Save time and money #ride5000miles

Published: 13 March 2017

Why you should ride to work

Using your bike for the daily commute seems like a no-brainer, yet so many of us don’t do it. On the surface, this seems like madness: bikes are more economical, carve through traffic jams more easily and are, in every way, more fun. Or that’s the theory. To assess the reality, Senior Editor Matt Wildee alternated between car and bike for his congested Cambridgeshire commute. The results were interesting…

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Day 1

Vehicle: VW Golf 1.4 TSI
Distance/time: 44 miles/1hr 38 mins
Average speed: 26.39mph
Fuel consumption: 42.3mpg
Cost of fuel: £5.61

It’s Monday and I’m on the nursery run queue as posh mums in Audi Q3s are dropping little Archie and Albert off at childcare. Today I’m in the family Golf. It’s practical rather than exciting, and economical for a petrol engine – I used to see 46mpg before the roads to Peterborough got congested. But now they’re clogged and each roundabout is a bad-tempered game of ‘after you’. But it’s OK, I’ve got climate control and a DAB radio. Then I realise that Donald Trump is on every channel…

Day 2

Vehicle: Ducati 950 Multistrada
Distance/time: 44 miles/54 minutes
Average speed: 49.81mph
Fuel consumption: 51.3mpg
Fuel cost: £4.63

That’s more like it. With its upright position, decent agility and that responsive motor, the Multistrada is heaven compared to the car. Part of my commute includes fast, flowing B-roads and although it’s cold I’m hustling the Ducati along at enough of a pace for it to be exciting. I filter past the mile-long tailback of yesterday and arrive at work awake and inspired, rather than lethargic and depressed.

Day 3

Vehicle: VW Golf 1.4 TSI
Distance/time: 44 miles/1hr 45 mins
Average speed: 25.14mph
Fuel consumption: 41.1mpg
Fuel cost: £5.78

What a miserable day. I really wanted to take the bike in today, but in order to get a comparable set of mpg figures I have to take the Golf instead. Remember, this is science (kind of). On the way to work I spend 15 minutes stuck on the A14, on the way back it takes 35 minutes to cover the mile from the office to the junction with the A1(M). It’s utter tedium, made worse by seeing my bike riding MCN mates cruise by. Oh well.

Day 4

Vehicle: Ducati 950 Multistrada
Distance/time: 44 miles/59 minutes
Average speed: 44.76mph
Fuel consumption: 56.4mpg
Total cost: £4.21

A brilliant day’s riding. It’s cold, crisp and slightly slippery, but just being on a bike makes it all worthwhile. The Multistrada might not be the most exciting of bikes, but compared to most cars its engine and chassis flood with feel and interest. I stick it in Sport mode and enjoy the improved throttle response. Like Day 2, I’m happier, more excited and more positive when I hit the work car park.

Day 5

Vehicle: Lexus IS200
Distance/time: 44 miles/1hr 16 mins
Average speed: 34.73mph
Fuel consumption: 27.3mpg
Total cost: £8.80

Wildcard time. For a giggle I dig out my £1200 Alan Partridge-spec Lexus winter luxo barge. A better journey this time, with a bit less time queuing – just 15 minutes to do the last mile this time, but still a huge amount of boredom –and an emptier wallet. By the time I get to work I’m still pretty demotivated…

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