Save money, cut CO2 and lose weight cycling to work

October 1, 2008

Peter Jebautzke cycles to workBy Peter Jebautzke

Getting caught speeding changed my life — for the better.

It inadvertently turned me into a devoted bike commuter, has saved me lots of money, aggravation — and even saved the world a little bit of carbon dioxide to boot. Since giving up the car for my daily commutes by bike to work in August, I’ve also lost about 2 kilos and now look forward to my daily 16 km journeys each way to and from the office.

Other colleagues who cycle to work had long tried to encourage me to try out commuting by bike. We’ve even got a little shower here where I work in the centre of Berlin. But it was always so much easier to jump into the car.

In April, I jumped into the car and stepped on the gas a bit too hard. I got a late-night call from the office and had to get there in a hurry. The motorway was clear so I got up to 117 kph. That was 37 kph over the 80 kph limit. The police caught me — and I lost my driver’s licence for a month.

I tried commuting via the underground for a few days but I didn’t like feeling like a sardine. So I bought a mountain bike and cycled the 16 km home one day. It was exhausting but somehow delightful as well. It took me 77 minutes. Within a few days I was down to 56 minutes and within two weeks I had cut my time to about 48 minutes. I got to work and home feeling
invigorated by the fresh air and cardio workout.

I’ve since cut my best commuting time to 35 minutes — when I push the pace. That’s even two minutes faster than my previous commuting time in the car. Even when I don’t push the pedals too hard I can make it under 40 minutes.

So the net result is: no CO2, better fitness, far lower commuting costs and less wear and tear on my car. The only thing that I wonder about is: Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

(Peter Jebautzke is a project engineer working for Reuters in Berlin)

2 comments

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San Francisco’s kind of like that…you can bike to work pretty easily and enjoy all the benefits you mention above. I think it just doesn’t occur to a lot of people to NOT drive, it’s too ubiquitous in our society…

Unfortunately, after moving to a different county than the one I work in I was unable to enjoy the benefits of the biking. So I’ve been trying to exercise fuel efficient driving techniques instead (I downloaded a bunch from sites like carfunfootprint.com and eartheasy, etc). You know that speeding is a good way to reduce your fuel efficiency (as well as a good way to get traffic tickets)? If you can’t do it for the cops, drive 55 for the environment (well, in the US, not sure what the kph would be).

Posted by Ana | Report as abusive

I agree 100% with you. This is definitely the ultimate ideal for people to go to work. The big question is: how can we convince people to start using their bikes when gas prices are low? It seems like not that many people care unless it’s hurting their pocket…
I also found this bamboo bike that can make “your ride” even more eco-friendly! http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm