The popularity of bicycling

The Kirkwood Times has a long article on the resurgence of cycling in the area and its relation to the popularity of Lance Armstrong:
The popularity of bicycling, well, goes through cycles.

In the St. Louis area, road bicycling is on the upswing, perhaps because of the successes of Lance Armstrong. Armstrong overcame cancer to win a record sixth straight Tour de France last month. Area bicycle shops are reporting that sales are up, and that interest in the sport peaks during the Tour de France in July.

Interest ranges from the recreational cyclist to the competitive type -- like Johnny Merli of Webster Groves. Merli, 24, a Vianney High School graduate, races for his father, John Merli, and his Webster Groves-based race team called Dogfish.

Cycling is a great way to keep fit while fostering friendships and close family ties. . . .

Florman, owner of A-1 Bicycle Sales in Kirkwood, said the real cycling boom came during the early 1970s, although he has seen a resurgence lately. He said he can't totally attribute Armstrong's success with the sport's renewed popularity.

"In the early 1970s, we had huge numbers but it was short lived," Florman said. "The sport goes through peaks and valleys. No doubt Lance Armstrong is the most visible cyclist ever."

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