With the warmer weather and people venturing outside for some fresh air amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are out walking — or out for a bike ride.
It’s created an unprecedented problem: Canada is running out of bikes.
Bike Doctor, a local bike shop in Saskatoon, saw bike sales skyrocket this week — up around 60 per cent since last May.
“It’s an increase in family-oriented bikes, kid’s bikes, e-bikes,” said employee Sarah Robbins.
“I think we’ll see as people realize that they can’t go away to holidays — you know, if the borders remain closed or they can’t go to the states — then we’ll see a lot of staycations, and what better way to have a staycation than ride your bike?”
So many people want bikes that the store is running out of its medium or large-sized rides.
And they’re not the only ones.
Across the country bikes are running out, according to Live to Play Sports. It’s the parent company of bike manufacturer Norco Bicycles, along with several companies that make bike accessories, and it distributes bicycles from a number of other brands. It distributes to 30 countries, including Canada.
“It’s off the chart,” said Live to Play Sports president John Williams regarding bike sales. Williams says this isn’t just an issue in the Great White North. Around the world, bikes are running out.
“At first we were really concerned (about) not enough demand for our products, so all of us just scaled back our supply,” he explained.
“Well, we quickly learned that it’s not a demand issue — in fact, demand is greater than ever. It’s now going to be a bit of a supply issue and so we’ve got to crank up the supply.”
Williams’ company supplies to smaller businesses like Bike Doctor. He said while some larger chain stores have struggled, local bike shops are thriving with the demand as they adapt to new ways of doing business.
For example, Bike Doctor closed its doors for in-store shopping, but people can book in-person service ahead of time online. It said about 70 per cent of its sales have been on the web.
Williams said he believes the bike shortage will be “temporary” while scaled-down production gears back up.
“It’s a really good problem, but it’s a bit frustrating for customers when they want to buy a bike and its not there and it won’t be available for another month,” said Robbins.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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