Have you been biking since the country went into lockdown? You are far from the only one.
As the streets emptied of cars while people remained in quarantine over the last few months, you may have noticed them filling up with something else: bicycles.
Yes, bikes are having a renaissance in 2020, with people buying and riding them at a pace worthy of a sprint to the Tour de France finish line.
Brandee Lepak, president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, a non-profit organization that represents specialty bike dealers, told TODAY that bikes costing under $1,000 “flew off the shelves” as customers flocked to smaller shops after discovering big-box stores no longer had any bicycles in stock.
“What we’re seeing just from the customers that are coming into our stores, it is the families looking for activities to stay active, especially during quarantine,” she said. “It was, ‘How can we get out and do things and still keep our kids active and burning off energy?’”
Bike time has indeed become family time for many.
Dave Grammer, who hadn’t been on a bicycle for more than 20 years before the quarantine, bought a used bike and got it tuned up so he can ride with the family dog and his older son, 5.
“The overall experience of going on the bike rides together has been really great,” Grammer, 39, of Los Angeles, told TODAY. “He and I have been able to spend a lot of quality time in that area where we can really kind of focus on each other.”
Grammer, who recently bought a trailer so his 1-year-old son can join him on rides, should consider himself lucky because a boom means bicycles are just plain hard to come by.
“The big problem that we’re starting to run into, honestly, is that we’re running out of inventory. We’re running out of bikes to sell,” Lepak said.
There are many potential causes for the bike explosion: The need to work out because gyms had closed, the desire to spend time with family or the decision to commute via bike in order to avoid mass transit are just some of the reasons people have gotten back into cycling.
“I’ve seen more bike injuries and bike-related issues recently because people are biking everywhere, especially in urban places like New York City, people are doing a lot more biking,” Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and a self-professed avid biker, told TODAY.
Sales of bikes, helmets and other bicycle accessories were up 75% to $1 billion in April compared to last year, reports NPD, a market research company. It marks the first time sales have crossed the $1 billion threshold in a one-month period. Sales of leisure bikes soared more than 200%, while sales of children’s bikes jumped 107%. Heck, even stationary bike sales soared 270%.
That follows a strong March when sales of children’s/BMX bikes enjoyed a 56% and leisure bike sales soared 121%.
A bike shortage has created a domino effect where people who want to ride have to get their old bikes fixed.