Friday, June 27, 2008

Massachusetts: Bicycle shops reap windfall

From the Brockton Enterprise (MA), 06.27.08:

Bicycle shops reap windfall from soaring gasoline prices
WHITMAN—The Bike Barn in Whitman has seen a serious spike in business recently as people driven by high gas prices come in to fix up old mountain bikes they’ve neglected over the years.

Owner Kevin Chichlowski said commuters are scrambling to find a cheaper way to get to work as gas hovers around $4 a gallon. “What’s fashionable right now is to ride a bike to the commuter rail (station),” he said. “Anyone with an old mountain bike is getting it cleaned up and ready for the road.”

Many local bicycle shop owners say they’ve had their busiest spring in history. People are dusting off their 20-year-old Schwinns and Raleighs, generating increased tune-up work. And sales of new bikes are inching up, with many buyers choosing hybrids that combine elements of mountain and road bikes.

Even with the high gas prices, (Joe Travis of Travis Cycle in Taunton) doesn’t see this as a culture shift yet. “These are just the early thinkers right now,” he said. “I think we’re probably a dollar or two a gallon away before we see the kind of shift we’re talking about.” (Read more.)
This story (surging business at bike shops) is getting a little stale. I'd really like to see a few new angles: Who's buying the bikes? Were high gas prices the only motivation? What other barriers did they have to bicycle commuting? What are the challenges on their route that policy makers might want to address? What kinds of things might make commuting by bike easier for them (parking, showers, bike lanes, etc.)?

I'm a Massachusetts native, from Boston's South Shore, near Brockton. I'm pleased to see growing interest in bicycling there, because cars have long dominated. And, early in my career, I was a stringer for the Brockton Enterprise. So, of course I have to post this article. But I would like to see the media discourse broaden, and begin to challenge local transportation priorities that favor automobiles.

Visit: Energy required (but no fossil fuels), News Record (Gillette, WY)
Visit Pedal power surges, Ipswich Chronicle (MA)
Visit: Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
Visit: Massachusetts: Bike shops on a roll, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Massachusetts: Bicycling surges, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Massachusetts: bike commuting's myriad benefits, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Anonymous said...

Ride as if they are out to hit you. Assume they are going to make the clueless move that puts your life at risk.

I didn't have to learn this on a bicycle. I learned it over 30 years behind the wheel of a car, with no accidents save for a trip into a ditch in a sudden ice storm.

They aren't all jerks or incompetents, but it only takes one.

jack said...

What other barriers did they have to bicycle commuting? What are the challenges on their route that policy makers might want to address.

Massachusetts Drug Addiction

frozen said...

I think it is funny that bikers complain about drivers, when bikers are supposed to obey all road rules; they go through red lights, stop signs, pass on the right, left, and middle, and tend to disobey all rules and then blame car drivers.

Jeff Kaufman said...


Not defending running red lights or stop signs, but in MA it is legal to pass on the right in a bike. Chapter 85, Section 11B: