Bike shops cycle from surge in sales to shortage of bikes

Jul 18, 2020

There were about 40 bicycles at the Bike Den on July 13, but only one of them was for sale, thanks to an industry-wide bike shortage brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Employee Nathan Orie said that bike sales at his shop in Wareham, and others around the country, surged this spring as people sought out outdoor activities that could be done while staying socially distant during the pandemic. 

At first, Orie said he was worried because he didn’t know if the Bike Den would be allowed to stay open this spring. Thankfully, since many people rely on bikes for transportation, the shop was deemed an essential business. 

Starting around the end of March, bike sales started to increase gradually, but quickly. 

“By the end of April it was just weird,” Orie said, “everything was flying off the shelves, and there was nothing left.” 

On Monday afternoon, there was just one bike left for sale, an electric assisted bike with a price tag well over $2,000, which has left some potential buyers with “sticker shock.” 

Orie explained that as people quickly bought up bikes around the country this spring, suppliers have nearly run out of more affordable bikes. 

The Bike Den is still flourishing however, because with more bikers on the road, comes a higher demand for repairs and tune-ups. 

The dozens of other bikes in the shop were all awaiting various repairs, and many were stored in the front area of the shop where bikes for sale would normally be on display.

Orie said tune-ups and routine repairs have been “non-stop” so far this season. On Monday, he told one customer that the wait for a tune-up could be as long as two weeks. 

As a bike enthusiast himself, Orie said he was happy to see the bike community grow, and said that he hopes the interest in biking and the outdoors will continue even after people are allowed to return to bars, movie theaters and other indoor venues. 

“It’s something that people can do regardless of quarantine or not,” he said. 

Although new bikes are hard to come by, Orie said that sales for helmets, apparel, and other bike-related accessories have increased at the shop lately, which has been good for business.

Like other businesses, The Bike Den is also taking precautions against the coronavirus. Employees and customers must wear masks, and there is hand sanitizer near the cash register. To maintain social distancing, customers are asked to shop one at a time, either individually or with the same group that they came with.  

For more information on The Bike Den, call 508-295-2453. 

To learn more about the national bike shortage, read this New York Times article.