Signs of the Economy from the Bike

I used to count trucks at rest stops or between certain exits as a sign of how commerce is running. I am in the logistics business and have long counted trucks during my morning drives to see how much freight is moving on the highways. The more trucks, the better the economy.

Now that I commute by bike, I can’t. So What can I watch and for what?

Over the last three weeks I have seen gas prices climb around 25 cents a gallon. Is that impacting how people get to work? I thought it did and would, but I am not sure.

In that time, I have seen on an average day about 5 other people commuting by bike, as well as 3-5 scooters, 2+ small motorcycles, and 3-5 professionals at bus stops.

I thought I saw those numbers grow ever so slightly stronger each week. And last week, during Bike-To-Work-Week, it seemed at it’s highest. But today there was nothing. Zip. Nada. Not even one poor sole in a rickety old bike. School kids don’t count, and I see almost none of these, anyway.

Is it a coincidence that over the weekend several gas stations have actually lowered their prices? Last week I saw a gallon of regular gas running from a low of $3.69 to a high of $3.85. This week I saw three stations at $3.67, and one at $3.66. What a sad state we are in when we notice a few pennies coming off the pump.

So here is what I notice from the bike. I count people who are changing their habits about using gas. Not because I am some damn tree-hugger, but because I am not going to keep feeding someone’s greed in Greenwich, CT. It was fun to build up some attention to alternatives to driving a car to work. But in good American fashion, that has now passed. Some of us rode with Buddy for a day, and that’s good enough, isn’t it? Hell no!! There are fewer trucks on the highways, fewer railcars moving down the tracks. But we are a complacent lot, and we will keep feeding hungry hedge-fund managers.

2 replies
  1. Keri
    Keri says:

    Great post! Interesting observations.

    The week after bike to work week is always a let-down. Plus it’s getting hot out, that tends to discourage a lot of people.

    B2W week bump aside, I’ve been seeing increasing numbers. I see a lot of kids riding to Glenridge middle – huge packs of them. I probably see more transportation riders on my route because it’s more slow-speed roads. It will be interesting to see how much of a dip is caused by the hot weather this year. The northern states saw increased numbers of hearty winter cyclists slogging through snow and ice.

  2. LisaB
    LisaB says:

    I’m seeing a lot more scooters on my commute to the Orlando International Airport area as well. Last night I saw a family riding back from the Publix in Tuskawilla, their backpacks and baskets brimming with groceries! I just purchased a set of Trek grocery panniers and I plan to bike to the Winter Springs Town Center Publix as much as possible.

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