After a couple beers at Amnesia last night, I asked Casey Negreiff to write about his winning bike ride across town. I was a little surprised to find a snarky, tongue-in-cheek diatribe in my inbox this morning.
He makes three key points: 1) Team Bike took this race to heart (see sweaty photo, above); 2) Because we all recorded our trips, we know how long it took Team Car to fill up for gas (13 minutes) and by how much the bikes actually beat the car (7 minutes); 3) Cyclists don’t get reimbursed for mileage!
With that, here’s the word from Negreiff, who I might note doesn’t own a car and bikes to work at 4 a.m. every day to produce Morning Edition:
I have long history of being right, so of course I knew it all along: I entered OPB’s commute challenge with the certitude that my Team Bike partner Alex Johnson and I would be lounging on Amnesia Brewing’s patio, frosty brew in hand, waiting for our commute-weary colleagues to join us.
To be fair, Alex and I hauled ass. But we didn’t have to. Riding at a leisurely pace would have added 5 minutes to our trip time and would have left me dry instead of dripping sweat. But then our lead would have been cut to a paltry 15 minutes, instead of the robust 20 minutes it took for Kristian Foden-Vencil and Evan Sarnoffsky, aka Team Car, to arrive.
Team Car would have arrived 7 minutes early, by my estimation, if Foden-Vencil hadn’t backtracked to fill his Saab with “petrol.” So confident was he in his team’s victory, he incorporated the fill-up into his route as a way of throwing us cyclists a bone. Also delightful to see was his Saab pull up to the brewery, and then commence circling the block, in search of parking. Another 5 minutes elapsed before we saw him again, this time on foot, his 3000 pounds of private property stowed for free in the public right-of-way.
Team Public Transit, Cassandra Profita and Kaila Johnson, tried to spin their hour-long sojourn in the best way possible: They met lots of “interesting” people on the bus, they said, and were regaled with tales of woe and delight. That really says something about getting on a bus with a large, visible microphone in tow. Also worth noting is that in “Light Rail City USA” TriMet’s trip planner had them travel exclusively by bus.
The summer construction season actually seemed to benefit us cyclists. The most direct route from where we started to where we ended, Moody, is closed due to streetcar track construction — but only to northbound motor vehicles. The sidewalk has been left open, and signs and fences shunt riders onto it, where they mingle carefully with humans on two feet.
One more thing: Since Kristian used his car in service of this story, he is allowed to receive compensation from OPB for the distance he drove. The reimbursement rate is 51 cents per mile. Some months ago, I rode my bicycle to Vancouver, Washington and back for an interview that aired on Morning Edition. Did I get 51 cents per mile for the wear and tear on my bicycle and fuel consumed by my body? No way! My reimbursement form was soundly rejected by OPB’s bean counters. True, it would have been less than $15, but come on! Cars, man! WHY?