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Forget horsepower! Use some pedal power

Are gas prices taking a bite out of your budget? Ride a bike! Gear guy Paul Hochman highlights the new, innovative two-wheelers.

Bicycle sales have been soaring as more people forego their cars due to rising gas prices. "Today" show's gear guy Paul Hochman visited “Weekend Today” to present the newest bikes suited for everyone in your family. Here's more information on the bikes discussed on the show:

Ultimate in comfortUnlike most so-called recreational ‘comfort’ bikes that have 26" wheels, the Fuji Monterey 2.0 has larger, 29" wheels, which make rolling on rough roads and paths noticeably smoother. And while the “step-through” or U-frame design has been around in Europe, it has only been in the US for about a year and it's proving immensely popular. Why? Because getting on and off the Fuji is easier, thanks to a low-level U-shape down by the pedals that dips almost to the ground, allowing the rider to lift her foot only about 12” to get on., $370

Solving the storage space problem
So you're stuck in a smallish apartment in the city, or your two-car garage looks a lot like a walk-in closet, or your office is well, can you say ‘Cubism?’ Dahon is the world's #1 folding bike maker, and its ingenious, easy-to-use setup means you can unfold their bikes in less than 15 seconds. So forget the cab, ignore the subway, and ride. The 25 lb. Dahon Vitesse can handle riders from 4'8" to 6'4" and up to 230 lbs., and its Sturmey 5-hub gear setup makes it great even on hills. The Roo Electric is almost identical, but for a SRAM electric motor that delivers a power boost with every pedal stroke. The Nickel Metal Hydride battery has a range of up to 50 Kilometers. Both bikes fold up for storage to less than 1 foot wide, and less than 3 feet tall., Dahon Vitesse D5 $459; Dahon Roo Electric $1495

The ultimate errand bike  
Anybody who knows the bike biz knows that Joe Breeze is considered the father of mountain biking — almost single-handedly creating an entire culture on the strength of his first mountain-suited bicycle in the 1970's. He's ahead of the curve again, with the Breezer Villager, which his company considers the ultimate “errand” bike. It has everything you'd need if you want to run down to the grocery store for milk — a sealed chain cover that keeps gunk out of the links (and off your pants), a sealed 7-speed internally-geared hub, a cushy suspension seat post for a soft ride, a fully-integrated lighting system, reflective sidewall tires and a built-in ring lock for easy security. Plus fenders to keep you dry, and a bell for old time's sake., $749

It grows with your kid!
With its aluminum frame, front suspension and 21-speed shifting, the Trek Mt. Track 220 is not like most kids' bikes. But unlike some which have fancy paint jobs but fall apart quickly (under attack by the kids who actually use them), the Mt. Track is not only guaranteed for life, it will fit your kid almost that long, too. How? Trek's innovative new “Dialed” program features adjustable components, so the kids who use them won't grow out of the bike for years. The pedals can be repositioned in seconds, for example, and so can the handlebar angles. And by the way, the 21-speed bike is cool-looking, so middle-school kids (9-12) will want to bike, not drive., $250

Admit it — you're suffering from nervous ticks at the thought of giving up your internal combustion engine, and the only exercise you really want is from turning the ignition key. First, though, consider that your average SUV costs about $50 a fill-up. The Vespa GT 200? $5 for a full tank. (Five dollars. Cinq. Cincos.) And you'll probably fill it up about twice a month. Yes, the GT 200 gets between 50-70 miles per gallon. Even its easy automatic transmission is twist and go. The 4-stroke 4-valve 200cc engine is liquid-cooled and remarkably powerful and has the power to pull away from almost any kind of traffic you encounter. Plus, its low levels of air and noise pollution well exceed the standards being considered in Europe and America many years from now. And storage? The GT has room for two open face helmets under the seat and a spacious glove compartment — plenty of room to run errands and bring a passenger along with you. A halogen headlamp provides plenty of illumination. The PX150 Limited Edition was introduced this year for Vespa's 60th anniversary. New instrumentation and mechanicals but classic looks., GT 200 $5199; PX 150 $4199