Besides carpooling, droves of Downtown commuters started pedaling to work because of the Metro Transit bus strike, which started March 4.
Bicycles were flying off the shelves of the Downtown Target, 900 Nicollet Mall, immediately after the strike; 75 bikes were snatched up in a two-day period, nearly clearing the store's inventory, said Zeke Berg, executive team leader of guest services.
"We are nearly blown out of our entire bike wall," he said. "It's an abnormal spike in sales. We're usually not selling bikes this time of year."
The sales spike was a 430 percent increase from 2003 sales from the same week. Typically, the Downtown Target sells half a dozen bikes in a week. Most bikes at Target cost around $100.
Many Target employees, both at the store and company headquarters at 1000 Nicollet Mall, have purchased bikes to cope with the halt in bus service, Berg said.
The Warehouse District's bike hotspot, One on One Studio, 117 Washington Ave. N., also had some inquires from stranded bus users looking for other ways to get to work, said co-owner Jennifer Oberpriller.
Bike commuting has become increasingly popular in recent years, even in the winter months. According to the 2000 Census Supplemental Survey, Minneapolis ranked number one in the country for bicycle commuting with an estimated 5,366, or 2.36 percent of commuters, biking to work each day.