News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bus vs. Bike vs. Car! The Amazing Race, or Some Semblance Thereof, Comes to Reston

amazing race.jpg

The most amazing road race, or some semblance thereof, will take place on Monday, when three "prominent" Restonians will see who can get from one corner of Reston to another the fastest using different modes of transportation. Think Around the World in 80 Days, except it's around Reston, not the world, and it won't involve hot air balloons... or will it?
To promote the May 20 Bike to Work Day in the D.C. region, Bruce Wright, chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, has issued a commuting challenge to several prominent residents of Reston. While Wright rides his bike Monday morning, Virginia Del. Kenneth R. Plum will drive his hybrid and Reston Association President Kathleen Driscoll McKee will ride a bus for a competitive commute of a little over three miles.

Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, who also is chairman of the Metro board, has been invited to meet them at the finish line at the Reston Town Center Pavilion.

The three plan to start at 8:15 a.m. Monday from Cobblestone Lane in south Reston. Each will be timed. Plum must park in long-term parking, as if he is going to be working at the Town Center for the day, then walk to the Pavilion. Wright must also park and lock his bike, then walk to the Pavilion. McKee’s travel time will include walking to and from the bus stops. But all three are allowed to choose their own routes, as long as they obey traffic laws.
Wright predicts he'll cross the finish line first on his fancy bike, which he might if he flies down the W&OD trail at warp speed. No word on whether Plum or McKee will also be required to wear spandex.

Update: As expected, cyclist Wright won handily, according to our BFFs at Patch. What was surprising was how long the bus took -- 52 minutes, compared to 13 on a bike and 19 in a car.


  1. It's official. $4/gal gas has come to Reston. I saw $4.049/gal for 87 octane at the Targetville Sunoco.

    Good thing the weather is improving. I foresee a warming in the relationship between me and my bike.

  2. And it gets even worse. I saw $4.079/gal for 87 octane at the Exxon by Home Depot. Isn't democratic revolution in the Middle East a wonderful thing?

  3. The bike rider will, counter-intuitively, head east, away from RTC, then pick up the W&OD and avoid the multi-traffic light crossings of the Toll Road that slow vehicular traffic. The bicyclist will win by a couple of minutes, easily.

    I'm an avid bicyclist, but this is confirmation bias or whatever.

    But I will LOL heartily if the bus rider wins.

  4. What an interesting idea. I can't wait to see the result -- let's hope the the drivers observe ways that the traffic signals can be better timed to reduce congestion and get more use and value out of what we already have.

    Watch out for the potholes and rough pavements along Reston Parkway near the toll road though!

  5. And, just why are we contemplating this during perfect weather?

    What is one to do when its 95 degrees and humid? Or icy? Or snowing? Or during standard time when it's dark at both ends of the commute? The few working street lights will surely not illuminate the way then...

    Yet another hair-brained special-interest idea.

  6. Right, 4:28. I'm sure the army of lobbyists from the Alternative Transportation Complex twisted their arms for this propaganda extravaganza.

  7. Hundreds of people are dead in the South and thousands more are suffering or homeless, including some in Virginia, and this is how we spend our time and abundant resources?

    Shame on the four of them!

  8. Abundant resources wasted: $1.50 on the bus ride, maybe $1 on the drive, and a few burned calories for the bike ride. Time wasted: about 15-25 minutes.

    Why were there such violent storms in the south that ended up kill and injuring so many people? Linking them to global warming is a stretch at this point, but "studies show that global warming will increase the frequency or intensity of many kinds of extreme weather." One of the biggest contributors to global warming is transportation.

    Maybe what we should be ashamed about is that we waste our not so abundant resources on driving single-passenger vehicles for short trips, the most polluting trip you can take in a car. Using a bicycle for some of these shorts trips should be an obvious way to get around, but to some it's a "hare-brained special-interest idea."

    For those who want to give it a try, register for Bike to Work Day at and come to the Town Center Pavilion on Friday May 20 to celebrate commuting by bike to work.

  9. 52 minutes for the bus?!? It takes me less time than that to go from Reston to Ballston via bus+Metro. Glad (and not surprised) the bike beat the car!

  10. What bus route(s) were used? That seems like an awfully long time. Did McKee even know which bus route was most direct? A full cycle on RIBS is an hour and this was less than a full cycle.

  11. Just goes to show you how clueless and out of touch the so-called "leaders" are. What a bunch of buffoons!

    Marion Barry salutes all of you!

  12. Sounds like a fun / amusing little contest.

    52 minutes to go about 3 minutes on the bus? McKee may have been better off walking.

  13. Ken Plum has a hybrid? I wonder if that makes him feel better about his church deforestation project on north shore??