After Sandy: Pedal Power




Customers returning rental bikes after public transportation was partially restored post-Sandy. Photo by Ashwaq Masoodi.

The post-hurricane transit crisis was a blessing in disguise for the bike sales and rentals in midtown Manhattan.

After a week of either no public transportation or only partially restored service, locals have started digging out their bikes for repair or purchased new ones, resulting in an increase of an “almost 20 to 30 percent rise in sales as compared to the normal days,” according to John Mcgough, sales associate at Sid’s Bike Shop at 34th Street and Second Avenue. We sold more bikes than we do at this time of the season.”

Metro Bicycle on 47th Street closed on Sunday at 7 p.m., and reopened Tuesday at noon to lots of business. “It was crazy. We lost track of numbers. There was a huge increase in sale,” said store manager Mike Frensley. “We sold loads of accessories like lights, fenders and changed a lot of flats. Our mechanics were really busy.”

With parks shuttered during the storm, tourists rented bikes for as much as a week to get around the relatively safe parts of the city.

“Generally people don’t ride bikes in winters or fall but from Tuesday to Friday, we were busier than we are in summers,” said Carlos Sosa, salesman at Chelsea Bicycles on West 26th Street. “Our sales went up 35-40 percent.”