Long ago, I used to live 25 kilometers from my work place. I used to take the bus to work. And the route, was unfortunately decided by the transport coordinators (and not me), and hence the bus refused to take the 25 km road. It instead, took a roundabout, dropping me 2 kms ahead of my home – making the total distance around 30 kilometers. It was a hard life. The day used to begin at 7:15 AM in the morning, and end at 7:30 PM in the evening – on the good days. And this was in a company which had an 8 hour day. Which means (I know you can do basic math but I am helpful) that I spent 4 hours and 15 minutes on road.
Now I live 2 kilometers from work – door to door. This state technically should be bliss. If you look at it mathematically –
60 kilometers in 255 minutes
1 kilometer in 4.25 minutes
2 kilometers in 8.5 minutes
However, traffic at 6 PM is much higher than traffic at 8 PM (which is when I leave). And we will build in an additional assumption that states that the same distance would take 20% less time at 8 PM.
So if we can cover 2 kilometers in 8.5 minutes at 6 PM
At 8 PM it would be 8.5*.8 = 6.8 minutes
Lastly, my base travel was by bus, a big Volvo bus, and now it is on a bike. We all know how buses move in traffic vs two wheelers in our country. Additionally, buses stop to drop of folks, a bike doesn’t. So even if I look at another 20% saving here (which is very conservative), we should take
6.8*.8 = 5.44 minutes
There is always a but. Turns out that this equation doesn’t work. Because of this amazing, frequent phenomena on the the roads – we call it U turn.
I don’t understand U turns. I mean, I know we need U turns because when you have dividers, it means there has to be some point where you turn around and go to the place you left behind, just because it was on the other side of the road, but the number of u turns in this world, and the length of road you have to cover to make it to a U turn, are getting close to unbelievable these days. I have spent some time getting frustrated over the traffic, and signals and U turns, and then traffic on signals near U turns now, but my final conclusion has been that U turns were made to make us healthier.
To give some persepective, the green lines are the shortest routes to and from work, and add to 1.8 kilometers, rounded to 2. But, because the authorities take some pleasure in blocking turns and gaps in dividers, I was first promoted to the blue route, and now, take the red. This one, by the way, has a signal. Which means I get to gawk at my office from the other side of the road for a good 10 minutes. All in all, I spend nearly 20 minutes on the road, on good days.
Also, on the way back, I have to take a God forsaken U turn at the other end of the city. This is ok, because the traffic is manageable. But, some how, after the turn is taken, and all that remains is a left to gain freedom, the folks going straight refuse to give way. The just stick around, enjoying their time on the road, while idiots with their left indicator on, wait for them finish their city tour, so that they can go home.
Which brings me to my theory of how U turns promote good health. You see, I realized that instead of all these turns and signals and waiting for imbeciles to move, if I just walked to office on the said green route, I would reach in 25 minutes flat. Tried and tested.
And so I manage. Walk at times, ride at times and sometimes just wonder why there couldn’t be a zipline connecting my home to my office. But most of the time, I whack myself on the head really hard for whining about what is the most perfect and comfortable travel to work I have ever had. Touchwood.