In 1910 you could buy a bicycle for $11.95 from the Sears Roebuck catalog. That sounds like a good deal until you realize that the average nominal U.S. blue-collar hourly compensation rate was only 18 cents an hour. That means that it took an American blue-collar worker 66.4 hours to earn enough money to buy a bicycle.

Today you can buy a bike at Walmart for $98. The nominal price of bicycles rose by 720 percent, but the average nominal blue-collar hourly compensation rate rose by 17,978 percent, reaching $32.54 per hour. That puts the time price at about 3 hours of work today. If the time price of a bicycle had remained the same between 1910 and 2022, a bike would cost around $2,160 today (66.4 hours x $32.54).

Given that the time price fell by 95.5 percent (i.e., from 66.4 hours to 3 hours), the same length of time required to earn enough money to buy one bicycle in 1910 would get you 22 bikes today. That represents a 2,104 percent increase in personal bicycle abundance.