According to a recent survey conducted by Shimano, some 17 million people have quit riding in the past 10 years. Various reasons have been given including the increased focus on equipment and the competitive nature of the sport.
One online cycling newsletter I read (RoadBike Rider.com) received a number of comments from their readers that suggested that poor customer service at their local bike shop is a primary factor. They asked their readers to respond to the following question:
"How often do you encounter lousy customer service in bike shops?"
37% of 1110 respondents said frequently followed by 22% who said occasionally. Another 9% reported that they only put up with it once and never go back.
I think we have a few nice shops in Tucson, but I have gone into a shop and got brushed off a few times by the elitist workers. These are very interesting statistics about road cycling, not sure if we can lump mountain bikers in this though.