Are You Ready? (Revisited...)
…To feed the gas tank that is? Gas prices opened the New Year amid predictions that 2012 would become the most expensive “gas year” on record…
If that opening sentence looks familiar, you have a good memory. In fact, it is probably a better memory than I possess at this point in life. It is the opening line from my cycling column Jan. 31, 2012. It just goes to show that some things just never change. Here we are again facing daily escalating gasoline prices, except this time, we’re nudging $4.00 a gallon earlier in the year than last year. This is despite the U.S. being less dependent on foreign oil than in the past.
The average citizen continues to see his or her usable income deteriorate as bigger and bigger pieces of an already shrinking pie become the reality. So, rather than the infamous “who ya gonna call?” from Ghostbuster days, a better question might be “what ya gonna do?” What can you personally do to salvage some of your income?
Two immediate things come to mind: 1) Walk more and 2) Bike more! Both lead to reduced gasoline costs and improved health leading to reduced medical costs.
Transportational or utility cycling is becoming one of the fastest growing segments of the American cycling landscape. More and more people are getting on two wheels and finding that they can get where they need to go in reasonable time and enjoy the trips more. Cities and towns all over America are putting into place the infrastructure needed to support a sweeping change in how America travels from point A to point B. A quick review of some statistics on Bikes Belong’s website shows that between 3% and 6% increases in cycling have occurred around the United States up to and including 2011. Of notable interest, is that an increase by 49% in the numbers of total cycling trips was for transportation or utility purposes as opposed to fitness and recreation. In other words, beyond improving physical and mental health, more and more Americans are returning to two wheels to get places.
With our relatively mild winters now, the “season” for riding can certainly be extended beyond the traditional warm months. It is a rare day now that I don’t see a cyclist out and about in Haywood County. With gas prices projected to trend upwards until Memorial Day, now might just be the “centsible” time to try swapping out one or two of those car trips for a bicycle trip or a good walk to town!
Want some help making it happen? Visit the BicycleHaywoodNC website and send me email with your specific questions. Additionally, stop in and visit Waynesville’s local bike shop, Rolls Rite Bicycles, just past the Board of Education building on North Main St.
For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org . You may also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.