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.