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The trusty, dusty bike

January 19, 2011 - Steve Murch
I'm not bicycle rider. I have a bike, I just don't ride it anymore. It sits in my basement collecting dust. It's old, out-dated, probably needs new tires just from sitting in my cold basement winter after winter, and it has that rock-hard seat.

And after the snow is gone it might become my major source of transportation if gas prices continue to climb like they're expected, or at least predicted, to do.

I don't do much driving that can't be replaced by a simple bike ride – especially back and forth to work or to the gym in the morning. Sure, I'll need my car for trips to the grocery store and other trips requiring purchases, but other than that I'm better off in many ways to just hop on the bike.

There are people who still ride their bikes, snowstorm and all. I applaud their hearty attitude and their fortitude. I say to them – brrrrr. Forget braving the cold, the self-generated wind chill is what I couldn't handle.

If gas continues to climb I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one changing driving habits and reassessing any travel plans this summer. And if that happens to a large extent, will our economy take a hit.

Say what you will about tourism, but without any every place in northern Michigan suffers. Who can travel if a large chunk of your vacation budget is spent on just getting there and back? So if people change travel then those who rely on it will suffer.

Forget the tourism for a moment, because a gas price increase hits closer to home on an everyday level. The prices of goods will inevitably go up if transportation costs rise significantly. And believe me, if gas hits $4 a gallon – that's an approximate rise of 30 percent – we all will feel it. There is no way businesses can afford to not pass along the increase in transportation charges on to consumers.

There are plenty of people who believe the increase in gas prices helped propel the most recession. It might not have been the major cause, just look at the home foreclosures, etc., but it was a factor You have to believe an economy still trying to get its footing won't be helped any if gas prices continue to increase, followed by the higher costs related to them. It might not be enough to push us back into a recession, but it's not going to help matters any.

There's still plenty of winter left, which means I have lots of time to get my bike fine-tuned for the spring and summer.


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