One year crossing Manhattan Bridge.

There are a lot of benefits to ride a bike but, as everything you do routinely, it can get boring. So you have two options: 1) change routes, but you easily end up without options or 2) you can enjoy the ride and contemplate.

Contemplation is the act of having a deep, reflective look to something for a long period of time. It might stimulate the same parts of the brain as meditation, and also requires the same discipline.

So I created an exercise to help me contemplate, an Instagram account called @bridge_today where I took a photo from the same spot every single time I crossed the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and vice versa, from May 2016 to May 2017. This is the result:

There’s a concept called “Minimum Effort, Maximum Result”. I took this as a belief and shot 156 photos without knowing what to do. The result above is just one view-point, but there are more observations to get out of it.

Working time

My average time to go to work was 8h56am, and the average time to return was 6h47pm. The time from the bridge to my job was approximately 25min, so I can say the average time I got to work was 9h16am. And the amount of time I’ve spent at work during this year was 9h01min.

Saving money

The most frequent month was June of 2016, where I crossed 33 times. And my worst performance was in January (my vacation + winter), where I crossed twice. Summing up all the year, I’ve crossed the bridge 156 times. If we calculate this amount in subway rides, considering the ride cost of $2.75, I’ve saved approximately $429 dollars. Which make the price I paid for my bike decrease to $271, or a 60% discount.

Solstice & Equinox

Solstice is when the sun reaches its highest and lowest point, it can indicates the longest/hottest day, and the shortest/coldest day. I can say my hottest day was on June 21st, with 30°C (87°F), and the coldest day was January 17th, with 3°C (38°F).

Closest to Summer Solstice: June 21th
Closest to Winter Solstice: January 17th

Equinox is when the sun crosses the equator, when day and night are nearly of equal length. In NYC, Equinox happens on the September 22nd (Fall Equinox) and in the March 20th (Spring Equinox).

Closest to Spring Equinox: April 10th
Closest to Fall Equinox: September 16th

Shadows

It was also interesting to see the shadows moving when I was going back home and had the sun coming from the back. These are two different shadows based on season and time:

6pm on June vs. 6pm on October
7pm on August vs. 7pm on June

Light

Around June, in the Summer Solstice, you have the longest day of the year which is 5 hours and 50 minutes longer than December Solstice, and really transformed the lights when I use to come back home:

6h15pm on July vs. 6h15pm on December

Calories

Maybe the most beneficial factor of riding a bike to work is the exercise. I used Strava that informed my average speed as 12mph (19.2km/h). Based on my weight, it represents around 500 calories/h. I use to take 45min to work, so 375 calories per ride, or 750 calories per day. Which is the same as a McDonald’s bacon clubhouse crispy chicken sandwich:

I’m not recommending to eat this everyday you ride your bike, maybe once a year is ok.

Another way to look at calories is the energy that it represents. Summing up the calories, it give us a total of 58,500 gram calories, which is equal to 244,746 joules. If a 60W bulb is using 60 joules / second. I can guess that my energy was enough to keep a bulb lighting up for 1h07min.

…Maybe eating the burger is a better idea.


I just left my work, it was a relief in many ways, one of them was to put an end at this project. Side projects can be a worst nightmare, but also can turn your boring routine into something beautiful if you contemplate and enjoy the ride…

My last day of work, in the spot I use to take the pics.

Hope you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it. Please, don’t forget to ❤ or 👏 so more people can see it and get inspired to bike to work. Thanks! 🚲