Travis Bonnett is a man of practicality. It’s that realism that served as the impetus for the 24-year-old Onion Creek resident to mount an engine on the 26-inch Schwinn bicycle that he bought from Wal-Mart in order to save money on gasoline.
Yes, that’s right. After watching a “how to” video on Youtube, Bonnett thought, “Why not me?” He ordered an engine kit from www.gasbike.net , complete with a half-gallon gas tank, that he installed on the frame of his bike.
“My friends were skeptical at first,” Bonnett says. “But honestly, it wasn’t very hard to do.”
And much kinder on the wallet. Bonnett estimates that he saves on average of $35 to $40 a week on gasoline. A round trip of 26 miles uses about 3 ½ cups of fuel and his daily commute to work at Super One takes roughly 35 minutes.
He recently purchased a Road Master bicycle with plans to convert that into a motorized bike as well, using a 66cc two-stroke engine.
“The frame is smaller and more compact, which means the engine just pops right into place on that one,” Bonnett explains. “The Schwinn works well enough, but the frame on the bike is too big, so the engine and wires don’t fit like they should. Right now I just have to get one of the rims fixed, bolt the sprocket on and it’s ready.”
Bonnett has equipped both bikes with a speedometer, headlight and a small tool kit for any roadside repairs. Again, Bonnett’s efficiency and calculations come from what he views to be just common sense. He’s not out to make a statement; he just wants to save some money.
“I’ve had some people ask me, ‘Why don’t you just get a Moped or a gas efficient car?’” says Bonnett. “If I did that, I would still be paying thousands of dollars, not including maintenance, tabs, licensing, registration, all of that.”
He figures he has invested around $500 in expenses on both bicycles. He will drive his Chevy pickup truck in the winter, though he casually jokes about putting studded tires on his bike.
“Everyone’s got their own opinions and advice; I just wanted to find the cheapest way possible to get from point a to point b,” Bonnett says.