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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Chicago: winter biking grows in popularity

Image of Chicago bicyclist along Lake Michigan
From Medill Reports (Northwestern University), 03.05.08:

Winter biking growth offers unexpected boon to city bike shops
As another fierce Chicago winter wanes, bike shop owners throughout the city are smiling at their good fortune: Off-season sales have been better than ever, softening the industry’s traditional seasonality.

That means fewer cash-flow headaches for the small neighborhood shops spread throughout the city, and fewer layoffs for mechanics and salespeoples used to finding part-time winter work elsewhere.

Irv’s Bike Shop in Pilsen, founded in 1972, is enjoying its best winter ever, owner Henry Ortiz said. Sales are up about 40 percent over last winter. "It's been a lot better than the last two or three years," Ortiz said.

The growing number of commuter bikers is driving the positive sales trend, according to Ortiz and other shop owners enjoying the unexpected boon. Whatever these bikers’ reasons for braving the cold and swerving around street snow, their decision to forgo automobiles and public transit has translated into more tune-ups and purchases of gear, spare parts and even new bicycles at local shops. (Read more.)
Interesting article from Chicago, where cycling has been flourishing in recent years, thanks in no small part to the advocacy efforts of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. The article features an accompanying video, as well as helpful tips for winter riding and a link to BikeWinter.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: In Chicago winter, hardy bicyclists keep riding
Visit: Bike in the winter?, Medill Reports, 02.19.08
Visit: Bicycling in winter has its rewards, Elgin (IL) Courier News, 02.20.08
Visit: Got Snow? Add Bicycle. National Public Radio
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Mary J. McCoy-Dressel said...

Very interesting to run across this blog. For two years in a row, I did the L.A.T.E. Night Ride in Chicago. That was the most awesome thing. The sunrise on Lake Michigan in the morning near the end of the race was beautiful! Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

I use to see this view everyday when riding in Chi-town...absolutely gorgeous. Chicago, like other great cycling towns, have effective advocacy and leadership, it shows.