Zikes! Here come the electric bikes from a scooter manufacturer
"The bicycle is the vehicle most human beings worldwide turn to if they want to go anyplace," began Ed Benjamin, a 30 year veteran of the bicycle business who started out a bicycle mechanic and ended owning a successful chain of retail bike store in Florida. Later, Benjamin sold the business and moved to Idaho where he runs his electric bicycle consulting business. He currently is a consultant to CSW Total EV, an division of Central Southwest Corporation. CSW Total EV has several exclusive distribution rights for electric bicycles within the American Midwest and South.
According to Benjamin, worldwide the bicycle industry builds between 100 to 130 million units every year! "Most of those bicycles," he said,"stay in service more than 10 years."
A Look At the Global Bicycle Market
Compared to the rest of the world, the US market is an important, but small part of the total picture, Consumers in the United States buy about 10 million bicycles a year and nearly all of these are used for recreational purposes. However, Benjamin pointed out that Americans tend to buy more expensive bikes, while in China, where they buy 30-40 million a year, Chinese consumers tend to buy low cost units.
After China, India represents the second largest market for bicycles where riders in the sub-continent buy another 30 million bicycles a year. By comparison, Benjamin thought that sales in Europe totaled roughly 10-15 million bikes every year.
Unlike much of the rest of the world, Benjamin said Americans buy bicycles for fitness and recreation but these bicycles are, in fact, ridden very little.
"A person who would describe themselves as riding regularly in the United States, usually means they ride their bicycle 14 or 15 times a year. We only have about 3 million people in the United States who ride more than 15 days a year, and we have about 55 million people who say they ride about 14 or 15 days a year. And then we've about about 200 million people who may or may not ride a bike at all."
"In Europe a bicycle is a standard piece of transportation equipment and I suspect that probably half of all Europeans ride a bicycle more than 15 times a year, and in a place like China probably almost every adult Chinese rides a bicycle at least once a day on some task.
As a result of the necessity to use a bicycle virtually every day of the year in China, there is little obesity evident among the population.
"Every time that I have come back from Asia," Benjamin remarked, "after sometimes spending a couple of weeks in the company of folks who are uniformly trim, I am always a little bit aghast when I go through the LA or San Francisco airport and see the enormous variety of sizes and shapes that Americans come in."
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Mark Harris contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.the-scooters-report.com.
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