Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.
–Former Vice President Dick Cheney
Not only was Cheney wrong about conservation and energy policy — he also missed its (considerable) economic benefits.
It turns out that, while the Twin Cities has been garnering awards for its bicycling grid and bike-share program — Bicycling Magazine named Minneapolis “America’s Best Biking City” this Spring — bike-related businesses have become an increasingly important part of the local economy.
According to Minnesota Business Magazine:
The Twin Cities is home to the biggest bicycle parts supplier in North America; the largest bike tool manufacturer; two of the nation’s leading bike retailers; the largest distributor of road biking goods and apparel; and one of the premier triathlon shops in the country.
But it’s not just the large, multi-location shops, and big parts and tool suppliers that feed our vibrant bike culture and economy. The Twin Cities are also home to an astonishing array of quirky and colorful independent shops and service businesses.
The total economic contribution from the foregoing?
Try, $315 million annually.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, that’s approaching the size of “forestry, fishing, and related activities,” which account for $370 million of output.
So there you have it: virtue plus profit.