Numerous bike retailers in the United States are reporting a spike in sales on the back of the seemingly inexorable rise of gas prices at the pumps throughout the country.
In particular bike retailers are reportedly noticing a strong rise in commuter cycling queries – unusual in a market that is regarded as primarily a leisure and sports-based one. Recently the price at the pumps hit $3.60 a gallon and the net is full of reports from bike shops across the US noting the price squeeze effect on customers coming through their doors.
“We’re getting more and more customers that are buying bikes to commute in lieu of gas prices,” said Jarvis Polvado of the Texoma Cycling Centre in Wichita Falls, Texas. “Where I’ve seen the biggest increase is people buying bikes to go to work.”
"Everyone that comes in the shop is talking about the gas prices," said Barry Dahl of Barry's Bikes in Bismarck, North Dakota.
“People are using their bikes a lot more today for transportation purposes,”added Ken Hartley, owner of Hartley’s Cycle Shop in Hinsdale, Illinois. “We're selling more racks, we're selling more fenders, we're seeing a lot of interest in locks to lock their bikes at the train stations."
US cycling advocacy group League of American Bicyclists have also noted the effect of the greater cost of filling up.
“People are riding bicycles a lot more often, and it's due to a mixture of things but escalating gas prices is one of them," League spokesman Bill Nesper said, adding, "We're seeing a spike in the number of calls we're getting from people wanting tips on bicycle commuting."
US bike sales saw a huge increase in 1973 after the oil crisis and sales of adult bikes have not since reached the 15 million plus achieved in that year.