Central Massachusetts bicycle retailers are nonetheless coping with a nationwide bike scarcity following excessive demand for bikes in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a few estimate provide may very well be down for some time.
“What the pandemic mainly did is make individuals notice that biking is a secure and enjoyable technique to get train,” Neil Medin, supervisor of Landry’s Bicycles on Jolma Street in Worcester, stated. “Gyms began to shut and health locations closed for the pandemic, and folks nonetheless wished to get exterior and be lively. They usually discovered biking a very good avenue to do it.”
Final 12 months, the pandemic created a rush to purchase bicycles as individuals started on the lookout for out of doors train choices with gyms and different exercise amenities having to shut as a part of state shelter-in-place orders. Retailers faced record demand for bicycles and ultimately noticed a scarcity in provide.
Over a 12 months after the beginning of the pandemic, space bike retailers are nonetheless seeing excessive demand and low provide, Don Walker, supervisor of Frank’s Bicycle Barn on Route 9 in Westboro, stated. Walker stated that worldwide demand over the previous 12 months is the very best it has been in 50 years.
“You speak to (clients), see how a lot they’ve truly checked round, and as soon as they open up they are saying, ‘Yeah I have been calling 12 totally different bike retailers and so they all stated the identical factor,'” Walker stated.
Walker, who does the bike ordering for his store in addition to for 2 sister shops known as Frank’s Spoke ‘N Wheel in Waltham and Sudbury, stated any bikes that come into the store are bought on the identical day they arrive within the store and even earlier than they arrive. He stated he will get solely 10 to fifteen bikes every week when now’s sometimes the season the place they promote 30 to 40 bikes every week.
Provide points have additionally affected Landry’s Bicycles’ inventory of bicycles, Medin stated. Nevertheless, the corporate’s shopping for workforce secured preorders final 12 months after they heard a scarcity was occurring and people pre-orders helped them with the availability.
“We had been capable of work with our distributors to order bicycles to be shipped to us as a result of we did pre-order them in an earlier time,” Medin stated.
That foresight from the ordering workforce allowed Landry’s to have the ability to present bikes to clients in a considerably well timed method, Medin stated. He added that some corporations have additionally gotten higher at supplying bicycles, however getting new bikes stays a problem.
Landry’s in Worcester has round 300 to 400 bicycles in inventory. Medin stated the corporate has expanded on-line ordering alternatives throughout the pandemic. Landry’s additionally has extra want for hiring staff to promote and restore bicycles with the rise with the rise in demand.
Specific bicycles equivalent to mountain bikes within the worth vary of $500 to $1,000 and high-end street bikes in a worth vary of $5,000 and over are nonetheless within the midst of a deep scarcity, Medin stated.
Nevertheless, Landry’s has a very good provide of power-assisted bicycles and people stay in good demand.
Often throughout Might, Nationwide Bike Month, Medin stated that distributors supply gross sales on bikes. This 12 months, the scarcity has prevented such gross sales from being put in place.
“As a way to put one thing on sale, it’s important to have it to placed on sale,” Medin stated.
Restore work makes up many of the enterprise that Walker’s retailer presently does and has remained constant after an preliminary surge. Whereas restore orders at Frank’s Bicycle Barn had been as soon as backed as much as nearly a month throughout the begin of the pandemic, Walker stated he’s presently scheduled for about two weeks price of repairs.
“Luckily there’s lots of restore work to do. Individuals bringing in previous bikes to repair up. We now have a very good provide of that to do,” Walker stated. “You could not get new bikes so individuals had been bringing in previous bikes that that they had and fixing them moderately than shopping for new ones. And the opposite factor is individuals are utilizing them in order that they do want extra work.”
Servicing has remained constant from final 12 months at Landry’s, however Medin stated producers are encountering shortages of alternative components to repair bicycles.
Walker stated that his retailer continues to be doing wonderful financially regardless of the scarcity and has been helped by the most effective years for gross sales in its practically 50-year historical past in 2020.
“We’re old-school, we have been right here near 50 years. We personal our buildings, they are not actual fancy. Do not have a ton of assist, we’re not overstaffed,” Walker stated, “So we’re in good condition, money-wise.”
The projected arrival dates for Walker’s final couple of motorcycle orders are late in 2022 to early 2023. He added that the availability chain for bicycles has been sophisticated by an obvious lack of transport containers and truck drivers.
Bike equipment equivalent to helmets or bike racks for vehicles are additionally in demand for Walker’s retailer, however bike components and merchandise are additionally hitting provide points.