Save Money By Bicycle Riding
The Wonders Of Bicycling
John Howard,"The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine".
Einstein," Life is like riding a bicycle to keep your balance you must keep moving."
Mark Twain, "Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live".
Gas And Car trouble
The price of gas jumped from $4.09 to $4.47 overnight. Late for an appointment I passed by the $4.09, tomorrow before our trip would be soon enough. I woke up to the new blaring the news of the overnight gas hike jump. Because of hot weather, so late in September and October the refineries were running low on summer blend gasoline. (This is only a difficulty in California.) They had already switched to winter blend when nearly two weeks of 90-100 degrees weather prevented the refineries from releasing gas to gas stations. The governor has asked the California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.) to relax regulations so gas can flow again.
Ride Around Bass Lake
We had a wonderful bike ride near Yosemite on Saturday. Bass Lake was beautiful. The weather was amazingly beautiful.
Gas on the way home was $4.57 per gallon or more.
About eight miles from home the clutch on our car gave up the ghost just before the last hill into our valley. We managed to get off the freeway and nurse the car home.
With the bikes on the car we weren't concerned about getting ourselves home, There lies the beauty of bicycling. You can be independent of those incredibility annoying things called cars.
Bicycling For Fun And Pleasure
The desire to be independent started me bicycling. After taking the bus today I remembered why I love bicycling. You follow your own schedule. You don't have to run through the house looking for correct change. Riding saves on gas and you are independent. Starving students find bicycling essential. Still there are more reasons to start cycling than the rising cost of gas. Bicycling is great fun with your children and friends. Bicycling promotes a healthy lifestyle. You can eat more if you cycle regularly. There can also be savings on car insurance. Sometimes it is just faster to bicycle. I can walk to the garage, put on my helmet, hop on my bike ride to the mail box and back in the time it takes me to find the keys, get in the car, put on my seat belt, stop at the signal then the stop sign, find a place to park while I put the letter into the box then drive home. You look at the terrain when you ride a bike and say howdy to the people you pass. For several years there was a man who sat in a chair on his front lawn on my way to the gym. Some days I would stop and listen to his stories. He had amazing stories. He hadn't had water in his house for about a year. When one of the neighbors heard about it he re-piped the guys whole house. Wow, I would never have known the goodness of people had I never stopped. If I had been driving it would been easy to passed the old guy.
My inspirations were Dwight and Murial. They were a retired couple who sold their cars and bicycled wherever they went. He was a scientist and she a teacher. It they really needed a car they rented one or called their kids. Otherwise they rode or took the bus. Every day when I went out,be it to the gas station or grocery store there they were. They went on rides with the local bicycling club and vacationed in Mexico bicycling there and back (about 1,600miles). Both rode their bikes until shortly before they died in their 80's. What was it that kept them riding. Their bikes were like old shoes that mold to your feet and fit perfectly.
Chances are the old bike hanging in your garage doesn't fit and isn't in good repair. If your bike fits well you are more likely to ride, so fit should be top priority. If the bike in your garage does fit what is stopping you from dusting it off and pumping the tires? Once you get back on it you will remember the joy of riding.
I stopped to help a lady recently with a flat tire. She was bummed, because she had new tires and it was only the second ride she taken in 13 years. She couldn't believe how much fun she was having.
Love At First Ride?
The love of Bicycling came quietly over a period of time. Then one morning I woke up and thought "I really love to bicycle. Nothing else but love would spur someone on to ride 66 mile in the wind, sleet and rain. The Cinderella Classic was rain, sleet, wind and flat tires this year. The Valley Spokesman sponsor that ride.
Cars Last Longer
When you bicycle here, there, and everywhere your car lasts longer. There isn't the wear on your car from driving in town. Cars that have high freeway mileage usually last longer than cars that have high in town miles. Think about where you drive. For me it is 1.5 miles to the gym, 1 mile to the grocery store, dentist, chiropractor and/or mail box. It is 1.5 miles to my sons school. One day I never drove more than 2 miles from my house and I still drove 50 miles. All those turns are rough on tires. Small children require a bit of extra equipment, but they can enjoy riding with their parents too. Some planning,Tag- a-longs, trailers and child seats make riding with small children fun and safe.
After eleven and a half years of car pooling, a commuter train came to our town, my husband and the guy he carpooled with never looked back. The only problem with the train was getting the 4 miles to their offices after they got off the train. They tried the bus, it took too long. Bicycling to work seemed like the thing. Eventually a company shuttle was contracted, but the bike became the stress reducer. At insurance renewal time I talked with an agent and when she asked how far my husband drove to work I said, "He doesn't". Because he went from driving 500 miles a week to about 5 miles our car insurance was significantly lowered.
How To Get Started
First you need a bike, and a helmet. Garage sale bikes are good. The bikes you buy at Costco and Walmart are also good. Bicycle technology has come so far in the last 10 years that low cost bicycles work as well as pricier bicycles for the around town rider. When you start seriously riding, a more expensive bike might appeal to you. If you have a small child, a trailer or bicycle seat would be essential. For the older child a tag-a-long or a bike in good working condition is critical. Now ask yourself some questions.
1. What kind of riding will I be doing?
Will you ride just a few miles to the post office and back or will you be commuting to work some distance? If you don't intend to ride far a cruiser with just a few speeds may be perfect. If you are commuting and time is a factor a hybrid road bike might be good. Of course if you will be climbing mountains then a mountain bike is the bike for you.
2. Does your bike fit you?
Can you comfortably straddle the bike bar with both feet flat on the floor? If you can't the bike is too big, flee from it. Several years ago my triathlon buddy started riding her bike. Something didn't feel right. Her hip hurt for days after riding. When I saw her on the bike it was apparent that it was too bike for her five foot six inches. The guy who rides that bike now is over six feet tall and it fits him well (This is really common and can cause permanent or injuries or chronic pain) Your local bicycle shop can help make sure your bike fits you.
4.What are you going to carry?
Whether you wear a backpack or bike messenger bag, have a basket or a rack you have to have something for carrying your stuff. Most of what I carry fits nicely into a backpack. But the days I go to the farmers market I have open baskets that hang from the rack on the back of my bike. You can carry just about anything you set your mind to on a bike. Recently the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition decide to see if they could move to their new offices completely by bike. Bicycling Magazine May 2011 They moved everything including couches and desks with the help of 25 riders.
Make sure you have a lock to keep your bicycle where you leave it. There are key locks with guarantees that your bike won't be stolen. There are key locks that are light weight. There are combination locks that are light weight and heavy weight as well. This is one item for bicycling that is important if you will run errands and periodically leave your bike somewhere. The right kind is the one you like and will use.
Ready, set, begin
Now that you have a bike, start riding. Begin slowly. Around the block is a good start. Then to a friends house to see if they want to ride. Get comfortable on your bike before you try a major shopping trip. Get a friend who wants to see the sights to ride with you. Look for bike trails to practice on if it's been awhile since you have ridden.
Extol the the wonders of riding. Ride often and enjoy yourself. Ride with your kids to school. The more you ride the more you will want to ride. Enjoy the independence of riding. Be the engine of your unique mode of transportation. If you need to give the kids incentive to ride you might try Geocaching by bike. Have them ride to get ice cream. The possibilities are limitless.
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