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Save on Gas:  Ride your bike!

By Julie Norman

This is Frankie.  So named because it was put together by various bike parts we had at home.

Frankie is my commuter bike.  When the weather is nice I ride it to work to save on gas money.  I don't live far away, about a 12 minute bike ride, and riding my bike means I not only save on gas, but I get "free" exercise too!  You know you've got a bike back there in the garage that just needs its tires pumped up and its chain cleaned. You know you do.  If you don't, that's ok.  Maybe you can find a used one in the classifieds or maybe you can even walk to work! 

Sometimes, like today, I drive to work in the morning when it's cold, but go home at lunch and grab my bike.  Usually I go home for lunch anyway, so it's not like I'm making an extra trip.  

You don't need a lot of fancy gear to ride your bike to work.  I roll up my work clothes and put them in a backpack.  I add in whatever I might need for touching up hair and make-up when I get to work and then pack my lunch and put that right on top.  When I get to work I lock up my bike, change clothes and am ready to go!  In the spring and early summer I'll ride my bike down to the Riverfront Trail (where the above photo was taken) and eat lunch down there.  I've saved on gas, a trip to the gym, haven't spent any money on lunch and now have a great  relaxing lunchtime view as well!

Biking to work can really save you money.  If you bike to work enough to save yourself one fill-up every other month, that's (for my car anyway) about $180.  Add in the cost you've saved on a gym membership and you're really saving some cash.  You save in other ways too, though.  If you've got a desk job like mine, you need to get up and move around.  There are so many articles and studies out there about the desk job and how it increases your risk of stroke, heart disesase, etc.,etc.  Biking to work can help you to counter the effects of sitting for 8 hours a day.  So in the end, you're not only saving money on gas and gym memberships, you're saving money on health costs and hospital bills too.

While Grand Junction isn't the most bike-friendly city around, if you live in Palisade, Fruita, the Redlands or Orchard Mesa you can pick up the Riverfront trail to get downtown.  North/South streets like 5th, 3rd, and 10th all have great bike lines and others like 8th and 6th aren't very busy.  There are plenty of East/West streets that parallel the busier ones like North Avenue and Grand.  I bike a lot on Colorado Avenue; Gunnison and Ouray are also options.  Even Orchard Avenue now has bike lanes near the college!

Start exploring and find a route to work.  You can use sites like Map My Ride to help you find good routes and also to track the distance of your rides too.  Just try it one time, on this year's National Bike to Work Day, May 16th.  Who knows?  You may be hooked!


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