Bicycles and Gas Prices

Gas prices broke below $2/gallon again this weekend in Indianapolis, the second time this has happened in the past year.  With this in mind, it might seem a little odd that I’m going to talk about high gas prices and why you need to consider what comes next, but that’s what I’m going to do.  This is why:

Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Report-September 2015

Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Report-September 2015

The Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count is a weekly report that tells us how many oil rigs are actively seeking new sources of oil around the world.  I follow this report regularly because it tells me what’s coming and that’s something I just like to know.  As you can see, the number of active drilling rigs is down dramatically from last year.  This makes sense.  Demand is down.  Oil company profits are down.  When there’s no money to spend, prudent people don’t spend it.  Neither do oil companies.

June 2013. How quickly we forget

June 2013. How quickly we forget.

But that spells trouble for anyone who has built their life around the new cheap oil because not drilling today means that prices are going to be higher tomorrow.  Throw in all of the opportunistic politicians who are using this price decline to hike gas taxes and prices are going to be a lot higher.

How high?  I have some ideas but I’m not going there…at least not today.  Here’s where I’m going instead:

  • We’re moving to a place (Ogden) where we can live closer to home.
  • We’re selling one or mayby both of our cars and buying another bicycle or two.
  • We’re shopping more at local merchants and less at big boxes.
  • We’re utilizing mass transit to move regionally…
  • …and bicycles to move locally.

We’re doing this in spite of cheap oil.  We’re doing this because it seems so obvious that when oil prices rise again (and they will) we will have to have a better way to move around.

When we get to Ogden, I’ll bicycle to ALL destinations within five miles of our new home.  I’ll bicycle to many further afield.  I’ll get to Salt Lake City and Provo by cycling to the train and then cycling off at the other end.   Jan and I are already planning to cycle to a Real Salt Lake game.  That’s over 100 miles RT from our door, but less than 5 on the bicycle thanks to FrontRunner.   I’ll cycle to work, the store, movies, sporting events, restaurants, even church.  If I have to go there, I’m going by bike and occassionally bus, and train+bike.

Kona Rove CX - My daily rider as presently configured.

Kona Rove CX – My daily rider as presently configured.

By adding a rear rack and fenders to keep me dry when it rains, I have a commuter that will work on all but the snowiest days.

By adding a rear rack I can hang bags from and fenders to keep me dry when it rains, I’ll have a commuter vehicle that will work on all but the snowiest days.  Total cost is less than $100.

The snow beast. Salsa Mukluk. Upright bars, fat tires. Low rider. Stable. Safe. Secure. Even under load.

The preferred snow beast is the Salsa Mukluk. Upright bars…fat tires…low ride. It’s stable, safe, and secure…even under load.  Total cost depends. I really want this bike because, well, who wouldn’t?

This is not a someday, maybe, if only Congress would act and build me bike lanes sort of thing.  This is a right now, it’s gonna happen thing.  We’re buying the house in Ogden before the end of the month.  We’re buying it with this in mind.  We are doing this and once we do, our lives will change forever…for the better.  I could not be more excited.

I don’t think that the threat of higher gas prices is the best reason to choose a bicycle as your primary vehicle.  There are plenty of other reasons to do so…better reasons.  That said, pain at the pump is visceral for many and if that’s what it takes to get them to saddle up and ride, well, that’s fine with me.

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