COVID-19 causing bike and bike part shortage

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Cycling has become popular during the pandemic. It's naturally socially distant and bike shops were deemed essential businesses and did not have to close during economic shut downs. This has led to bikes being readily available, until the demand caught up with the industry. It's led to a national shortage of bikes and bike parts, meaning people either have to wait to get a new bike or literally go the extra mile.

"I got a neighbor into cycling last year after COVID, and it was impossible for him to find a bike around here," said veteran cyclist Jim Campau, who shops at Spin Zone Cycling in Granger. "He actually had to find a used one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and drove all the way to Milwaukee to get it."

Campau said he's been a cyclist for more than a year and had never seen a shortage like this before. Bike shops have said people may not be able to get the bikes they want until 2022 which left Campau stunned.

"I was shocked," Campau said. "Just discussing that here, they said for a carbon bike, it's next model year, and I was thinking 'maybe this year, yet.' She goes, 'No, next year,' and that was shocking to know that it was a year out to get a carbon bike."

Drew Albright is a store manager at Albright's Cycling and Fitness. He said the shortage used to be even worse, and that at one point in 2020, one of his showrooms was completely empty. Albright said timing was key for tune-ups.

"As these months go by, we'll kind of get more backed up as far as tune-ups go," Albright said. "Last year, at one point, we were four weeks out for tune-ups. Right now, I think it's maybe only half a week to a week. So, the sooner they can get their bike in, the sooner we can get it back to them."

Albright said if you are looking for a new bike now, it's best to not look for something specific like a certain color, feature or model.

"A lot of people have gotten to the point where they're not as picky as they once were as far as color, certain models and what not," Albright said. "A lot of people are willing to take what we have, and that's what we've been seeing, too. So, there's a lot of question marks with everything, and we're just uncertain of how it's all going to go."

Sheri Colan owns Spin Zone Cycling in Granger. She said not to give up hope on getting a new bike.

"We've been able to take some deposits on bicycles that haven't even come in, yet," Colan said. "People are willing to do that to get in line for a bike which has made it different than any other year."

Colan said that if the bike came in and was not to the customer's liking, the deposit would be fully refunded. Both Albright and Spin Zone said they are preparing for an even bigger demand in the coming months as the weather starts to turn warmer.

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