Bicycle sales pass car sales

For the first time since the 1970s, bicycle sales have exceeded car sales in the United States. And bicycle sales in the U.S. are near an all-time high. According a YahooNews story:

More bicycles than cars have been sold in the United States over the past 12 months, with rising gas prices prompting commuters to opt for two wheels instead of four.

Not since the oil crisis of 1973 have bicycles sold in such big numbers, according to Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, an industry association.

"Bicycle sales are near an all-time high with 19 million sold last year -- close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s," said Blumenthal, whose association is based in Boulder in the western state of Colorado. . . .

[Paul Gaiser, owner of Scooter Commuter in Bethesda, Maryland] believes the bicycle trend is no passing fad.

"Our sales have quadrupled in the last two months," he said. "I think it's a major paradigm shift. It's here to stay."

Cyclists on the streets of the US capital agreed.

"I bought my first bike six months ago to go to college. I could not do without it. It's faster in traffic and less expensive," said Erik Lubell, a student at George Washington University wearing a multi-colored helmet.

Near the affluent district of Georgetown, Stella Hardwood said she had a different motivation.

"I don't want to put on weight and my bike forces me to exercise," Hardwood said.