Colorado bike retailer hosts staff of U.S. Senator

December 18, 2018

(From left) Steve Heal, Wheat Ridge Cyclery; Annie Larson, regional director for U.S. Senator Cory Gardner; and PeopleForBikes government relations coordinator Jordan Trout meet to discuss how current federal legislation affects bike businesses.

 

In early November, Wheat Ridge Cyclery hosted members from the staff of U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). The Denver-area bike shop is known for its wide-ranging inventory, selling everything from cruisers to highly technical mountain bikes. Gardner’s staff — including Regional Director Annie Larson — toured the showroom floor, then sat down with Wheat Ridge staff to talk bike business and policy.

Among the many styles of bikes offered at the shop, electric bicycles and e-mountain bikes are a fast-growing category. The Wheat Ridge staff explained to Larson that e-bikes have surged because of their ability to improve access to bike riding for so many different audiences: new riders, those recovering from injury, commuters who have long distances to cover, aging riders — the list goes on. They also shared that the continued growth trajectory is threatened by recent tariff increases, which will inevitably raise costs for both retailers and consumers, and how this will hurt bike businesses and ridership.

 

When communities invest in bike infrastructure, businesses see a boost in sales, and ridership increases — sometimes even doubling previous participation rates.

 

While recent tariff decisions have hurt the bike industry, upcoming policy decisions can potentially encourage more people to ride bikes more often. “When communities invest in bike infrastructure, businesses see a boost in sales, and ridership increases — sometimes even doubling previous participation rates,” says Jennifer Boldry, director of research at PeopleForBikes.

Compared to road projects and other segments of transportation funding, bike infrastructure requires a relatively modest investment that offers a high reward. The opportunity for communities to reap rewards from better bike infrastructure is high.

The Wheat Ridge staff closed out their meeting with Senator Gardner’s staff by encouraging him to show leadership by supporting transportation reauthorization that includes bicycles, modeled after the recent BUILD (Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development) and FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Acts. The staff also thanked Gardner for his ongoing support and protection of public lands, which benefits the bike industry.

“It was a productive visit,” said Jordan Trout, PeopleForBikes government relations coordinator. “Senator Gardner’s staff asked dozens of questions to get to the heart of how current policy issues affect the bike industry. We look forward to continued work with the senator.”

 

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