Spring is slowly coming to Sweden - and with the snow and ice melting, many Swedes bring out their bicycles.
Biking in Sweden is not a form of exercising, it’s a means of transportation and perhaps even a love affair (and something sorely missed by many a Swedish born in America).
In Sweden everybody bikes, the businessman straps his attaché case on the luggage carrier in the back (all bikes in Sweden have them), children bike to school (if they’re not small, in which case they are in a toddler seat in the back of mom or dad’s bike), even pregnant women bike.
According to a new survey, 20% of all Swedes are planning on buying a new bicycle this spring. At Blocket, a network of classified advertisements similar to the American Craigslist, there’s been some 500 000 hits on bicycles this past month. And that number is sure to increase as spring comes closer. Many Swedes have left the local bicycle store in favor of buying one online – actually 45% of all bicycle sales take place online. The average woman’s bicycle retails for 1500 SEK ($237) at Blocket, a man’s bicycle 1000 SEK ($158) and a one for a child 500 SEK ($79).
Still bike stores are doing well. Leif Amnesten has a combined bicycle and hockey store in Enskede, south of Stockholm, and he says: “The interest in bicycles is always great at this time of the year. I sell bikes for adults mainly, and I’ve almost sold all of the ones I had. People are always calling and asking about bikes.”