Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare employee Cindy Karet cleans her bike Wednesday outside of the shop.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare employee Cindy Karet cleans her bike Wednesday outside of the shop.

Cruiser bikes popular

Cycles selling as bike commuting picks up, shops say

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— More people are commuting by bicycle these days, employees at local shops say, and that's affecting what type of merchandise is moving.

"I think we've seen more of a shift to bikes that people want to ride on the trail and off the trail, more commuter bikes," Ski Haus employee Cory Prager said.

The whimsical Electra cruiser bikes, which Prager said run from about $300 to $600, have been popular.

"Those have been a huge hit for us," he said. "They just fly out the door."

Ski Haus Manager Todd Fellows said there has been an uptick in sales of what he calls fun bikes. Steamboat Springs is a good commuter town, he said.

"I think that if you live in town, it makes it pretty easy to commute to your job, and it's so much easier to park - parking's an issue for sure," Fellows said. "It doesn't seem like it's going to get any better, that's for sure."

At Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare, Manager Derek Hodson said commuters have been coming in to buy less expensive bicycles and accessories for their rides.

"People are buying commuter tires, bells, lights, fenders, baskets," Hodson said. Many customers have come in to switch from mountain bike tires to road tires, he said, and sales of bicycle locks are up 50 percent over last year.

People also have started riding old, junky bikes to work, he said.

"You don't have to have much of a bike to be a commuter," Hodson said. "People are yanking bikes out of Dumpsters all the time. As long as you don't expect them to run perfectly, it's OK."

His shop is supporting a national campaign by Trek Bicycle Corp. to encourage bicycle commuting. Ski & Bike Kare is signing up people who pledge to participate in the program, called One World Two Wheels.

Trek is giving away a commuter bike every day through August for the program, Hodson said.

Everyone who works at the shop commutes by bike almost every day, he said.

"There's not a car in the parking lot but once a week," Hodson said.

Bicycle sales are up slightly for the year, he said. Hodson considers the shop lucky to come out about even during the current economic downturn.

"Because we are a bike shop, people getting into biking gives us an advantage," Hodson said Wednesday. "We had a guy in here this morning, he must have been in his 60s, and he said he hadn't ridden a bike since he was 14. He said he was going to start riding a bike."

Those who don't want or can't afford a new bike can buy used rides at bike shops, Hodson said. Most shops accept trade-ins, and people also can keep an eye on bulletin boards and ads around town, he said.

Hodson said he rides his old clunker up the hill on Old Fish Creek Falls Road on his way home each day. He offered advice to those who avoid bike commutes because of those intimidating ascents: "Try it a couple times - always try it more than once. The first time is hard, the second time is better and the third time is easy."

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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