ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — After unprecedented bike sales in the early months of the pandemic, many cycling stores are running low on inventory. Industry experts say it could be more than a year until inventory is back to pre-pandemic levels.
Brain Collie, owner of Open Road Bicycles in St. Johns County, said business at his store was up about 100% during the first three months of the pandemic.
“We were selling bikes like crazy. The entire industry is essentially sold out of bicycles right now and we are waiting two to four until we get any new inventory in,” Collie said.
The interruption in the supply chain due to COVID-19 means his store is now only getting in a few new bikes a week from suppliers. He has hundreds of bikes on backorder.
“Some of our suppliers are telling us we are going to be into 2021 before we see some product and some are telling us it will be 2022 before production is normal again,” Collie said.
While inventory is low, demand is still high.
“It's frustrating because I have to tell people the same story over and over again. They come in looking for a bike. Sorry I don't have any or sorry I have this, but I don't have your size. It's just difficult,” Collie said. “Do you have another color? No. Do you have another size? No. Is it in your other store? No. The entire industry is out. Nobody has bikes. Essentially, everything under that $2,000 price point is just gone.”
Right now, repair work is helping sustain his store, but even finding parts has been challenging.
“It was such a good period those first three months that should have set everybody up for a good future, however, if you can't get product and repair parts that's going to present a real problem in the coming months, so we have to have something to sell and parts to fix bikes,” Collie said.
His advice to cycling enthusiasts is if you can find something used or something in your size, get it now.
“Because unless you're willing to be patient and willing to wait for months to get exactly what you want, if you want to ride a bike now, you need to get whatever is out there,” Collie said.