Friday, June 20, 2008

Getting to Baker City

Friday, 20 June
Summer solstice!

There was a funny post on the WSBA email list yesterday, wishing that we could all abandon our TT bikes for stage races so that we could make 4-person carpools instead of 2-person carpools for faraway events like Elkhorn. Well, Bryce, I would argue it's about the vehicle you drive and not the bike(s) you want to ride.

Take those 4 people in your optimal carpool. Add one bike per person. Now add the second pair of wheels per person that each may be compelled to put into neutral service via the "wheel lottery." Now add the fancy crit wheels that at least one crit rider in your carpool is sure to want to take. Toolbox. Helmets. Trainers. Then 4 of the giant bags that bike racers take to every event. A cooler. Food. I think you're going to need a Hummer to drive all that stuff to Baker City. Say you get it into something that gets 20 miles/gallon (highly unlikely). It's 380 miles, so that means you use 19 gallons of gas. That's 4.75 gallons per person.

My husband and I loaded our VW with our TIME TRIAL bikes, road bikes, TT wheels, extra road wheels, cooler, bags, food, stuff we're bringing to deliver to other riders who'll be at this race, a laptop, supplies for my time-killing hat hobby, food, toolbox, etc. The two of us in our car get better than 40 mpg, but let's call it 40 for ease of computation. That comes to 9.5 gallons of fuel, or...drum roll, please...4.75 gallons per person.

Since the 4 of you will be in a vehicle probably getting more like 12-15 mpg and we'll probably be getting more like 42 mpg, in the end, at least in terms of fuel consumption, our 2-person carpool comes out being more fuel efficient than your 4-person "economizing" carpool. AND I get to race on my TT bike. AND my car runs on biodiesel, which further reduces my carbon footprint.

When you find a 45-mpg diesel van, let me know. Until then, please don't argue for banning TT bikes at stage races! And don't think that those of us on real TT bikes are necessarily leaving bigger carbon footprints than you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing those calculations, because even though I knew there were multiple flaws in that email, I wasn't going to try to prove it. Yay for biodiesel and efficient vehicles.

Coach Curly said...

holy crap... I nearly spit out my lunch when I read that scenario.

Anonymous said...

Not so fast Martha! Even if we accept your assumptions in your calculations, you're not comparing apples to apples because your car has two people with two bikes apiece. The other car has 4 people with one bike apiece.

To even it up, The four person crew has to have two bikes apiece as well. We must then assume that to take two bikes apiece they'd have to split up and take 2 cars, using more gas, which is the TT bike banning guy's point.

Alternatively, if you and Mick took only one bike apiece, and put two more people in your car with their bikes, you take at least one car off the road and less gas is used.

Still, to call for banning a type of bike in the name of being "green" isn't the answer. With good packing and racks, it's amazing what you can do. Back in the late 80's and early 90's, we would get 4 guys, 4 bikes,4 front wheels,4 other pairs of wheels, and bags all inside an Accord wagon. With a rack, we could have taken spare bikes as well. A teammate and I got the two of us, our bikes, 7-pairs of wheels, a toolbox, our bags, and a set of rollers all inside a Ford Fiero. Another time we got 10 bikes up on the racks, 10 guys, wheels, bags etc and drove from Albuquerque to San Marcos Texas in a Suburban. The mileage was of course terrible, but the gallons per person was low.

People have forgotten (or, in the age of SUV's never learned) how to stuff a lot of people and equipment into normal size cars.

What the TT bike banning guy should realize is that two bikes aren't strictly necesary anyway. Bikes are so slick these days, all you need are some clip-ons and some fast TT wheels, and you don't lose that much to a dedicated TT bike. Strong legs and lungs will trump bike choice any day.

BTW, have fun down there, no matter how many bikes you have.

-Rich Mc

Keeneye said...

Meowwwww! If your legs pump as fast as your brain does, you ought to win this lil' Elkhorn shindig.


Have fun tomorrow night... the Gold Rush race is a blast!