With the work I do, I am always on the road, in places I have never been before, and usually in rural settings. There’s rarely a LBS (local bike shop) to pop into to get the basics I needed to keep rolling. Walmart has become the closest thing to a LBS to be found while on the road in these rural settings. No matter how far out in the boonies I am, a Walmart can always be found to pick up tubes, tires, chain lube, patch kits and such to keep riding. Walmart bike parts keep rural America riding.
Rural America’s Local Bike Shop
I went looking to see just how much of the population of the US actually rode bikes. The numbers I found are from 2002, so are a bit dated now, but they still give an idea about just how many people ride. The 2002 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors was sponsored by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Bureau of Transportation Statistics in order to gauge pedestrian and bicyclists’ trips, behaviors, and attitudes. According to the survey, approximately 57 million people, 27.3 % of the population age 16 or older, rode a bicycle at least once during the summer of 2002. Current data tells us that the 2013 population of the USA is over 316 million with 18% living in rural areas, or over 56 million people. If, for the sake of discussion, we use the 2002 numbers that says about 27 % of those people ride bikes, that means over 15 million bike riders are out in rural areas needing parts and accessories to keep riding! Walmart is the LBS for all those riders.
While Walmart does not carry top of the line bike parts for the elite racers of the world, they do carry enough bike parts and accessories to keep the rest of the riding population out enjoying their bikes. Walmart keeps a good selection on the shelves, and has even more options if you go online. Brands to look for include:
- Bell Sports – tires, tubes, seats, brake pads, brake calipers, grips, chains, kickstands, cables
- Shimano – rear derallier, cassettes, bottom bracket tool (online only)
- Schwinn – pumps, kickstand
- Slime – tire sealant, self sealing tubes, tire liners
- Mongoose – seats, pedals
- Kent International – seats, BMX axel pegs, locks, training wheels
- Allen – racks and trailers
Walmart offers a good selection of the basics at affordable prices and an excellent return policy should you not be happy with your purchase. I have been very happy with the dependability of being able to find their stores in unfamiliar areas, and once in the door, the dependability of of knowing that I will find what I need.
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