When I graduated from high school 10 years ago, we could drive to the southwest side of town and get gas for $0.99 a gallon. Everywhere else it was $1.00 or $1.02 or $1.03, but over by Dixie Highway you could still get it for under a dollar. Gas prices are now at about $4.00 a gallon, which means the price of gas has quadrupled in the past 10 years. I’m pretty sure American paychecks have not quadrupled in the past decade, and I know the minimum wage hasn’t.
Do you know what craziness this has spurred? According to the news last night, people are riding bikes to work. And they’re carpooling. Horrors! Some people are even trying to sell their SUV’s, though nobody is buying. So, even though I hate paying $4.00 a gallon for gas, I can’t help but think it is a good thing in many ways for our environment and for the health of the community. Less cars on the roads means cleaner air. More bikers means people are getting more exercise.
Last Friday was Bike to Work day, which I wanted to participate in, but my bike is dead and so far beyond repair that it may as well have a Do No Resuscitate order. They were giving out free breakfast downtown to people who rode to work, but I had to buy my own oatmeal that day. I think I’m going to use my tax rebate to buy a new bike, whenever that check comes in the mail. I’m torn between choosing a light-weight practical ride and buying a super-cute Electra cruiser that is probably heavier and slower. But super-cute! Decision, decisions. Either way, I’m sure it will pay for itself if I start riding to work.