Bicycle shortage caused by COVID-19

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – The corner of Tenth and Menomonie Streets in Eau Claire is a one-stop shop for all things bike and skate, but it may be a little more skate than bike for the time being.

Pat Rolbiecki who runs his family-owned shop says the reality of the bicycle shortage set in very quickly.

“About two to three weeks in, we were definitely ordering at a feverish pace. By late April we knew we were going to be going from feast to famine,” says Rolbiecki.

Coronavirus-fueled demand for bicycles is pumping the brakes on sales and some customers may be waiting until at least mid-2021 to get their new wheels. While your regular bike-racks may be empty, Rolbiecki has a select amount of electric-assist bikes still available in-stores.

With people flocking to parks and bike trails during the pandemic, any kind of outdoor recreational activity is highly touted. We heard from Jelani Smit who was skateboarding through Phoenix Park.

“I took it for granted that we could go outside and have fun so now it’s like we really want to be outside as much as we can,” says Smit.

Chance Jerome, bike enthusiast, who managed to get his bike before COVID-19 fully hit.

“I’ve had this bike before, I’ve been through multiple bikes crashin’ on them, just all around a fun experience to do,” says Jerome.

If you’re one of the lucky few to possess a bike, the shop is also a fully-functioning repair shop. Rolbiecki mentioned that in 2019, Trek, one of their main suppliers, had 20,000 bikes on back order Aug 1. August 1, 2020, the company had one million bicycles on back order.

“Have we enjoyed the summer? On a personal level yeah we’ve taken some time to enjoy our one day a week off that we’ve had…we have all been putting in extra hours and extra days just to try to maintain pace with the demand,” he responds.

Trek told Rolbiecki to relay to his customers, if they intend to ride a bike in the next six months to a year, they should be thinking ahead.

“You better order now,” Rolbiecki reiterates.

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