Friday, August 27, 2021

Is Bicycling Slower or Faster than Driving?

The one response I hear the most from other pastors (and church-goers) when I talk about my experience as the pedaling pastor is, "That may work for you, but I don't have the time to pedal, or walk, or take the bus..."  

Which brings me to the topic of today's post: Is Bicycling Slower or Faster than Driving a Car?

Test case: Hospital Visit.

This week I pedaled to the hospital to visit a parishioner.  The distance from my house to the hospital is 5 miles, it took me approximately 30 minutes to pedal it.  I then pedaled another 5 miles to church, which took an additional 30 minutes.  To drive, it would have taken me 20 minutes, plus parking, plus visiting the parking office to get my parking validated (perk of being a clergy person), and let us not forget my CO2 contribution ($3.29 to offset it).  

From a purely time equivalent vantage point: driving was "quicker," 20 minutes of driving compared to one hour of bicycling.  But what happened during my one hour of bicycling?  

One, I burned 600 calories.  
Two, on the way to the hospital I listened to a beautiful sermon: Ezekiel's Tree by the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III  on the  Day 1 podcast (which also allows me to hear the host of Day 1, fellow WVian Rev. Peter Wallace); on the way to church, I listened to Sermon Brainwave's podcast on the lectionary texts for Sunday.  Many will say, I could have listened to those podcasts while driving.  True.  But you wouldn't have listened fully or as safely while pedaling (or walking or taking public transit).  Driving demands your full attention.  One split second when you fiddle with your phone could be a life or death decision.  On a bike path, or non/slow-trafficked road, it's not all the time life or death.  
Three, I was aware of my surroundings.  I got a feel for the new bike/ped path that crosses highway 62 and the new bike/ped path along 66th St. (see pictures below).  Because of the placement of bike parking at the hospital (only one bike rack I could find, which was 309 steps from the front door) I saw those who took the bus to the hospital and those who were struggling to get into the Emergency Room (if I had driven, I would have, literally, been above all of these interactions).
Four, I was out in the fresh air for one hour.  I heard birds, saw clouds, smelled garlic roasting and people smoking pot, felt sunshine.  

Sometimes slower is faster!

Trust in the Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability-
and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you.
your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955)

when visiting the hospital, I advise you to wear a clerical collar (even if it is not your tradition).  they really grease your way around a hospital. 
here is the new approach to the bridge over highway 62.  before this was just a dirt path.

as you can see, they added an additional 18 inches of concrete on the right of the sidewalk.  This provides an amazing improvement of shared safe (and separated) pedaling/walking space.

different riding surfaces along 66th st.

bike parking 309 steps from ER entrance

(no one in the parking office, no problem for me)

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