Bicycle sales boom in US amid rising gas prices

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Anonymous's picture

"""More bicycles than cars have been sold in the United States over the past 12 months, with rising gas prices prompting commuters to opt for two wheels instead of four. """

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
RR Please Comment as Well...

"The article is a horrible piece of journalism, at best representing the wishful spin of an industry spokesperson being as news.

""Bicycle sales are near an all-time high with 19 million sold last year -- close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s...""

Show me a historical graph or provide more information indicating a significant sales spike. In addition, separate sales of adult bicycles from that of children, as much of this trend, if real, could be caused by concerned parents buying bicycles for their obese children.

""...some 87 million people have climbed on a bike in the past 12 months...""

What does this mean? I probably climbed on a bike 300 times last year; does that count as one or 300?

""Bicycles are back mainly because the sharp increase in gas prices has made them a practical alternative...""

Unfortunately, I personally do not know a single person who has started commuting to work by bicycle due to increased gas prices. Also, ee my comment above about obese children.

""Our sales have quadrupled in the last two months,"" he said. ""I think it's a major paradigm shift. It's here to stay.""

I wish.

""The US government has also done its part to promote a more bicycle-friendly environment. Some 3.5 million dollars in federal money has been set aside to create cycling trails over the next four years.""

Done its job? 3.5 millions over four years? This really should read: Unfortunately, the US government has not done its part to promote a more bicycle-friendly environment, with a paltry 3.5 million dollars in federal money has been set aside to create cycling trails over the next four years."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Fun with numbers

"""Bicycle sales are near an all-time high with 19 million sold last year -- close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s,""

I'm not RR, but I reckon he'd be quick to point out that the population in the early 70s was about 50% less, as in roughly 100 million people than it is now currently. I also commented in another thread about how July was a record month for new car sales.

Houses are bigger than they were 30 years ago, so there's more room for more cars and bikes. Anyway, if there's more bikes on the road, that's fine with me and I'm sure others who shop at garage sales will welcome a fresh stock of 2 wheeled merchandise."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
You both honor me by invoking me here.

"My mind is not so supple as Peter's. It would not have occurred to me to cite the rise in population (thus a decrease in percent of bike owners).

The linked article states, ""The US Chamber of Commerce says more bicycles have been sold than cars over the past 12 months.""

Uhhh, you do know, don't you, that SUVs are NOT counted as cars for purposes of determining overall fleet EPA standards. They are counted as lightweight one wonders if SUVs are counted here.

(It is because they are counted as trucks that I ache they be treated as trucks by our traffic and police departments. Want a SUV? Fine. But, then, no driving on streets off-limits to trucks, e.g. Park Ave. What a delicious conundrum to confront a tony, eastside buyer: hmm, do we go with the SUV, or do we stay in our Park Ave. condo?)


Anonymous's picture
Peter Storey (not verified)
Oh, I like that . . .

"Proving, I guess, the importance of converting the ""right"" taste-makers to one's point of view: Can you imagine if the boards of a dozen or so of Manhattan's most ""desirable"" coops were to decide that SUVs are too gauche to allow their owners to buy into the building? Or if doormen were instructed to refuse to ""keep an eye"" on tenant's SUVs double-parked at the curb? It tickles me to think that the ageing remnant of the 400 could do more for cycling and the environment than any number of Critical Mass rides."

Anonymous's picture
David Regen (not verified)
The highway bill

I feel inclined to point out that the new highway bill that just passed has nearly $1 billion (about 0.3%) for bicycle-related projects; it's mentioned in the lastest issue of Bicycling mag (along with an article about how Bush has become so into cycling).

It may not be a lot out of the total, but it's more than we've ever had, and it's WAY more than $3.5 million.


Anonymous's picture
EToainShrdlu (not verified)
Corrections: Condos, co-ops, SUVs, bicycles

"If a foreigner such as myself may be permitted a few minor cavils:

1. Most of the buildings on Park Avenue are co-ops, not condos. Nearly any jerk with 3 million bucks in his pocket can buy a Park Avenue condo, if one ever comes on the market. On the other hand, there are lots of Park Avenue co-ops, but they are tougher to get into, albeit maybe 25% cheaper. I said *maybe*, dude, so don't come at me with percentage arguments. Since condos are real property, essentially all you have to do it come up with the jack to purchase it. Since co-ops are clubby private corporations, you need social as well as financial recommendations. Think about it; whose recommendation is the board going to take -- some dude on the board of the NYCC, or the chairman of the board of Citibank?

2. If it's any consolation to you, most members of most co-ops boards these days couldn't get past themselves. On Park Avenue, they're typically asking buyers to have two to five times in liquid net worth of the price of the apartment they want to buy.Plus monthly income of seven to ten times the maintenance. Which means: If you buy a piddling little $1.7 million 2-bedroom apartment you might need to have $8,500,000 liquid (not in other property or your 401(k)) and a monthly income of $30,000 a month ( $360,000 a year, minimum.) You think these dudes are going to be embarassed by their SUV's? You think they worry 10 seconds a year about $5 gasoline? Maybe you think they'll hire rickshaw drives to pedal them out to the Hamptons. Wrong again! (see next)

3. It's roughly 100 miles to the Hamptons, longer than that to Columbia County, hillier than the Hamptons all the way to Fairfield County, Columbia County or Berkshire County. Many of these folks travel with kids, toys, housekeepers, nannies and dogs. (More about the dogs below.) And they come home with carloads of groceries (cheaper where they summer than at the local Gristedes, not to mention Citerella; often fresher and better quality, too.) How's that gonna happen on, say, a Seven? Or even on a fleet of Sevens? (Yes, some of those folks do have bicycles, and not entry level bikes, either. Wall Street guys tend to be competitive. In SUVs they want the biggest. In bikes they want the most expensive. It's how they keep score.)

4. Please, I beg you with tear of pity pouring down my cheeks, think of the dogs. These poor dogs sit at home with the housekeeper all day while the kids go to Spence and St. David's, the father goes to Morgan Stanley and Mommy has lunch at Swiftys with a bunch of ladies who all have identical plastic surgery and identical hairdos and identical Channel suits. The highlight of the dog's weekday is a walk with a bunch of other poor little rich dogs, all simultaneously jerked around by some minimum wage dog walker. The one good thing in the dog's life is the weekend, when first he gets a ride in an SUV (if he's lucky he can stick his head out the window and feel the wind on his ears and tongue) and then run around the estate. Without an SUV, this dog is a prisoner. Be kind to animals.

5. I hate to start the Franco-American war again, but did anybody besides me notice that the news organization from which Yahoo lifted this report was AFP. That's Associated FRENCH Press, dude. You were expecting maybe the New York Times?

""Marshall Tito knew what to do with the haute bourgeoisie. He subjected them to a thoroughgoing Marxist historical and social analysis. Then he shot them.""
--Poschko the Croatian

Your Pal,
Etoain Shrdlu

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
CNN Money Too

Obviously editors are only critical of style and not content…

Anonymous's picture
LynnB (not verified)
Commuting for Kids? I don't think so

I love cycling.
I sometimes commute to work on my bike, thru midtown traffic.
But I certainly would not have allowed my 12 year olds to commute to school on their bikes. It's just too dangerous.
We can all act as if NY is OK for commuting - but we need to do a lot before cars are made aware of and respect cyclists.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
The pervasiveness of car-culture rot...

"... in a nutshell (NOT a criticism):

""we need to do a lot before cars are made aware of and respect cyclists""

People, not cars. That's how damaged our culture is, that we think of drivers as one with their vehicles, collectively referred to as ""cars.""


Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Very True

"Evan, you are correct. The issue is not ""cars"" but drivers. In addition, it is the way we have chosen to implement automobile transportation in this country, with vehicle that are far too large and far too powerful for normal driving needs. Let's put it this way, 40,000 Americans die each year as a result of automobile accidents. There are four reasons for this 1) emphasis on luxury and speed over safety and economy; 2) Lax requirements for obtaining and maintaining a license; 3) Lax enforcement of traffic laws; 4) Tolerance of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol (legal and illegal).

A concerted effort at all levels of government could reduce this figure to under 10,000 per year. Why, I ask, is there not generally outrage across the country at this carnage."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Why, I ask, is there not generally outrage across the country?


Interestingly enough, the authors of this book have a very strong opinion as to why.

#5) The biggest one of all, IMHO... There's also 2-3xs more motor vehicle fatalities in NJ due to distracted driving than DUI. A more like-kind, detailed statitic (from 1997) was contained in my NJ MV driver's manual when I took the driver's license exam a few years back.

Funny thing is, I just checked the current driver's manual and there's no mention of the hazards of distracted driving. Driving w/ a cell phone is illegal in NJ, too, but one is summoned only if one is pulled over for some other infraction.


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