How many hours do you drive in a year? Do you know? If you knew, would it cause you to think of driving differently?
Here are some numbers to consider as you answer these questions…
- Average per capita miles driven in USA (2014) 9,412
- Average speed – 32 mph
- Average hours spent driving – 294
The average American spends the equivalent of 37 eight hour work days per year just driving around. You might spend more. You might spend less. What difference does it make? Thirty seven is probably in the ballpark.
So what would you do with 37 extra days per year?
When you ride a bicycle for transportation instead of driving a car, you buy that time back. You buy more, in fact, because you no longer have to go to the gym to stave off all of the bad phyisical effects of all that driving around. An hour in the gym five days a week is another 200 hours. It adds up.
If you combine your bicycle with a train for longer trips, you can buy back even more time. Most rail service now has WiFi so you can work while commuting. If you ride the train back and forth to the office, your company might allow you to count those hours as part of your work day. Many now do. That gives you more hours still.
If you aren’t already thinking this way, it makes sense to start. Much of the pressure of modern life arises from competing demands on our time, and that pressure can be mitigated through a simple re-ordering process that starts with thinking differently about things that most people don’t think about at all. Maybe you can’t get off the treadmill, but you can slow it down to a manageable speed. You can buy back time in huge blocks…if you want to.
But you have to want these outcomes. You have to search for them and find them and then embrace them and refuse to let go of them regardless of what other people are saying or doing. This is about drawing a line in the sand and saying this is how it’s going to be for me. Nobody else is going to do it for you.
Being multimodal saves time. It allows you to eliminate your commute and turn it into productive time, whether that time is spent working or working out. That, in turn, allows you to buy back your life…one hour at a time. You already know what that means.