- Car: Driving 3 miles to work takes about 8 minutes. Oh, I'm sorry, are you looking for a time quote DURING rush hour? Oh. Well in that case, it takes 20-30 minutes. During the summer, it's also 90+ degrees here, which means I have the A/C blasting and am burning through the $4.15 gallon of gas far more quickly than the 25 mpg I'm supposed to get. When I finally get to work, I can park in a garage for around $10 (a good price for this city), or drive around for a while, find a meter somewhere, and keep pumping $1/hour in quarters into it all day (thus ruining my productivity at work as I constantly have to break my train of thought to go downstairs and feed the meter). Or I could just pay the $235/month for a monthly garage pass. Either way, we're talking lots of time, lots of gas, and lots of money for parking.
SUMMARY: ~25 minutes, $10+ in parking and gas, NOT stinky when I get there.
Initial cost: $12,000-40,000+, depending on how fancy you want to get.
- Bicycle: The most common response when people find out I have a Segway is, "Why didn't you get a bike?" Well, I have a bike. Thing is, biking up and down hills for a few miles in 90 degree weather with swamp-like humidity tends to cause incredible levels of perspiration and general stinkiness. What a great way to start the day, huh? Sure, I could shower in the little locker room at work, but I don't always want to deal the logistical questions of bringing clothes to work, showering there, etc. That said, when I do take the bike, I go down hills at about 20 mph and up hills at about 8 mph. On average it takes about 15 minutes to go three miles.
SUMMARY: ~15 minutes, no transportation cost, STINKY when I get there.
Initial cost: $200-2,500+, depending on how fancy you want to get.
- Public transportation: I don't live near the Metro, so my only option is to take the bus. Some people might like waiting 20 minutes in the heat for three city buses to arrive in a clump, and then standing crammed in there like sardines for the next 25 minutes while drunken homeless men breath on you. I don't.
SUMMARY: ~45 minutes, $1.35 in fare (one way), not TOO stinky when I get there (but have to deal with a lot of stink on the way).
Initial cost: NONE.
- Walking: I always love how health-minded people get when confronted with the prospect of riding a Segway around. "What ever happened to WALKING?" ask Comic Book Guy lookalikes who rarely venture out of their basement. But let's be fair and examine walking as an alternative. Sometimes, when it's a really beautiful day, say 65-70 degrees and sunny with a light breeze, I'll walk home from work. It only takes about 50 minutes and sometimes I stop off at the bookstore. How pleasant. Problem is, I don't generally like to take my sweet time walking TO work in the morning. Also, the weather is not usually as cooperative. DC humidity will make dress clothes stick to your body in about 10 minutes.
SUMMARY: ~50 minutes, no transportation cost, KINDA stinky when I get there.
Initial cost: NONE.
- Segway: At its top speed of 12.5 mph, you can glide a mile (silly as it may be, that's the verb we use) in about five minutes. When you throw in waiting at crosswalks, it takes about 17 minutes to go 3 miles. Going downhill, I am passed by bicycles. Going uphill, I pass every bicycle. Either way, I never break a sweat. Riding the thing is incredibly fun, and after a while you tend to not notice the fact that people are staring. (Note: Most stares/shout-outs are of the "Holy crap it's a Segway!" variety, as opposed to "Holy crap it's a Nerd!" variety.) I lock the Segway up against a pole outside and set the alarm. Don't have to worry about changing clothes.
SUMMARY: ~17 minutes, a few cents in electricity to charge it (takes about 10 cents to fully charge and gets 20 miles on a charge), NOT stinky when I get there.
Initial cost: $4,500-5,500, depending on how fancy you want to get.
[I cannot compare driving a scooter (Vespa, etc.) because I haven't done that. Scooters get very good mpg so that saves you money, but you also have to buy insurance so that more than cancels out any savings. You also have to deal with traffic, and the fact that some people wouldn't really feel safe driving a light motorcycle around the city -- I know I wouldn't.]
Anyway, that's the breakdown. I've absolutely loved my Segway and put on about 600 miles in the year I've had it. It's not a perfect solution (not as fun to ride in the rain or cold), but it's better than most I've found! If anyone in the area would like to take a test glide, feel free to contact me.