Today at the lunchroom table at work, the conversation shifted to gas prices as it does more and more often these days. At work, I'm sort of the resident bike freak. I been riding to work more often than driving these days, and I feel great. One of my co-workers mentioned something about oil prices rising to $200/ barrel and gas prices rising to $7/ gallon by the year's end. That's when another co-worker, one who lives in my town, mentioned that if gas was that expensive he would ride with me. I wouldn't wish for prices to go that high, but another bike on the road is a good thing in my opinion. He might have been joking, but then again he talks about how much he used to ride. Has anyone persuaded anyone else to start commuting by bike? I wonder what the tipping point would be. I suppose it's different for everyone.
I wish I lived close enough to work to ride, but it would take me about 3 hours to ride my bike each way plus 8 hours on the job. I would move closer to the office, but unfortunately the office is located in a very expensive area, and the closer I go to the office the more expensive it is for rent, and buying a house in that area is totally out of the question. The boss is the only person in our office that can afford to live close enough to ride a bike, but he can still afford to drive a hummer.
Another option for working a little biking into a commute too long to ride straight out would be a multi-modal commute. Many buses in some areas have bike racks. Maybe ride the bike to a bus stop, ride the bus, then ride the bike the rest of the way to work. Train lines often allow bikes on board as well.
No public transport? Drive halfway, park the car for the day and ride. You still get exercise and save gas for the portion that you're riding. You might even find that you can work up to riding the whole thing with time, or even that you like it so much that you want to.
I'm lucky enough to only have about 8.5 miles one way, so I just ride it.
I've checked into the multi-modal option, but the schedule for the buses and trains just doesn't work. Buses would actually take longer than just biking and the train would put me to work an hour early or a half hour late and would require two bicycles, one stationed at each end because they don't allow bikes on during peak hours. Both would actually end up costing more than driving my van. I'm a fairly strong distance rider and biking the whole way only takes me about 1:05. Driving my van takes about :35. I miss living less than 5 miles from work.
Unfortunately, I've tried the multi-modal 'bike onto bus' idea, and the biggest hitch in that plan seems to come down to bike space on the bus. Our local busses have space for only two bikes on the front, and they won't let you bring one on if space is the slightest bit tight, so it's not a dependable option around here. Fortunately my commute is short enough that it doesn't really matter however, but I have been using my motored bike with great success. It essentially splits the difference in commute time for me between what it took via car vs. pure pedal power. It's certainly more fun than driving when the weather is nice, but I still like to pedal once in awhile too.
I just fixed up a $2 cruiser this week which should get me pedalling much more often.
Allan, did they ever catch the jerk who stole your bike? I hope they didn't kill your freakbike spirit and you're building something else regardless.