Gas Prices & Pandemic Lessons

With international conflicts leading to soaring gas prices, many of us are looking for transportation alternatives. Perhaps the same solutions we turned to during the pandemic might help us here as well.

Gas Prices & Pandemic Lessons

There are often things that happen in our world that cause us to make major changes of our habits. All of us changed more than we ever would have thought possible as the entire globe adapted to the realities of COVID-19. Especially in the early days of the pandemic, we were sheltering-in-place, working from home, sanitizing everything, wearing masks, and so many other adaptations that would have been inconceivable just a few months earlier. There was a huge spike in bike sales during the pandemic which led to an actual global bike shortage, words that could hardly have been imagined being strung together until it happened. Nobody saw it coming but it made perfect sense as kids were home from school, gyms were closed, public transportation was not much of an option, and everybody turned to bikes for exercise, transportation, and recreation.

Countless new cyclists were on-boarded during the lockdowns and this is something that is definitely worth celebrating. Still, since things have opened back up, many bikes that were purchased during the pandemic are seeing less and less use. Many pandemic bikes are now draped in clothing as they lean against apartment walls or perhaps they simply hang on hooks in the garage.

Now, with international conflicts leading to soaring gas prices, many of us are looking for transportation alternatives. While public transportation is a better option today than it was just a year ago in the midst of the pandemic, it is still a tough option in Tampa as we haven't had much to boast about in this regard since the demise of the trolly in the 1920s. The ride sharing options available to us are also reflecting the gas price increases in such ways as to make them less and less appealing. Perhaps the same solutions we turned to during the pandemic might help us here as well.

While walking and biking are often seen as great activities for exercise and recreation, it is also a primary means of transportation for many in our city. While Tampa is a pretty sprawled city as it was mostly designed for automobiles, it is still a fairly small city in terms of landmass and completely bikeable. It is mostly flat and with the exception of rain, has a climate that is conducive to riding year round.

While most of us are probably not ready to make a full transition to commuter cyclist, perhaps that pandemic bike still has a role to play as we face higher and higher gas prices. Maybe there is some small percentage of trips you take that could be done on a bicycle, or even walked. While you might not be able to do that hardware store run with your bike, you might be able to ride your bike to the drugstore to grab that prescription or get over to your friend's house for that movie night.

Most of us that found ourselves walking and biking and sheltering-in-place during the pandemic realized so many things that we take for granted. Our backyards, walking our neighborhoods, riding our bikes, slowing down, and generally being forced into a more pedestrian existence. We heard so many folks that said they wanted to retain this new pace and pattern of life and while some of those things may have stuck, many have waned as they would have taken much more intentionality to preserve. If nothing else we hope this article reminds you and challenges you to take a moment and reflect on those pandemic lessons that we are all slowly forgetting. Maybe take a walk and try to remember. Maybe take a ride on your bike, and see if it doesn’t remind you. Also, gas is expensive and riding your bike is healthy so there’s that too.

So if we've captured your attention and you feel like dusting off your COVID bikes and getting some new gear, come join us at Tampa Bay Brewing in Westchase for the annual Bikes & Brews Swap Meet taking place on Sunday, March 27th from 9-12PM. And if you have any bikes or parts that you are willing to donate WellBuilt Bikes will be there all day accepting donations! You can also drop donations off at the shop anytime they are open.

Until next time, be pedestrian.