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Gas prices are fueling higher bike sales

by Commute by Bike

There’s things that are just “common sense” to a lot of us, but it’s always nice to see it backed up by real data.

Bikes Belong did a survey recently that shows that gas prices are pushing bikes sales higher than ever.

Bike Biz’s recent article points to a PDF released by Bikes Belong that you can download here. Here’s some of the most important numbers pulled from there site:

The majority of retailers who responded said their sales of transportation-related bicycles, accessories, and service have increased in 2008 compared to 2007:

  • 73% said they are selling more bikes.
  • 84% said they are selling more accessories.
  • 88% said they are selling more service.

Is this increase in sales because of high gas prices? Most retailers who we surveyed think so:

  • 95% of shops said customers cited high gas prices as a reason for their transportation-related purchases.
  • 80% of retailers said gas prices were helping them sell more bikes for transportation.
  • 86% thought accessory sales were getting a boost.
  • 89% said they were selling more service because of high gas prices.

Read the whole Bikes Belong release.

 
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17 Responses to “Gas prices are fueling higher bike sales”

  1. Ringer says:

    I used my economic stimulus check to get the single speed I had wanted for awhile. And then I thought, “Hey, I don’t really need my car anymore.” So I’m selling it. I’ll ride as much as I can, take the bus when I need to, and relish every moment that gas prices don’t affect me at all (or at least not directly). I’m also fixing up an old MTB to be a bad weather commuter and sport utility bike. I’ve become almost a permanent fixture at my LBS. I may never go back to owning a car. I’m amazed at how liberating being carless is…

  2. Scott R says:

    Increasing gas prices were certainly a factor for me to begin bike commuting. I live just five miles from my employer, and they offer bike racks and showers. It was practically a no-brainer.

    I surfed bike commuting web sites like commutebybike.com and activateomaha.org and got myself schooled on how to commute.

    I walked right into my local Trek store and said I wanted a bike suitable for commuting. The salesman put me on a Trek 7300. We added lights and I began commuting the next day. The next weekend I returned for a back rack and panniers, and a 7300 for my wife, also with a rack and grocery panniers. Now we do errands and shopping on our bikes. Who knew it could be so easy, and fun?

    I’m tracking all of my trips (commuting and everything else) using mapmyride.com and should be able to see precisely when I’m at my break-even point on the purchase.

    Regards,

    Scott

  3. James says:

    This is great. I can’t wait to see more and more bike commuters on the street. I’m sure bad weather will scare off most in Denver, but the increase has already been noticeable this summer.

    Ringer – welcome to car-free living. I highly recommended it!

  4. Dave says:

    I’ve been commuting since I moved to SE Arizona, going on four months now. I’ve seen a few other commuters, here and there. This morning, in fact, throughout the day, I’ve seen a bunch of riders! At work, as I get ready to ride home, twice a week or so, someone tells me they are starting. Our office building is supposedly adding another rack. Things are turning around here.

  5. bikeman says:

    I ride to keep my weight in check. It is seven miles each way, toss in three real hills, and I have a decent workout. The gas savings is an added bonus.

  6. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    Every time I find myself talking to a person who is thinking about or just starting bike commuting I try to convey the mentality all of us share about commuting by bicycle. Over time, the money reason fades away, and the idea of returning to the car-culture becomes a nightmare.

  7. Juan says:

    I’ve saved enough money this year to buy…..another bike! Seriously though, money isn’t really the reason fo me. I don’t want to wake up one morning fifty, fat and frail.

  8. Dave says:

    Just listing out the reasons I commute by bike

    o I love to ride, more riding is good, stress beater, calorie burner, get outside, soul riding…
    o less oil burned
    o fitness
    o less mileage/oil/maint on the car I do own
    o as an example to my kids (my 9 year old is catching it)
    o example to people driving to work (you can do it too)

  9. I’m right there with Paul in MinMin…loving the ride is my primary reason for sticking with it (it’ll be 20 years next May) and the money, fitness and environmental benefits become mere gravy.

    And BTW-good grief, do we have a huge crop of newbies in Madison this year. Bit of a pain, but ultimately it warms the Old Commuter’s heart. 8-)

  10. pierre says:

    this is anecdotal evidence at best.

    Why was there not a post regarding the BRaIN’s article that sales are behind ’07 and that we will sell just as many bike this year as we have in the past 7?

    Yes sales are up for accessories, parts and commuter bikes, and this is good for shops but to say bike sales are up without hard evidence (less than .3% of shops were included in survey) is adding to the hype that does not seem to be there in hard numbers.

    Bike Hugger has an interview with president of Bianchi posted and he does not say sales are up just as most bike companies will tell you.

  11. Mike Panic says:

    I bought a bike to get into shape, loose weight and enjoy the outdoors with my friends. In the persuit of getting into shape, I made the choice to start commuting 3 times a week, more if possible. That being said, I drive a Civic hatchback that gets 33+ mph on average, so even though gas is dropping here in PA to the $3.55/gallon neighborhood, my 14.5 mile round trip commute only saves about $2 / day over driving (driving commute is roughly 16 miles via highway).

    Crunch the numbers a bit, throw in one $1.25 gel for the ride I’ve now sliced through more than 50% of the money saved while riding. I avoid gel’s for commuting because they cost too much for such a short ride and rely on packed fresh fruit to consume when I get to work, but other things start to add up as well. I’ve bought clothing specificly to ride in (Champion C9 shirts, similar to Under Armor but 1/3rd the price), that also means that I’m changing two outfits a day which = more laundry, powered by an electric washing machine.

    I’d say that I am saving a small amount of money by commuting to work, but trying to recoup the money spent on my bike, accessories, clothing, replacement parts is going to take a very long time. Say you get 1,000 miles out of a rear tire and you replace it with a lower end, yet decent piece of rubber that costs $30. That tire you just replaced just cost you 3c per mile to ride, not including another $4-6 for a tube.

    All of these factors should be helping to boost bike shop sales..

  12. MikeOnBike says:

    @Mike Panic: To be fair, you save a lot more than the cost of gas by not driving your car.

  13. xcskimt (Robert) says:

    I am happy to see more commuters on my way into work. I live in Green Bay and fall is approaching and then winter. I ride year round so it will be interesting to see how many people stick to commuting. I talked with a few bike shop friends. They are seeing many more bikes coming out of the garages for a tune up. Granted they rather work on new bikes (even highend bikes) but they have seen some really cool old school bikes. With a slow down in economy it is good to have repairs to make up the loss on bike sales. Oddly the Lager bike is the biggest seller. I am a happy commuter.

  14. Juan says:

    I figure in bike related purchases to be the same as auto maintenance. Oil and filter changes add up and so do things like wipers, wiper fluid, tires, tuneups, etc… My commute saves me just under $7 a day, so it adds up fast. Not sure where you buy your tires, but I usually pay under $20 and get far more than 1,000 miles out of them. The set I have on now has over 2,500. The back needs replacing, but the front is still going strong. Again though, for me it’s not about money. I love to ride, and if I have to commute anyway, I might as well exercise while I’m at it.

  15. This has been a long time coming. It is a shame that changes in the physical and financial environment had to become extreme before a wholesale change in transportation behaviors started. But I’m sure glad to see that sales numbers in bike shops are another indicator that people are reacting with behavior changes rather than just screaming for the government to solve their problems. Speaking of the government, did anyone see this press release from the DOT that driving rates have declined more today than they did in the 1970′s?

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/fhwa0817.htm

  16. Dave says:

    Just spoke with a bike shop in Kansas City, the owner said sales are going through the roof. Particularly of a bike called the Globe. He was the most animated of the shop owners I’ve approached over the past couple months. As I was leaving, a woman walked in and told him she was pulling her old bike out of the garage and asked if he could help her… Supporting his earlier statement.

  17. aullman says:

    Bike commuting is dependant on having a safe drivable route to work. Workers who live too far from work might want to see about working remotely as an alternative.

    Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet and phone systems to workers from different companies in shared centers located around the city and suburbs.

    Many office workers spend their entire day either on the phone or on a computer system attached to the internet. There is no real reason that they need to work from a centralized office. The price of gas has gotten to the point where working remotely makes more sense than driving back and forth through heavy commuter traffic every day.

    Remote Office Centers are fairly new, but can be found in most large cities by doing a web search on “Remote Office Centers” in quotes.

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