Bike Shops See Boom Amid Rising Consumer Costs

courant.com

They’re peddling as fast as they can over at the bicycle shop.

Restaurants aren’t doing well with energy prices sky high and the economy souring. You wouldn’t want to be selling powerboats this summer with gas at $4 a gallon.

But long after the usual springtime crush of business, bike shops are still overrun with business, with no letup in sight.

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photo by rightee


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0 thoughts on “Bike Shops See Boom Amid Rising Consumer Costs”

  1. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    With luck, we’ll see a turn in the industry. Bicycles with wide-range gearing, step-thru frames for woman and Dutch style cargo bikes that are more practical for the masses. Also, hopefully, this will send messages to politicians that auto-centered infrastructure needs dire attention and start fixing it with bicycles in mind.

  2. Adriel says:

    I bike there more than I drive there, and we have plenty of money to go out to eat lately. 🙂

    I recently heard a story that some churches were praying for cheaper Gas. Personally I am praying for $10/gallon.

    We won’t need much bike infrastructure at all once people have to plunk down $250 for a tank of gas.

  3. Adriel says:

    (Because there won’t be as many cars on the road).

  4. Ringer says:

    Hooray for local bike shops. Mine here in NH just opened back in the spring, and, from what I can tell, they’re doing pretty well. I’m also seeings lots more cyclists out–people with commuter bikes and panniers or mountain bikes and racks. It’s nice to see (except for when they do stupid things like bike the wrong way or on the sidewalks).

    Good point about infrastructure, Adriel. I wonder, though, if lots more people do start riding more, if communities will need some sort of formal education program. I know you don’t need a license to ride a bike, but SOME kind of training seems like it would be a good idea.

    Does anything like this exist, say, in England or Holland?

  5. Adriel says:

    The LAB has a 10 hour bike safety course in most cities, the cost is $65 here in Austin, and most local bike shops are aware of it.

    http://bikeleague.com

    I think the bike shops should push the class. I actually have suggested that they split the class into two 5 hour sessions each costing $35, but no success yet. 🙂

    I started a website http://freebiketips.com and I am still trying to get input and more content, but it is better than nothing for a jumping off point for the novice commuter. Once I get this good enough I will print off a few thousand business cards and hand them out at local bike shops here in Austin and ask them to give them away to anyone asking questions about how to ride in traffic.

  6. Dave says:

    In Germany, when kids are about 10 years old, the local police come to the schools and give a mandatory bicycling class. Not sure how in-depth it is.

  7. CJ says:

    This is nice story. I am glad to see that the bike shops are doing good business this year.

    At the risk of sounding like an arrogant gitt. Increased gas prices are making a bigger difference in commuter traffic and bicycle sales then bike advocacy groups ever have. Let’s face it folks, money makes the world go round. I like the line in the article about going to Starbucks on your bicycle. I think many people are using bike commuting as a way to save themselves some money in fuel costs so that they can still afford that triple mocho latte every morning.

    Ride on people…the more bikes the better.

  8. Adriel says:

    Now if we could just repeal those oil subsidies that are artificially making gasoline so cheap. The market would be allowed to correct itself. I think I heard that gasoline should be about $9/gallon without the subsidies. Oh and we need to make sure GM and Ford do not get 25 Billion dollars to “develop alternative energy”

    If we give it to them, they will waste it and come back with “well, alternative energy just isn’t possible”.

    (They might even spend some of it on FUD to convince everyone that biking there is not practical).

  9. Mike Myers says:

    I’m torn. America is so dependent on gasoline that prices coming down are both a good and bad thing. It’s good because the prices of everything should come down. We are such a spread out nation and the places we live are far from where our food is grown and goods are produced.

    It’s bad because if prices come down then there is no incentive for change. People will keep driving and technology will not progress.

  10. Adriel says:

    One of the reasons prices are going up is inflation. One of the reasons for inflation is the money we are spending on “oil wars” and the 700 Billion dollars we are sending overseas every year that is not coming back. Higher Gas prices may hurt at first, but the market will correct itself. Doing nothing and sending all of our assets to the Persian Gulf is never going to help the US economy.

  11. Adriel says:

    (The 700 billion dollars is the profit from oil sales).

  12. Mike Myers says:

    Adriel—I understand what you’re saying, but every aspect of our economy is dependent on oil. Food doesn’t grow without oil. It doesn’t get to market without oil. It isn’t packaged without oil. Oil is pervasive. There is no replacement on the horizon. Look around you right now. You typing on a plastic keyboard? In front of a monitor in a plastic case? Pervasive.

    I don’t see any replacement for natural gas based fertilizers or diesel fuel any time soon.

    It would be nice if TPTB would have invested in some tech about 50 years ago, but they didn’t and now we have to deal with the consequences.

  13. Stuart M. says:

    Hey Mike, I am a Peak Oil true believer, too. In the long run the oil is going to run out. But at some point substitutes will become competitive. In 2007 ethanol production in America reduced oil imports by 8 billion gallons and Merrill Lynch just said in June that world biofuel availability has cut $21 from the price of a barrel of oil. I love bicycling and I hope this current boom isn’t just a brief transitional period between the oil economy and some substitute-based economy. But I don’t think we are headed back to Stone Age, pre-industrial, pre-oil world economy.

  14. Ghost Rider says:

    Ethanol…ugh. Sure, put the profits in the hands of “Big Agriculture” rather than “Big Oil”. It’s hardly a solution, especially when corn is the choice of plant material used to extract the ethanol from.

  15. Juan says:

    I think we are a far way off from having a world where oil is not used, but I agree with Adriel about removing some of these subsidies and not lowering the cost of gasoline. Higher bicycle sales is one indication that people are finally starting to think about alternative transportation, because like CJ said, money makes the world go round. If gasoline comes down, everyone will go back to their same wasteful ways, and bicycle sales will fall.

  16. jamesmallon says:

    Wake up people: “Peak Oil” is a peak in cheap oil. There is plenty of carbon to make oil from: tar sands, coal-oil gsaification that the Nazis had to resort to, etc. It’s more expensive, but it’s not cutting edge tech.

  17. Quinn says:

    Here in Reno, people are starting to realize that even the $12-$1500 bikes are affordable now, and even more popular, in this area people are pulling out their 10/15 year old treks/GTs/etc. and getting them fixed up. I favorite LBS’s main income this summer actually has been tune ups and maintainence.

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