Fresno may not seem at times like a commuter bike haven, but the blog SelfStorage.com says the metro area is 10th on its list of top 12 metro areas with the greatest growth in people biking to work.
Between 2009 and 2013, the number of people in the Fresno area biking to work grew 37.6%, from 1,979 to 2,723, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by SelfStorage.com, run by a Texas-based self-storage marketing company. Area bicycle shops say they’re not surprised.
Rubber Soul Bicycles at 132 W. Nees Ave. has seen an increase within the past three years of people who want to bike to work, said salesman Austin Maddux. Not only is it easier and cheaper, but the exercise also makes people feel healthier and happier, he said.
It’s a good way to get some exercise every day, without having to go hit the gym.
Todd Canyon, Steven’s Bicycles manager
Rubber Soul Bicycles also has employees who bike to work. Cashier Jen Karr said she bikes about three to four miles to work as her schedule and the weather permits — heat isn’t an issue for her, but if it’s raining or if she has errands to do after work, then she’ll take her car.
It’s faster for her to get to work on a bicycle, allowing her to avoid traffic and save on gas. And the exercise helps her wake up in the mornings, she said.
“I work here at the bike shop… so it just seems appropriate,” Karr said. “It’s just fun riding bikes everywhere.”
Todd Canyon, manager at Steven’s Bicycles at 4045 W. Figarden Drive, said he’s seen an increase in commuters within at least the past two years.
It’s making a lot easier for people to get around the whole city, rather than just a small area.
James Griffith, Tri Sport Bicycles manager
Perhaps the biggest reason for the increase has been the jump in bike pathways, with bike lanes added to repaved or restriped streets that make the city more accessible, he said. Some are also looking to save on gas or even eliminate using a car altogether, he said.
Canyon said he bikes to work every day, spending about half an hour pedaling eight miles each way.
“It’s a good way to get some exercise every day, without having to go hit the gym,” he said. “It’s a good way to stay healthy.”
James Griffith, manager of Tri Sport Bicycles at 9433 Fort Washington Road, said that while he’s only vaguely seen more people biking to work, what he has seen a definite increase in is the number of people who commute with bikes in general.
It’s just fun riding bikes everywhere.
Jen Karr, Rubber Soul Bicycles cashier
“I still think that we’re… a little behind on people commuting to work,” he said. “They’re afraid of going to work and being sweaty, things like that.”
There are more people using bikes for errands such as grocery shopping, and a big rise in sales of electric bikes, which have motors to assist with pedalling, at the shop for those who aren’t avid cyclers, Griffith said.
He agreed with Canyon that the city has also become more bike-friendly with more bike lanes and park trails.
“It’s making it a lot easier for people to get around the whole city, rather than just a small area,” he said.
Sarah Anderson: (559) 441-6248; @Sarahsonofander