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People On Bikes

National Study Reveals New & Emerging U.S. Cycling Behaviors During Coronavirus Pandemic

Bike shops and manufacturers across America are reporting a bicycling renaissance in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems more people are turning to bicycles for the benefits of exercise, stress-relief, activities with their children, or for a safe mode of transportation. That’s translated into more new bikes being sold, and old bikes getting a fix-up.

Those findings come from a newly released study conducted by Engine Insights for Trek Bicycle. The study explores how cycling behaviors and attitudes are shifting during the pandemic. The results reveal that bike riding is perceived as a “safer” activity and mode of transportation compared to public transit, as more people are biking than before.

“Anecdotally, it’s exciting to see so many more people who haven’t been on their bikes for years riding again and coming into the stores for tune-ups or repairs,” says Ray Kennedy, marketing director for David’s World Cycle. “Across the board, there have been a lot of new customers who we haven’t seen before now.”

Reuters Business News also reported that they interviewed a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers and found that the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States. According to Reuters, Kent International, an importer of bicycles, said sales at most of the major retailers they supply were up 30% in March and were up over 50% during April, with the surge in demand changing their shipping arrangements.

The Trek Bicycle/Engine Insights study found in the survey of 1,004 American adults 18-years and older:

  • 85% perceive cycling as a safer mode compared to public transportation
  • For trips five miles or less, 90% included biking in their top three travel choices during the current COVID-19 pandemic
  • 14% of Americans ride bicycles to replace public transportation
  • Of Americans who own a bike, 21% of them have been riding more since COVID-19

The study also concluded that cycling supports mental health during the current environment:

  • Nearly 63% surveyed said bike riding helps to relieve stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Roughly 27% said they turn to bike riding to directly improve their mental health.

Trek Bicycle partnered with Engine Insights, a market research company, to conduct the nationally representative survey covering behaviors and attitudes around biking during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online omnibus study was conducted April 6-8, 2020 among a demographically representative U.S. sample and weighted across five variables, including age, sex, geographic region, race and education.

During the stay-at-home recommendation, bicycle shops were classified as essential businesses. Locally, bike shops adjusted and are taking precautions to serve their customers, while practicing social distancing. Some are offering online orders, curbside pick-up, and limited store hours and services. Here are links to several full-service Central Florida bike shops: (If we missed your favorite bike shop in this list, please send us a message, and we’ll be sure to add them. Email us here.)

Cycling back to the study, the question remains whether the biking renaissance will result in longer term behavior changes, once the COVID 19 threat diminishes. Perhaps another study, post-COVID 19, will show that pedal power with two-wheeled rubber meeting the road is still as popular for recreation, commuting and for going places, moving forward.

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