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Gas-pump weary embrace two wheels
 
09/02/2005
Then perhaps it's time you consider spinning.

Grand Valley bike shops report heightened interest among customers whose concern lies neither in taking their new rides off sweet jumps nor exploring sweet singletrack beyond their back yard.

"They say, 'Gas prices are too high. I gotta get a bike,'" said Brad Stewart, manager of Bicycle Outfitters in downtown Grand Junction.

That's not to suggest a deluge of wannabe road warriors are swamping local bike retailers these days, but retailers say they've noticed steady sales at a time when bike sales traditionally start to temper.

The more the pump pinches people's pocketbooks, the more they're inclined to invest in a cheaper set of wheels, said Chris Brown, whose Brown Cycles on Main Street has experienced five months of record-setting sales in the last eight months.

"If it stays at this level for a month, people are going to start looking for alternative options," Brown said.

Stewart credits this summer's interested buyers with a perfect storm of sorts. Lance Armstrong won a record 7th Tour de France, and customers want to ride the same Trek model the Texan rode to victory.

The Grand Valley hosted 2,000 cyclists for the first two stages of Ride the Rockies in June. The annual Tour of the Valley brought hard-core and weekend warriors out last Sunday.

Look around, Brown said, and it's apparent people are riding more.

Add to cycling's higher profile this summer the frustration of paying more to get around, and people are primed for change of pace.

But not everyone cares to spin. That's why other modes of transportation that promise fewer visits to the pump are gaining followers.

http://www.gjsentinel.com/hp/content/news/stories/2005/09/02/9_3_travel_alternatives_WWW.html



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