Going the Distance

I have to confess, I was one of those people who thought bike commuting wouldn’t work for me. Then I joined Superpedestrian, and my whole approach changed.

Don’t get me wrong, I had great respect for friends who would push through miles of Boston traffic, but between the button-down shirts and lack of showers at work it just didn’t seem realistic. These same barriers kept me from biking just about everywhere, except on some weekends. I also had a hunch it’d take more time than public transit. I was wrong.

With production units on the road, we’ve heard a lot of anecdotes of how Copenhagen Wheel can shrink the city. I’ve always felt my bike was a solid alternative form of transportation, but with the Wheel it becomes a replacement for other forms. For those who have been with the company since the start, this comes as no surprise. Copenhagen Wheel was designed specifically to revolutionize personal transportation — but as the newcomer I’m still impressed by how much of an impact it had on me.

Today, we’re starting a new project to show how Copenhagen Wheel can become your de facto transportation method. Superpedestrian originated at MIT in Cambridge, so there’s no better place to show how the Wheel can connect a city. While I wouldn’t call it a race, we’ll be showing Wheel trip times against Uber, and public transit across Boston and Cambridge.

This last Tuesday we invited Grace (one of our early adopters), and Superpedestrian staff Chris, Patrick and I took a lunchtime trip from our offices in Cambridgeport to Beantown Pho in Back Bay. Patrick and I ordered an Uber, Grace and Chris took the Wheel.

We settled on lunch at about 12:10pm and by 12:12 the Uber had been called, and bikes were being unlocked. After reinflating a low tire, the Superpedestrians were on their way at 12:16, while Patrick and I waited for the Uber to show up.

In the Uber, it seemed we were off to a good start. We made all the lights up to the Mass Ave bridge, but then the trouble began. First it was stop and go traffic, then a double-parked car blocking a lane. A short while later as we bumped along in traffic on Boylston, Patrick got the call.

Even with the added time of filling a tire, the Copenhagen crew beat us by a solid 7 minutes. By the time we walked from where our Uber driver dropped us (2 minutes from the address we’d entered) Grace and Chris were seated, and ready to order.

The trip back to the office saw similar results, but for a different reason. At 1:40 we got a call from Gil (Superpedestrian’s COO) that it was time to head back to the office. The cyclists were off by 1:42 with an Uber “4 minutes away.” By the time our driver arrived at 1:49pm, Grace and Chris were halfway back.

In retrospect, I really shouldn’t have been surprised by the results of our little test. I spent two weeks with the Wheel as my primary method of moving around Boston and Cambridge. Not only were my trips on average shorter than other methods, but with the Wheel’s assistance I arrived notably less sweaty than the Red Line in July.

But don’t just take my word and one data point for it. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more comparisons with you, including comparing Copenhagen Wheel trips with public transit as well as with privately owned cars.

Stay tuned…

Live in the Cambridge area and want to be a part? Hit me up at Austin@superpedestrian.com

Originally published at copenhagenwheel.tumblr.com.

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