Tried to get a new or second hand bicycle during the COVID-19 pandemic. Or have one fixed that has been sitting in the garage or back shed for years. Chances are you will have had to wait.
Since week one of the coronavirus lockdown Illawarra bicycle shops have been run off their feet. And no matter how fast they peddle they have been unable to keep up with demand.
At Simple Cycles Shellharbour Peter McGuinn said heading into winter was normally the quieter time of the year but 2020 was more like Christmas in July for bicycle stores.
Mr McGuinn said the initial response when social distancing restrictions were first introduced was demand for family bikes. Bicycles in the low to medium price range ran out the door..
"When they went into that first phase of lockdown they said exercise is one of the things you can do," he said.
"And after a week inside people just wanted to get out. They all rushed to bike shops or pulled old bikes from the shed and brought them in for repair. In every state bike shops are empty at the moment".
The problem is being compounded by a delay in getting new stock from Taiwan or China where most of the bikes are made.
"We supply Trek and have a small shipment coming in at the end of this month. Then in June there is another shipment. They have brought forward 20/21 product because bikes have been selling so quickly," Mr McGuinn said.
"We are starting to sell pre-order bikes which for this time of year is really weird. That happens more at Christmas. So this is going to be more like Christmas in July".
Mr McGuinn said there are very few bikes for sale online and department stores are also running out.
David Hansen said at Giant Wollongong the demand has been huge for the entire range of bicycles.
Mr Hansen said the initial demand was for childrens' bikes. But now high-end road bikes, mountain bikes and ebikes are all selling well.
"Supply is the big issue. Most of the wholesalers have run out of stock. Many are on the water and on the way here but we are running out of low-end bikes. When one factory closes down during the pandemic it can affect five or six different brands".
Giant Wollongong is so busy trying to keep up with the number of people wanting to fix old bikes they haven't ridden for a while, it is now booked out until mid-June for repairs.
"We try and help people as quickly as we can but the sheer numbers of people wanting repairs done is bizarre. People are dragging bikes out they haven't ridden for 10 years and now want them fixed within two days.
"I have been in this game 40 years now and I have never seen anything like this. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new release bikes which usually come out in June or July".
Mr Hansen said the increase in sales of high-end road bikes was being driven by the fact there is less traffic during the coronavirus crisis.
"With less cars on the road riding a road bike is a bit more user friendly," he said.
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