Demand for bikes increasing amid high gas prices

All forms of transportation are on the table for people as gas prices continue to sit at well over $4 across western Massachusetts.
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 12:57 PM EDT
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WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - With gas prices still on the rise, many people are looking for cheaper ways to get around.

“We saw this interest really start early in February and then the past couple of weeks, it has ramped up quite a bit,” said Don Podolski, owner of New Horizons Bikes in Westfield.

All forms of transportation are on the table for people as gas prices continue to sit at well over $4 across western Massachusetts - from a boost in electric vehicle sales to now an increased interest in electric bicycles.

Podolski told Western Mass News he has not since sales skyrocket like this since the recession in 2008.

“At the time when we were headed into the recession, a financial crisis, we saw bike sales ramp up tremendously during that, mainly for the same reason that we are seeing today,” Podolski added.

Podolski said he typically sells 30 e-Bikes within a calendar year, but with more people trying to find ways to save at the pump, he’s already reached that number.

“There is a tremendous amount of interest and electric assist bikes. The beauty of an electric assist for commuting replacing a car is that you can get to your destination to work without really working up a sweat, which is really a problem with a regular bike when we get into warmer weather,” Podolski explained.

Some riders are even adding new accessories to their bikes to make some day-to-day activities more cost efficient.

“People are looking for baskets, rear racks definitely, bags to mount on the racks, mirrors…Accessories have become very sophisticated and the bags and racks that we stock are designed for a quick and easy removal, so instead of a lot of straps holding it on, it’s a simple button to push to pop it right off,” Podolski noted.

One rider told Western Mass News he is buying an e-bike to help both the environment and his wallet.

“Yeah, gas for sure. Gas prices have an influence on it too…I just wanna encourage people that have never ridden one, like I haven’t, to go find a place where you can and try it out. You got nothing to lose,” said Rick Colson.