in the first hundred yards.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to move a 3,000 pound car with thick stout stiff draggy wheels compared to walking a nimble little bike down the sidewalk, or better yet hopping on and riding it.

Step 5: Hopefully This Instructable Gives You Some New Ideas

And hopefully you open and test your new ideas with the spreadsheets and maybe even push your car around a little to understand why it is so costly to use it for little trips we could've done instead of driving to the gym to ride the stationary bike. Maybe share some comments about what the all in speeds turned out to be for your case of your car and your bike. I look forward to seeing your thoughts. The challenge is to be really open to it without listing the excuses. I make no excuse for why we have always kept one car for 3 adults. We are lazy and money is no constraint for us. But Im so glad we kept our fleet down to only one car and saved up for all this fun in retirement.

Bicycle Contest 2016

Participated in the
Bicycle Contest 2016