Nationwide bike shortage affects area shops
TRI-COUNTY AREA--As residents of the Finger Lakes continue to find themselves homebound with limited options for travel or recreation due to COVID-19, many have turned to cycling.
"It's official, there is a bike shortage. Our suppliers are all sold out and even the big box stores are really low or out themselves. The accessories, like family riders, bigger comfy seats, child seats that go behind bicycles, they are all gone. It's been a crazy spring," said Nelson Weaver, owner of Weaver's Bicycle Shop in Penn Yan.
Ernest Martin, owner of Martin's Bicycle agreed that availability has been an issue.
"We definitely are having a problem with supply, not just here it's a nationwide issue. I think this is the biggest demand for bicycles, ever. And while demand is high, because people are riding more the other issue is that the supply chain was shut down (due to COVID)," Martin said.
While both Martin and Weaver said that they both have about 100 bicycles left in stock, they don't know how long it will last or when they will get restocked.
"My warehouse is generally jam-packed this time of the year because we are early in the cycling season and now it is pretty much empty. We have some electric bike boxes out there, and a lot of the entry-level family rider types are becoming scarce," Weaver said.
As far as being resupplied Weaver said companies have had their hands tied due to the restrictions put in place during the pandemic.
"As far as my suppliers they kind of have their hands tied because of the manufacturing issues overseas while at the same time shipping has been disrupted. Some are estimating shipment of bikes in July, which is still a couple months out. It creates a bit of a concern of what bikes am I gonna sell this summer," Weaver said.
While children's bikes are always popular, and now more so than ever, Martin said it has been adult bikes he has seen the biggest run on.
"We do some kids bikes but not as much as adult bikes. Adults bikes have been more popular than kids bikes," Martin said.
Part of the drive for demand Martin says stems from the fact that not only are families looking for activities to do together while staying home, but adults who usually go to the gym are looking for new routines to stay healthy.
"(Everyone staying home) is definitely helping us at this point, but it's going to be a supply issue going forward though," Martin said.
Weaver agreed, and said while demand this spring for bikes is higher than he has ever seen it, if he has nothing to sell during the summer the demand won't translate to more bikes sold for him.
"There has been a large demand but it has been hard to get a supply. We are having a great spring, but if we can't sell anything else in the summer it doesn't help. Bike sales across the country are 50 percent higher according to data (released in trade publications) and electric bike sales are up like 85 percent. With that kind of increase in cycling I can see why we are running short," Weaver said.