Some retailers speculate that the early spring advanced the post-winter sales rush, much as it accelerated plant blossoms. The sales surge may have gotten more fuel, though, as the gas prices push more commuters to find a more economical way to travel.
"Normally there is some anticipation build-up over the winter and then a 'pop.' A few retailers are concerned that they won't get that 'pop' later on," Jason Gaikowski, QBP's director of sales and marketing, said in a story published by Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
"Nationally we've seen that sales are really solid, with unusual levels of sales in some areas," Gaikowski said.
In Wisconsin, news reports describe overwhelming demand at bike shops across the state.
Gordy Backman, owner of Tour Seven Sports in Wisconsin Rapids, reported his early-season business has been “absolutely nuts."
"The smaller proportion would be the gas prices, but the biggest thing is the weather; that's huge," Backman said. "It's March and we've got May weather. That ramps it up to the point people want to get out -- now."
John Jensen, owner of Johnson’s Cycle & Fitness in Wauwatosa, reported a similar experience to the news radio station WUWM-FM.
Jensen said bikes have been flying off the rack since 2008, when gas prices hit what was a record high average of $4.11 a gallon. Lately, with gas prices on the rise again, he finds quite a few customers looking for a model to ride to and from work.
WUWM reporter LaToya Dennis took a skeptical view of the savings to be found by biking instead of driving, and noted her own savings would be roughly $8 a week.
Over a year, however, that would come out to $400, and Dennis ignored the long-term savings from reducing wear and tear on her car and improving her own health and fitness.