Gas prices push U.S. bike sales to near-historic peak

Glory be: More bicycles than cars have been sold in the U.S. in the past 12 months. That’s about 19 million bicycles — nearing the 20 million sales peak during the early 1970s oil embargo — and roughly $5 billion to $6 billion in business, according to the trade organization Bikes Belong. Though concern for the environment may factor into the two-wheeler surge, one bike-shop owner pins the new jones for cycling primarily on spiking gas prices. Sales of some auto brands, however, are holding high despite rising fuel costs: Hummers are on track for a year of record sales, thanks in part to the introduction of the H3, barely more mileage-conscious than the H2. The military-inspired vehicles project power, freedom, “and being able to go where I damn please,” says auto industry researcher Wes Brown. “It’s not just ‘Let me by.’ It’s ‘Get out of my way!'” If you’re on one of those new bikes, watch out for Hummer-driving halfwits with a baseless sense of entitlement.