Back in the spring, I joined up with an app to track my cycling efforts for Bike Month. I decided it was sufficiently fun that I kept going even after the count ended. Since June 1st, which is technically late spring, but a convenient place to start, and leaning slightly into fall by counting up to September 26 when I drafted this post, here’s how I have done:
Km ridden on my bike: 1,059
Greenhouse gases averted: 270 kg. A round-trip flight to Ottawa to Berlin creates 2 metric tons of GHG, so I’ll need to cycle at this rate for at least 2 1/2 years in order to offset a single trip to Europe. I am assuming I’ll cycle less in winter and use my car a bit more. This is the calculator I used.
Money saved by riding my bike instead of driving: $643. Honestly, this seems a bit low to me as most estimates have car costs per month in Canada at nearly $1,000, when you include financing, fuel, maintenance and insurance. I’m guessing this amount is just fuel and maintenance.
Critical mass rides to advocate for climate change and safer streets (including Kidical Mass and Fancy Women rides): 5
Organized social bike rides: 11
Km swum: 19.743. This is way lower than past years, but between shoulder issues and general busyness it was all I could manage. Next year!
Activities for a cause: 5 – apple picking for the food bank; helping on various rides; census of transit at various locations around the city for the annual Pedal Poll; swim Angel for Bring on the Bay, which is itself a fundraiser for Easter Seals; 15 km swim fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society
Personal cycling goals set and achieved: 4 (18 km each way for a bike swim bike at Britannia Beach, feeding my friend’s cat 20 km away, visiting my parents 25 km away, and visiting my horse 24 km away).
Walks: I didn’t add them up but there were lots, mostly as a way to catch up with a friend, but sometimes for a history tour or to go to the grocery store with my rolly cart.
What did I get out of all this? I discovered that I can do a lot more than I imagined. I have gone from being a steady short-distance commuter to the office to being the person who thinks nothing about using the bike for all kinds of errands – from medical appointments to picking up groceries, going to shows and concerts, to checking on my community garden plots or joining others for a swim, drink or to check new cycling infrastructure. And that I love being social for a good cause.
Diane Harper lives and swims and bikes in Ottawa.