Bike shops experiencing 'unprecedented surge' of sales during pandemic

When gyms closed and fitness classes ended in mid-March amid the statewide coronavirus shutdown, people scrambled to find ways to stay active, especially those not inclined to put on a pair of running shoes and hit the street on foot. As a result, there's been an unprecedented surge in bicycle sales not only at the local and state level, but also nationally. 

According to a report from the Associated Press, sales of adult leisure bikes tripled in April while overall U.S. bike sales doubled from the year before. BikeSport in Oldsmar is no exception. The shop, which sells parts and accessories as well as offering repair service, has been slammed since other businesses began shutting their doors.

"We had no idea that that was going to happen," said owner David McEnery. "And then it was just, one two, three, four, five, six, then a dozen people lined up outside, all bringing bikes -- either a new bike sales or they were bringing their bikes that they pulled out of the shed in the garage needing everything from new tubes to new seats, bar tape. It’s been absolutely gangbusters." 

That's good news for McEnery, who bought the business not long before the pandemic hit, wreaking havoc on other local businesses across Tampa Bay. Like other bike shops across the state, BikeSport was not forced to close because it was considered an essential business as a provider of transportation. 

As the pandemic wears on, suppliers are now struggling to keep up with demand for bikes and bike parts, with many rushing to roll out 2021 models months in advance to get more bikes into stores. 

"Manufacturers and everybody has been keeping up really well with all of the demand but it has been within the past couple of weeks we’ve seen, not only just certain bikes, but also everything from seats to bags to everything just being sold out everywhere with our suppliers," McEnry said. 

The U.S. relies heavily on China for roughly 90 percent of its bicycles. Production there was almost entirely shut down because of the coronavirus and is just now getting back up and running.