Study: Light bikes don't mean quicker trip

Dec. 10, 2010 at 8:46 PM
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LONDON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Buying a lighter, and probably more expensive, bicycle for one's daily commute over an older, heavier one won't save time, a British researcher says.

A British doctor who owns two bikes, one heavy and one light, say he found no time difference in his daily round-trip commute of about 27 miles, regardless of which bike he used, an article in the British Medical Journal reported Friday. Dr. Jeremy Groves, an anesthesia and intensive care consultant, owns two bikes -- a second-hand 30-pound steel framed bike bought for $80 and a new 20-pound carbon-framed bike that cost $1,500.

After a few commutes on each bike, he began to wonder if the expensive bike was worth it, so he set up a random trial. For six months he made the same commute using both bikes, flipping a coin to decide which bike he would ride each day.

The trip included a motorway, country lanes, farm roads and an uphill stretch of about 450 yards.

The result? The average journey on the steel-framed bike was one hour, 47 minutes, compared to one hour, 48 minutes on the carbon-framed bike.

"This study has shown that spending a lot of money on a bicycle for commuting is not necessarily going to get you to work more quickly," Groves said. "A reduction in the weight of the cyclist rather than that of the bicycle may deliver greater benefit at reduced cost."

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