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Edmonton bike industry experiencing ‘overload of demand’

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WATCH ABOVE: If you are looking for a new bike this spring, get in line. The pandemic-triggered boom in bike sales and backlog is expected to continue for years to come. As Nicole Stillger explains, with more people out riding, there's not enough stock to go around – Mar 28, 2021

The past 12 months have been record-breaking for the bike industry around the world, including in Edmonton.

“There definitely is an overload of demand,” said Mud, Sweat & Gears owner Paul Burgess.

Mud, Sweat & Gears opened a new location in south Edmonton about a week ago.

Burgess said the pandemic has introduced many new people to cycling.

“A lot of people that couldn’t get a bike last year — because of the sellout — are in very early this year to make sure they got a bike,” he explained.

“It’s been busy basically all winter.”

Supply, however, has been drained, according to Burgess, and factory capacity to build supply can’t keep up with demand.

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“It’s really tricky forecasting and buying. We’re now purchasing product 18 months out to make sure we get it in time,” he said.

It’s a similar situation at United Sport and Cycle.

“There’s not a whole lot to be found,” general manager Kelly Hodgson said.

Right now, between adult and kids bikes, the store has a few hundred in stock.

“This time of year — we are heading into spring break — we’d normally have a couple [thousand] or 3,000 bikes in stock, and the floor would be covered with bikes,” Hodgson explained.

“There was no off-season for biking this year because this trend of not having enough bikes to sell started last year right at the start of COVID.”

The supply and demand issue is not expected to catch up any time soon, according to Hodgson.

“There’s a big desire for people to ride bikes right now probably more so than ever in my lifetime,” Hodgson said.

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In the meantime, if you are looking to get a new bike, be patient.

“Everyone in the bike industry — any shop — we are all doing the best we can,” Burgess said.

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