Cycle commuting – the decision making flowchart

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I think I’ve cracked it.

When I cycled to work today – a glorious, beautiful and frankly amazing day to ride a bike – I wondered how I could help all those poor souls wedded to their cars. I mean, why would you want to be couped up in a metal box, breathing recycled air on a day like today unless you really, really have to? (and let’s face it, some people do have to. I have to drive to work for instance, when I’m travelling around our 3 South Wales sites and covering around 50 miles at a time. Others may have health problems or similarly difficult places to travel to and from). So I thought I’d produce a little flowchart to ease the process for everyone else.

Now I’m a big fan of systems and I think pretty much anything can be flowcharted as long as you think it through fully and on occasions, are ready to use an almighty sheet of paper and several coloured pens. So why not flowchart a decision making process for a sunny day, targeted at serial car drivers who fail to see the better option? Here is my stab at it. I’m sure we can flesh it out a bit more and I invite potential collaborators to put your two penneth in. The flowchart is deliberately irreverent and you can play around with the distance threshold (5 miles) ’til you’re blue in the teeth. I reckon my threshold would be around 15 miles depending on route. You can also challenge my views on lycra. I LOVE the stuff. But only for training and racing in. The rest of the time it makes you stand out like a sore thumb, can be unpleaseantly whiffy and is a bacterial nightmare. I like wearing jeans and a t-shirt when I’m sat in a café  sipping my flat white and gazing lovingly at my bike.

Please feel free to comment and distribute. Happy commuting.

Simon's Cycle commute flowchart

10 replies »

  1. Thanks Dan, Me too. My guess is that if they’re not already cycle commuting, there’s probably some mental cap on the acceptable distance. If you already love it as much as we do – you’re there! (as an aside, the UK concept of distance is also a little bit different from in the US. Something that is 100 miles away is considered to be a heck of a distance as opposed to a short nip over to the next town 🙂 ).

    • Most of that distance for me is just because of my location. In rural America, that’s just a normal thing to get to “town.” That’s part of the reason why mass transit in much of the US just doesn’t even exist. Even then, my bicycle commute is an hour and 20 minutes by car. That 80 minutes per day is well worth the benefits!

  2. Very nice, a big fan of flow charts. My every decision feels like a mental chart at some point. For cycling, I like to keep things simple. Is it raining? No = Bike unless boozing after work. Yes = Public transport. (Yeah, I’m a fair weather cyclist. I enjoy cycling too much to ride in the rain!)

    • Thanks. Flow charts will save the planet. Honest.

      Spotted the need for 2 decision points on your flowchart. If you find a pub with a good off road route all the way home, you can reduce it to one 🙂

  3. I love this, but I’d make a couple of small points! 5 miles is a 20 minute commute, but I’d argue that topgraphy is a bigger factor than distance, at least for me. My ride home has a big climb at the end of it –not someting I’d want to do on a pre-breakfast ride, but I’d happily double the distance on flat ground.

    Secondly, I love lycra and wear it whenever I ride –it’s comfortable and allows me to keep my work clothes dry and fresh for the day ahead. 🙂

    • You have to go with whatever works for you, for sure. I love my lycra for training and racing, whilst my bike jeans come out for the city. But whatever your preference, go by bike! 🙂

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