By Sebastian Phipps
BROCKPORT, NEW YORK– With the novel Coronavirus spreading through the United States, people have been locked inside for too long and were looking for new creative outlets. For many, cycling has become one of those new outlets. So many people chose to cycle that it led to a nationwide parts shortage.
According to Eco Counter, an interactive data collection site, cycling increased by approximately 50 percent since late April. Some reports from the Southwest claim as high as 100 percent.
Russel Church, owner of one Bicycle Outfitters Inc. on Main St. Brockport, saw a sudden and rapid increase in sales during this time.
“I’ve been saying May first just to give it a date, and then it was crazy for a month and a half, maybe two months, we sold out of everything, warehouses were empty, there was nothing in the country and it has been horrible since then.”
This recent swell in demand has left the Main St. shop swamped with orders for upgrades and repairs.
Although usually there would be roughly one-hundred bikes for sale in the store, there were just a handful. “I only have four bikes for sale in here right now. Everything else is a repair or a rental.”
Across the nation there has been a sharp rise in the sale of bicycles and bicycle parts. This combined with the nationwide shutdown, caused production to halt while demand skyrocketed.
This was not a surprise for Brockport resident Ryan Nicholas.
“I can see why people are getting into cycling now, you can feel the wind on your face as you glide through the world, it’s peaceful.”
With bicycle manufacturers in a game of catch-up, parts shortages are affecting many bike shops across the country. This has left some recent customers and enthusiasts waiting indefinitely.
Eric Coyne, a Brockport resident, is personally experiencing these effects.
“I want to go for a few rides before it starts snowing, but my back wheel is bent, I’ve been waiting on a new rim for six weeks and I still don’t know when I’ll get it, so for now I must walk on the canal.”
Although manufacturers are catching up, some shops will still be completing orders well into the winter. But supplies will be returning just in time for the Holiday season.
“Product is finally returning to the warehouse, and it looks like we will be catching up all the way through Christmas,” said Church.
There are awful things we have experienced as a result of this plague or simply during it. Yet, here we see people making the best of this unprecedented situation, showing the human capacity to persevere.