Seven percent!

That’s what this works out to.

One point four million bicycles were sold in Australia last year. That’s in a country with a population of approximately 20 million. In the simplest terms, seven percent of the population got a new bike, vs only about five percent of the population getting new cars. And that’s a trend that has gone on for eight years now.

I lived in Australia for three years, and can attest to the high cost of vehicle ownership. Petrol was the equivalent of $5/gallon back then, and it’s certainly gone up since. Insurance and maintenance wasn’t cheap either, with $80 for an oil change being the norm. And their public transport system is pretty efficient too. My wife never had the need for a driver’s license. So it comes as no surprise that more Australians are choosing bicycles over cars.

Sure, without a proper breakdown, it could be argued that a lot of those bikes may have gone to Australians that weren’t even of driving age. But that’s still a positive note. If you can instill into children the freedom and mobility that a bicycle can provide, you’re off to a good start. At the other end of the scale, I don’t expect that many pensioners are trading in their aging Kingswood wagons for a Giant hybrid, but one can hope. I recall a couple that was at least in their sixties that got around on a Cannondale tandem.

My hope for this year is that the US will have some sort of record bike sales, and that the bikes will actually get ridden in place of trips by car.

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