Last Saturday I did a car trip on the same route to and fro as I did on my bike over a month ago . It is surprising to witness the change in the experience between a car drive and a bike ride on the same route. Similar to the bike trip, I started my solo car trip around the same time i.e. early morning 5 am. Took the same amount of breaks at the same spots and reached the destination more or less on the same time!
In this one day trip, I had the company of my grandparents during the return journey. Unlike the bike trip, in this one I drove back to Pune on the same day completing around 530 km in 17 hours. I have done 520 km in 17 hours on the bike before and couldn’t help but compare both the experiences.
Comfort: As against the bike where only your bum is lucky enough to get a bench like support, inside the car, things are more comfortable. However, after couple of hours you start missing the freedom of movement and with the seat-belt strapped around you, you feel like a school kid punished for not completing your home work.
On the bike, when you body parts start aching you have some room to stretch and move around. Riding the bike involves work to be done by majority of the muscles of the body than in the car where most of the work is done by the limbs. The rest of the torso is simply resting and getting bored.
For a long solo trip, I would prefer the bike over the car. Car makes sense only when you have company and when you have tons of luggage to carry!
Economy: Running the bike (not a high spec and expensive bike) against running a car is certainly more cheap in terms fuel and maintenance.
Safety: This is the sole area where the car trumps over the bike. Considering the road conditions and the number of idiots driving fast and heavy vehicles on the road, car is a safer option to travel. The metal part from the other vehicle will hit the metal part of your car first unlike that on a bike where chances of it hitting your body part is substantially high!
Fun: There is no doubt that car is more cozy than bike under the harsh Sun, pouring Rain and extreme Cold, but this exactly why drives become boring after a few hours. You are well isolated from the outside environment and this is the fun killer for the cars. On the bike, you get to see and experience a lot more of the surroundings from the tiny helmet visor than from a car window. You can feel the change in the air, smell the foul from the sugarcane factories and the fragrance from tea plantations. You can also measure the lean angle (pun intended!) on a bend and clearly feel the difference between a tar road and a cement one! Riding bike is a mechanism that gets you closer to the surrounding and makes the experience more engaging and fun!
In a car, a good company along with you makes the long drive more enjoyable, else you are surely going to die of boredom.
That is not it, on the bike, you command less space on the road, hence your fight and struggle is lesser. Compare it to that of a car where you are constantly fighting to reserve the space as much as the size of your car. This struggle is whats gets more fatigue.
At the end of the 520 km after 17 hours in a day, on the bike, my bum was cursing me but I was still smiling ear to ear thinking that it was one of the best way to spend a day. In the car, at the end of the day, my body was aching, my eyes were swollen and I had less then half of the fun as much as that on the bike, but in turn I got my grandparents home so that all of us can spend some quality time together for coming days!