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New bike lanes in Rochester come as bike sales boom

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- A project to help make travel through downtown Rochester safer for bikers is well on its way this summer.

The City of Rochester's public works construction project began its City Loop Phase 1, to dedicated bike lanes on 3rd, 4th, Avenues NW and Center Street.

As the project continues, bike shops are seeing a surge in sales.

"Well, a lot of people are buying bikes right now, because they can't do anything else. So yeah, there's been a huge run on bikes," said An Honest Bike Shop owner Paul Myhrom.

He says many bike shops nationwide are low on inventory because of the high demand.

Myhrom even closes the sales floor on occasion to keep up with repairs. He says he's fortunate to have a full inventory.

"Most dealers across the country are struggling to keep inventory. There's a lot of bike dealers that have just a couple of bikes on their floor. It's pretty sad. But we're trying we're all trying to keep up," he said

More bikes on the streets, means an increased need for commuter safety. That's the motivation behind adding the bike lanes.

"The goal of the project is to provide safe and comfortable and convenient bike access to and from downtown Rochester to Bikers of all ages and abilities," said City of Rochester, Construction Services Supervisor Kyle Schlink.

Construction began in May, and another phase is on the way.

"Then they'll have a second phase of painting. Which we'll come back and do a few intersections that we'll have to wait later on in the year to do that. So yes the whole project will be done by mid -August," Schlink said.

Jesse Hutchinson, a crew member working on the lanes, says this project will help people safely get to where they're going.

"I would think establishing a lane through the heart of the city would get more people who maybe bike on the side street, kind of located in a similar spot," he said.

And as more people crank their pedals, Myhrom hopes riders remember this: "Understand your favorite bike shop is very busy, and they're doing the best that they can. So if they can't get your bike fixed right away, if they don't have what you want right away, just understand the big picture and give them a little break."

KaMaria Braye

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