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COVID-19 pandemic impacting all elements of bike-manufacturing process

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WATCH: While Calgary bicycle shops are still seeing high demand for bikes, distributors are also encountering issues on production lines. Matthew Conrod reports – Mar 25, 2021

Anyone looking for a new bicycle over the last year has likely found it to be a more arduous process than anticipated.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many to spend more time outdoors, Calgary bike shops have been, so far, unable to keep up with the demand.

Read more: COVID-19: Toronto bike shops deal with continued shortages amid spike in interest

The issue of supply and demand goes well beyond whether a bike shop can keep product in stock. It’s also about whether or not they can receive product in the first place.

CUBE Bikes is one of many brands that can be found at Bow Cycle in Bowness, but according to the company’s sales manager, they are currently looking at a two-year wait for parts, such as brakes, shifters and handlebars to build their bikes. It’s a wait time that isn’t expected to change, either.

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“This is mostly about riding it out, unfortunately,” says Andrew Gomez. “It’s a surge effect that no one can really keep up.”

Gomez says that CUBE was originally slated to wait a year for parts, but in a span of six months, that timeline doubled.

In addition to waiting on parts, Gomez says the entire manufacturing process has been affected by the pandemic, including reduced manpower at the company’s factories in Germany, as well as delays in shipping, meaning some bikes have remained on ports for upwards of six weeks.

Read more: ‘If I can do it, anyone can’: B.C. man to cycle across Canada wearing a mask

 

At Bow Cycle, customers can still walk in and purchase a bike, but whether or not it’s the type they are searching for is another story.

“Our biggest challenge is getting people what they want in a timely manner, and getting them the right product. Rather than just, ‘Here’s a bike, lets’ go,'” says Bow Cycle’s marketing director, Bob Grunewald.

Community bike organization Bike Calgary says that there are plenty of second-hand options on the used market, but variety could also be an issue there, as well.

Those who already own a bike and are looking for a tune-up, meanwhile, can also expect a potentially long wait.

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Grunewald says that appointments are booked up until June, but there is always the chance that spots open up earlier.

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