Comment by Ush Continued

ush (email) – October 10 ’05 – 16:22

Dan Gutierrez was one of the founding members of the LACBC. He
teaches Effective Cycling courses to LA residents and is the founder
and president of the Aerospace Cycling Club (Long Beach). Lars Lehtonen
is the Jobst Brandt of bicycle advocacy in L.A. I think Lars will be
writing something about the BikesBelong/AAA connection soon so I
shouldn’t steal his thunder. Here are Dan Gutierrez’s calculations
about the faux “bike boom” from the LACBC mailing list:

This bit a about a bike boom bothered me, and I wanted to determine if
that was just hype or a real effect or trend in the data. To try answer
this question I spent my lunch period researching NBDA bicycle sales
figures and US census statistics and have discovered some interesting
facts:

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1) Here are the US bike sales figures for the last 10 years plus some
data from the early 1970s. The numbers are in Millions of bicycles. I
took the Bikes Belong Projection for 2005 and split it between adult
and kid bikes per previous years.

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Adult Kid Total

Year (>20″) (<20″) Sales

2005 13.5 5.5 19.0 <<< Bikes Belong Projections

2004 13.0 5.3 18.3

2003 12.9 5.6 18.5

2002 13.6 5.9 19.5

2001 11.3 5.4 16.7

2000 11.9 9.0 20.9

1999 11.6 5.9 17.5

1998 11.1 4.7 15.8

1997 11.0 4.2 15.2

1996 10.9 4.5 15.4

1995 12.0 4.1 16.1

1994 12.5 4.2 16.7

1993 13.0 3.8 16.8

1992 11.6 3.7 15.3

1991 11.6 3.5 15.1

————————————–

1974 14.2

1973 15.2

1972 13.7

1971 8.9

1970 6.9

1969 7.1

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Not exactly a boom is it? There was a mini-boom in kid bike sales in
the year 2000, jumping from 5.8M to 9.0M and then dropping back to 5.4M
the following year with no corresponding increase in adult bike sales
during the period. The reason for this is far from clear to me, I plan
to call the NBDA staff and ask about this. Also notice that adult bike
sales had a peak in 1993, more on this in 2). If you look at the 1970s
figures for adult cycling (the NBDA doesn’t have the kid bike sales on
their website, and I don’t know if such numbers were kept at that
time), you will notice that the adult sales figures were larger than
today even though the us population was smaller, more on this in 2).

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2) Here is the same data (plus additional adult data) scaled to the US
population and calculated as bikes sold per 1000 citizens.

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Year Adult Kid Total

2005 45.6 18.6 64.2

2004 44.4 18.1 62.5

2003 44.4 19.3 63.7

2002 47.3 20.5 67.8

2001 39.6 18.9 58.6

2000 42.1 31.9 74.0

1999 42.5 21.6 64.2

1998 41.1 17.4 58.5

1997 41.1 15.7 56.8

1996 41.1 17.0 58.1

1995 45.7 15.6 61.3

1994 48.0 16.1 64.2

1993 50.4 14.7 65.2

1992 45.5 14.5 60.0

1991 46.0 13.9 59.9

1990 43.3

1989 43.4

1988 40.5

1987 52.0

1986 51.2

1985 47.9

1984 42.8

1983 38.5

1982 29.4

1981 38.8

1980 39.6

1979 48.0

1978 42.2

1977 ——

1976 ——

1975 ——

1974 66.4

1973 71.7

1972 65.3

1971 42.9

1970 33.6

1969 35.0

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I plotted this data and observed that data pre 1[9]70 were in the mid
30s per 1000 people, then quickly doubled in the mid seventies, and
then settles back to a new mean level of a bout 45 bikes per 1000
people. After the boom sales looked like ~45 bikes per 1000 plus or
minus about 5, or between 40 and 50 per 1000 people. The peaks and
troughs swing back and forth every 8 to 12 years. I would really like
to get at the total sales figures for the same years to understand what
happened with kids bikes during this same boom period.

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In any event, if there is a boom, it would have to be a surge that is
happening in the later part of this year, and maybe hasn’t been
accounted for in the 19M bike sales projections. Either way the numbers
used in the Bikes Belong Piece don’t make sense in the context of a
bike boom.

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– Dan Gutierrez –

Aerospace Cycling Club, Founder and Current President

Long Beach Cyclists, Technical Advisory Committee Chair

CA Assoc. of Bicycling Organizations (CABO), District 7 Director

League of American Bicyclists (LAB), Certified Instructor, LCI #962