It is amazing how perceptions of distance can differ between modes of transportation. One of the reasons I mostly stopped mountain biking years ago was the unfavorable comparison of total time dedicated to a ride and the actual ride time spent riding. The closest off road spot is a frustrating 25 minute or so drive away, but on a road bike I can be out in the country and away from traffic in just a few minutes. The lost hour and wasted gas are good reasons to just go on a road ride instead. The local mountain bike ride isn’t too far away, but the quickest way to drive there includes some sections of road that I’d rather not bike. But about a month ago, I looked at a map, and realized that a longer and safer alternate route was shorter than I anticipated. So I gave it a try. It turns out that even though I’d chosen a longer route on a bike than in the car, it still took the same 25 minutes to get to Franke Park. But instead of a frustrating trip with bad drivers, traffic lights that are always against me, and thoughts of how much gas I’m wasting, taking the bike route is a relaxing warm-up before the real ride. So now I’ve been mountain biking twice a week. And because I’m not wasting an hour getting my bike to the park and back, I am able to ride for an hour longer than I could if I drove there.

Even though I’m heading most of the way across town, I can still make the trip in the same time on bike or in a car. This shows that if you are in a city, it is worth comparing travel times in a car and on bike. Once traffic is taken into account, cars don’t necessarily have an advantage.