Last week I crossed a significant, but also completely arbitrary landmark – 10,000 kilometres cycled in the bike v car challenge. In this time I have driven 16,500 kilometres in the car.
When I set the challenge back in June 2011, I was working within walking distance from home so I thought it would be feasible to cycle more than I drove. However, I was only an occasional cyclist and struggled to match the car’s distances. Then in October my workplace was moved halfway across the country causing the driven distances to sky-rocket. I stuck this out until the end of the year and then told my former employer to shove it.
At the start of the year I was looking at a deficit of 11,000 kilometres in this challenge and considering shoving that too. But with a little bit of patience and some positive lifestyle changes I have managed to find an enjoyable local job which I can commute to by bike. I have also surprised myself by not needing to buy a car and sharing my wife’s for the rare occasion when I need a car. During the week this can sometimes require a bit of logistical planning (and for me to get to work slightly late) but we have managed to cope for 8 months with only one car.
Over the last 8 months I have driven 4000km and cycled 8500km. This is a great performance on both counts – cycling the equivalent distance of Bristol to India is pretty absurd, but the significant reduction in car travel is also a great achievement. As well as the health benefits of incorporating 2 hours of exercise into my weekdays it has also saved us a decent wedge of cash. Long may this life continue.