Florida/Georgia Border

Fly Versus Ride

March 2005

When I received my first acceptance package from the IBA it included a handwritten note from President Mike Kneebone. The last line reads “… Welcome to the insanity!”

Dictionary.com gives several definitions for insanity, the most fitting being “extreme foolishness.” Iron Butt rides are unquestionably extreme LDR (long distance riding), but are they extreme foolishness? And would that mean LDR is foolishness, just not to extreme?

The answer to the first question is largely subjective: I don’t think Iron Butt riders are extremely foolish … but I think cigarette smokers are … and I bet I just lined up a bunch of you eager to assert the opposite.

The answer to the second question is a definite “NO”. As long as you have the right combination of rider, ride, route and resources, LDR is not only a great way to enhance your riding experience, but also a practical transportation alternative. Here is one example:

Option 1 (FLY): Let’s say you needed to go from Miami FL to Athens GA for business (serious … or monkey). If you fly commercial, Orbitz.com says the best deal from MIA is US Airways connecting through Charlotte NC. The flight will cost about $120 each way, and the published flight duration (air plus connection time) is about 5 hours. To these figures, let’s add $30 at each end for ground transportation, 45 minutes for getting to the airport and through security, and another 45 minutes for getting you and your bags to your destination. To fly, we now have a one-way trip cost of $180 with a total trip duration of 6.5 hours (assuming, of course, that the airline employees show up for work … and no one tries to detonate their sneakers).

Option 2 (RIDE): What if you rode instead of flying? Maps.Msn.com says Miami to I-95 to the Turnpike to I-75 to US-129 to Athens is a 685.5 mile ride that will take you 11 hours and 24 minutes. At 50 miles and $2 per gallon, you’ll need about $30 for gas. Let’s add $30 more for food and incidentals, and 1.5 hours for meals and breaks. To ride, then, we have a one-way cost of $60 with a duration of about 13.0 hours.

FLY vs. RIDE: How do these options compare? Obviously, riding from Miami to Athens costs only a third as much as flying ($60 vs. $180), but it takes twice as much time (13 vs. 6.5 hours). So, which is the best way to go? Personally, I would gladly choose the freedom of the road–and a few extra hours of rolling, scenic countryside–over the hassles of airport security and the all the rest of the headaches of post-911 air travel. But what’s right for you … is up to you.

BTW, if you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer browser (MSIE), you can type any of the partial web addresses I gave you in bold above directly into your Address Bar. Your browser will automatically resolve the complete URL (Uniform Resource Locator), and take you there.

Until Next Time … Ride Long, Ride Free!