Changing gears

With the cost of four-wheel transportation so expensive these days, more people are turning to the two-wheel alternative.

That’s the scene at New Mexico Bike and Sport, which is located off Cordova Road, next to Trader Joe’s .

“Sales have picked up, and so has our service area,” said Jesse Deaux, who works at the business. “We’re doing a lot more repairs. People really hadn’t ridden much before. It’s been pretty steady.”

Commuter bicycles cost between $500 and $1,200 at the store, but with the price of gasoline so high, it doesn’t take long to cover the cost of a bicycle, Deaux said.

Bike sales are up all over the country, according to Elizabeth Train, spokeswoman for Bikes Belong, a coalition of bicycle suppliers and retailers based in Boulder, Colo.

Train estimated total bike sales will be between 18 and 19 million this year, possibly as high as 20 million. That’s compared with 18.9 million in 2004.

And even if gasoline prices drop, bicycling is likely to remain popular.

“There’s been a gradual increase in bike sales over the last three years that has nothing to do with gas prices,” Train said. “One thing bike shops are telling us is that customers are people who haven’t been riders for a while have decided to take it up again for health and recreation .”

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