The March 28th edition of the weekly RoadBikeRider.com newsletter features commentary from "Uncle Al" Ardizone, one of those great people you encounter in bicycling who are free with advice and opinion on a variety of subjects, bicycling and otherwise.
Al's specific assertion with this newsletter was that with gas prices increasing again, the bike ridership will increase too as people start to realize that bikes are a practical means of transportation, especially given the cost, which makes them affordable for just about anyone. Just five tanks of gas ($325), says Al, will equal one bike well-suited for commuting.
But is this really true? The editors at Roadbikerider.com didn't let that assertion pass unchallenged. They asked Al to give an example of a decent commuter at that price. He had no trouble.
"A Raleigh Venture, which is a 7-speed bike with 26-inch wheels, priced at $260," offered Al. "Upright bars, fatty seat, rigid fork, aluminum frame. If you add fenders and put on skinnier tires, you'd still be below five tankfuls.
"There are plenty of mountain bikes priced similarly, and with the same kinds of modifications they'd be perfectly fine commuters," he continued. "A bike for shorter commutes doesn't have to be any kind of super bike anyway, just reliable."
Kinda puts things in perspective, don't you think? By using your bike for a commuter, you can call on that gas pump math for easy justification any time you need to buy clothes or equipment to make your commute easier or safer, or to have your bike worked on.
By the way, here's how they came up with that $325 figure. 20 gallons of gas at $3.25/gallon x 5 fill-ups.
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- Guide to Basic Bike Commuter Gear
Image: Raleigh Venture, from Raleigh USA