Monday, August 09, 2010

Sydney’s bike economy booms

Bike shops in the inner city have almost doubled in the past five years as Sydney's bike economy continues to boom.

A City of Sydney survey of 23 bike businesses within a 10km radius of the CBD found 10 new bike shops opened in the past five years. Together the 23 bike stores employ 214 people.

Sydney's increasing demand for cheap, efficient two-wheeled transport has fuelled the growth with the bike stores reporting a 30% increase in sales of commuter bikes in the past five years.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said; "Bike shop growth and increased sales shows just how popular cycling is in Sydney. These businesses have done their research, observed increased bike traffic, and have forecast the growth of cycling in this city."

Jeremy Scrivener, co-owner of Bicycle Garage and Coffee Shop in Lilyfield said: "We'd never owned a bike store before but our instincts and research showed it would work. We chose our location carefully and since opening the bicycle traffic has doubled."

The bike businesses reported a variety of factors underlying the growth in sales: a perception that bike riding is now safer, that it is more 'doable' in terms of fitness and length of the ride, and that it is a cheap transport option in times when the cost of living is high.

Morgan's Bicycles of Alexandria opened in 2008 selling Velorbis bikes that are highly popular in Europe. Last month Japanese cycle store Tokyo Bike opened its first store outside of Japan in Surry Hills, near the Bourke Street cycleway.

One shop, Ashfield Cycles, said that 5-10 years ago they couldn't sell commuter style bikes, but now they represent 75% of sales.

Mike Shaw of Clarence Street Cyclery said: "In the last five years, people who are cyclists have come in looking for a hybrid bike for commuting. In the last two and half years a lot of non-cyclists have come in looking for a bike to commute to work."

Industry associated with bike sales is also growing. Renegade Cycles of Lane Cove has taken on an apprentice bicycle mechanic to help service the bikes they sell. Israel Leichterman also saw a need for more bike mechanics and after doing his own research opened his repair store, Bicycology, in Pyrmont earlier this year.

The popularity of cycling is evident in BRW's top 100 growing companies with Cell Bikes of Stanmore making the list.

The increased availability of hybrid and commuter bikes has also underpinned the growth in bicycle sales.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore concluded: "We are just seeing the beginnings of a cycling boom in Sydney as more and more people come to appreciate the health, cost and travel benefits of riding a bike.

"Alongside an integrated public transport system, this upward cycling trend will help ease Sydney's congestion problems in years to come."

1 comment:

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