West Village Bike Shop Owner Blames CitiBike For Shuttering His Business

Sales have gone down thanks to the blue behemoths

A West Village bike shop owner claims that lines of Citi Bikes like this one have forced his business to close (Photo: Amanda Cohen)

A West Village bike shop owner claims that lines of Citi Bikes like this one have forced his business to close (Photo: Amanda Cohen)

A bike shop owner in the West Village wants to put a stick in CitiBike’s spokes.

George Bliss, who is shuttering HUB Bicycles after nine years, says his business has fallen 50 percent since CitiBike was introduced. His neighborhood has 14 CitiBike docking stations, four of which are within three blocks of HUB.

“They surrounded us with those things,” Mr. Bliss told DNAinfo. “You know why? I built a bike culture in this neighborhood.”

Mr. Bliss has a point–he founded New York’s first pedicab business, and also coined the term “critical mass” to describe the flow of car and bicycle traffic in China.

Rentals once made up about 20 percent of HUB’s business, but since CitiBike began the number has dropped to about five percent; sales have fallen as well.

Mr. Bliss sees the decline in bike riding as a sign of a larger cultural problem in the city.

“When people decide not to own their own bike, they give up their identity,” Mr. Bliss told DNAinfo.

NYC Bike Share, which operates CitiBike, refuted this claim.

“We’re growing the bicycling ecosystem in New York, and there’s plenty of room for us and great local bike shops,” a statement from NYC Bike Share said.

The city Department of Transportation also thinks Mr. Bliss is overreacting to the biking spike.

“We believe (biking’s popularity) is an opportunity for businesses serving users, be it tourists looking for all-day rentals or New Yorkers wishing to purchase bikes and equipment,” a DOT statement said.

Let’s hope Mr. Bliss doesn’t resort to drastic measures during his crusade.