Bicycle Beats Out Subway, Taxi in Commuter Race

May 24, 2009 Updated: May 24, 2009

NEW YORK—When you’ve been in a hurry to get to work or to catch a show, have you ever wondered what form of readily available transportation would get you there the fastest? That is the spirit behind Transportation Alternatives’ 8th Annual NYC Commuter Race, where three commuters-one by bike, one by subway, and one by taxi-raced to see who could make their commute the fastest. And in the end, the winner by more than 15 minutes was Bronx librarian Rachael Myers on her bicycle.

"As soon as I saw all the traffic backed up on the Queensboro Bridge, I knew this wasn't going to be a fair fight," boasted Myers, who rode her bicycle to victory. "I actually was able to finish a cup of coffee before anyone else made it to the finish line.”

Myers finished the four point two mile race from the Aubergine Café in Sunnyside, Queens to Columbus Circle in Manhattan in 20 minutes 15 seconds, beating out transit rider Dan Hendrick (35:16) and taxi rider Willie Thompson (47:11).

Hendrick couldn’t believe that Myers beat him by a whole 15 minutes.

"I ride the subway to work from Sunnyside every day, and I'm a die-hard transit rider," said Dan Hendrick of the New York League of Conservation Voters, who took the 7 and 1 trains to reach the destination. "Still, I'm trying to wrap my brain around what I would do with an extra 15 minutes every morning."

And Thompson was forced to rethink the equation: in a hurry = take a taxi.

“Anytime I'm in a hurry, I take a cab thinking it'll get me there the fastest. I can't believe I lost by 27 minutes today," said Willie Thompson, a marketing specialist who took a yellow cab.

According to 2000 Census figures, New Yorkers have the longest commutes in the country, about 45 minutes. The average bicycle commute in New York City only takes 30 minutes. Transportation Alternatives calculated the carbon footprint of each commute today. The bike produced zero emissions; the transit commute generated about one pound of greenhouse-causing CO2, the driving commuter produced a hefty 6 lbs of CO2 (and paid a taxi fare of $20).