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How useful is a bicycle as a form of transportation to you?

  1. May 30, 2007 #1
    In the "Nobel winning physicist takes on Global Warming' thread there were a few posts about bicycle use that I found interesting.

    I realized that I could use a bicycle rather than an automobile for about 90% of all my travel needs. Living in Portland, the public transportation system is satisfactory and the environment is bicycle friendly. I don't have more than a few miles to travel to work, and there is a supermarket where I could get anything I needed about half a mile to a mile in either direction. I don't have any children to ferry around the city.

    I could do perfectly well with a bicycle for almost all of my transportation needs and yet I haven't done this. If I sold my car I could save a lot of money. No buying fuel for it, no registration, insurance, or maintenance. That adds up to A LOT of money I could be saving. I've been thinking about getting a bicycle just for some exercise and enjoyment and it never occured to me how practical it can be for me personally.

    How practical would a bicycle be as a mode of transportation for you?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2007 #2
    Useless. I can just walk wherever I want to go, unless it's to the movies or shopping for clothes.

    If you only have a few miles to work you should just walk. Less dangerous that way.
  4. May 30, 2007 #3


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    Exteremly useful.

    A bicycle is my primary mode of transport (other than walking short distances). It's cheap and healthy.
  5. May 30, 2007 #4

    Chi Meson

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    I used to live in Portland (PDX I'm assuming you mean), and we (my wife and I) only used the car for trips to Mt Hood or the coast. I lived in Northwest by Forest Park; we biked everywhere. I hear Mineapolis is another bike-friendly city, but I have a hard time imagining it's better than Portland.

    Now I live in Connecticut, and although the country backroads are great for road biking, and there are plenty of forest trails for "mountain" biking, commuting is almost out of the question for most people. Even if a road is "pretty good" for biking, there will be a section where there is no shoulder at all, on a blind corner, at the top of bottom of a hill.

    It wouldn't be so bad, but our quaint New England villages are turning into tourist knick knackeries, forcing us to drive to get little things like milk.
  6. May 30, 2007 #5
    I've never owned a car. Cycling in the winter gets a little interesting at times (Mum calls the folks who cycle in the snow "temporary Canadians"). If I wasn't forced to bike to work and to do errands I would just sit in front of the computer getting fatter and fatter.

    Sadly, I think I've used up my personal carbon surplus on international flights....
  7. May 30, 2007 #6
    I have never owned a car myself either. Cycling is so much funnier than driving anyway :smile:
  8. May 30, 2007 #7


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    I'm fond of anything on two wheels. I cycle a lot to stay fit including short trips to town, and I motorbike to anywhere else.
  9. May 30, 2007 #8
    Commuting from my residence to the job was a distance of 15 km, just under ten miles. There were three practical choices for transport. The car, the bus/train and the bike. the car took about 40 minutes, mainly spent in the traffic jams and finding parking spots. The bus-train took about 40 minutes mainly waiting for the transport to arrive. The bike took about 40 minutes. 30 minutes every once and a while with the wind in the back.

    Excuses not to take the bike:

    you insist on having air conditioning
    you lost the instructions to use
    the wind is always head on
  10. May 30, 2007 #9
    I wish everyone would use bikes to get everywhere then the roads would be alot safer for people on bikes; then I would go bike riding everywhere I go.
  11. May 30, 2007 #10
    Pretty much useless. I cycle a lot for fun. But if I wanted to go to school or work id have to leave at 5 am to get there by 8 and be drenched in sweat. The terrain here is a lot of hills. Also, people dont respect bikers (or motorbikes) when they drive. Finally, its very humid around here. On hot days you can pass out and die (we have heat warnings where the metro becomes free). If its not too hot, it becomes too cold. Not a place Id want to bike for serious transportation.
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
  12. May 30, 2007 #11


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    A bike would be useless for me. While nothing is very far from anything else around here, it's all on mountain roads with no shoulders. When zenmaster came out here to visit me, he finally understood. He's an avid cyclist and kept bugging me that I should get into biking and with such a short distance to work, should bike to work, and I kept telling him that there is NO WAY I could bike on the roads here, and even if someone had strong enough legs to manage it, they'd get killed by a car coming around S-curves unable to see them, and no shoulder to get out of the way (there are deep ditches in some places, and in others, just steep drop-offs down the sides of mountains, or guard rails in the way...there's truly no place to go...I'm not even comfortable walking here, and I LOVE walking, because you can't get out of the way of cars and can't see far enough around curves to know someone is there). I actually saw two guys attempting to bike up the hill in front of my house about a week or two ago. :rofl: They looked reasonably in shape, but boy were they struggling! :rofl: I think I could have walked faster than they were managing to pedal, and the one guy couldn't even keep his bike straight.

    There is some talk about putting in some bike paths on campus, and that would help out for students living on or very close to campus because there are some flatter roads with better shoulders right close to campus, but still won't help much for those who live more than a half mile from the borders of the campus (and those who live that close already walk).

    Once on campus, you're assigned to only one parking lot, which minimizes people driving around unnecessarily, and we have a monorail type system (personal rapid transport or PRT) to get around from one campus to another. Right now, it's a bit slow and unreliable, but they've been working on updating it. So, on campus I either walk or take the PRT when something is further than walking distance. Even if I go out to lunch near campus, I'll walk. But getting from home to campus requires driving.
  13. May 30, 2007 #12
    If my cycle wasn't broken in three places, it would be excellent.
  14. May 30, 2007 #13


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    Same for me and I currently live 22 miles away from my office. I would need to cart my laptop, purse and a briefcase, a small suitcase for my change of clothes and shoes (not going to bike in a suit), my office has no showers, and looking and smelling like a dead dog would be detrimental to my employment. Stopping on the way home to pick up dry cleaning and groceries would be out of the question, unless I could put a roof and doors around the bike, a place to hang my dry cleaning, an area to store my computer, clothing change and briefcase, with all that weight, I'd need to add a motor, oh wait, that would be a car. :wink:
  15. May 30, 2007 #14
    Especially when you're riding a unicyle or one of those miniature circus bikes.
  16. May 30, 2007 #15
    I use public transportation (bus), since I can't really afford a car. I could probably ride my bike to school, and have been considering doing it recently (it is only about 7 miles there and 7 back). However, I don't really have a good bike to ride, don't have the money, nor care to spend the money to get a nice bike, and I don't want to ride in the cold weather (lame excuse since I live in a pretty warm area).
  17. May 30, 2007 #16


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    For work and stuff it's good, but like anything else it's useless. I use my car to go to work if it's raining or it's going to rain.

    Going to school I was taking the bus, but then I had so many early classes that the bus wasn't pratical. I need to wake up at 5am to make it for 8am. My school is really 25 minutes away (highway), but the bus system from city to city just sucks. So, I drove instead, which allowed me to wake up at 7:15am instead of 5am!!! I rather pay money to wake up at a more reasonable time. I would actually pay the school an extra $200 to make sure I don't get any classes earlier than 9am!

    But this September, the bus system is suppose to be much much better. Unfortunately, the early morning bus will still suck. I hope I don't have any because if I don't Sept. 15, 2007, might be the last day that I ever will drive a car for atleast 9 months until I move. I plan on moving on the other side of the country and I want to keep my car. Car runs great and cheap on gas. If I sell it, I'd only get maybe $1000, but it would cost atleast $5000 to get another car that runs great like mine. The reason I'd only get $1000 is because the cosmetic paint is just horrible, it's a 1996, and it's a Dodge. Running great for now, but once it goes down the hole, it's gone for good.
  18. May 30, 2007 #17
    So this is why nobody comes interrupt in my office since summer time :rolleyes:
  19. May 30, 2007 #18
    I rollerblade to and from work and school until the snow comes.
  20. May 30, 2007 #19
    The public transit system in Columbus is pretty useless, the heat and humidity during the summer can get oppressive (not to mention the sudden rainstroms that can pop up), and there aren't a lot of bike lanes along the route from my house to where I work, so unfortuantely a car is the only option.
  21. May 30, 2007 #20
    Rollerblading / biking is my main form of transportation. I can bike most places faster than a bus can get me there including the wait time at the bus stop/ bus terminal etc. Plus, biking is fun ;-).

    Of course if I had a car, things would be different. :tongue2:
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