Some consumers who are puffing mad about high gas prices are now blowing smoke on bikes.

Some consumers who are puffing mad about high gas prices are now blowing smoke on bikes.

“Instead of getting a hybrid, I decided, why spend thousands of dollars above and beyond what you have to,” said Erron Pender of Deansboro, who bought a bike for a little more than $400 Wednesday.

“That’s not a lot of money at all. That’s on the low end,” said Pender, who owns a 2006 Subaru Impreza, which averages 25 miles per gallon.

“Within a few months you’ll get your money back, depending on what kind of vehicle you drive.”

Pender plans to ride his bike to and from his job in Yorkville, where he manages a dental laboratory. That commute on bike is 30 to 35 miles roundtrip from home to work, he said.

“Use a little pedal power. It doesn’t cost you anything in gas,” Pender said.

Motorcyle sales

Pender thinks people are going to begin using bicycles to get around.
He said his friends complain about the gas prices and plan to buy motorcycles, which are better on fuel than cars.

DDS Motor Sports in Utica has seen a slight increase in motorcycle and scooter sales, owner Sam Girmonde said.

“I’ve noticed more people coming in more conscious of gas prices and looking at motorcycles and saying they are looking at motorcycles because of the increase in gas prices,” Girmonde said.

Mike Johnson, owner and general manager of Bikes & Boards on Commercial Drive in New Hartford, has seen his share of foot traffic in the store.

“We have seen a spike in bicycle sales this year,” Johnson said. “Our bike sales are up substantially.”

Johnson said the bicycles he’s selling are considered commuter bikes that people use on the street.

“We always see a boost in sales when the kids are out of school — in juvenile sales and teen sales – from ages 10 to 16,” Johnson said. “It’s their only means of transportation, other than their parents.”

Old now new again

Johnson said he has noticed a couple of trends.

One is families coming in together and purchasing bikes. More families have come into his shop this year compared to last year.

“People are looking for alternative means to transportation and recreation, which doesn’t require the purchasing of gasoline,” Johnson said.

The other trend is customers bringing in old bikes for repairs.

Baby boomers are hauling in their first bikes from the 1960s and 1970s and are getting them redone, tuned up and riding them, Johnson said.

“We are seeing a lot of people who used to ride who are refurbishing their bikes,” he said.

Howard Welch, owner of Welch’s Bicycle & Ski Shop in West Utica and South Utica, agrees. Welch always has had an active bike repair business, but he has seen a greater volume of bike repairs this year, he said.

“I have an inclination that there are some people who are using the bikes to ride to grocery stores nearby, and I think there seems to be a proclivity to stay in town more and get exercise on their bikes,” Welch said.

“There seems to be more interest in riding on the bike paths and in the parks and just generally it looks like people are staying closer to home instead of traveling more. It probably is the effect of gas prices,” he said.