Each year, the company I work for asks us to establish performance goals and then holds us accountable. Most of these goals relate to the business, but they also want us to set one goal that is personal in nature. This is very cool and totally consistent with our leadership, which is interested in us for more than what we can do for them. I think it’s one of the reasons that we once again made the list of best places to work in Indiana.
Naturally, I decided to make my personal goal about bicycling. Specifically, it’s about Bike 5. I committed to making 50% of all trips of five miles or less using a bicycle or walking instead of driving a car. Because we are a data driven technology firm, I’ve had to measure my progress against the goal using real numbers.
So how am I doing so far? Pretty good as it turns out. Since I started measuring in February, I’ve taken a total of 41 trips. Of those, 23 were five miles or less. My active transportation participation rate? A whopping 89%. This is mostly because I was totally without a car for the last two weeks of February while in Ogden. One thing I’ve learned is that as long as a car is available it’s very easy to choose it, even if you love bicycling as much as I do.
Since returning to suburban Indianapolis, I’ve driven more but even here I’ve managed to meet my target. Of the 26 trips I’ve taken so far this month, 9 have been five miles or less. Of those, 6.5 have been via active transportation. That works out to 72%…well above my goal of 50%.
My biggest takeaway? I actually prefer the bike to the car. This is true even when the weather is cold or wet. In fact, I was amazed upon my return to Indy just how stressful driving is after two weeks car free. While driving home from work yesterday, I watched a woman drive off the road at high speed for no apparent reason. She caught air, crossed the sidepath, crossed it again before coming back onto the road badly shaken. She’s lucky she didn’t kill someone. This is the kind of thing people in cars do. What happened? Beats me…maybe she was texting. Who needs that?
I started Bike 5 a year ago this month. Back then, it was more concept than reality. Since then, I’ve been working to integrate it into my life. It’s working. I’m winning. Those of us who do this are eliminating car trips and reducing our nation’s reliance on petrochemicals. We’re cleaning the air. We’re living at a pace more consistent with who we were meant to be and that is positively impacting our communities and neighbors. Maybe that’s not why we’re doing it, but that’s the outcome and it’s a good outcome any way you slice it.
Life is better on a bike. For me. For you. For them, too.
Keep on riding.