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Old 10-02-05, 08:20 AM   #1
genec
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Bicycle sales boom in US amid rising gas prices

Sat Oct 1, 9:15 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 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.
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Not since the oil crisis of 1973 have bicycles sold in such big numbers, according to Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, an industry association.

"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," said Blumenthal, whose association is based in Boulder in the western state of Colorado.

The US Chamber of Commerce says more bicycles have been sold than cars over the past 12 months.

In a country where most of the population still relies heavily on cars, some 87 million people have climbed on a bike in the past 12 months, Blumenthal said.

While less than car sales, bike sales generate about five to six billion dollars of business a year, he said.

Bicycles are back mainly because the sharp increase in gas prices has made them a practical alternative, said Paul Gaiser, owner of Scooter Commuter in Bethesda, Maryland.

"Above all it's the higher price of gas, but also it's concern for the environment and the cost of another car," Gaiser told AFP.

The average price of gas in the United States has increased 47.3 percent in a year, according to figures published last week by the American Automobile Association.

Gaiser believes the bicycle trend is no passing fad.

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

Cyclists on the streets of the US capital agreed.

"I bought my first bike six months ago to go to college. I could not do without it. It's faster in traffic and less expensive," said Erik Lubell, a student at George Washington University wearing a multi-colored helmet.

Near the affluent district of Georgetown, Stella Hardwood said she had a different motivation.

"I don't want to put on weight and my bike forces me to exercise," Hardwood said.

The superstar status of cycling champion Lance Armstrong, who has won the Tour de France seven times, has also helped spark interest in the sport.

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.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20051001...s_051001131528
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Old 10-02-05, 08:46 AM   #2
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some 87 million people have climbed on a bike in the past 12 months
...and everytime someone tells me the reason why cycling injuries are so low is because nobody rides a bike, I mention this point (bicycling is a very common activity that many, many people take part in) they say I'm nuts and don't know what I'm talking about.
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Old 10-02-05, 09:05 AM   #3
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We live in a reactionary society. Very dangerous to live this way. It would be nice that for once we were proactive (as a country) and bought more bikes than cars when there really isn't a need to. Its called preventative medicine. So to speak.
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Old 10-02-05, 09:55 AM   #4
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Its called preventative medicine. So to speak.
as in, bicycling prevents many off the ills driving produces. Still, even by some of it's advocates cycling is still portrayed as dangerous.
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Old 10-02-05, 07:03 PM   #5
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All good, but I suspect it won't be like the "bike boom" of the 70's. When I attended college, you had to really look hard for a place to lock up your ten speed on the bike racks. Today, most college bike racks stand mostly empty, with the racks at the MIT campus being one exception.

Interesting times indeed.
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Old 10-02-05, 07:56 PM   #6
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If I'm not mistaken, are there always more bikes than cars sold in the U.S.? I thought this was pretty consistent, year after year. I remember reading this a couple years ago. Maybe I'm wrong; I don't have time to research it.
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Old 10-02-05, 09:40 PM   #7
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Trackhub the bike clusters at Stanford have to be seen to be believed.

This is good news, this is very good news.
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Old 10-02-05, 10:12 PM   #8
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Sadly enough, I've seen the Segway shops opening up around town too.

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Old 10-02-05, 10:35 PM   #9
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Bicycle sales boom in US amid rising gas prices
Where's the data?

Why don't they tell us how many was purchased last year as compared to this year at the very leasr? Seems like a pretty flimsy argument if the article is any indication....

I'm not sure I actually believe the article.
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Old 10-03-05, 01:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Sadly enough, I've seen the Segway shops opening up around town too.

Koffee
If there has ever been a more useless, lazy-ness promoting invention in the last 100 years than the Segway I haven't seen it. Yeah, lets substitue a machine for walking. For christ's sake some people need a good slap in the face. Every time I see one, I wanna puke and every time I see the guy who invented it, I wanna take his Segway and bash it over his head.
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Old 10-03-05, 08:56 AM   #11
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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.
I was going to write what a great piece I thought this was until I saw the above. I thought reporters weren't supposed to state opinions? The quoted sentences clearly indicate that the author thinks that $3.5M is a non-trivial sum. Sadly it is a mere pittance, a fact I wish the author had instead indicated. Oh well! Baby steps, eh?

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Old 10-03-05, 09:29 AM   #12
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"All good, but I suspect it won't be like the "bike boom" of the 70's. When I attended college, you had to really look hard for a place to lock up your ten speed on the bike racks. Today, most college bike racks stand mostly empty, with the racks at the MIT campus being one exception."

When I went to VCU in the eighties, I could lock up my bike anywhere I pleased. Now, during the school year, bikes are locked to everything. Suppose it depends on the campus.

I'm uncertain the rising price of gas will cause more people to ride bikes... I could easily imagine bike sales going down, as many folks see a bike is a toy and not an essential purchase, as they see gasoline. Most people would buy gas before they buy a bike, I fear. Now if there's a gas shortage, I can see bike use rising drastically.

The only way we'll know is if there is a sustained rise in the price of gas. Unfortunately, the recent rise in energy prices means a spike in the cost of home heating; natural gas is heading for 2x last winter's price. Could be a rough winter for too many folks.
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Old 10-03-05, 09:41 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=PoguemahoneI could easily imagine bike sales going down, as many folks see a bike is a toy and not an essential purchase, as they see gasoline. [/QUOTE]

Mr. Philbert Desanex, I presume?

The local bike shops here in Atlanta have all reported selling at least 4 more bikes per week compared to last year since the latest fuel problems. Most of it is irrational panic, of course, but it might mean a few more people riding.

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Old 10-03-05, 11:48 PM   #14
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Sadly enough, I've seen the Segway shops opening up around town too.
Why is it everytimes I see a Segway, there's a cell phone glued to the "driver's" ear?

Will the thing not work unless you're making a call?
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Old 10-04-05, 12:54 AM   #15
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If you want to see the guy who invented it, just go to Robo-Nexus this weekend. He was there last year. I saw this guy on a segway and thought about pushing him over to see how well he recovers, then realized it was Dean Kaman and he'd probably kick my ass.
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Old 10-04-05, 01:40 AM   #16
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Why is it everytimes I see a Segway, there's a cell phone glued to the "driver's" ear?

Will the thing not work unless you're making a call?

That's not a cell phone, it's a battery for the user's brain. The talking to the battery is just a side effect of being too stupid to walk.
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Old 10-04-05, 06:46 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by lilHinault
If you want to see the guy who invented it, just go to Robo-Nexus this weekend. He was there last year. I saw this guy on a segway and thought about pushing him over to see how well he recovers, then realized it was Dean Kaman and he'd probably kick my ass.
The funny thing is the guy apparently really believed he was going to spark a revolution, replacing cars as a means of urban transpo. All that's happened is that peds have been replaced. <sigh> You should have shoved him!
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Old 10-04-05, 08:56 AM   #18
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The funny thing is the guy apparently really believed he was going to spark a revolution, replacing cars [with a Seqway] as a means of urban transpo. All that's happened is that peds have been replaced.
What I don't understand is this: all that technology just to create a stand-up motorized transport device.
For me, walking is easier than standing still. My feet just get tired when I stand motionless for too long.

It would have been smarter just to market a motorized chair--sitting is a lot easier. But that would appear like a wheelchair, now wouldn't it?
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Old 10-04-05, 09:38 AM   #19
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some 87 million people have climbed on a bike in the past 12 months
...and everytime someone tells me the reason why cycling injuries are so low is because nobody rides a bike, I mention this point (bicycling is a very common activity that many, many people take part in) they say I'm nuts and don't know what I'm talking about.
...if this stat is adaptable to my province (I couldn't see how it couldn't be) 30% of the population (bicyclists) are involved in 1% of traffic collisions (and I'd bet the 2% of road traffic that are regular cycle commuters have a lower incidence of accidents than that of the gen pop that ride a bike on occasion).
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Old 10-04-05, 10:01 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
What I don't understand is this: all that technology just to create a stand-up motorized transport device.
For me, walking is easier than standing still. My feet just get tired when I stand motionless for too long.

It would have been smarter just to market a motorized chair--sitting is a lot easier. But that would appear like a wheelchair, now wouldn't it?
You can just retro-fit a recumbent trike for a lot less than a Segway.

http://www.electric-bikes.com/trikes.htm
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Old 10-04-05, 10:21 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
What I don't understand is this: all that technology just to create a stand-up motorized transport device.
For me, walking is easier than standing still. My feet just get tired when I stand motionless for too long.

It would have been smarter just to market a motorized chair--sitting is a lot easier. But that would appear like a wheelchair, now wouldn't it?
Segways have thier place, I'm not crazy about them either but I think there is still a purpose for them for those who are elderly or for whatever reason can't cycle or walk long distances but would like to stand up to "see the sights". Anything to replace a car is a good thing.

I saw one of those things on the bike path this summer but the young person on it could have easily rode a bike or rollerblades.
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Old 10-04-05, 10:26 AM   #22
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I also remember riding my bike to school and havving to look for a place to lock it. In Key West we had a fenced in lot just for bike parking. It was great (and full!). Nowdays the schools I've been to lately don't even have bike racks. In fact, I think I read a thread here about a school not allowing bikes on campus. It's just sad!

On the up side this thread made me think of my first "English Racer". I don't remember what brand it was but it was my first full sized bike. It had a three speed hub and it was fast!!! I used to leave my friends behind on the way to school.
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Old 10-04-05, 10:30 AM   #23
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Segways have thier place, I'm not crazy about them either but I think there is still a purpose for them for those who are elderly or for whatever reason can't cycle or walk long distances but would like to stand up to "see the sights". Anything to replace a car is a good thing.

I saw one of those things on the bike path this summer but the young person on it could have easily rode a bike or rollerblades.
There are much cheaper, lighter, simpler products on the market that will assist the disabled. The Segway is not a good pick for the impaired. It can tip over if misshandled (see Bush/Segway). If the battery fails it can tip over. See my above post about electric assisted trikes.
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Old 10-04-05, 11:05 AM   #24
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Jeez, $3.5M over the next four years? That's $70,000 per state! Put another way, that's $17,500 per year per state. That's not a whole lot to build cycle trails. Most money for cycle trails and road improvements come from the cities and states themselves, but $70,000 probably wouldn't even pay for a study or plan on cycling paths.
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Old 10-04-05, 11:19 AM   #25
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Locally it is costing about 3.5 million for a simple bridge over a busy intersection for a bike path. Guess that blows the entire US budget.

Don't know what the rest of you are going to do...
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