Gas Prices Fuel Bike-Sale Boom

By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2008 1:17 PM CDT
A group of cyclists set out on their morning commute in Boston May 16, 2008, to celebrate Bay State Bike Week. The effort to encourage bicycle commuting coincides with historic high gasoline prices.    (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
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(Newser) – The world's biggest bicycle maker is having its best year ever, thanks to high oil prices and concerns about both global warming and obesity, the Economist reports. Taiwan-based Giant sells 7% of the world's bikes—460,000 last month—and can't keep up with demand in some markets. New York saw a bike shortage earlier this year, and Taiwanese customers must pay a deposit months in advance.

The bike booms comes despite rising costs—since 2004, wholesale prices have jumped 45% in America and more in Asia as aluminum gets more expensive. Bikes may be popular everywhere, but bike-buying habits differ depending on where you live. In the US, people tend to pick trail bikes, while Europeans like faster models. In Asia, racing bikes are tops.