by Kim Shaw in Central
Business is booming for Sydney’s bike shops, with the roll out of Sydney Council’s cycling network and State Government support for a regional network linking 164 Sydney suburbs.
Clarence St Cyclery opened the country’s first women’s bike shop in May and customers are rolling in, store manager Jenny Fay said.
The increase in custom was significant and many women were looking for bikes with baby carriers, she said.
“We have every type of female cyclist coming in from regular commuters to high performance athletes, to recreational and weekend cyclists to mothers who want to carry their child on the back of the bike. We have a lot of women coming in wanting to get a bike with a baby seat,’’ she said.
“Our commuter and recreational bikes have shot through the roof, as has the high visibility apparel for people riding at night. We know there are more people riding to work because they are buying the clothing for the darker evening journeys back home.’’
Ms Fay said the new bike paths were making cyclists feel safer. “They are alleviating that fear that you have no chance on the street with cars,’’ she said.
Sydney motorists have become more aware as well.
‘’Drivers are beginning to realise that bikes are part of life and that they are getting more popular, especially for shorter trips. It’s a nice feeling when you are passing cars stuck in traffic,’’ Ms Fay said.
More women also were realising that commuting by bike not only saved time and money but also made gym fees redundant. Ms Fay quoted research commissioned by Sydney Council that predicted a 66 per cent increase in bike trips by 2016.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has pointed to sections of the research which found that an inner city regional bike network would deliver at least $506 million - or $3.88 for every dollar spent - in net economic benefits in 30 years.
Cr Moore said women made up 70 per cent of people taking part in the council’s free cycling courses, covering bike maintenance and responsible riding.
“More than eight out of 10 people say they would take up cycling or ride their bikes more often if there were a safer cycle network,’’ Cr Moore said.