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Bike Shops Struggle To Keep Business In Wake Of Citi Bike Share Program

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TWC News: Bike Shops Struggle To Keep Business In Wake Of Citi Bike Share Program
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Though cyclists have mostly raved about the new Citi Bike sharing system, some city bike shops cite the program as a reason they are struggling to draw in customers and keep business going. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

The first summer of the city's bike share program is basically in the books.

But spring and summer are also when bike shops do most of their business, and a number of them say, despite cycling taking center stage this year, their business is down.

"It has decreased our rentals and our sales of commuter and low-end hybrid bikes, probably by about 50 percent," said Echelon Bikes owner Daniel DeNigris.

"Citi Bike being right down the block this way, really like 500 feet away, and then up in Madison Square Park, it's kind of crushed really a bunch of my business," said Zen Bikes owner Josh Keoshgerian.

Now, most bike shop owners will say like the idea behind Citi Bike.

Keoshgerian says his shop and others were a big part of pushing the city to build infrastructure like bike lanes to make the city cycling friendly.

However, he's also selling fewer less-expensive bikes, his repair businesses is down 30 percent and his rental business has been decimated.

"People might have come in and rented a bike, see what we were about, rented a bike that we sold, and we often used to sell off of these bikes, because it's a very popular model. People would rent it and then be like, 'How much is this bike?' and, 'It rides so great.' So, that's gone," Keoshgerian said.

But at Sid's Bikes in Chelsea, it's all been positive.

They say the interest in Citi Bike has meant an increase in business.

"Showing people that it is kind of safe to ride in the city and then they say, 'I can branch out and get my own bike maybe and ride around,'" said Sid's Bikes Assistant Manager Jon Tumas.

One aspect of the business that appears to be booming for every bike shop is accessories, particularly helmets.

"We have definitely sold more helmets," DeNigris said.

"Our helmet sales have more than doubled with the Citi Bikes being introduced, especially with the Citi Bike coupon. It's having people, you know, they save a little bit of money, $10 on a helmet," Tumas said.

One thing that's clear is that all the shops are working to adapt their business, since bike sharing isn't going away.

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