We may not have a Tour de France in July this year, but that certainly doesn’t mean people have parked their bikes. In fact, it seems as if cycling is seeing a resurgence and that certainly puts a smile on our faces. We’ve always loved our time on two wheels and since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we have definitely increased our mileage.
The lighter traffic helped make the decision to ride easier, but the biggest driver was the stress relief and general sense of well-being we feel after a good session on the road or up in the mountains.
Another bright spot from our rides has been the company we’ve had out on the road recently. Before the crisis, we shared the bike lane mostly with very serious riders who were training with their club or prepping for their next big race. A friendly wave was a rarity and when we said “good morning” at stoplights, the most we could usually hope for was a mumbled reply that was frequently followed up with what appeared to be an assessment of our cycling ability. By the looks of things, more often than not, we must have come up short in the "quad department" and our companion at the stoplight frequently just rode off when the light turned green without as much as a "have a nice day".
Not too long after the start of COVID-19, we started to notice a change in the demographics of our companions on the road. The elites were still out there, but they were joined by new riders, families and people who were just riding for…wait for it…fun!
No worries about watts or heart rate. We're just having fun and getting healthy!
Now, our hit rate for a returned wave is almost 100% and we almost always get a reply when we say hello or good morning. Our anecdotal observation that more people are riding is starting to be backed up with some of the industry research that is coming out. The studies we've seen suggest that in March and April, bicycle sales in the U.S. were up by over 75% versus the same periods last year and the sale of trainers was up by over 200%.
While we acknowledge that we don’t speak on behalf of anyone but ourselves, we sincerely hope that the industry will recognize this incredible opportunity to welcome new friends to the great sport of cycling. And more than ever, we hope that our amazing customers, Collective Beat Members, Ambassadors and friends will offer encouragement to new faces out on the road.
Maybe it’s just us, but we’ve always thought cycling could be somewhat intimidating and a rude interaction on the road could be enough to push these new entrants off the bike when traffic picks up again and we return to some semblance of normal.
On the other hand, if we can smile, say hello, demonstrate safe riding techniques and for heaven’s sake, be careful when we’re driving, then we have a great chance to see a permanent increase in the number of fellow cyclists even after we get past this current crisis. Then, once we have more people cycling, we can make progress on a laundry list of positive things.
First and foremost, we'll have a new cohort of people who will be getting healthier and having fun. We’ll also have more leverage with politicians and will be able to work through some of the existing cycling advocacy groups like It Could Be Me and People for Bikes to push for more bike lanes and hopefully more cycling safety legislation. Then, we may have enough momentum to keep the flywheel turning. Safer roads mean more cyclists which means more leverage to get even more bike lanes, which means more cyclists and so on.
So, the next time you’re out riding, please look for an opportunity to engage and welcome any new entrants to this great sport.
Happy Cycling from your friends at Coeur!
P.s. we have new cycling gear in stock.