Gas prices have some taking to two-wheels

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
Dan Mikkelson has been biking to work for years, starting the practice way before the price of a gallon of gas climbed to a place where it rivals the national debt.
And Mikkelson, an engineer with the city of Salisbury, said he can always tell when gas prices are soaring.
Motorists, he said, tell him.
“I’ll be at a stoplight, and people will roll down their windows and say, ‘I need to start doing that, too,’ ” Mikkelson said. “People are suddenly aware of what you’re doing when you’re riding a bike.”
Nowadays, lots of motorists are rolling down their windows to speak to Mikkelson.
Little wonder. On Monday, a barrel of oil sold for about $128, quite an increase from the roughly $25 it was fetching before the United States invaded Iraq more than five years ago.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline on Friday was $3.79 a gallon and premium was $4.02 according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 stations nationwide.
For the first time, the survey found average prices for regular gas surged above $4 a gallon in two metropolitan areas: Chicago and on Long Island in New York.
Locally, prices aren’t quite that high, but they don’t miss it by much, averaging about $3.75 a gallon. The price of diesel has soared to almost $4.50 a gallon.
Earlier this month, a Goldman Sachs analyst predicted that oil prices could reach $150-$200 a barrel over the next six months to two years.
Meanwhile, back in Salisbury, Mikkelson said those considering riding a bike to work should do like he did รณ finally decide that it wasn’t something he needed to do every day.
“It was a burden trying to decide if I was going to do it every day or not at all,” Mikkelson said of his decision to cycle the 2 miles to his job in downtown Salisbury.
He said he eventually compromised, deciding he’d ride his bike when doing so fit his schedule and when the weather was conducive.
“I try to ride several days a week,” Mikkelson said. “But if something comes up and it doesn’t fit my schedule, I don’t sweat it.”
He said making such a decision was an enlightening thing.
“Suddenly, it was very easy to think, ‘Yeah, I can fit that in a couple of days a week rather than every day,’ ” Mikkelson said.
He asked that any article referring to biking include the fact that the city of Salisbury is in the process of working on a comprehensive bicycle plan that will make it friendlier for riders to navigate the streets.
Mikkelson said the plan is under review by a consultant. Once the plan is in effect, more bicycle lanes will be designated and biking will be easier.
Already, it’s not bad, Mikkelson said. He noted that it’s no more than 2 or 3 miles from the center of Salisbury to any of its borders. Biking from downtown to the Hurley Family YMCA is a haul of only about 2 miles, Mikkelson said.
“And with the stop-and-go riding along city streets, I can bike to work about as fast as I can drive,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or