Other posts related to math

Peregrination Math

| August 27, 2008 3:14 pm

Should the bikes be on the roads? Well, this is a tricky question… for some people. For me it is pretty simple. Yes. But, let’s go baby steps. What is the best way to travel? It turns out the most efficient way is bike. The least efficient way is a single passenger car. In between are things like trains, buses, walking, etc.

But what is the cost of each mode of transportation? Well, walking is pretty much free. For biking, you got to buy a bike. Most people will say that trains are super expensive, because you have to build tracks etc. But what about cars? What is the cost of a car? Well, let’s do a quick math. My assumption is that we buy a car and throw it away 10 years later.

  • Normal car: $17,000
  • Gas for 10 years at 22 mpg and 15,000 miles per year and $4 per gallon: (15000 / 22) * $4 * 10 = $27,240
  • Oil changes every 3000 miles: (15000 / 3000) * $15 * 10 = $750
  • Repairs let say $500 per year: $5,000
  • Insurance and registration is another $900 per year: $9,000

Did I forget something? Anyway, according to my math, the total cost of having a car for 10 years is about $58,990. But is that the total cost of driving?

Let’s start by comparing this to a bike. Not completely fair comparison, but let’s try it anyway:

  • Normal bike: $800
  • Panniers, trailer: $600
  • Tubes, break pads, let say 10 tubes a year ($5), 2 tires a year ($20), 2 sets of break pads a year ($20): $1000
  • Repairs let say $200 per year: $2,000

Did I miss something here? Well, the total is $4,400. And this is for a bike that is tuned twice a year, gets new tires and break pads once a year, has panniers, trailer and so on.

Ok, how about public transportation. Assuming you live in the Bay Area, you are looking at the cost of a bus and Caltrain, Bart, Ace, or Amtrak. So, you are looking at anywhere from $5 to $12 per day for the commuter rail, and couple of dollars per day for the bus if you need a local connection. Assuming the worst, you are looking at $2 for a bus in the south bay, $6 for the Caltrain to San Francisco, and another $1.5 in San Francisco. This twice a day is $19 per day, which in 10 years is about $49,400. But this is the worst case. Also, all public transportation modes have 10 rides or monthly plans. Also, there are commuter tax breaks for the public transport. All these incentives can lower the cost of riding down to couple of $100 per year.

So, according to this, whoever can bike to work should. There is significant saving in that. So even ignoring impact on environment, health, and time, this should be enough motivation for most people to change their transportation habits.


Vituperation About Transportation

| July 23, 2008 12:58 pm

I was reading TreeHugger today and I saw this graph that pretty much explains why the public transportation in US sucks so much:

That said, the good thing is that when gas is a bit more expensive, there will be some really nice bike lanes all over the US.


Subvert the Society

| June 30, 2008 11:04 am

I usually don’t do this in a public forum, but I have an announcement to make. I am coming out. Out of being a quiet fringe person!

I am a CYCLIST and I am proud of it!!!

Since I moved to CA in June last year, I rode bike to work every day but 3 times that I drove and couple of times somebody else drove me.

My shortest commute is about 6 miles. That means in the year since I came here I probably spend more than 3000 miles commuting (or about 136 gallons of gas with 22mpg). You can do a simple math to see that my $400 single speed commuter bike is more than payed of. But its not about the money. It is about you. And I mean YOU personally. You benefit from me doing this. So does anybody you know. Except perhaps if you know people working for the oil companies or car industry.

Also, since carbon is such an enemy (though I love my carbon bike), according to EPA, a gallon of gas burned in the car produces about 19 lb of carbon (1), so I saved about 2584 lb of carbon in the air. Maybe a bit less because I breathe harder when cycling. To be super conservative, that is about 2000 lb. Each tree in the forest can take somewhere between 2 and 15 lb of CO2 per year (2). That means I could plant anywhere from 133 to 1000 trees and get the same effect.

And of course, do people really like to be stuck on the 101, 237, 280, 880, 80, …?

So, let me ask you this question:

What can we do to persuade you to bike to work or take public transportation to work every day?

To close this e-mail, let me quote some of my favorite bicycling related philosophers:

“… You may say that I’m a dreamer; But I’m not the only one; I hope someday you’ll join us; And the world will be as one…”
“… Look at us we’re beautiful, All the people push and pull but, Let’s just go out and ride, Talk about the things we’ve tried…”
“… Lets take a ride, and run with the dogs tonight In suburbia; You cant hide, run with the dogs tonight; In suburbia…”

Finally, when you are biking to work and a person on the bike next to you smiles at you and/or waves at you, please do me a huge favor. Smile and wave back!!!!