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Geeking it out!
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Discussion Starter #1
More thoughts on motorcycle emissions

Being the sad geek I am I’ve been monitoring quite accurately my fuel consumption on the TA. The current most accurate figures are an overall mean of 46 mpg this year. This is all my riding, which is predominantly city rush hour, local shopping trips and the odd motorway blast, which I guess is around 10-20% of total mileage.

Anyway there has been a lot of rumblings about how bikes are no better that cars, and maybe even worse, especially when looking at published fuel consumption figures.

While agreeing bike are not the eco-panacea to personal transport I believe in the bigger picture they must be less damaging that 4 wheels when used for single occupancy transport,(which if you look in any traffic jam is the predominant level of occupancy for cars.)

However when you do look at published fuel economy figures bike start to look quite bad. I don’t know if anyone watched channel 5 Fifth Gear last night, they tested the Volkswagen Polo Blue Motion, allegedly one of the most fuel efficient cars currently available. And on paper it appears really good-

Urban 57.6 mpg

Extra Urban 88.8 mpg

Combined 74.5 mpg

(Figures from VW!)

This puts the car in the £zero VED bracket with CO2 emissions of 99 g/km

However Fifth Gear tested one in a real word situation as the family run-around and it averaged…….47mpg (If my memory from last night serves me right, it could have been the low to mid 50’s but can’t find any info on the 5th Gear website!) But my point is it’s nowhere near the 74.5 mpg combined figure that the vehicle is sold on!

Now this car is in the zero road tax bracket, if it put out a little more CO2 on the government tax it would pay £35 road tax, but hang on, I’m getting nearly that on my TA, and it’s way better at reducing congestion, but I pay £65 a year road fund, but that’s a digression.

In the recent and IMO very poor “Bikes in Bus Lanes” discussion on Mr Vines Radio 2 show see XRV discussion here
The Anti motorcycles in bus lanes guy from the Cycle Touring Club (Ramblers on wheels) Who came across very well informed in the radio discussion spouted off statistics on how bikes emitted, again if my memory serves me right 8x more pollution that cars.( I can’t remember which pollutants, but it sounded BAD on the radio.)

Again I’m not wholly convinced by this, and Steve Berry (The pro bikes in the R2 interview) didn’t pick up on it as was to busy slating the CTS guys beard!!

But I think we could do with some proper independent research into the environmental impact of bikes, and in relation to cars, busses and the train.

buses, when running with passengers on board I would say are pretty good, but from my office window looking out on the London Road in Oxford at the moment, there are a lot of buses with less that 10 passengers on.

If I caught the train to work it would double my journey distance (and take three times as long and would entail 50% of the journey on a bus anyway) what would the carbon footprint of this entire journey be.

Motorcycling seems to be suffering a bit of an image problem, we get the impression the EU isn't that keen on powered two wheels, Transport for London withholding the report which allegedly seems to show at least a 40%-45% reduction in accidents involving all road users when motorcycles are allowed to use bus lanes. I feel some substantive positive research would help further our cause no end............maybe:rolleyes:


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P.S. I'm sure there's loads of holes in the ramblings above, it's been written while I'm configuring a new server here at work:angel7:
 

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Not travelling at all, or travelling by public transport, is the best for the environment. Unfortunately few of us "live over the shop", or even in the next street. And two-income families often end up living 30 miles from his workplace and 30 miles from hers. (OK, also his/his and hers/hers! :rolleyes:)

I doubt the pollutants of modern bikes are any higher than those from cars. Perhaps that guy's figures are from the days when we rode premix two-strokes in clouds of blue smoke! Nowadays pollutants would screw up the catalytic convertor.

Three more factors to add to the equation. When considering dust-to-dust environmental cost, motorcycles:
  • consume far less energy to make;
  • occupy less space when parked, e.g. in city centres;
  • can be recycled more easily as there are fewer compound materials.
 

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Ride any Road. Ask me...
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A project for an Ungergraduate??

Think you must consider the C footprint in a cradle to grave energy analysis. As DDY states there are many factors that would weigh heavily in the MCs favour, one simply being the reuse of parts. Bike breakers rarely weigh in any metals, the motorcycle user seems to have a need for all the parts of a scrapped bike.

My other idea is the actual mpg you get on a congested commute. If we take any form of pleasure riding out of the equation and just consider the "essential" traffic, going nowhere with the engine running is always going to let traffic down!

Even simply importing a bike costs less in E terms than a car, as we all know that can't be justified due to multiple occupancy factors, the majority of cars carry just 1 person!

Now, if I taught A level, there's a fab Geog/Sci project in here. Any Env Sci undergraduates out there looking for a final year thesis? You have a ready, willing and pretty able ( http://www.xrv.org.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=24649 )research base!

(I've an Env Sci BA, and a Waste MSc if its any help!)
 

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I did a check on my bus the other night.
Through the night I did 66 miles.
The total amount of fuel used was 120 litres.
The total number of passengers carried 200.
 

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Huh?
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What route do you drive, Mr Fingers?

How does the consumption compare to a car if you take the passenger numbers into account? I'd work it out myself but like Whealie I'd need half a brain!

-Simon
 

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Geeking it out!
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Discussion Starter #9
But a bike would need about 500 miles per gallon to compete.

I think, 2.5 miles per gallon for 1 person, 250 miles per gallon for 100, so yep, I think I'm right?
Does it make any difference the fact that most passengers didn't stay on the bus for the entire journey? rather that 200 passengers travelling 66 miles each, I guess they were on for no more than an average of say 3 miles (wild guess)

I should know the answer however my brain has seized up tonight:( hence asking teacher for help;);)
 

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Ride any Road. Ask me...
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Lets run it on "person miles per gallon" then. 1 bike, 1 person 47 person miles per gallon. 1 car, 1 person, 35 person miles per gallon, guessed, at best, in town etc. 1 bus, 66 passengers doing 3 miles each, 198 person miles, 120 l, 4.4l per gallon? 27.3 gallons, 198/27.3= 7.2 person miles per gallon.

ISH!

Moral - don't take the bus. Public transport is for closet Chealsea Tractor drivers!


(Now I run and hide!!)
 

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Ride any Road. Ask me...
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2,574 Posts
Lets run it on "person miles per gallon" then. 1 bike, 1 person 47 person miles per gallon. 1 car, 1 person, 35 person miles per gallon, guessed, at best, in town etc. 1 bus, 66 passengers doing 3 miles each, 198 person miles, 120 l, 4.4l per gallon? 27.3 gallons, 198/27.3= 7.2 person miles per gallon.

ISH!

Moral - don't take the bus. Public transport is for closet Chealsea Tractor drivers!


(Now I run and hide!!)

'locks, wrong numbers,

Lets run it on "person miles per gallon" then. 1 bike, 1 person 47 person miles per gallon. 1 car, 1 person, 35 person miles per gallon, guessed, at best, in town etc. 1 bus, 200 passengers doing 3 miles each, 600 person miles, 120 l, 4.4l per gallon? 27.3 gallons, 600/27.3= 22 person miles per gallon.

Pretty cool really. Bikes are best.

:toothy3:.
 

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nunquam scienter utilis
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Don't forget the energy required to make the car/bike in the first place. I seem to remember seeing figures that 75% of the energy a car uses in it's liftime is used to MAKE it - to get the iron from the ore, melt it, weld it, machine it, etc. On that basis, a bike has to be much better, surely?
 

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Just does not work at the weekends, Saturday night 250 people from west end of london to southeast london about 8 miles.

What route do you drive, Mr Fingers?
This was on the route 176 Penge - Oxford Circus.
 

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Geeking it out!
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Discussion Starter #15
Cheers all:thumbright: this is really interesting, some great points of view, facts and figures.

Obviously the problem with calculating carbon footprints is the bigger picture, Although I would love to be totally impartial I will be always be biased towards bikes;)

And I chuckle when the bus appears to perform a little worse that Ken Livingstone would want, however going back to the bigger picture I guess many residents of London don't own a car because they don't need to because of the public transport infrastructure. So the lack of vehicle ownership would have to be factored in, improving the buses standing.

Slightly different outside the major cities where vehicle ownership is more of a necessity.

Like MW says, there's a great research project for someone here.
 

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Wing Commander
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One other thing: Last Thrusday I went from home to Elephant and Castle in the rush hour (Old Kent Road and all) in no more than 15 minutes, either through or round the traffic. I had a 50 minute meeting and came back in ten minutes flat. The rest of the time I was being economically productive (well looking at this site :D).
I could not have done that on any other form of transport.
On Sunday morning I got one bus all the way to Paddington station in about 45 minutes (reading my book listening to music) but it ain't Sunday morning very often. And when it is not, the bike is unbeatable.
 

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A man without Ale.
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While it is true the riding a bike is not a green activity, (but hey hill walking is not either the errosion that the foot prints leave is bad...) I have always wondered what our foot print really is, these numbers (as above) are kinda interesting. I have always wondered if you did the bus calculations over an entire week.. so that it includes peak times as well as 3 am when the bus is empty and not moving a single person (the driver does not count as he (presumably) starts and finishes in the same place thus work=0).

The other big problem with public Trasportation is also that it is not econmically vaible for anyone that does not live in the city proper. e.g I comute 45miles a day, so using the above numbers that is about 4£ per day.. and parking for me is free. total = £4.00/day + bike depreacation so what £5/day and it takes me a bout 45m-1h per trip so lets say 2 hours (of time that i can use to think and relax and feel better about things.. ext).. The train cost £8.40/day and takes 1.5-1.75 hours.. (not including getting to the train station, which is 40 min on foot 5 by bike/car and parking cost £4/day...) So that is a 4 hour minimum investment, with a total layout of £12.40/pay + deprecation on bike/car or I can can invest an other 1..33 h so 5.5 hour investment and pay 8.40... I can not afford to take public t-port...


Not to even mention that I have taken the train 2x to work and have got to work more stressed and p1ssed off I have ever done on the bike..1st time the thing was 40 minutes late (so add that to my cost evaluation).. This am I got in to a agrument with a big fat Bstrd chav who tried to throw my bag off my seat cus he was to fat to fit!!! It was litterally a copper that stood up and told him to get off the train, just before i lost my temper. Also the trains are so crowed (which is good for Carbon print) but we where jammed in and people smell!!!! I have been at work since 9 (it is 11 now) and i am still not being productive cus i am in such a bad mood that i do not want to inflict this on my subjects..
 
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