I was out the other night and I glanced down the Harvard Mall.
There were a few cars navigating the narrow road, but what really struck me was how many bikers were out. I started ruminating as I listened to the band playing in front of Cellar Door. We're missing the whole point in our discussions about how bike friendly ABQ is. Yes, we should pay careful attention to the bike commuters, but if the number of commuters is the only metric by which to measure how bike friendly or bike embracing Albuquerque is, then we've screwed up.
Here's some quick math. For argument sake, let's say I average 7 hours of sleep a night so during a week I'm spending 49 hours a week sleeping, and let's say I average 8 hours a day working and have 2 full days off...no surprise that's 40 hours a week. A week has 168 hours in it. Thus if you subtract the number of hours worked and the number of hours slept, you get79 hours that are pretty much not really accounted for. Now, just getting back and forth to work adds another sort-of definable metric, commuting. Let's say that the average person spends about two hours a day commuting to and from work. Thus now we subtract 10 more hours from our weekly total. That leaves 69 hours that people have to eat, recreate, socialize, exercise, etc. Now what if, as I suspected from the other night, that all those bikers that were buzzing up and down Harvard did that all the time. What if the bike was their main source of "get around" transport? What if a good deal of those people actually drove to work, then we'd miss their numbers when planning a way to make the city better for bikers? I speculate that there are more people who bike (for recreation, entertainment, errands, etc.) than we realize. I speculate that by using commuting as the standard metric for how successful, how mainstream biking is, we're missing the real story.
The real story is most people spend only a fraction of their time at work, thus why is increasing the number of bike commuters the main goal of a lot of bike organizations?