First, let me compare some travel times here from my experience:
- Distance from my home to office - 9 kms (Jayanagar to Bommanahalli via the dreaded silk board junction)
- Travel time by bike - Average 35 minutes (Considering all kinds of shortcuts possible in a bike)
- Travel time by car - Average 50 minutes (30 minutes in the morning but upto 1.5 hours in the evening)
- Travel time by bus - One hour (But I like this one as I make good use of the time reading something)
- Travel time by bicycle - Exactly 35 minutes (traffic or no traffic)
However, cycling has its own set of problems but all of them have solutions. Here are some:
- Pollution - I had stopped cycling for a long time before I found the solution - An activated carbon cloth filter mask from Decathlon. I have been using this for some time now and it only needs a couple of days for you to get adjusted to it (just as you would get adjusted to a seat belt or a helmet). And it does its job well. If required, buy some glasses as well.
- Too much traffic - The distance from my home to office is 9 kms. However, I take a 9.5 kms route in the morning and a 10 kms route in the evening. These are entirely residential routes which the larger vehicles cannot take as most of these result in a road-divider or they are too narrow. In one section, I have a short 50 meter stretch that I have to push along the footpath as the road is a one way. But this keeps me away from the traffic. The advantages only available to cycles.
- A sweaty affair - This I must admit is a problem if your office does not have a shower facility. I take an extra shirt with me to office everyday as the shower room is not well kept.
- Crazy night traffic - Better planning helps. I start early and try to finish early from office. I either leave before 6 PM or leave after 8 PM. Also, I always carry a couple of LED lights with me.
- Office laptop/Other luggage - This one is easy. A saddle bag (not the old carrier type) can carry a lot of stuff safely.
- Rains - For this, I still haven't found a good solution. I just ditch my bicycle and take my car on rainy days. Sometimes though, I have gotten unlucky and ridden in the rain.
- Some bad drivers/riders on the road - Patience is the only solution to this problem. Every time I start cycling, I tell myself that I will ignore anyone who behaves bad on the road.
Now, the good things:
- A lot of exercise for me and it is almost free.
- Faster commute and it is again free.
- For the environmentally conscious, nothing can beat cycling.
- And personally, it has taught me a lot of patience.
All I wish is that there will be dedicated cycling lanes and a little more respect for cyclists on roads. Just so that I'll find many other cyclists on roads.