Media Enhances Momentum

Google Alerts brings me a daily barrage of articles on bike commuting. I’d like to say I read them all, but I don’t have time. I skim for interesting headlines and uniques stories, and I look for patterns. This year’s pattern is obvious—as I’ve written before, it’s gas prices.

Here are some recent headlines and quotes:

Pedal Power

Begins…

Mitch Medeiros loves to cheat. He does it every day.

He rides his bike to work and back home again.

“It’s like cheating a 24-hour clock,” Mr. Medeiros said. “I ride to work and I ride back. I get exercise and fresh air and I have some fun during the time I would have spent commuting. Plus, gas prices are painful. That is something else I don’t have to worry about.

“I’m getting something for nothing just by giving up my car. That excites me a little bit. It is one of the rewards.”

Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about—when was the last time you had fun sitting in a car in bumper-to-bumper traffic? The article goes on to talk about how bicycle shops are seeing an increase in business from people buying bikes to use for commuting, as well as getting old bikes serviced.

That is one of many articles discussing increased business for bike shops. Here’s one from Texas:

Bike Shop Owners See More Interest In Two-Wheelers

“For the first time in the past 10 years or so I’m seeing people actually coming in and asking for bikes that they want to use to mostly supplement their driving,” said David Gersch, co-owner of Elite Bicycles.

“Occasionally over the years I’d have people come in who would want to do that, but not with the regularity I’ve seen,” he said. “Usually a day doesn’t go by that I don’t have somebody come in who wants something related to the gas prices.”

Gersch said his shop is performing “record numbers of repairs” to bicycles.

“People who don’t buy new bikes are taking their old, dusty bikes in the garage, wanting to get them repaired to start riding,” Gersch said. “Sometimes they will come in and they will want to make upgrades to their bikes so they can start riding with baskets. I’m seeing things like racks and baskets from our distributors out of stock.”

But what happens when increasing numbers of inexperienced cyclists enter the urban transportation mix? A Boston TV station’s article indicates an increase in interest in cycling education.

As gas prices soar, so does interest in bicycling in Mass.

Riders are also flocking to sign up for safety and training courses, according to Shane Jordan, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition’s director of education and outreach.

The group offers one-hour sessions at companies to help workers learn the ins and outs of bike commuting. Last year the group gave three training sessions. This year they’ve given about a dozen, Jordan said.

Hopefully this will be happening here soon, too. Regional trainer Lyndy Moore has organized a meeting of Orlando LCI’s this week to discuss cycling education strategies to help area riders become more confident in traffic.