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Report: Bike Shops For Everyone
Bike shops as we know them are dying. From 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle retailers in the United States decreased from 6,195 to 4,055.
“In every state since 2000 bicycling infrastructure has improved,” Donny Perry writes in his 2014 book, Leading Out Retail. From coast to coast, bicycling is on the rise thanks to increased federal transportation dollars dedicated to recreational trail programs, as well as an increase in bike lanes and cycling advocacy groups. Those facts coupled with public transit embracing multimodal travel and increased gas prices all create an environment that makes it easier to choose to ride a bicycle today than in was 10 or 15 years ago.
Download: “Bike shops for everyone: strategies for making bike retail more welcoming to women »
So why, in the midst of a resurgence of bicycling, are so many shops closing their doors? And why is it the concern of the League’s Women Bike program if they do? What’s the connection between improving the viability of the local bike shop and getting more women to ride?
The League of American Bicyclists believes that independent bicycle dealers in providing access to bicycles, bicycle maintenance, bicycling information, and creating a community of people riding bikes are a critical component to building a bicycle-friendly America. We want them to succeed, which means providing resources to assist them in embracing an increasingly diverse and growing market.
In many cases, the first point of contact for a new or returning rider is the experience she has when she first enters her local bike shop. It is at the local shop that she can tap into expert knowledge, experience quality products, and connect to a community of bicyclists.
We hope this new report, released in partnership with Specialized, Bike Shops for Everyone: Strategies for Making Bike Retail More Welcoming to Women, is not only a useful resource for bike shops but for our broader bike industry and advocacy audience as well. For the manufacturers and distributors, we hope that you share this widely with your dealer network and continue to encourage innovative solutions to attract more diverse audiences to bicycling. For our advocacy partners, we hope that you share this resource with your local shops so they know how important these issues are to you, and it becomes a tool to allow you to partner more effectively. By holding shops accountable, and partnering with and supporting shops that do a great job of creating a welcoming environment to all, advocacy leaders can play a significant role in shaping the bike retail landscape of the future.
Many thanks to our report partners, Specialized, for providing the support to research, analyze and produce this new report.
Learn more about Women Bike at bikeleague.org/womenbike.