Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bike shop sales strong across the U.S.

Image of bicyclist in Illinois
From The Daily-Journal (Kankakee, IL), 09.20.08:

Bike sales increase as more people pedal to work
Hal Trovillion, pastor of First Baptist Church of Manteno, rides his bike four blocks to his church every Sunday. "I have ridden my bike to church for a couple years," Trovillion said. "It saves me money, but I mainly use it for exercise. It can also be eco-friendly."

Trovillion is not alone. As the cost of getting from here to there increases, local stores have reported a spike in bicycle sales as more people look for alternative means of transportation to save money...high fuel prices and eroding consumer confidence led more people to reach for Kryptonite bike locks rather than car keys.

And strong sales continue even as winter approaches, bike shop owners say. The national trend can be seen at Tern of the Wheel bike shop in Bradley. "We have experienced a 10 percent increase in sales compared to last year," said owner Steve Linneman. "People are saying they want to ride their bike to work because they can't afford to put gas in their car."

"The fact that people--even in Houston--are riding in record numbers is a clear sign to us that this is happening across the country in places you wouldn't expect," said Elizabeth Kiker, a spokeswoman for the League of American Bicyclists. (Read more.)
At the autumn equinox, we can perhaps declare Summer 2008 to have been the season Americans rediscovered the bicycle. This article from Illinois indicates that bike shops all over the country are reporting increased sales. All year, we've seen evidence of flourishing bike sales across the U.S., from Massachusetts to Ohio, to Florida to Oregon. The cost of gasoline is clearly a factor--about 30 percent above last year's price at this time. This article from "middle America" is further confirmation that the bicycling trend isn't just a phenomenon of the coastal areas or college towns. Bicycling is sweeping the nation.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: More Americans Bike To Work, Voice of America
Visit: High Gas Prices Mean High Bike Sales Across U.S.,
Visit: Biking it: From the morning commute to police patrol, some people prefer pedaling over driving, Benton County Record (Arkansas)
Visit: Pedal power: Commuters swap cars for bicycles, Wenatchee World (Washington)
Visit: Bicyclist Bucks High Gas Prices, WMTW-TV (Auburn, Maine)
Visit: CBS on bicycles in the U.S., Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Americans learn bikes cut costs and improve fitness, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Kevin Love said...

I would be slow to pin hopes for the future of bicycling on high gasoline costs. In Great Britain, gas costs are well over $8.00 per gallon, yet cycling is only 2% of trips.

What is really needed is land use planning and infrastructure that makes it impossible to use cars and easy to use bicycles.

Here in Toronto, there is zero car parking where I live and zero car parking where I work. That discourages car use.

Kevin Love said...

Further to my last,

gasoline prices went over $10 per gallon in the Netherlands. One would think that in this bike-friendly nation that this would be the last nail in the coffin of car use. But no. Car use changed little, remaining at almost 50% of all total trips.

If $10 per gallon gas isn't sufficient to kill car culture in the Netherlands, I don't think that $5.00 per gallon will kill it in the USA.

acline said...

Keven... I think you're right in the long term. In the short term, I think high gas prices may move enough people to make bicycle infrastructure a higher priority (not the same as a high priority). I'm starting to see that in Springfield. We're actually getting a small portion of sales tax money for cycling improvements -- part of a transportation infrastructure tax plan passed recently. Small step in one sense. But a HUGE step in another (in tax-averse SW Missouri).

Yokota Fritz said...

Kevin: Something to consider: In the Netherlands, a two percent uptick in bicycle use is just statistical noise, but in the United States that would be a tripling of people riding bikes.

m e l i g r o s a said...

nice post, thanks for the article.

Nice blog!, found you via SFbike coalition site. WIll be visiting often :)

dik said...

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Since bicycle is cheap and non-pollution transportation, it will be the number one transportation in the future..,
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