The coronavirus pandemic has sent thousands of people back to bicycles for exercise and transportation – but it’s creating complications for local bike shops.
With gyms shut down for months, team sports largely banned, and schools closed, cycling became very attractive.
Daniel Moyer, an employee at Cranky’s Bike Shop, said customers descended on the store seeking a two-wheeled means of exercise starting in March.
That led to bikes and equipment being snatched up in large numbers. Moyer said he’s been witness to it at the family-owned shop.
Although a renewed interest in cycling sounds like a boon for bike shops, it comes with downsides.
Cranky’s display racks are largely empty. Now there is just a dozen or so bicycles standing in spots around the store.
Signs up read “Please be advised: There is currently a global bike shortage. We are doing our best to find bikes for our customers.”
Most of what the store would normally sell throughout the year – bikes that cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 – have been bought up since April, Moyer explained.
“Usually our bike stock lasts us throughout the summer,” he said.
Cranky’s employees are having the same sort of conversations with customers who have flooded into the store at 2961 272nd St.
“I don’t know when we are getting more stuff,” a message Moyer said he has had to relay to customers. It started in May. It continued in June, when store staff thought more bicycle stock from its regular suppliers would come in.
Then in July and now August low inventory has persisted for Cranky’s and other bike stores in Langley – including Bicycle Sports Pacific and Velocity Bikes.
COVID-19-related disruptions to the industry’s supply chain, like many other industries, have resulted in suppliers pushing past shipment dates ordered in by Cranky’s staff.
“We’ve been cut off by one of our suppliers for that reason,” Moyer said.
“They are getting limited stock and the people and shops who are spending more money get the order.”
And its not just bicycles that have become low in stock, it is parts to fix the bikes that come into the shop to be repaired by Moyer and others on staff.
“It went from running out of bikes in March, at the time we had parts,” he said. “Then we starting running out of parts.”
“Since every bike shop is in the same boat when something becomes available store staff have to jump on ordering it,” said Moyer.
Stores are still turning customers away every day as people are still looking for a good, basic, entry-level bikes.
What Cranky’s has left is largely high-end road bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, and electric assist bikes – all which are relatively expensive and meant for dedicated, frequent riders, not those just starting out or getting into casual cycling for the first time since childhood.
A shipment of Norco bikes arrived in boxes on Friday.
“We didn’t expect them to show up,” Moyer admitted – all smiles.