graph: when are bikes faster than airplanes

After a group of cyclists (and someone on public transit and a rollerblader) beat a jetblue plane from burbank to long beach this past weekend during carmageddon, Nadia Korovina did a little analysis on Bike Commute News and came up with a simple equation to find the maximum distance at which traveling by bike is faster than traveling by plane:


 (Nadia, is that LaTeX? I’m impressed)

In the blog post, Nadia and Jordan found that the maximum distance where a bike is faster than a plane, assuming a 2.5 hour delay (including time standing in line, security, waiting, transport to and from the airport), 25mph average cyclist speed (those @wolfpackhustle guys can hustle), and an airplane speed of  500mph.


Some commenters wondered how things would work out for someone who rides a bit slower, and someone else asked about graphs.


so, here you go:





A bike traveling at 20mph would travel 52.1 miles before being passed by the jet.  At 15mph, this distance is 36.7 miles, at 12.5mph, this distance is 32.1 miles, and at 10mph, this distance is 25.5 miles.  The jetblue thing was definitely a bit of a stunt – I don’t think many people would expect a plane to be too efficient for a 40-mile commute, but this whole #flightvsbike thing goes a long way in showing the viability of using a bike for an everyday trip.  good work, all.