Charting our bicycling commuting habits

May 30, 2013

Happy belated bike to work day! In honor of that day – and National Bike Month, not to mention Earth Day (when we started working on this), and because the weather is just so pleasant this time of year – DesignHammer published a new Sustainable Commuting page. We'll add more content about our overall sustainability practices as time goes on, but for now the first entry is a section on our bicycle commuting habits. From the page:

DesignHammer's Robert Weeks and Kosta Harlan have been cycling to work since 2005 and 2009, respectively. Robert takes a 17 mile round trip route to work while Kosta's commute is 15.6 miles. Both of them feel fortunate to spend some of their cycling commute on the American Tobacco Trail.

In 2011 we started tracking the miles we were putting into our routes in a Google Spreadsheet. Now that we've accumulated some data, we thought it would be interesting to visualize our sustainable commuting habits over time, and to measure our impact on reducing carbon emissions – the average car emits 4.8 metric tons of CO² per year, so far we've offset 1.72 metric tons of CO² through bicycle commuting a total of 4108 miles. (To put that in perspective, a metric ton of CO² is about the size of 35 Toyota Camrys.) Factoring in DesignHammer's flexible working arrangement where team members can work some days from home, the total emissions offset increases by about one more ton per year.

Head on over to the new Sustainability page to see some Google charts visualizing the miles aggregated over time. We've created two line charts: the first shows a break down of miles cycled for the current month versus the previous month, with metrics for the combined miles and miles per person; and the second chart gives a broader picture of combined miles cycled per month, starting from the beginning of the year to the present. From the latter you can see that we got off to a slower start than last year but are now putting in many more miles in cycling to work.

Cycling to work has been wonderful for Robert and me. Some of the benefits:

  • It's a great way to start the morning and to reduce stress at the end of a work day.
  • In Durham odds are you'll get to use the American Tobacco Trail for part of your commute, which means you'll get to see all kinds of interesting and beautiful wildlife in your morning and afternoon commute - we've seen turtles, hawks, foxes and fox cubs, and beavers, among other creatures.
  • The health benefits are well-documented – check out this neat infographic for a breakdown.
  • It's a meaningful way to reduce our carbon footprint and take cars off the road. With atmospheric concentrations of CO² recently surpassing 400 parts per million, it's time for everyone to get real about reducing emissions and thinking about how to contribute to a solution - and bicycle commuting is a great way to do that.
  • As a bonus, you can spend more time with your pets by bringing them along for the ride! Check out these photos of Robert's dog sitting pretty after the commute this morning.

We hope this inspires you to hop on a bicycle and ride to work!