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January 27, 2010


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Oh, also, there are no showers at my office! So I can't get to work too sweaty!


900 N Stafford St (Ballston Hilton) to 201 South 12th St (the very north end of Crystal Drive).
My normal commute time on the ART 42, including the time to walk from the bus stop to the office, is 40 minutes. Metro is usually about the same but can take up to 60 if i get unlucky with the transfer at Rosslyn. Driving takes <20 minutes, but the parking garage is expensive, so I almost never get to work that way.

Biking from North to South Arlington is tricky because you have to cross 395 somehow. So if you guys can come up with some quick and safe bike route that I haven't tried, that'd be great!


13th & Harvard NW to 1515 N Courthouse, Arlington in about 30 – 35 minutes via bike. Though I usually don't leave until after 9:00am.


- Start in the unit (<100) block of 8th St NE in DC
- Destination Courthouse Plaza in Arlington
- Commute either by bike or by Metro
- By bike - 25 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon (admittedly I treat this as a time trial - wearing bike gear, riding my road bike, etc)
- By Metro - 40 minutes door to door

I've never tried to ride wearing work clothes - I just worry I'd get there sweaty. Not to mention I just like to go fast.


What a great idea! 1800 block of North George Mason Drive to 2100 block of Wilson Blvd. I give myself 43 minutes to take the bus and Metrorail. Considering it's less than 4 miles, I know that biking will be much faster.


I'll give it a shot,

Start: 450 Massachusetts Ave NW DC
--walk to metro center at 11th and G
--orange line to Ballston
Finish: 901 N Glebe Rd. Arlington

This commute usually takes me about 30-40 mins.



That commute takes me 30 minutes by bicycle at a non-rigorous pace. (Starting at 13th st s and walter reed and ending by the Renwick - so essentially the same distance or slightly longer.) Plus no standing. :-)



Start Wheaton Plaza in Silver Spring. to Ballston metro in Arlington.

By metro, it takes about 1:05 - 1:15 minutes. Biking takes about 1:15 at a slow to moderate pace. By car, it can be anywhere from 35 minutes to one hour depending on traffic.


I think this will be hard to beat, but it's worth a shot. 2111 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Crystal City, to 725 23rd St. NW in DC. I take the blue line. Usual time, door to door, 31 minutes. Varies from about 25 minutes to maybe 37 depending on the wait.


Definitely do the 4501 Arlington Blvd challenge. I live at 4501 too! I get to Rosslyn in 12 minutes; 14th and U in 35. Bus to Rosslyn Metro to U Street Metro takes 60 minutes.

Try to measure consistency. My bike commute is always 30-40 minutes. My Metro commute has a much less predictable spread of 50-80 minutes.

Tim, BikeArlington

Thanks for the suggestion Steve--one of our participants is even putting together a spreadsheet tracking their time!

Steve O

The reason I suggest doing a simultaneous challenge is because many people are notoriously poor at estimating how long it takes --particularly car drivers, who tend to underestimate, because they only count from when they see the clock on their dashboard until they park.

I am sure that is not in the least true of our challengers here, though.

It might be a good idea to have the challengers actually track their real times for a week to get a more accurate estimate. That would also help to identify the variability involved, which--as you pointed out--is usually much lower with cycling.

Tim, BikeArlington

@Maya, @Elisa, @David - thanks for your challenges. We've gotten a couple submissions over email and we'll be posting our results on CommuterPageBlog over the next few weeks.

@Steve-O - the Street Films clip is a good one, and part of our inspiration. Their challenge, however, is just one route. We hope to cover routes for multiple people into and out of Arlington.

We'll probably be hooking up with a few challengers to ride at the same time they are commuting, but trying to coordinate several people's schedules might be too difficult. Besides, biking is much more consistent than other modes of transit due to surprise traffic issues or other various delays.


- David
- 4501 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22203
- 2300 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
- I usually drive, but sometimes I walk to the Ballston Metro and take it to Courthouse when my wife needs the car.
- I would say about 10 to 14 minutes by car. By Metro it is about 30 minutes, hopefully you can beat that.


I'm up for it.

Here's my commute: start at 2121 Columbia Pike (at S Courthouse Rd) - pick up the 16Y express bus to 1707 L St NW, DC. My commute times can really vary depending on the traffic, but average 30 to 35 minutes door to door.

Let me know how it goes!

Steve O

For a more realistic test, why don't you have the Bike Arlington rider meet the challenger in the morning and then meet again at the destination point? Just like the bike vs. car vs. transit contest in NY

Steve O

As a long-time bike commuter, I have found that it is almost always way faster to bike. See this previous blog post for one experience:
However, I would wear bike gear, ride fast and get a better workout, showering at work.
Some people would point out that the shower and changing takes time, but my rejoinder always was, "Didn't you shower this morning, too? It's a wash!" (haha - in terms of time, that is).

Chris, BikeArlington

Reply to Tom for clarification:
The helmet reference is only for the bike portion of the Bike Vs... challenge, which will be performed by a BikeArlington staff person. We like to wear a bike helmet when we ride. Helmets are not required by law for adults cycling in Virgina or DC. The helmet reference is just to provide some information on how we will perform the bike portion of the Bike Vs... challenge.

Tom not Tim

I don't wear a helmet to the office. Not in a car, not on the bus, not on the train and of course not on a bike.

Why is this required to participate?


All right:
--Start at 1410 N. Scott Street (Arlington)
--Walk to Court House metro station
--Metro to Capitol South metro station
--Walk to corner of New Jersey Ave. and C Street SE (Washington)

Time door to door (but not counting security into my office building): 35-40 minutes, depending on wait for Metro. I usually leave between 8:00 am and 8:15 am.

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