Bike vs trolley

(…and no, I’m not talking about a collision!)

I sometimes catch the 1st Street trolley to whisk me from downtown San Jose to River Oaks Station, which in turn is a little over a mile from the office. The trolley normally travels at something like 40 MPH down 1st street north of Japantown, but it makes frequent stops that drops the average speed to maybe 25 MPH. I think taking the light rail is a little bit fast than biking, but I’ve never actually compared the times.

This morning, I just happened to turn onto 1st on my bike just as the trolley left the station, so I race the train to see which is faster.

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I just barely kepts up with the San Jose 1st Street trolley this morning. The trolley jumped ahead two or three blocks. I’d catch up as the train stopped for passengers, then the train jumped ahead again. Trolley vs bike, for me, is mostly a draw. Since I must wait four or five minutes for the train anyway, the bike will almost always win. I sweat a lot less in the train, of course. The train is also handy for rain days or when I don’t feel like exerting myself.


  1. Sounds like if you were in a hurry, the bike would always win with a little exertion.

    It’s hard for me to say how long my commute is, because it depends on what time I leave to catch waves of traffic, and what the weather is. Generally I plan on 10-15 minutes by car, or 20-30 by bike. I did find this summer that in the best possible conditions (defined as dry roads, no train, light traffic) I could bike it in 13 minutes at a reasonable pace, or drive in 10. Someday I want to race the route and see if I can actually bike it in 10, but that last short steep hill might leave a gallon of sweat behind.

  2. Air Zounds 2 is a great rechargeable airhorn if you don’t want to waste a bunch of metal and God knows what chemicals go into the disposable airhorn…

  3. i’ve found that if you take into account the waiting for the light rail it’s never faster 🙂 i never pass them but they almost never pass me either so it’s mostly a wash…

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