Pandemic, fuel prices contribute to New Brunswick’s booming bicycle business

Click to play video: 'Bicycles in high demand in Maritimes as gas prices soar'
Bicycles in high demand in Maritimes as gas prices soar
WATCH: Between pandemic-induced cabin fever and the soaring cost of gasoline, bicycle stores can’t order enough stock to keep up with consumer demand. In the Moncton region, the demand for two wheels is reaching new levels. Suzanne Lapointe reports – Mar 10, 2022

Locally-owned bicycle shop Vélo’s new location has been constantly busy since it opened last week.

“It’s been extra busy lately, it usually comes in the big Spring wave in April or so and right up until fall,” manager Matt Brace said in an interview on Thursday.

“Now it’s sort of all year and it’s extra challenging with inventory demand and getting products being lined up for customers.”

He said this is the first time in his 10-year career he’s seen such high demand all year round.

He said some customers could wait as long as a year to get a certain bicycle in due to supply chain issues.

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“Prices have definitely crept up over the last little while. A lot of it is due to shipping and freight tariffs.” he said.

He believes part of the increased demand is due to people feeling cooped up for so long during the pandemic.

Brian Branch is an avid cyclist and a board member for La Bikery, a co-op representing the interests of cyclists in Moncton. He said between rising costs of fuel and more and more workers getting called back to the office, he would like to see the city’s roads become safer for cyclists who commute.

He said main arteries like Mountain Road and Elmwood Drive are “almost impossible” to navigate on a bike.

“There seem to be some type of lack with mobility and safe bike paths. Cycling infrastructure on the main roads for people to move from A to B, not just for sports or recreation,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

A representative from the City of Moncton told Global News on Thursday that a new active transportation plan, which included measures to make the city more bike-friendly, would be presented to council later this year.

Citizens, including Branch, gave their input over a number of public consultations last year.

“I’d like to see more safe cycling infrastructure with any new road that is developed,” Branch said, giving the example of reducing speed limits in residential areas and downtown.

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He said he is pleased to see more cyclists on the road overall.

“I think the more people will use bicycle as a means to move around, the more the drivers will become accustomed to them and look around for them.”

Click to play video: 'New Brunswickers looking to save as gas prices reach record levels'
New Brunswickers looking to save as gas prices reach record levels

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