Now that it's official, and all, that we're in a recession, it's even smarter to sell all your earthly gas-guzzling possessions and buy bikes. Many proponents of Peak Oil, and even generally conservative folks who are becoming decidedly alarmist, are predicting enormous increases in gas prices sometime in the next decade. Bike folk hope it will happen sooner.

Be prepared. Even if it's not Global Economic Gas Crisis, maybe (as in the scenario covered in this excellent blog post) you're in debt, out of credit, and suddenly become under-employed, you may find yourself in need of a new reality that doesn't include spending hundreds each month on gas, maintenance, and car insurance. What kind of bike do you need for your own personal End Times?

Blogger TH talks to some bike experts (and watches the considerable resourcefulness of the local homeless bike riders) and comes up with the following tips:
  • Either a steel or an aluminum frame is fine; just make sure it's relatively sturdy.
  • Avoid suspension components, especially a suspension fork, as those are difficult to fix and often made cheaply.
  • No lightweight racers. They're meant for speed, not utility.
  • Buy a bike with the fattest, thickest tires possible. They puncture less easily and hold up to multiple patches.
  • Obtain a rack, fenders, basket or bucket, and good lights; generator-powered lights are ideal.
  • Learn how to patch tires and fix broken spokes, and buy the tools you'll need to do that.
  • Avoid carbon fiber components, disc brakes, and index shifters, which are less sturdy and hard to fix.
TH refers to the bike culture of Cuba as an example; I often look to the example of Amsterdam, where a large portion of the population uses bicycles as their chief mode of transportation. The Dutch often patch their tubes dozens of times; they cycle for utility, not speed, so often don't wear helmets (they're not going that fast, after all); they prefer a bike that works than one that looks cool or has the hottest new technology.

Were we to undergo a serious economic disaster, I'd want to add a generator-powered light to my bike, and I'd get the old steel-framed Schwinn in my basement up and running. I like my Xtracycle attachment as a good way to tote both cargo and passengers; I'd recommend it to any parents of young kids or those who like to haul groceries home.

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