Fear of the coronavirus seems at least partly responsible for record-breaking numbers in bicycle manufacturing and sales nationwide in August.
The national statistics institute, Inegi, says there were 111,695 bicycles produced during the month, a 21% rise compared to August of last year, and the highest increase in any month since June 2018.
“We don’t know for certain that it’s about fear of the pandemic, but people are looking for ways to maintain a safe distance,” Jaime Ramírez Vázquez, a business director with Electrobike, which has stores throughout the country.
He recently told El Financiero newspaper, “Our store online has been receiving orders every day despite us having to shut down our physical locations. We’ve seen a 150% increase in interested buyers.”
Manufacturing representatives also attribute the rise in demand to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that bicycles have always been more popular in cities because they allow people to traverse long distances, maintain a safe distance from others, and avoid public transportation, and are more economical than a motorcycle. With the pandemic, people have turned to bikes in greater numbers, they say.
National Association of Bicycle Manufacturers president Fernando Meijía Basurto recently told El Financiero that bicycle manufacturers began noticing by June that they were receiving more orders, soon after the country began instituting lockdowns. When they were declared essential businesses and allowed to stay open, they began producing to meet the new demand.
“We were not like the malls, which had to wait longer to begin operating again,” Meijía said.
In April, manufacturing numbers fell sharply. According to Inegi, there were only 3,574 bicycles made nationwide. However, the numbers began to climb rapidly in May and then May’s numbers were doubled in June.
The trend had unexpected side benefits for Mexico City, where Rodrigo Díaz, the city’s deputy minister for planning, said that since April the number of cyclists using bike lanes on Insurgentes Avenue — Mexico City’s longest roadway — has increased 250%. At a recent meeting of the Mexican Association of Vehicle Lessors, Díaz told attendees that the increased number of cyclists in the city is reducing traffic congestion.
“With the pandemic, the number of cyclists has risen nationally. We need to make more infrastructure for this form of transport,” he said.
Source: El Financiero (sp)