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Bike Share: “A gateway drug to biking.”

June 29, 2012

Fear not, New York City bicycle shop owners.  If Capital Bikeshare is any guide, Citi Bike is bound to be good for business:

Any worries that Capital Bikeshare would ruin business for neighborhood bike shops are long gone. There were similar concerns in Paris when the Vélib rental system started. However, a 2008 report in Bike Europe, a website for bike professionals, cited a 39 percent growth in sales of city bikes possibly attributed to the huge popularity of the Vélib system.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association endorses Bikeshare’s program for that reason.

“We often hear that once Capital Bikeshare members find the joys of bicycling in the D.C., they go on to purchase a personal bike,” says Gregory Billing, the association’s outreach and advocacy coordinator. “Local bike shops have seen both an increase in sales of bikes and also repairs of old bikes. Owners and managers report seeing an increase of old bikes being pulled out of the basements or garages, brought to the shop for a tune-up and to be outfitted with a cargo rack for commuting.”

Russell Martin, 25, enjoyed bike sharing so much that he bought three bikes of his own at local bike shops. “I ended up selling my car and buying a couple more bicycles, and I haven’t looked back.”

In addition to how bike share affects bike sales, I’m curious to see what types of bicycles Citi Bike users wind up buying.  Will there be a shift from fixies and old ten-speeds to more upright Dutch-style bicycles?  Since I’m partial to the latter as a more practical means of A-to-B transportation in an urban environment, I can’t wait to find out.

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