Bicycle Sales Strong - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Bicycle Sales Strong

July 21, 2005
Reported by Marty Briggs

It's safe to say that Lance Armstrong has reinvigorated America's interest in cycling.  Armstrong is competing for his seventh straight -- and last -- Tour de France victory this week.  The "Lance Factor" is hard to quantify but is certainly real.  Combined with an aging baby-boom generation that is turning to cycling for fitness and leisure, that means big business for those who sell road bikes.

When Lance Armstrong signed a promotional deal with Trek bicycles back in 1998, little did anyone know what kind of impact he'd have on the cycling industry.  "He is pretty much the pedestal, because there's been nothing else like him in the last ten years," says Lance Chapman, Manager of the Capitol Cyclery on Prien Lake Road.  

Armstrong's success and personal story are well known, and has caused a renewed interest in cycling nationwide.  No company has felt the impact more than Trek, the top manufacturer of bikes.  "You can't buy a Formula-One race car, you can't drive a NASCAR car, you can't even use clubs that Tiger Woods hits.  But you can ride a bike, have a helmet, have shoes, have glasses, just like what Lance Armstrong rides in the tour."  

Chapman says that sales of Trek bicycles account for 65% to 70% of his store's business.  Again, he credits lance Armstrong for much of that.  "It really means a lot because anytime you can see stuff that Lance has on his head or on his eyes, or the bike that he rides, and you can come into your average store and say, 'What is Lance riding?,' and you have it right there on the shelf, it says a lot for cycling in general."  

Chapman says that cycling is popular this time of year because of media attention paid to the Tour de France.  "It's really amazing because the guys that you usually see that would not necessarily come in and ride a bike, they see Lance on TV and the newspaper and everything, and they're like, 'You know what, I think I can ride a bike too, just to see how hard it is.'"  

Chapman says the kind of bicycles that Lance Armstrong rides cost well into the thousands of dollars.

If Armstrong ends with one last victory, the bicycle industry can continue to reap the benefits. Chapman says sales of Trek bicycles have been so strong, that sometimes there's a wait of several months for some of its most popular models.

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