Results from HUB Share the Road Challenge - Biking to Work Faster than Driving or Transit

May 22, 2014

On Wednesday at Pacific Centre, bike commuters took top spots across the board at the HUB Cycling Share the Road Challenge.

Beginning in morning rush hour from locations around Metro Vancouver — including points in Vancouver, North Vancouver and Richmond — nine teams engaged in friendly competition to see which mode of travel could commute downtown the fastest. Each team consisted of one person in a car, on public transit, and on bike, and included representatives from car2go, Vancity, Denman Bike Shop, eProdigy Bikes, HUB Cycling, Tannus Tires, The Georgia Straight, TravelSmart, and the Vancouver Airport Authority.

The results — all nine bike commuters arrived ahead of the other members of their teams, including one who combined cycling with a ride on the Canada Line skytrain from Richmond, and one who used an electric-assist bike from South Vancouver.  

“Most people are aware that bike commuting is great for your health and the environment,” said Erin O’Melinn, Executive Director of HUB Cycling, “But many people do not consider the fact that biking is often faster than driving and transit, and saves you a significant amount of money.” 

While time constraints are often cited by commuters as a barrier to cycling to work, cycling is typically the fastest mode for trips 5km and under (15-20 minutes in duration), which make up 50% of Metro Vancouver trips. According to data from the Canadian Automobile Association, vehicle owners spend on average $10,000 a year on their cars whereas bike commuters spend less than 5% of that amount. 

Since the first HUB Share the Road Challenge took place in 2009, bike commuters have arrived faster than their car-driving and transit-taking counterparts more than 75% of the time.  Based on comments from participants, bike commuters are also more satisfied with their commutes.  

“This morning’s challenge was really enjoyable for our employee participants and definitely brought out a competitive edge,” said Jennifer Tan, Vancity’s greenhouse gas emissions consultant. “It was a close call between our cyclist and transit rider, but we were surprised when the cyclist arrived first and parked his bike, three minutes ahead of our transit rider who squeezed on a busy SkyTrain. Our electric car driver had to contend with rush hour traffic and finding parking downtown, so he took twice as long as the cyclist.”

The day’s big upset was the North Vancouver bike commuter, who also took home the fastest time for his team. “Upper Lonsdale feels so far from downtown, but I had no idea how short of a bike ride it would be!” said Denis Agar, Transportation Demand Management Officer at TransLink. “And it’s downhill most of the way – in the other direction, I pop my bike on the Seabus to skip some of the uphill parts. I’m not ashamed to say that I cycle for fun, not for a grueling workout!”

Upon arrival at the finish line, participants were greeted by a Bike to Work Week Celebration Station, complete with snacks and hot coffee, bike maps, and the free services of a bike mechanic.

Over 50 Celebration Stations will be set up across the Lower Mainland for HUB Bike to Work Week, which begins next week, Monday May 26th. 

The public can participate in all events for free, including registration on the Bike to Work Week website. Riders can create bike routes, log trips, and track calories burned and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions during Bike to Work Week and beyond.