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If you’ve thought of purchasing a new bike in the last few weeks, you aren’t the only one with that idea.

Spring typically is a busier time for local bike shops. But this year, because of the pandemic, shop owners said they are busier than perhaps they’ve ever been.

“Going into spring months, it’s always something we expect, especially that first nice weekend where it’s 50 or 60 degrees,” said Logan Orcutt, owner of Goldfinch Cyclery in Cedar Rapids.

“Everybody is itching to get out and ride, so naturally this time of year we anticipate that. But with the all the downtime that everybody’s had over the last couple of months, and with cycling being generally speaking something that people can do safely and responsibly, we’ve just seen a much bigger demand for new bikes than we’ve seen in the in the four years we’ve been open.”

Orcutt noted that sales-wise this month alone his shop is double its average for the past two years.

Sales of bicycles — as well as equipment and repair services — practically doubled compared to the same time last year, according to market research company N.P.D. Group, the New York Times reported this past week.

Leisure bike sales climbed 121 percent, commuter and fitness bicycles 66 percent, children’s bikes 59 percent and electric bikes 85 percent, it said.

World of Bikes in Iowa City also started noticing the trend back in mid-March.

“Around spring break when everybody was canceling trips, we started seeing kids’ bikes going out the door,” owner Ryan Baker said.

“And then mom and dad figured out that they need to go and ride with the kids, too, so we started seeing an increase in repairs and selling bikes in the $400 to $600 range.”

Thanks to the rush over the last few weeks, things are starting to get backlogged, he said.

“If we were to place a fresh order for anything below $1,000 right now, we might be looking at October to November before we would receive it,” Baker said.

The lack of supply also can be attributed to the fact that many manufacturing plants overseas have been affected by the pandemic.

“The shutdowns in China and in Asia really began the snowball, and then with increased demand starting in mid- to late March and enormous amounts of demand, we’ve gone from very little bikes on the racks to hundreds and thousands of bikes on back-order from dealers,” Baker said.

“We are seeing shipments of new bicycles coming in at a much lower rate, with some of our brands out until late June or even July,” Orcutt agreed.

“Coming into this season we are preparing our inventory as we always would, but with the increased demand, we and other shops are struggling to keep up.”

At Goldfinch, for example, Orcutt is selling out of what he calls its “bread-and-butter bicycles,” priced at under $700.

“But we’ve been fortunate that we have a few what I would call more independent brands that have been able to keep our inventory up,” he said.

“Check around because there are still bikes trickling in,” Baker added. “We don’t have huge quantities, but we are still showing bikes, especially kids’ bikes. We are doing our best to get things built for people to check out.

“No two days are the same and we are constantly re-evaluating how we’re doing on operations to make sure we are doing it all in a safe manner for our staff and customers.”

Getting bikes tuned-up and road ready is important as well, and the demand for service is adding to the workload at local bike shops. If consumers still are looking to purchase or need service work done, local shop owners are encouraging them to reach out — but to do so with patience.


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