Friday, April 29

Moving From Baseball to Golf

A "Baseball" Graph of Bike Commuting - Measuring How Many Bike Miles You've Racked Up
Gradually, I've come to the realization that there are two approaches to bicycle commuting. The first is akin to baseball. In baseball, the objective is to rack up a score. You try to ride to work more times than you used to, in more conditions. You REVEL in the numbers of miles you have racked up. You keep statistics galore. My v2 commute to Alliance Airport BEGGED to be a baseball commute. The first full year, I was PROUD to ride more than 5000 miles before counting any non-commute mileage. Whatever else was accomplished, it matured me as a cyclist and reinforced the ways I ride and deal with daily traffic.

However, my v3 commute has, bit by bit, revealed another side to bicycle commuting. This second approach is more akin to golf. Unlike baseball, golf has the objective of putting the ball in the hole with few mistakes. In the case of "golf bicycle commuting," mistakes are the situations that cause you to bail out and drive a motor vehicle to work. Kind of like having to take penalty strokes. I think some of my fellow bloggers are transportational cycling baseballers and some are golfers. One approach is not better or safer than the other, but rather a reflection of individual situations. The golf approach is definitely a different mindset.

Indications of a baseball bicycle commuter:
  • One talks about mileage
  • One talks about "I rode to work"
  • One talks about "It was good to get back on the bike"
  • One talks about cool stuff seen while riding to/from work

Indications of a golf bicycle commuter:
  • One talks about "another perfect month"
  • One talks about "I had to drive the car. The battery was run down."
  • One talks about "I'd forgotten how nice AC is."
  • One talks about commuting routine, and of dealing with ever more extreme weather
A "Golf" Graph of Bike Commuting - Measuring the Number of Car Commute Trips Over the Last 20 Commutes


cycler said...


Although I love baseball and loathe golf (I try to make an exception for when the Scientist plays), I'm definitely more of a "golf" commuter.
Don't know how many miles, don't know how fast, but am on the bike every chance I get.
I don't look at days off the bike as mistakes though, sometimes you need a day off, need to go somewhere you can't get by bike etc.

Although after two long days of work related driving, I was SOOO glad to be back on my bike Friday, despite the weird gravelly feeling in the freewheel.

John Romeo Alpha said...

It's hard for me to wrap my head around the "cumulative to date" points on the top graph. Maybe if you added "cumulative cups of coffee" vs. "free cups of triple-filtered water" it would become clear to me.

Jon said...

I am definitely in the "golf" camp. But, not in a Tiger Woods sort of way....

danc said...

Interesting observations but baseball vs golf, Meh!

On a sidebar note, "This Blog's Bias" have you ever read Bicycling Street Smarts by John Allen?

Steve A said...

I have read Street Smarts.

The sporting analogy's main weakness is that cycle commuting doesn't require anybody to lose for someone to win.

Chandra said...

There is the "no body has to lose for someone to win" aspect of bicycle commuting. I like your graphs and I am glad you used bi-variate plots instead of bar charts of pie diagrams.
Peace :)

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