Wednesday, May 11, 2011

BIKE WEEK PLANNING AND NEW COLUMN IN PRINT

The preparation for Bike Week is continuing on my end. Running down the loose ends and “nuts and bolts” stuff for the Ride to Work Day ride has been fairly time consuming. I’m pleased that we have secured sponsorship for the ride…

Smoky Mountain Café, my “home away from home”, has agreed to provide the end of ride “goodies” for participants. Additional support is coming from the Waynesville Police Department in both traffic control and having bicycle mounted officers riding with us over the 3.0 mile ride. I’m also working on an article for print in the local newspapers for next week focusing on some folks of my acquaintance that are already commuting to work on a regular basis.

My second column appeared in the local paper, the Waynesville Mountaineer, today. It is looking like the column will be published every other Wednesday for the time being. For those interested, here is today’s text…

GIVE YOURSELF A RAISE!

Nancy Lux arrives at work!

(Nancy Lux arrives at work on her morning commute!)

It is probably safe to say that when most people think of cyclists, they think of individuals clad in spandex and brightly colored shirts zooming along on expensive and sleek looking road bikes. Or they may picture young adults on mountain bikes dropping off of boulders or riding through the forests. While both of these images would be correct, they really only capture two segments of the overall cycling community across this country and this planet.

In the U.S., utility or commuting cycling has taken a secondary place to our car centric culture. It is often lost on the American public that the first roads in America were built at the behest of cyclists and not auto makers. With gas prices already topping $5.00 per gallon in parts of our country and expected to go much higher here in Haywood County, a strong review of the bicycle as an important means of transportation is in order.

Let’s try some good old Haywood County math: The cost of operating a car is currently set by the American Automobile Association at 58.5 cents per mile so a trip of 8 miles would cost of $4.68. If you make that same trip (4 miles to the store and 4 miles back home) 3 times per week, your cost jumps to $14.04 per week or $60.37 per month. Keep in mind that the AAA set this year’s price point on operating motor vehicles when gas was significantly cheaper ($2.88 per mile)so the per mile costs are now actually quite a bit higher. Annualized over 12 months, those short quick trips to the store cost you $724.46.

If you work at Evergreen in Canton and live anywhere near the junction of US 276 and NC 110, you could enjoy a nice ride on basically flat roads to and from work. A ride from Bethel to Evergreen is approximately 11 miles round trip. Using our previous calculations, a savings in gas costs of approximately $83.00 a month could be realized by parking your car/truck and that is only riding to and from work 3 days a week! Additionally, your employer could get you a monthly stipend courtesy of the Federal Government for commuting to and from work even if it is part time. Live further out? Do a part drive, part ride schedule. Drive your vehicle part of the way to work and ride the rest! You still save gas costs and come out on top in virtually every way that counts!

Why not give yourself a raise? By just changing some of your lifestyle, you can help improve your finances, improve your health, and help save the planet for your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren. Is it for everyone? No, of course not. Is it for YOU? We won’t know unless you try!

Yount may be contacted at gr8smokieszeke at gmail.com . For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com.

Thanks to BikingInLa and Eco-Velo for the inspiration for parts of this column!

You can see the actual article by visiting The Mountaineer. Be aware that you must scroll through the “paper” to the front page of the Sports Section in order to see it.

Until later,

- Zeke

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