KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Gas prices are impacting everyone and because of that, bike shops in Kansas City, Mo., are noticing people taking breaks to get to work and turning to bikes to help them get around town.
“When the gas goes up a bit, you see people riding a bit more, especially for short trips,” said Christina Decker, owner of Midwest Cyclery. “It’s fun, we have a city that’s embracing cycling.”
However, Decker says buying a bike in 2022 won’t be easy.
Like other Kansas City-area stores, she says they’re still operating with limited inventory because the majority of their bikes and parts come from overseas.
It also causes problems for people wanting to order a bike due to shipping delays. Customers will also face price increases set by manufacturers ranging from 9% to 17%.
Despite these challenges, Midwest Cyclery sales continue to rise and repair orders have doubled since the pandemic began and peak season hasn’t even started.
Midwest Cyclery says interest in cycling has increased significantly during the pandemic and believes gas prices will push that demand even further.
“We’re not as bad as the east and west coast,” Decker said. “I think there will be more and more who are in town, who are going to opt for more commuting, instead of driving a car to the grocery store within a mile or that sort of thing. “
Decker said people who already own a bike also come to his store and ask what are the safest routes they can take on their commute.
BikeWalkKC, which operates Ride KC Bike, said ridership has increased over the years.
2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the program. 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 is putting infrastructure in place that will be safe for cyclists,” Decker said. “We’re a step ahead of where we were, we’re still behind where we could be, but it takes time and you have to understand that the cycling community, the walking community, the runners all need from a safe avenue. “
KCMO spokeswoman Maggie Green told KSHB 41 the city plans to add an additional 15 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 that bike thefts are down despite increasing ridership and offers the following tips to protect your new whip.
This is how it works:
- Write down your bike’s serial number for reference
- Invest in a good bike lock
- Store your bike in a secure garage or even inside your home
KCPD wants to remind people that bike theft is a crime of opportunity and protecting your property goes a long way.