If you go to buy a bike these days, you’ll find a much smaller selection. That’s because there’s a worldwide shortage of bicycles.  

That’s, in part, because bicycling has grown in popularity this year.  When the coronavirus pandemic began, more people started buying bikes, and manufacturers are still trying to keep up with demand.  The shutdown of factories that make bicycles and bicycle parts added to the problem.

According to a report from the market research company, NPD Group, April sales of traditional bikes, parts, helmets and other accessories increased 75 percent compared to the same time last year.

Jeff Anderson, with Queen City Cycles in Springfield, said his business has been impacted by the shortage.

“Usually at this time we would be receiving large quantities of bikes to get us through the remainder of this season and into spring of next year,” he said, “but, you know, currently, if we are able to get any bikes from our main companies…it’s just a handful at a time.”

And he said they’re usually spoken for or sold before they hit the sales floor.

They do have a few bikes at their shop, but Anderson said the inventory of entry-level bikes is low.

The shortage has also impacted Queen City Cycles’ repair business, but, at least in part, in a good way.

“A lot of people are pulling their old bikes out of their sheds and garages and having us, you know, get them back up in riding shape, which, you know, it takes a lot of work for some of these old bikes,” he said, “so we’re definitely plenty busy with that.”

But he said they’re having trouble getting parts like inner tubes.  In some cases, according to Anderson, they’re relying on used parts they already have in the shop.

At A & B Cycle in Springfield, Patrick Winstead said they’ve been able to get shipments of bicycles but they aren’t getting all that they would like to.

“We have bikes and orders already placed that we should get delivered,” he said, “so, we should be in a good position to be able to have a decent supply of bikes, but it’s hard to say for sure.”

Inventory is currently about half of what it would normally be.  They still have a few used bikes, however Winstead said they’re not doing as many trade-ins as they normally would.  But he remains positive.

“I think we’re having a good year, so I think it’s been busy, and it’s definitely challenging and stressful at times,” he said, ‘but we have a good group of people, and we’re just going to get through it.”

Both Winstead and Anderson hope the bicycle shortage will improve over the next few months.  And Anderson hopes those who have discovered cycling during the pandemic will stick with it.  That, he said, would be a silver lining in a challenging time.

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