The scene in Fountain Metropolis Peddler in Sept. 2021 is just like that of most bike retailers across the nation this fall: empty racks the place new bikes belong, a number of bins containing bikes that the store managed to get in, a mechanic working tirelessly at a motorbike on a stand and a backroom stuffed with bikes that patrons introduced in for restore.
As People remained locked of their properties for months on finish in 2020, they had been in search of issues to do this might hold them entertained whereas additionally permitting them to remain secure from the continuing pandemic.
For some it was gardening, for others, it was launching a podcast from their bedrooms. For a lot of, nevertheless, it was regaining their love for biking.
Using bikes was a staple for a lot of American childhoods, and many individuals have turned to biking as a solution to be energetic, get outdoors and entertain themselves all through the pandemic.
Some dusted off the bike they’ve had sitting within the storage for 20 years, some took to eBay and Fb Market to purchase a motorbike secondhand and others headed to their native bike store to purchase a brand new bike.
Quick-forward to over a yr later, and never a lot has modified. The bike trade remains to be recovering from the pandemic bike growth and biking continues to develop.
Many have dubbed 2020 because the yr of the bike growth, and the statistics again it up. In line with bicycleretailer.com, bike gross sales in April 2020 had been up 75%.
Luke Grieve, proprietor of Fountain Metropolis Peddler, spoke concerning the trade as he fiddled with the pedal of a used street bike.
“Within the first few months of the pandemic, the bike trade was purchased up,” Grieve stated. “Everybody obtained into biking.”
For some, shopping for a motorbike was a painless course of. For a lot of, nevertheless, shopping for a motorbike throughout the pandemic was difficult as a result of bike retailers couldn’t sustain with the demand.
Ben Nicholas, a pandemic bike purchaser, spoke about his struggles ordering a motorbike.
“I wasn’t in a position to purchase the mountain bike I wished to purchase this summer time as a result of it was months on backorder and I did not wish to wait till subsequent spring to start out mountain biking,” Nicholas stated. “Nonetheless, with the opposite bike I made a decision to do, the closest I might discover it in inventory was 4 hours away, so I drove eight hours roundtrip to get it.”
Early on within the pandemic, Grieve and different bike store house owners turned to their mechanic abilities to maintain their store afloat after they couldn’t get in bikes.
“I continually do restore and there’s all the time a necessity for that,” Grieve stated. “Folks had been pulling bikes out from their sheds, from underneath their decks, barns and all over the place simply to have one thing to journey as a result of new bikes had been onerous to achieve. I’ve been fixed with repairs, in order that’s stored me going the entire time.”
Now that the market has cooled down for bikes, with extra folks returning to work and lockdowns being lifted, it has turn into considerably simpler, however many retailers, particularly in Knoxville, are nonetheless attempting to get bikes in inventory. Many specialists consider that the scarcity can be evident years from now.
“The trade hasn’t recovered,” Grieve stated. “There’s nonetheless a scarcity on bikes and components and every part bike associated. The demand hasn’t slowed down and the scarcity hasn’t slowed down, so it’s in all probability going to stretch into 2025.”
Together with bike store house owners, Knoxville’s cyclists have additionally seen the bike growth evident on the paths, and anticipate it to remain round, particularly because the pandemic involves an finish.
Misty Stiles is a Knoxville bicycle owner and has been biking lengthy earlier than the pandemic bike growth. Stiles competes in races and group rides across the metropolis, and has watched the bike growth develop over the previous yr and a half.
“I believe the inflow will taper off, however for probably the most half biking will proceed to develop round right here,” Stiles stated. “I’ve seen probably the most progress at races. Most races had been cancelled throughout the pandemic and now everybody needs to race.”
The results of the 2020 bike growth are right here to remain and store house owners, like Grieve, across the metropolis will proceed to attempt to get better over the following few years.