Jim McGregor/Special to Langley Advance Times
At the height of the pandemic, when most gyms and sports facilities were shut down, active people showed a renewed interest in cycling as a viable source of exercise.
The only downside was that the increased demand created a global shortage of bicycles.
Heath MacKenzie, co-owner of Cranky’s Bike Shop on 272nd Street in Aldergrove, said the shortage still exists – even though the demand has lessened somewhat with the sports scene re-opening.
“There are still a lot of supply-chain issues. We are getting bikes, but those are bikes we ordered 12 to 18 months ago. We will have bikes for sale in our store, but if you special order a bike today, we know it will be at least a year before it arrives.”
The unprecedented demand across the whole bicycle industry was the cause of the supply problem, MacKenzie said.
“People wanted bikes, so the warehouses emptied and meanwhile, all the factories were shutting down due to COVID. Most of the large factories are in China so add in the shipping issues and you have a perfect storm,” he elaborated.
The recent news of China’s latest port lockdowns and the continuation of the government’s ‘zero-Omicron’ approach, are both causes for concern. Supply-chain issues are not over yet and are projected to carry into 2023, he said.
MacKenzie points out that when bikes arrive in North America they will go to the manufacturer’s warehouses first.
“That part of the distribution adds to the supply-chain delays.”
Lack of parts is still an issue, too, although their stock on hand is better than it was, MacKenzie said.
“We can order parts and we ordered heavy this year. We have a good supply of tubes and tires and other common parts and we’re hoping that stock will get us through the busy months.”
The wet weather this spring has dampened the spirits of the cyclists, as well, and MacKenzie said people are waiting to get out.
“We just haven’t seen the excitement from people who want to cycle. We’re not seeing the families coming in to buy new bikes yet.”
In 2020, the bikes he did have in store were limited to quite expensive, high-end road bikes meant for dedicated and frequent road rider. MacKenzie said the in-store selection is better now.
“We have many more of the mid-level bikes now, hybrids and mountain bikes and we are seeing the more expensive bikes harder to get now.”
MacKenzie says there are many great cycling areas locally for any type of rider.
“There are great trails in Sumas, Bear Mountain in Mission, the Discovery Trails in Abbotsford, or the Matsqui Flats, or many people drive to Mud Bay to cycle. For the road bike enthusiasts, there is 0 Avenue or many locations in Fort Langley.”
MacKenzie says the bike community is pleased to see many cities installing dedicated bike lanes.
“If cycling is to be a viable transportation option it has to be safe for the cyclists.”
Overall MacKenzie is optimistic about the way cycling is growing.
“We have been in Aldergrove for 20 years and we have many repeat and dedicated customers, as well as new people coming in all the time.
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