[CR]Re: US Bicycle Boom 1972-74


Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2005 22:33:13 -0700
From: "john jorgensen" <designzero@earthlink.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
In-Reply-To: <MONKEYFOODLSAQV6uPD00005569@monkeyfood.nt.phred.org>
Subject: [CR]Re: US Bicycle Boom 1972-74

A young lad's view from the 70's

In 1971 I got The Complete Book of Bicycling by E. Sloane, not perfect but it was the first popular overview & reference for cycling in this period. The local library had three copies which were rarely on the shelf. Reading it set me up to get my first lightweight bike. While saving for it I noticed the bike shops were mad houses of activity back then, within 3 miles of my residence in Los Angeles, four new shops opened their doors during this period.

After I got my first good bike in 1972, parents of friends asked me for advice on what to buy, obviously the older folk wanted exercise, jogging was getting a bad reputation by this time, too hard on the knees.

I started racing in 1973, for each of the next two years the number of licensed racers kept rising at a double digit clip. 1976 if I remember correctly the number was flat or dropped.

I started working for a bike shop in 1974, I noticed that a significant percentage of bikes got purchased with a credit card, I asked about this and was told that it was an increasing trend, and not a happy one for the shop as back then the card companies took a solid 3%.

Two of the four new shops that opened were closed four years later.

In 1979, there was a burst of a boom spurred on by the fear of not enough gasoline. We went from selling one to two bikes a day to ten per day, within weeks. Racks, folding baskets and light sets were common accessories, people were worried about getting groceries. It held that way for most of the Summer. Beyond that time I can't say, I left the bike shop as I was offered a job with much better pay and potential.

John Jorgensen
Palos Verdes Ca