I completed a travel survey at work today which, judging by some of the questions, should feed into this month’s re-launch of the Cycle To Work scheme. I’ve asked Rob from the Bicycle Doctor at Rusholme to help promote the scheme in Manchester by bringing in his mobile display of bikes again (He fixes a trailer to the back of his bike and tows in a folded Brompton). Since his last visit we have acquired showers and bike racks and 6 people who have already purchased through the scheme so I hope that this year there might be more interest or a better conversion from being interested in cycling to work to actually trying it. In the survey I was asked how I travelled to work and this got me thinking about my recent experiment.
Having tried 5 different methods of travelling the 6.5 miles from my home in Prestwich to Salford Quays over the last couple of weeks, I thought I should publish my findings. The aim was to arrive at 8am and I have measured the time from leaving the house to arriving at the office including waiting time and walking from where I had parked up. So slowest first:
Better than expected and only cost £3.70 for a day ticket. I tried it again yesterday and first bus ran 5 minutes late meaning I only just caught my connection from Salford Precinct. I tried walking from the office to Salford Precinct on the way home to catch an earlier 95 and cut down the return journey time but although my walk was quicker than waiting and travelling on the 53 I still could not catch the earlier 95. I’ll do it again in future but maybe leave the office 10 minutes early in order to get slicker connections. I was pleased with getting in within an hour, but I guess I wouldn’t manage that every time.
4th Running: 57 minutes in (got lift home)
My target was to beat the bus and I managed it although it took me a while to return to my normal colour. Showers made this possible together with a few training jogs; no aches the following day, did not save any money because I ate like a pig through the morning! Would do it again (one way only) if training for an event and I’m considering a work-day triathalon: Run to work, swim lunchtime at Stretford Baths (as I did yesterday for the first time in 5 years!) and cycle home.
3rd By Tram: 50 minutes in and back (when it doesn’t break down)
I live less than 5 minutes from Prestwich Station and the office is 1 minute from Exchange Quay so it’s really handy. For £4.80 it’s a fairly unpleasant and unreliable experience so I’ll be taking the bus in future unless I’m in a hurry.
2nd By Car: 35 minutes in and 40 minutes home
Okay I fixed the results by including the time it takes to walk from my parking space at Old Trafford to the office, but even discounting that the car and bike would take about the same it. If I travel in for 7:30 rather than 8:00 and pinch someone’s space in one of the multi-storey car parks next to the office the car is slightly quicker but the aim was to arrive at 8:00. It is still cheaper by car than public transport even with the price of petrol leaping up recently. I try not to do it too often but if I’m not feeling 100% or doing something straight after work (and the rest of the family don’t need it) then I take the car.
1st By Bike: 27 minutes in and 33 minutes home
Even with bad weather and heavier traffic, the journey time by bike only increases by 5 minutes whereas it can add 20 minutes to the car journey home. The journey only crosses through 5 sets of lights (and yes I ALWAYS stop at red) and I consider myself unlucky if more than 3 are red on a morning run. My best time to work is 23’30 and home just under 30, I’ll certainly need favourable traffic lights and good weather to top those times.