Bicycle wins in biker vs. car errand race

Brent Christensen was stopped at a light at rush hour on NW 13th Street and NW 5th Avenue when he saw him.

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Published April 26, 2007 by The Gainesville Sun
By Andrew Tan
 
Brent Christensen was stopped at a light at rush hour on NW 13th Street and NW 5th Avenue when he saw him.

Ed Poppell, vice president of business affairs at the University of Florida, was leaving Mr. Goodbike on his Kona mountain bike, meaning he was ahead of Christensen, president of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The two were involved in an "errand" race that pitted car against bike.

The car took 20 minutes to run a set of prescribed errands, while the bike took 10 minutes.

The race began at Tigert Hall on the UF campus and involved stops at Mr. Goodbike, Deja Brew, FIA Clothing and the Wine & Cheese Gallery.

Christensen said he wanted the light to change, but it didn't.

"It was maddening watching him leave," he said.

The errand race was part of "Walking the Talk/Closing the Gap: Transforming Environmental Values into Sustainable Practices," a series of events held by the UF office of sustainability, department of religion and department of political science.

Dedee DeLongpré, director of the office of sustainability, said the goal is to make people with environmental values begin acting environmentally. DeLongpré said the errand race tied together three important ideas: alternative transportation, shopping locally and supporting local agriculture.

DeLongpré said the importance of shopping locally and supporting local agriculture is helping reduce the amount of shipping in the United States.

"Everything is interconnected," she said.

Poppell said he was helped in the race because he didn't have to worry about parking, like Christensen did, and he was able to use more roads that didn't have traffic lights or stop signs.

Christensen said the little things hurt. The time it takes to leave the car, lock the car, put on the seat belt, they all added up, he said.

Christensen, who used a Flexcar Civic hybrid, said he knew it would be a challenge trying to beat a bicycle during rush hour.

"It was fun to try anyway," he said.