Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Office commute – 5 days, 5 ways

How many times have we felt, “damn, the traffic is so slow, I could easily be faster on foot”, but never dared to try. On one such Friday evening when it took me 1:45mins to cover the 26k home, I decided to try all modes of options to commute to work – Car, Bullet, Bus, Cycle and Run.

Although, I had the phone lines open for 165774hours for the entire country to vote in their favorites, all of 41people voted (blame the economy, H1N1 or both). And like any reality show, the results are being announced after a choti si break.

Summary of the results:
• The least one-way time to commute was recorded while I rode the cycle; 54mins for 26km
• The least average time (both ways) was recorded by the bullet - 61.5mins, the cycle was a close second at 62.5mins
• The time taken by the next three modes were Car (1:12hrs), Bus (assisted: 1:45hrs) and run (2:35hrs)

Terminologies used:
• Work-ability: The ability to work after one commutes to office. Yes, some morons like me work after getting to office.
• Health Equity: Health = health, Equity is used to use up the residual remnants from my Fin MBA
• Relaxation Index: The measure of relaxation during the commute

• Although, I tried to keep the start the commute at the same time each day, there were deviations. Even a 10-15min change can cause quite a difference in results in peak hour traffic. This variable could have been controlled further
• Same as above for the time to leave office too
• There was a significant loss of speed in transmission because of slipping clutch plates in the bullet. But then, we are not getting into muscle fatigue during the cycling phase either
• The experiment is not sensitized to the day of week as well. I also have only the luxury of sample size = 1. With multiple data points, with different modes being taken on different days, one could also account for the Monday morning, Friday evening traffic variations
• All parameters where I have arrived at objective results (viz., cost, time, carbon footprint) have been converted to a 5-point scale for measurement. All parameters where results are subjective (viz., work-ability, safety, health equity, relaxation index) have also been subject to my subjectivity
• The ‘Overall ratings’ is arrived at using weighted-average. The weights are provided by me (Health equity 25%, Work-ability 20%, Cost & Safety 15%, Time & relaxation 10%, Carbon footprint 5%). Of course, this could vary from person to person and the ‘Overall ratings’ are quite sensitive to the weights considered
• We are comparing superman legs with them machines

13th to 17th July 2009

Route taken: Boopsandra>Hebbal>Windsor Manor>Chalukya circle>Cubbon Park>Richmond circle>Divyasree Chambers>Hosur Road>Forum Mall>Krishna Cafe>Wipro Park K2>Agara jn>Iblur Jn>Wipro Corporate Office
Total Distance: 26km
Make: Superman
Start time: 6:00AM onward, 6:40PM return
Total time taken: 2:32hrs onward, 2:39hrs return
Cost to commute: Nil

Notes: I wear high viz clothing, cap & reflective wristbands for safety. I run on the right side of the road (opp. to the direction of traffic). At the earliest opportunity, I jump onto the footpaths. Despite utmost care, I nearly zonked out when I rammed against a signpost (twice) & also got shown the finger by one impatient jackass on the ring road. I use my car (parked conveniently in the basement car park at work) as a makeshift cupboard for my change of clothes and laptop & shower and change at work.

Make: Giant OCR Road bike
Start time: 7:30AM onward, 6:50PM return
Total time taken: 54mins onward, 71mins return
Cost to commute: Nil
Notes: I wear high viz clothing, helmet & gloves for safety. I alight from the bike if I need to take footpaths, maintain high alert if I need to jump signals and do not listen to music or answer the mobile while on the bike. The morning ride is a very pleasant experience indeed. The car, shower & change get me work ready in about 45mins or so.

Make: Hyundai Elantra
Start time: 7:45AM onward, 7:20PM return
Total time taken: 64mins onward, 1:20hrs return
Cost to commute: Approx. Rs. 110
Make: BMTC Ring road bus
Start time: 8:30AM onward, 7:00PM return
Total time taken: 1:45hrs onward, 1:40hrs return
Cost to commute: Day pass Rs. 30
Notes: Last mile connectivity issues at both ends; had to hitch a lift from work to the ring road. A lot to be desired on the frequency and timelines of the Volvo buses. Heavily crowded bus on the return.

Make: Royal Enfield Bullet
Start time: 8:45AM onward, 7:00PM return
Total time taken: 59mins onward, 1:04hrs return
Cost to commute: Approx. Rs. 75
Notes: Due to clutch pads smoothening out, the power was not transmitting from the primary drive. Therefore, even at high revs, the speed remained low. Also, I left a little later than usual to work on the bullet adding to the total time taken.

• Saturday was spent in roughening the clutch plates
• More importantly, after another week of trying to keep with this schedule, I gave up mostly because the running was difficult to sustain
• I now run partly (12km) and cycle partly (13km) to work, parking the cycle at Madhu’s (my sis) place overnight and picking it up the next morning. I find this a perfect mix of commute, training, cross training & work-ability
• Thanks for participating in the survey, most of you got it right. Since this survey did not involve sending an SMS, you saved Rs.6!! Cheers!


sriram said...

hey manoj,
you are the SUPERSTAR...i always had this respect for you,now its exponentially increased..amazing is what i say for your determination,passion and not to forget your CROSS TRAINING....even i am in the process of chalking out a fitness schedule similar to yours...
triathlon here i come..;-))

Naveen Javarappa said...

You rock. And you are nuts.

Way to go, Manoj. I hope u convinced atleast a few colleagues to at-least bike to work, not to mention running. I would be too scared to run on those streets.

Congratulations on completing this stupendous feat.

Artful Dodger said...

Good blog dude.

I had a point to make here.

You can't actually rate health equity at 5 for both running and cycling. What you haven't considered is that the hear rate is higher in both these cases as compared to a bike or a car. At a higher heart rate you end up inhaling more polluted peak time traffic air than in the other cases.Of course it's more in the case of running than cycling.

Btw when did you buy a Giant road bike and start driving an elantra man!

shreyasg said...

Adda biddhe gurugale. Keep it up maga and spread the envy.

Salil said...

Kewl.... Great reporting maga .... I thought you would end up running faster ...

Pawan Kumar said...

Wow Manoj! This is awesome! But running and cycling 26 kms to work ..... and back within city! hats off dude !

Anonymous said...

sooper .. how is shreya coping up with the shock :-) .. hahaha !!!


wandering soul said...

WoW! you actually did that?!! Awesome.. and top notch presentation too.. I just can't digest the fact that you ran 26kms to office and 26kms back again.. :O

I think cycling is the best way to avoid the stupid bangalore traffic and increase the health equity too.. :P

Kuldeep said...

I don't know How you manage to Bike (Cycle) to work through centre of the city. I live on Mysore road and biking to work is next to impossible because of pollution on Mysore road. tried many times and gave up.


Anonymous said...

Hey Prabhu...pranaam

faiqg said...

i am sure you came up with the idea of this comparison while you were on a cycle.
a video document would have been killer. ;)

Raji said...

Superman! Hats Off.. Finally your MBA learning has been put to some use!

Muthukumar Suruli said...

hats off to the efforts and analysis man!

wonder if you are nuts enough to do this for the rest of your working life :-)

Anonymous said...

Survey was excellent, still wondering which mode of comute you are currently using

Bharani Shivakumar said...


Kishan Kumar said...

Awesome job but if the start time for all modes is not the same then its not apples to apples!

Also, averaging out would be more realistic than single runs IMHO!