So, you've made a commitment to shop locally. Thank you. You're doing your part to help the economy, at least in your own backyard. But there's more. Now, let's save the planet — one commute at a time. By changing the way you get from point A to point B, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and your waistline (yea!) while putting more cash into your pockets.
EASY RIDER. Why bike? For starters, you'll stop pumping carbon monoxide into the atmosphere and you'll start pumping endorphins. The health benefits of cycling include boosting metabolism, minimizing risks of coronary heart disease, and increasing stamina. Beyond that, imagine how cool you'll look on this super-stylish on/off-road beauty. As an extra bonus, you'll save money on gas and parking is a breeze. This bike features power-assisted, one-hand 8-speed shifting, plus leather grips and saddle. And if getting fit, saving money, and cutting down on your carbon emissions aren't enough to convince you, check out the rave user reviews at bikeforum.net. Bianchi Milano Café Racer, starting at $600. Find it locally at Outdoors, Inc., 833 N. Germantown Pkwy. (755-2271) or 1710 Union (722-8988).
RUN TIME. According to Eric Flanders, owner of Fleet Feet, the biggest thing in "green" running is the new BioMOGO foam midsole from Brooks. Typical midsoles use EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and take about 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill — now that's a serious carbon footprint. The BioMOGO foam used in some of Brooks' newer shoes is treated with a product that attracts microbes that will consume the foam (in a landfill environment, not on your foot) causing the shoe to break down in about 20 years. Pick up the Brooks Trance-8 for $140 (men's and women's). Fleet Feet, 571 Erin Dr. (761-0078).
GET SMART. If driving is your only option, there are a few ways to at least drive smarter. One option is to invest in a car equipped with a hybrid engine; the other is to drive a smaller, more fuel-efficient, gas-powered vehicle. Say hello to the Smart Fortwo. It may not be the fastest car on the road, topping out at around 90 mph, but the Smart Fortwo gets a reported 46.3 mpg in the city and a super-impressive 68.9 mpg highway. And according to Mike Butler, new car sales manager at Infiniti Memphis, the Smart Fortwo isn't just for tiny folks; the interior is roomy enough to accommodate a driver or passenger over 6 feet tall. Infiniti Memphis has one on the lot, a silver Fortwo Passion for $23,500. Infiniti Memphis, 1831 Getwell (744-1111).
ECO-HIP SUV. What's that? You have a long, bike-prohibitive commute? You have kids, dogs, soccer gear, and you need to carry more than one bag of groceries at a time? Don't beat yourself up. You still can be a savvy, eco-friendly traveler and do your part to save the earth, one mile at a time. The ever-gorgeous Lexus RX 400 hybrid gets 21 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and wildly favorable reviews from the likes of U.S. News & World Report. Starting at $49,555. Lexus of Memphis, 2600 Ridgeway (362-8833).
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