Top 7 Secrets To Commuting By Bike


Do you wince when you fill up your gas tank? Don’t expect the pain at the pump to end anytime soon. That makes it the right time to grab your bike and use it to get to work and run errands. You’ll save money and Do Your Part for the planet at the same time. Here are my ‘Top 7 Secrets to Commuting by Bike.’

1) Ride the Right Bike

The right bike will make all the difference in the world. There are simple mountain bikes or ones made with commuting in mind. You can find ones which will have everything from chain guards to fenders to hardwired lights. There are even bikes with skirt guards so you can wear your favorite dress or skirt without worry.

2) Ride Responsibly

In places where there are no designated bike lanes, position yourself as far to the right as is practical. And, be on the watch for the so called “door zone” with cars parked on the street. That’s the space where drivers open up their doors which can cause serious injury to cyclists. Try not to ride on sidewalks which are for pedestrians or on the left side of the street where drivers may not see you until.

3) Select Safety Accessories

A bike mirror mounted on your left handlebar will be your best friend. You can use it to scan traffic behind you. Another good idea is a set of lights for the front and rear. If you’re going to be riding early in the morning, at dusk or at night, lights are mandatory as it is almost impossible to see a bike clearly during these times. You’ll also want to invest in a bike lock.

4) Research Your Route

Your usual way of getting someplace by car may not be the safest way to go by bike. A higher level of comfort will only come with time and experience so if you are new to commuting by bike, plan your route carefully. Google maps offers a fantastic tool for this that factors in your mode of transportation and will filter out bike unfriendly roads.

5) Stash Your Stuff

You’ll also need some way to carry your stuff. Backpacks or messenger bags are good options especially ones with a waist strap. You could also use a basket or rear racks. You might be surprised to see how much you can actually transport with the right equipment.

6) Use Your Helmet

Make sure your helmet fits properly. It should be snug but comfortable and the bottom edge of the helmet should be two finger widths above your eyebrow. And remember, ones with more vents are better in the summer and less vents will make you more comfortable in winter.

7) Stay Strong

At some point, somebody is going to tell you that you are crazy for using a bike to get around. Keep in mind that they are the ones paying those shocking gas prices. You, on the other hand, are Doing Your Part by reducing your dependence on foreign oil and contributing less pollution to our planet.

Top 7 Secrets to Commuting by Bike

Do you wince when you fill up your gas tank? Don’t expect the pain at the pump to end anytime soon. That makes it the right time to grab your bike and use it to get to work and run errands. You’ll save money and Do Your Part for the planet at the same time.

Maximize Your Fuel Efficiency

Do Your Part by maximizing your fuel efficiency no matter what you drive. Using less gas means fewer emissions and that’s better for your wallet and the planet. Here are my top five ways of getting the most out of every gallon:

First up, don’t drive aggressively. Speeding up and slamming on your brakes can reduce fuel mileage by as much as 33 percent!

Tip number two – keep those tires properly inflated. It’s easy. Proper tire pressure levels can be found right on the tire. When they’re at the right level you can save you up to 8 cents every gallon.

Also important – clean out your car! The weight of sports equipment or an unused stroller can add up. Every 100 pounds of extra weight will cost you about two percent in fuel costs.

Cruise control comes in at number four. It will help conserve gas on flat terrain. If you’re driving through hilly areas…it’s best to switch back to foot control.

And my fifth and final tip – don’t delay routine maintenance. When do things like change your oil when necessary, your car won’t have to work as hard which saves you gas and money.

These are all easy ways you can Do Your Part to conserve gas and keep a few extra bucks in your pocket.

It's Electric! Terri Test Drives the Chevy Volt

If you’re in the market for a new car and looking for an eco-friendly option you may be interested in the Chevy Volt. The start button is a really cool feature. Just press it and you’re good to go. It’s surprising to see not only how smooth the ride was but how quickly the car accelerates.

Here’s how it works differently than anything else. The Volt can run for about 35 miles with no gasoline and no emissions. When the battery runs out, the Volt can tap into it’s small gas tank and drive hundreds of miles more.

Think charging the volt is complicated? Think again! All you do is put one side of a plug in the car and then plug it in to any standard sized outlet.

It takes up to ten hours to recharge the battery which is located underneath the back seat area. The location of the battery makes the car safer to drive but you do lose that third seat in the back.

So what’s a Chevy Volt going to cost you? A little more than $42,000. But it’s important to point out that you can get a big tax credit including one for more than $7,00 from the federal government.

Driving the Volt will help you Do Your Part to reduce the amount of gas you use when you hit the road and you’ll be doing it in style!

Ditch The Car and Grab Your Bike

More and more commuters are riding their bikes to work. It’s a great way to save money, get in some exercise and it’s good for our planet!

“I always feel great when I’ve commuted on my bike and didn’t have to crank my car,” says Katie Overcash who works at Bicycle Sport in Charlotte. She suggests starting with the right bike. There are dozens of options depending on how far you have to go. But before you take off, cyclists must know the rules of the road.

“They have every right to be on the road. Not the sidewalk, the road.”, says police officer Jason Hooven of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. It doesn’t matter if you are riding a bike or driving a car, you must obey the same traffic laws. And, people in cars need to give cyclists a little more room. “They have to give the cyclists two feet when they pass them,” reminds Hooven.

Bicycle Sport also educates its customers about biking to work. Overcash says, “We have a lot of customers who are commuters so I can hook them up with other commuters. We have commuter sessions here at the store and you can learn tips and tricks.”

There are a few essential accessories you’ll need. First a helmet. Make sure the straps are comfortable below your ears – not too tight underneath your chin but not too loose where it comes off. Lights – if you’re riding dusk to dawn. A “flat pack” has everything you need to fix a flat. And don’t forget about securing your bike! “Cyclists should definitely lock up their bikes,” says Officer Hooven.

Biking to work can be a fun way to tread lightly on our planet. “Think of them as someone who is helping the environment, getting exercise and doing the right thing,” says Overcash.

New Carwash Recycles 100% of Water

Everyone likes a clean car. You can Do Your Part when you bring your car to Autobell where they recycle more than 80% of their water.

But get this their newer locations like this one in Waxhaw have new, state-of-the-art technology which means they are able to recycle 100% of their water.

Dirty water from the car wash is filtered and ultimately ends up in this 8,500 gallon tank where enzymes devour the dirt and pollutants. A bag of nutrients is periodically added to the tank to keep the enzymes working efficiently.

The system works so efficiently that most of the water in this tank is the actually the same water they originally started with when they opened. Once the water is cleaned, 100% is recycled and brought back into the car wash to clean your car.

Not only do they recycle most of their water but their soaps are also biodegradable. Plus they keep the polluted car wash run-off out of the environment.

That doesn’t always happen when you wash your car at home. First, you’ll likely use more water when you wash at home and all the soaps and chemicals cleaners you use could runoff into a nearby storm drain. These drains carry that runoff into creeks and streams that feed larger rivers that are the source of our drinking water supply.

If you do wash your car at home, a simple solution is to wash it over a grassy surface where the soil can filter out the pollutants.

A clean car makes you feel good and helps you maintain the value of your investment.

When you take your car to Auto Bell you’ll be doing your part to conserve water and keep chemicals out of our local water supply. Remember — “People can tell when you Autobell.”

To Learn More Visit:
Autobell Carwash

Keep The Car You Own Properly Maintained

When it comes to cars you can Do Your Part by investing in a new or used high fuel efficient car, but sometimes the greener thing to do is to keep the car you already own and keep it properly maintained. So what’s the best plan of attack? To find out, we spoke with Chris Rice, Service Advisor at Honda Cars of Rock Hill.

“Well Terri, the biggest thing you can do is get your oil changed and you want to go by your manufacturers recommendations on that, ” he first advised. Regular oil changes are a must for keeping your engine running better and longer.

Another must do: check your tire pressure once a month. Lower pressure wears out tires sooner and gives you bad gas mileage.

And Chris says be sure to use the proper grade of gasoline. “If the car is not designed to run on premium you want to make sure you don’t use premium. You are spending more money and getting less performance,” Rice warns.

Getting your tires aligned every 15 to 20 thousand miles is another good way to save gas. And, check your owner’s manual to see when to get your tires rotated.

Both of those things are worth the trip to the shop. According to Rice, “There’s some things you really need to come to a garage for. Absolutely. We do use a lot of specialized equipment that you’re not going to find in your driveway.”

These investments in time and money will have a big pay off down the road.

“I’ve had cars come in with 500,000 that run like a top. I’ve had cars come in with 70,000 miles on them that don’t.” Rice commented.

So yes, you can Do Your Part without investing in a new car or investing in a hybrid, just make sure you take care of the car you already own and keep it properly maintained.

New Technologies Improve Gas Mileage

If you’re in the market for a new car, Do Your Part when shopping.

Hybrids are all the rage but we wanted to find out how much they help the environment, if they will really help you save money and what other good alternatives there are. So we visited with Cam Stewart the General Manager of Honda Cars of Rock Hill for some answers.

First I asked him about the waiting list for a hybrid. “We’ve certainly have had a waiting list for the past six months, but they’ve freed up with the gas coming up under 3 dollars-a-gallon,” Stewart said.

When gas prices go up, so does the demand for hybrids. The reason is that hybrids use less gas because they are built with two engines. One engine is powered by electricity that recharges itself when you brake and the other is powered by gasoline.

Stewart described how a hybrid works, “When you’re sitting at a stoplight, the motor actually cuts off. When you pull off the brake, that’s when the motor re-engages. When you’re on the highway and you’re on cruising speed, the motor actually shuts down and it runs off the electronic motor.”

That means you’ll be filling up your gas tank less. A regular Honda Civic gets 36 miles to the gallon on the highway; the hybrid model gets 45.

Next we asked about the difference in cost between these two cars that look very similar except one runs on conventional technology. Stewart told us that the cost difference is about three thousand dollars. So when could you make that difference up in gas savings? If gas is going for more than 3 dollars a gallon it could take more than 13 years to make up the savings. But the savings on carbon dioxide emissions are more immediate. A Civic Hybrid creates three thousand pounds less carbon dioxide each year than a regular Civic.

Stewart added, “Hybrid is top of the mind awareness right now but there are other technologies which help us get better fuel economy.”

One of these things is variable cylinder management or VCM. It allows vehicles to shut off cylinders when cruising or slowing down, and that saves gas. “You can still have great power, you can still have a large vehicle without sacrificing fuel economy. It doesn’t have to be a 15 mile-per-gallon vehicle,” Stewart said.

But if a bigger vehicle isn’t your thing, there are some small cars out there with big benefits. Check out the Honda Fit which boasts 33 miles to the gallon! The car may be small, but the storage capabilities are huge. The back seats fold down so it acts more like a station wagon.

The bottom line is if you’re happy with your car, keep driving it. But if it’s time for you to get a new car, hybrids are one option. You can even get a tax credit if you buy one. But you should also look into vehicles that get more to the gallon — even those big SUVs. You can shop smart, save money and Do Your Part when you make your next new car purchase.

To Learn More Visit:
Hybrid Cars — Pros & Cons