Saturday, May 19, 2007

Break the gasoline addiction

Yesterday, we paid $51 and change to fill the minivan. Next week, it will certainly cost more.

Now before you get on your high horse about driving a minivan, we need it to ferry three seniors. Old bones don't settle well into these newfangled bitty cars as much as we would like to drive them. Sure, we can get in the little cars. But getting out requires the Jaws of Life, Vaseline, and an active prayer life.

Since we are on fixed incomes (but who isn't?), we've begun to consider alternative transportation. Right away, we knew mules would not work in our urban setting.

Wait a minute. Urban setting. Light bulb goes off.

We are fortunate to live in the geographic inner city of Minneapolis. There are sidewalks, bike paths, alleys, light rail transit, neighborhood groceries, CPA's and therapists. We are within an easy bike ride of a farmer's market, libraries, fast food shops, laundries, movies, ATM machines, drug stores, a regional park, the Mississippi River. And, if we start riding the bikes more, we can hit the pastry shops.

In Minneapolis, hundreds, if not thousands, of people commute to work on their bicycles. Can you imagine?

The light rail transit allows us to take our bikes on board. That opens up more of the city. The LRT already covers trips to the airport and the Mall of America. Say, this is getting interesting. Can you the remember Victory Gardens of WWII?

We are serious about parking the van and using the bikes more. But what about you folks in the suburbs? Urban planners (is that an oxymoron?) did not consider gasoline banditry when they laid out the 'burbs. A bike ride to the nearest stores often requires sharing the road with high speed automobile traffic.

Out of necessity (high cost of gasoline), we are willing to do our part. Hell, I'm looking forward to buying our first coal-fired automobile. But I still don't like the thought of those turkeys at Exxon getting richer and richer at our expense.

And don't tell me they aren't. They give highway robbery a new definition.

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