BATON ROUGE – It’s been an uphill ride for bike shop owners since the start of the pandemic. There is a national shortage of supplies, slowing down business.
“It’s frustrating to not be able to get simple tubes. Tires and parts I would never think we would have a shortage of are now insane to find,” said Zachary Bird, general manager at Front Yard Bikes at Mid City.
Bird said the problem started when gyms shut down, and people were looking for different ways to work out.
“That caused a huge number of people to be interested in bikes, bike parts and getting their old bikes fixed,” Bird said.
Since then, the race has been on. Though this one is slow going. Those in the bicycle industry have been forced to come up with new ways to get supplies.
“We’ve had to go to substitutes for certain things. This is the part you came in wanting and needing and this is what we would normally get for you. But that part is not available. So we have to get something that’s either more expensive that does the same thing or less expensive, so sometimes the quality is not what you want,” said Tom Townsend, owner of the Bicycle Shop.
Townsend says it’s not just parts either. Full bikes are backlogged as well.
“Over the last few weeks we got a handful of bikes. We got our first mountain bikes,” Townsend said.
Those are already snatched up, leaving empty spaces on the shelves.
“It’s super frustrating. We try to do a really thorough, quality job here and it’s just really difficult to do that,” Townsend said.
The supply can’t keep up with the demand, and those in the industry think it will stay this way well into next year.