IDAHO FALLS – If you’re in the market for a new bike this summer, it may not be as easy to purchase one as you’d like it to be.
Local bike shop managers tell EastIdahoNews.com keeping enough bikes in stock is proving to be a challenge this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When COVID first hit, our manufacturers overseas were shut down,” says Brent Page, manager of The Bike Shop in Idaho Falls. “Once we went on lockdown in the U.S., people started buying more bikes…and warehouses started running out.”
Doug Swanson, owner of Bill’s Bike and Run, is noticing a similar trend.
“Bikes in Salt Lake City — I used to be able to order them by 3:30 today and have them tomorrow. It’s more like two weeks now before they get to me,” Swanson says.
But Page says the shortage of inventory isn’t all bad.
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Bike sales in the last few months have surpassed sales for all of 2019, he says. He would typically have several hundred bikes in stock but currently only has about 50.
“People are riding bikes more because that’s all you can do, entertainment-wise,” says Page.
Norco mountain bikes are the most popular, Page says.
Courtesy Brent Page
Swanson says he’s seen a 49% increase in sales over the last several months. He currently has between 400 and 500 bikes in stock, but would typically have about 1,300 right now.
The most popular purchase this year, Swanson says, is the Specialized Roll. It’s a street bike that caters to those who want to ride around the neighborhood or the river. E-bikes are a hot item as well.
“E-bike sales have tripled from the year before,” he says. “We’re seeing a lot of baby boomers get back on a bike learning to love riding a bike again.”
E-bikes are attracting a lot of younger customers as well, Swanson says.
Bill’s Bike and Run also repairs bikes and Swanson says the repair department is now working seven days a week.
“We’re seeing so many people bringing in their bikes that have been hanging in their garage for a long time,” says Swanson.
Swanson says the COVID-19 pandemic has made people evaluate what’s going on in their life and what’s most important, and biking seems to be more in line with what people are looking for.
“You name a million things people do in a normal summer, and those things are gone. They’re searching for something to do together outside and be safe,” Swanson says.
Idaho Falls offers a plethora of biking opportunities, Swanson says, and the renewed interest in biking is astounding.
“I have never seen the activity on the greenbelt that I’ve seen (in the last few months),” says Swanson. “The number of families who unload their bikes at our shop and ride along the greenbelt is easily five times what it was a year ago.”
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Now that bike trails at Kelly Canyon are open, Swanson says the interest in biking is only going to increase.
New shipments of inventory for both stores are expected by the end of July or early August.