Michael sent us this story about rural bike commuting from Glendive, Montana.
Pictured here is my recently acquired 2003 Specialized Expedition Limited, which replaces my worn 1993 Giant Iquana that was a solid commuter through all seasons in Madison, Wisconsin; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; and Eugene, Oregon. Three months ago I purchased the Expedition in Madison on Craigslist for $100 through a friend who subsequently delivered it to me in rural Glendive, Montana, on his way to the West Coast. By contrast, the Giant cost me $425 in 1993 while earning minimum wage. This Expedition is now my commuter bicycle to work at the local courthouse, where I am a Law Clerk–and the lone bicycle commuter. Although the Expedition’s ride is not at all like the good ‘ol Giant, it fulfills its job well for a short commute of less than 1 mile one-way, the occasional dirt-road Sunday cruise or foray into local Makoshika State Park, and several trips to the two grocery stores weekly. Pictured too are my Carradice panniers designed for the Jandd front rack of my Giant, but suitable for the rear of the Expedition. The local grocery staff obviously has seen nothing like a pannier before.
Glendive is a small community of only 5,000 persons. My hope is others will see me riding and wonder if they too could ride in such a small, mostly flat town for fun, instead of driving SUVs in circles on $3/gallon gasoline. In fact, not long ago two young men on newer Schwinns from the town’s lone box store stopped me riding in the state park to ask what my panniers were, fascinated, so I explained how they could get some, even on those modern Schwinns. There is no LBS within 70 miles of me in any direction, so riding here is rewarding in that one inevitably is an ambassador of pragmatic bicycling automatically to a rural car culture that has forgotten bicycles are for adults too!
Cheers. Great website!