Posts Tagged 'green'

Slowly getting better

OK, back for another overdue check-in on my driving reduction efforts.  When we last left off in July, I was sitting somewhere around 496 miles for the month, one heavy with trips to the airport and cross-town engagements, not great, but not bad either, given the circumstances.  The next two months, however, have been much better.

From July 13 – August 12, I managed to put on a mere 222 miles, and that’s with an incredible run of 100+ degree days that started at the end of July and ran for 18 straight days.  I’m really proud of myself for this accomplishment, but honestly, other than one or two particularly brutally hot days, it was still loads of fun to be out riding to and from work every day.  I almost never missed the car or it’s air conditioning for my commutes.

From August 13 – September 12, I’ve managed to keep the mileage on the car down to 311 miles for the month, and over 80 of those miles were put on after what was left of Hermine washed out a week’s worth of commuting (well, Hermine and one lazy Friday).  It’s a hair over my original goal of 250-275 miles per month, but still not too bad, if you ask me.  I still have a lot of room to improve in the area of quick trips to the grocery store as well, I plan on getting old blue prepped this afternoon and slapping a milk crate on the rack for just this purpose.  I can’t wait to give her a spin.

Someone said something about driving less?

OK, so it’s been a while since I’ve checked in here on the driving reduction front, and as is usual when you stop cataloging things you want to keep in check, it looks as if I’ve done a pretty losy job of actually keeping things in check. 

My numbers since Feb 12, the last check in date:

Feb. 13 – Mar. 12: 475 miles driven.  Not as good as the previous month, when I clocked just 426, but still a 14% reduction from my average the previous year.

Mar. 13 – Apr. 12: A good month, I drove just 397 miles in this month, which while above my initial hoped for target of 361 miles, was still well ahead of my adjusted target of 428, based on the previous month’s mileage.  It would have seemed as if I were back on track, had the next month not happened…

Apr. 13 – May 12:  In one month, I put 609 miles on the car. Yipes!  At first, I was a little confused as to how in the hell I’d done that, especially since I was out of town for a week riding in the Tour du Rouge.  But then I remembered that as my final tune-up for the Tour, I rode in the Muenster Germanfest Bike Rally.  And since Muenster is about 80 miles away, that added quite a bit of mileage to the tally.  Still, even without that trip, I was sitting at about 440 miles for the month, and I was gone and unable to drive for a quarter of the time, about 100 miles over my original target, and 80 miles over my revised target.  Hopefully June would be better.

May. 13 – June 12: As hoped, things did improve somewhat this month, with a 446 mile total for the month.  While not great from the standpoint of my original plans, it was still a 19% reduction from my average mileage from last year, and a 10% reduction from my average for the previous five months since I first laid out my goal of driving less.

June 13 – July 12: I’m currently sitting at approximately 459 miles (I say approximately because I forgot to look this morning, but I am right aroud this area, I’ll update when I get home).  At first blush (all blushes, really) this is a bit of a step backwards from the previous month.  However, there were extenuating circumstances.  This month I had to make three trips to DFW to pick up or drop off people at the airport, and at 60 miles a pop, that adds up pretty quickly.  Add to that an additional 45 miles for a social engagement that I wasn’t allowed to miss, and we’re sitting at just 234 miles which is well below even my original projected target for the month.  Now, I do have to say that I hate to bring up these extenuating circumstances, because in one sense, they are a bit of an excuse and some portin of them should be factored into my expected mileage, but the fact of life is that living in Dallas/Fort Worth, sometimes you can’t get away from tossing 60+ miles onto the tally in one afternoon, and often those times are impossible to plan for (e.g. two of those airport trips were last minute affairs that were wholly unexpected).

So, whay do I expect for the coming month?  It’s hard to say.  I’m getting much more consistent at riding my bike to and from work, even when I have smaller errands to run.  And larger shopping trips are more consolidated into dense loops.  On the down side, I know I’ll have at least one trip to the airport coming up in the month, and this one cannot be shifted to public transport, but it’s just one trip and can probably be worked into the budget.

Still, things can be made better.  More regular trips to the warehouse stores could be done by bike, which would cut down on the number of larger trips to only those times when I would buy items too large to carry safely on my bike.  And if I get off my behind and get old Blue prepped and ready for travel, I can add more quick trips to the grocery store to the bike total.  I think a big help might be in keeping a daily driving journal so I can better see where all of these miles are going and come up with more specific was to reduce them.  I’ll try to start one today by leaving a pad in the car to record each trip I take, we’ll see how that works out in the coming month.

Well, that’s much better!

So last month I hadn’t made any progress towards my goal of cutting down on the number of miles I put on my car. My average for the month was about exactly what it had been the year before, so I put a little extra burden on myself this past month to exceed my original goal of cutting out 10% per month. So how did I do? Quite well actually. With a caveat.

First of all, my mileage. From Jan. 13 – Feb. 12 I put on just 426 miles. A drop of 136 miles from the previous month, for a whopping 24% decrease last month, and a 22.5% decrease from my average of 550 miles/month. Awesome.

However, there’s a bit of the bad to go with the good in there. A part of the reason I was able to cut my miles so severly is that I was out of town on business four four days. Not being able to drive your car sure makes it a lot easier to not drive your car. Of course, on the flip side, the next week we had not just bad weather, but horrible weather. We were hit with 11″ of snow here in the D/FW area (about 8-9″ at the house) and for days the roads were either snowy/slushy, or covered with ice as the snow slowly melted during the day and refroze at night. I simple do not have a bike that is set up to ride safely in those conditions, so I left it at home and drove in to work for five straight workdays. That right there is about 75 miles that were unexpectedly added back into my total.

Finally, I started out the current month with a bit more driving than I would have liked, thanks mainly to poor shopping list planning and a sick girlfriend who needed me to run out for supplies (doesn’t she know she’s supposed to schedule her illnesses?), as well as an unnecessary driving commute that I did, simply because I didn’t prepare the night before and was too tired to get motivated in the morning. One of those conditions is survivable, two are not.

Anyway… with the weather appearing to start climbing out of the depths of witer suckitude and into something a bit less bone-chilling, I ought to be able to get a lot more riding in in the coming weeks. I just need to make sure my rain gear is ready to go.