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Kansas City bike shop notices uptick in foot traffic due to high gas prices

Bike Shops see influx of people due to gas prices
Posted at 3:56 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 16:56:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gas prices are impacting everyone and because of this, bike shops in Kansas City, Missouri, are noticing people pumping the breaks on driving to work and turning to bikes to help them get around town.

“When the gas goes up a little bit, you see people ride their bike a little bit more, especially for the short trips,” Christina Decker, owner of Midwest Cyclery said. ” It's fun, we have a city that's embracing cycling.”

However, Decker says shopping for a bike in 2022 won't be easy.

Like other shops across the Kansas City area, she says they're still operating on limited inventory because the majority of their bikes and parts are coming from overseas.

This also causes problems for people wanting to order a bike due to shipping delays. Customers will also be met with price increases set by manufactures that range from nine to 17%.

Despite these challenges, sales at Midwest Cyclery continue to go up and repair orders have doubled since the start of the pandemic and peak season hasn’t even started.

Midwest Cyclery says interest in biking picked up a lot during the pandemic and thinks gas prices are going to push that demand even further.

“We aren't as bad as the east and west coast,” Decker said. “I think there will be more and more who are in the city, who are going to opt for more commuting, as opposed to driving a car to the grocery store less than a mile away or that kind of thing.”

Decker said people who already own a bike are also coming in to her shop and asking what are the safest routes they can take during their commute.

BikeWalkKC, who operates Ride KC Bike, said ridership has increased throughout the years.

2022 marks the program’s 10th anniversary. In January 2022, Ride KC saw over 800 e-bike rides in the Kansas City area — their busiest January in the last three years.

“The city's putting in infrastructure that's going to be safe for bikers,” Decker said. “We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were, we’re still leaps and bounds behind where we could be, but that takes time and understanding that the cycling community, the walking community, the runners, they all need a safe avenue."

Maggie Green, a spokeswoman for KCMO, told KSHB 41 the city is planning on adding 15 more miles of protected bike lanes by the end of the year.

Green also said the city is working on a five-year expansion plan. The final expansion plan will be presented to City Council in mid-April.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department reports bike thefts are down despite the increase in ridership and offered the following tips to protect your new whip.

Here's how it works:

  1. Write down you bike's serial number for reference
  2. Invest in a good bike lock 
  3. Store you bike in a secured garage or even inside your home

KCPD wants to remind people bike thefts are a crime of opportunity and protecting your property goes a long way.