When I moved to El Paso I decided I really wanted to practice what I preach and push myself to do one more thing to help the environment. I want to commit to ride my bike to work at least one day a week.
I made my first commute on Sunday July 24, 2011! It is about a 20 mile round trip, with the first 10 to the zoo mostly downhill and the second 10 back uphill. That works out good as I don’t want to be too exhausted by the time I get to work. I live on the West side of El Paso, and therefore have to cross I-10 and go through downtown to arrive at the zoo. I have chosen Sundays as my bike commute day for one reason: lower traffic. The first commute was really awesome in the morning. It was cool, hardly any traffic and relatively peaceful. The way home was hotter, uphill and exhausting!! I stopped and got a diet coke and chocolate bar halfway home to cheer myself up. 🙂
One gallon of gas when used as fuel produces about 19.4 pounds of Carbon Dioxide. So if I estimate my car takes 0.85 gallons of gas for my daily commute:
Carbon Dioxide savings: 19.4 (pounds of CO2) x 0.85gallons of gas = 16.49 pounds of carbon dioxide saved x 4 weeks = 65.96 pounds of CO2 per week saved or 791.51 pounds of CO2 saved per year!
Money savings: at $3.50per gallon x 0.85 gallons = $2.975/day x 4 (number of times I will do it a month) = $11.90/month or $142.80 per year of savings!
They say that riding your bike everyday rather than once a week is better for you as a person. Their argument is, it is easier to just get in a habit and the hills don’t even bother you anymore. I am not sure how I feel about this as my first day was HARD!
Here is some more interesting info to inspire you to get out and ride your bike or walk:
– motor vehicle emissions are responsible for 31 % of total carbon dioxide, 81% of carbon monoxide and 49% of nitrogen oxides released in the U.S.
– short car trips (less than 5 miles) are much more polluting than longer trips on a per-mile basis 60% of emissions is released during the first few minutes of operating a vehicle.
– a 130 pound cyclist burns 402 calories while pedaling 14mph in one hour.
– a 180 pound cyclist burns 540 calories while pedaling 14mph in one hour.
The El Paso city voted 7-1 to ticket all drivers who crowd out walkers, runners, cyclists and people using wheelchairs just recently. Basically, a car HAS to move over into another lane if you are riding on the shoulder. I honked my cute horn at several cars that did not obey this law. Maybe I should start remembering license plate numbers! Although, several cars did obey and moved over. The overall problem is speed though. If they would just slow down I would feel a lot safer. My dream: an entire bike lane or a separate bike trail would be AMAZING . If you would like to read about El Paso cyclists responding to the bike ordinance click here. Or to read about the local bicycle groups check out these organizations: El Paso Bicycle Club, Borderland Mountain Bike Association (I ride a mountain bike for my commute) and GeoBetty (a great resource for hiking and biking trails).
All in all, I have an opportunity to make a personal small difference and bike to work at least one time a week. It is something small and satisfying. “Do a little, change a lot.” Also – if I am too exhausted the buses in El Paso are completely run on Biodiesel and all have bike racks! Way to go SunMetro!