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Will Gas Prices Convert You into a Bike Commuter This Summer?

Will high gas prices turn you into a bike commuter this year? An article in Monday's USA Today indicates that $4 gasoline is prompting some commuters to convert from 4-wheeled to 2-wheeled transportation this spring.

The article cites a retail report that shows first-quarter bike sales this year are up 9% over the same three-month period in 2010, with road bikes pacing the growth.

REI product manager Mark Harding says bike sales at the co-op are steady and strong, though he has yet to detect a sales spike clearly related to higher gasoline costs. "Good sales so far might be related as much to improving weather as gas prices," Harding says. "We might see a more noticeable change if gas climbs to $5."

John Chase, a sales and rental specialist at REI's Bloomington, Minn., store, says he has heard customer chatter about gas prices in the store's cycling department. He, for one, has personally made a change to cover the 14.5 miles from his home in St. Paul to REI Bloomington via a bike-urban transit combo.

"I started doing it last summer and I have intentions to do it more this year," says Chase, a 4-year REI staffer. "To start I take an express bus with bike carriers on the front, then ride the final 3 miles to the store.

"It works out pretty well," he says. "At first I was a little concerned about the buses being on time, but the buses have been great. It's encouraging. Right now I'm doing it 2 days a week, and I'll try to do more. It's also part of an effort to be healthy and more active.

"Sometimes it's hard to schedule a recreational bike ride, but when it's an intentional bike ride, where you get something done while you're exercising, it's a good feeling. Sometimes I'll do the bus-bike combo in the morning and ride all the way home in the evening when I'm not watching the clock."

Chase is not alone as a bike commuter at his REI store. "We're running low on bike hooks in our storage area some days," he says.

How about you? Will you commute via bike more often this spring and summer? If so, what's your source of motivation? Save money? Reduce emissions? Get exercise? Enjoy the outdoors? Have fun? All of the above?

May is National Bike Month. Check out REI's selection of urban/commuter bikes and consider taking an alternate path to work this summer.


Posted on at 6:41 PM

Tagged: Cycling, bicycle, bike commuting and national bike month

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Definitely! I think high gas prices will also change how people vacation and travel this summer. More peoople will look at train travel! We're embarking on a cross-country trip on bikes and trains to redefine the American road trip!

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Nope. That's like asking if my employer would change dress codes or put in showers to save the environment. :(


I love to see articles like this. Bicycle commuting is such a great way to travel. People will find all kinds of excuse not to do it but there are many many positive reasons to do it. Check out some of the videos on my blog for inspiration! -


I've been car free for almost 2 years now and have no intentions of going back to the car lifestyle anytime soon. I enjoy and look forward to my bicycle commutes, only wish that my employer and the city was a little more bike-friendly.


Probably not. I have a 26 mile commute, one way. When I lived in Chicago, I communted every day, all year long. Not a problem, even in the winter. It was easy since I lived near the lake and getting into the loop from the lakeshore was a piece of cake. I wish it was that easy here...

heart sierras

Just sold my car recently and am now car-free. I am a working professional in Los Angeles, so naturally my co-workers think I'm nuts. However, I live in a college neighborhood and there are many students and postdocs that don't own cars here. It is somewhat inconvenient sometimes, but I have been mostly going about my business just fine. It feels like a big expensive burden has been lifted from me.


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