LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From a young age, Jimmy Flaherty knew that bicycles were his passion.
“I started racing bikes in the ’80s and got to work on them, I decided I liked working on them more than I liked riding them,” said Flaherty, co-owner of Parkside Bikes.
For 34 years, Flaherty has used his bicycle as an alternative mode of transportation.
“It makes the day start a lot better,” Flaherty said. “I live about 6 or 7 miles away and it’s a nice decent ride, could be better. Biking in Louisville isn’t the friendliest. Just a great way to start the day and that’s fine cheaper than gasoline.
According to AAA, a month ago regular gasoline was about $3.90 a gallon in Kentucky. Currently, prices can be seen at $4.70 statewide. In Louisville, prices at one point spiked to $4.99 per gallon.
On average, gasoline has increased by $1.81 over the past year. Even with the surge at the pump, Flaherty hasn’t seen an increase in foot traffic in his store.
“Every year we have a handful of customers who are either long-time customers or new customers who say ‘I’m getting rid of my car’, but even with the way things have gone, we don’t see this more than normal,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty mentioned that a portion of his customers regularly commute by bicycle, whether to run errands or to get to work, but even with gas prices hitting record highs, Flaherty thinks many will continue to s stick to four wheels instead of two.
“I think a lot of people are determined to stay in their cars no matter the cost, and that’s really understandable given our infrastructure,” Flaherty said. “I live outside of Watterson on Southern Parkway and even with a bike lane it’s a little stressful to ride. So it’s going to be difficult to convert a lot of people, but who knows, maybe things will change.
Flaherty remains hopeful for his mission to get more butts on the bikes.
AAA recorded average regular gas prices in the state of Kentucky, which include Bowling Green currently at $4.69, Lexington at $4.68 and Covington at $4.77.