With public transportation crippled and traffic moving at a snail's pace in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers are rediscovering the joys of biking, either digging their old bikes out of the basement or buying their first one. “Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn. “Our first customer walked in and said: 'The subways are down so I have to buy a bike.' That was standard all morning.” The shop sold 15 bikes on Wednesday. Normally they sell one every two weeks in October. Cycling advocates around the city are relishing the opportunity to get more New Yorkers interested in alternative transportation, handing out maps, offering technical advice at commuter-support stations, and setting up resource pages for novice cyclists in the post-storm period. According to Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives, the city experienced a 500 percent spike in biking during a 2005 transit strike. While that strike lasted only two days, there’s no telling how long New York’s transit system will take to fully recover from Hurricane Sandy.
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