The New York Times has one of the more substantial articles I've seen on the recent trend toward more bike commuting. Author Alex Williams writes that many of the factors usually cited as obstacles to bike commuting -- errands, children, laptop computers, bad roads, weather, sweat -- "no longer seem quite so insurmountable in the face of $70 fill-ups at gas stations."
According to Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong, commuting was a major "buzz topic" at Interbike, with bike reatailers seeing "a whole new breed of customer, people who haven't ridden bikes at all, coming in mainly because of eyeball shock at the gas pump."
Chris Hornug, chief executive of Pacific Cycle, reports that sales of adult cruiser bikes with wide tires and cushy seats -- "the sort commonly associated with commuting" -- "jumped off the Richter scale," rocketing 20 percent in the week of Sept. 7 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the spike in gas prices.
Breezer Bikes reports that sales are up 33% this year, with sales this last summer double what they were a year ago.
Williams also writes about some of the hiccups that new bike commuters are learning to work around. Bike commuters are learning to adjust their sleep schedules or daycare arrangements. Janelle Gunther, a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, has found herself scurrying into an early morning meeting still clad in her Lycra cycling gear after her five mile commute.
Harry Brull, 56, an organizational psychologist in Minneapolis, joined a local gym so he can shower; stocked his office with suits, shirts, belts and dress shoes; and rode to work Monday morning. That's when he realized he forgot his underwear.
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Great article. In particular, I am glad to hear that Breezer is doing well. Joe Breeze deserves it for completely shifting the focus of his company to transportation-oriented designs several years ago.