October 13, 2008

Step Away from the Gas Pump: Daily (yes, even in Winter) Bicycle Commuter Essentials via Randall Scott.

Gas prices may be at $4 a gallon (half what they’ve been paying in Europe for some time now), but the price of pedaling to work hasn’t changed. All you need is an appropriate bike and more time (sometimes, depending on traffic and availability of bike paths, biking’s actually quicker). What do you get in return? A fat wallet, a cleaner conscience and a body like a 17-year-old Swede.

Randall Scott Company—a brick n’click retailer based in Boulder, Colorado—is known for community involvement in the arts, whacky customer service and adventure and action sports gear (everything from bikes to board shorts). But over the past few years, founder Randall Scott has initiated a modest internal campaign designed to shrink his company’s footprint. 

Seeing commuting to work as integral to any sustainability campaign, Randall has instituted a hierarchy of incentives: $100 for employees who bike commute three plus times a week, $150 for employees who wear a whip cut (a classy mullet) for three months, and a $300 stipend for those purchasing alternatively-fueled cars.

It’s all about leading by example—weather permitting, most mornings you’ll find Randall cruising to RS’s showroom on his Tommaso Molto with multi-colored checkered Vans and brown locks sneakily peeking from under his helmet. 

The Essentials:

A Light Bike Frame: A good commuter bike should be sturdy, but light enough for anyone to pick up with relative ease. Randall rides the aluminum-framed Tommaso Molto—keeping it light and stiff (and affordable).

Multiple Gears, Internal Hub: With a commuter, the more reliability and less maintenance, the better. The Molto has a seven speed internal hub—protecting gears from the elements, allowing Randall to shift gears at a standstill (key for stop signs, red lights, unexpected transitions) and keeping his drive train (chain) maintenance-free.

Extras: A little sweat, weather, mud and a lot of freedom are par for the course. Most of us don’t work in spandex, so the commuter bike should be ready to go whether you’re wearing a dress, suit or white linen pants. Randall bike has front and rear fenders to defend against crud and puddles, a rack to accommodate travel bags and front and rear lights for safe nighttime travel. We also recommend a chainguard.

the Upshot:

A daily seven mile commute by bicycle instead of by car prevents annual emissions of 9 pounds of hydrocarbons, 66 pounds of carbon monoxide, 4.4 pounds of oxides of nitrogen and 1319 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

If just 1 of 10 car commuters switched to bicycling, we’d save 2 billion gallons of gas per year, and 25.4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions would go poof.

More than half of Americans live within 5 miles of their place of work.

Scott Macnamee coaches Boys Basketball at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colorado. For more re: Randall Scott’s Social Responsibility Package: rscycle.com

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