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Video: Bike Vs Helicopter in ultimate commuting challenge… guess who won?

Bike v helicopter v car v bus v runner v walker v wheelchair

Sao Paulo staged the ultimate inter modal commuter challenge last month as part of World Car Free Day. Cyclists competed with a helicopter, car, bus, runner, and a competitor in a wheelchair to find out which form of transport would make it across town to City Hall during the evening rush hour. The bike won, as you can see in the video below.

In fact two bikes, one ridden by a commuter cyclist the other by a courier finished before the helicopter which took second place. The cyclists did the journey in a time of 22 minutes beating the helicopter by over 10 minutes, the car took a whole hour longer to complete the trip doing it in a time of 1:22, slower than the bus which took 1:11 and only 10 minutes faster than the person who walked… the runner was quicker than both in 1:06.


The challenge was staged to make people aware of other forms of transport, Sao Paolo is the business capital of South America, and though it has bus and a subway network it doesn't have enough of either forms of transport to cope with demand. By contrast the city has, by recent estimates, more than 6 million cars on its streets and that figure is climbing. The average Sao Paolo resident spends 3 hours a day stuck in traffic, that's 15 hours a week or the equivalent of two working days. The main roads are often the scene of 50 miles worth of tail backs.

The idea of the challenge as to draw attention to some possible alternatives to all that wasted time, pollution and stress.'s founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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