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More Londoners using bikes and scooters

July 23, 2005 10:57 IST

Londoners are taking to bikes and scooters in increasing numbers after a second wave of terror attacks, choosing to brave traffic in the capital instead of riding Underground trains and buses.

Bike and scooter shops on Friday said that sales spiked after the first attacks two weeks ago and have remained steady through a second set of attempted attacks Thursday on the Underground and buses.

The Association of Cycle Traders said bike retailers reported an almost 400 percent increase in sales on July 7, the day of the first attacks. "Since then, we would say a realistic increase is probably between 40 and 100 percent," the association's general manager, Mark Brown said.

Some bike buyers said they were turning to cycles and scooters out of fear, while others said it was a practical solution to getting around a city that has suffered mass transit disruptions since the first attacks on July 7, which killed 56 people.

Cruising London on two wheels is not for the fainthearted-- buses bear down on bikers, taxis cut off riders-- and the jump in bicycle and scooter sales may be a small sign of how transit bombings have shaken Britain's famously stoic capital.

"I've ridden the tube my whole life, I never minded it," said Harold Williams, a 36-year-old who was hunting for a bike.

For those who bike, the number of riders on the streets since July 7 has clearly increased. Bike lanes are more crowded, with the experienced riders - the bike messengers, the cyclists in sleek spandex outfits - overtaking the slower newcomers, who brake at every hint of danger.

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