A new survey by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center finds cyclists are riding less often across the state. But local shop owners and cyclists believe Bend is bucking that trend.
“I do not see that reflected locally here in Bend,” Bend Electric Bikes Owner Sterling McCord said.
Over the last few years, McCord says he’s seen a steady increase in interest for e-bikes and bike commuting.
“I just don’t see enough people wanting to sit in traffic and simultaneously spray carcinogens into the air when they when they’re watching all these people ride by them, getting to their destination quicker and having a better time doing it,” he said.
Chicago resident Mark Nelson has been visiting Bend for 20 years. He says he’s recently seen an apparent increase in bikes on the road.
“I think the whole electric bike thing is really exploded over the past probably five, six years,” he said. “I see a lot more people right now compared to when we were here even two years ago, our last trip here.”
Bend may be beating the trend. McCord called it the secret sauce and Nelson credited the city’s size and focus on infrastructure.
“It’s a great climate. You guys have developed a great infrastructure,” Nelson said. “I mean there’s bike lanes all over the place, you feel safe.”
“I think it’s just becoming more normalized,” he said. “We’re not identifying ourselves as bike riders, we’re just people who want to get from point A to point B in an efficient and fun way.”
109 of the survey’s respondents reside in Deschutes County. Of those who say they bike less, weather was the most common reason given.