If three commuters leave for the same spot three miles away and one takes a bike, one a car and one a bus, who gets there first? The contest sounds a bit like a high school math test, but Bruce Wright of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling hoped it would promote interest in Bike to Work Day on May 20, and in commuter cycling generally.
Wright won the competition Monday morning, just as he figured he would, since he wanted to show the advantage cyclists have on relatively short trips to work.
The other contestants in the Reston commute were Del. Kenneth Plum (D-Fairfax), who drove his hybrid car, and Reston Association President Kathleen Driscoll McKee, who took a Fairfax County Connector bus. Kerie Hitt, also with Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, also participated as a cyclist.
The trip from the neighborhood near South Lakes High School to Reston Town Center took Wright just over 13 minutes. Hitt arrived three-and-a-half minutes later, Wright said. Plum got there in 19 minutes. McKee’s trip took 50 minutes. Fairfax Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, who also serves as chairman of the Metro board, was at the finish line to greet them.
Wright said he hoped the contest would show that cycling is a viable option for many people on a short commute. I hope it has a future for commuters who now drive short distances to Metro stations. That would help the commuters, because they would save the annoying cost of warehousing their cars all day at a Metro garage. And it would help the communities, because it might save the cost of building more of those concrete fortresses that now surround our outer Metro stations and allow that valuable land to be used for more productive purposes.
McKee had the longest trip because her nearly-full RIBS 2 bus wound through Hunter’s Woods Village Center and picked up passengers on its way to Reston Town Center. Wright points out that bus service is likely to get faster once the Dulles Metrorail line is open at the Wiehle Avenue and Reston Parkway stations and new, more direct routes are put in place later in the decade.
The May 20 Bike to Work event in Reston will be held at the Town Center Pavilion. There will be Bike to Work gatherings all across the D.C. region.