Ari Bader-Natal

Basic accounting for bicycle commuters

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I've seen several web-based tools for cyclists to keep track of their rides, but rarely see one designed specifically for commuting. A recent post by Noah at Commute by Bike described the spreadsheet that he uses to keep track of his bicycle commuting. If you take a look at the spreadsheet, you'll find the following columns summarizing each month of riding:

  • Car commute days: I want this number to be as low as possible for 2008!
  • Bus-assisted multi-mode commutes, which are a blessing in the winter
  • Separate mileage counters for commuting, errands, and recreation
  • Separate mileage counters for each bike for maintenance purposes
  • Temperature extremes
  • Cold weather clothing logs to help me fine-tune my attire for those really chilly days

Particularly in the month-by-month sheets, I like the focus on mode of transportation for the commute rather than on speed or purely on mileage. I'd actually drop mileage entirely, and focus more on weather conditions (rainy? headwinds? icy? sunny?) and cargo weight (none? a box of books?). I do like that the AM and PM commute are tracked separately. Add a bit of code, and your spreadsheet can email you when it's time to recharge the batteries in your lights and sound system.