Saturday, December 16, 2006

some numbers

Descension and ascension

My bike commute is more down than up in the morning; the reverse in the afternoon when I come home again. Specifically, the USGS topographic maps for the area show elevation of 350 feet at my starting point and 90 feet at my destination, which I calculate to be an overall drop of 260 feet. Of course it's not as simple as that. I descend from 350 to 60, ascend to 200, descend to 80, ascend to 90, descend to 20, and finally ascend to 90. The ride home is more dramatic since I take a hilly route through the park: 90 down to 20, up to 85, down to 80, up to 200, down to 60, up to 340, down to 323, up to 380, and finally down to 340. Here it is in diagramatic form. The scale on the left is feet above sea level and the boxes are elevation points -- the ascents and descents of this journey of my working days. (I've left out the 27.5 ft. descent/ascent between street and garage where I park the bike.)
{click to enlarge}

I park the bike in the garage of the building where I work. The garage is in the lowest level of the building. I work seven stories up, on the floor that's next to the top one. Ignoring the elevators, I climb the stairs from sub-basement to fifth floor each workday morning. Mid-day, I almost always go down to the ground floor to pick up books from the Loan Division and then up to the sixth floor cafeteria and back to my office for lunch. Most days I go up and down a few floors to meetings. At day's end, I descend to the sub-basement again to claim the bike. Floors are 14 ft. apart (except from first to second, which is about 2 ft. more), and the total distance from bottom to top is 112 ft. This diagram shows the ups and downs of my stair-climbing day, leaving out the unpredictable one-floor-down, one-floor-up activity.

{click to enlarge}

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