CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) — When the pandemic set in over a year ago, and sent people to working from home, the bicycle industry thrived. But one year later, a significant repercussion of the pandemic has also thrived; shortages in bicycles and parts.
For local shops like Bike Tech, they are now selling more bikes than they are getting. This will cause problems for consumers putting off their purchase.
Bike Tech owner, Brent Johnson, said they’re now spending time planning inventory out three-to-six months for certain items, and up to 12-18 months for bikes.
“I mean, we’ve had to totally change our jobs and how we order on a daily basis just to make sure we’ve got shelves that are full and bike racks that are full,” said Johnson.
Bike Tech has also been seeing a huge backlog in their service work, with shortages in supplies like chains, tubes, gears, and tires, their rate and turning around bike repairs are delayed.
Fun fact: a bicycle is made of 300 different parts. The not so fun fact, is if one part is delayed, a bike cannot be made. One part can hold up the whole process and it’s becoming problematic from a supply chain approach.
One customer in the shop was Morgan Dorbier, and she was getting fitted for her bicycle. Dorbier is about to compete in her first 70. Ironman Triathlon Des Moines, and with the shortage in the bicycle industry, she has been forced to “go the extra mile.”
“I actually had to drive 7 1/2 hours to pick up a new bike, because Trek is so behind in their production. So, I had to drive to Indiana to find the right size,” commented Dorbier.
Dornbier issue is not isolated. Johnson has recently had bike shops on the coast, like in Boston, Massachusetts, purchase bikes from his shop to fill orders.
Johnson explained that many bike parts are imported from oversees, and right now, the ocean freights are backed up and has caused shipping costs to skyrocket. The recent blockage in the Suez Canal had impacts on bike shops across the industry.
“To get a bike from point A to point B has doubled if not tripled in the price of just shipping alone,” said Johnson.
Because of this, Johnson has his text alerts from vendors turned on, so the second he is notified of parts becoming available, he can quickly try to place an order. Johnson lightly compared bicycles and parts to toilet paper; if you see it, buy it because you’re going to need it, and everybody wants it.
In short, bicycles are going fast and are becoming harder to find. The shortage in the industry is expected to last for another year, so the advice here is to not delay on getting one any longer.
Iowa’s Ragbrai is right around the corner, which is another reason why there is more of an immediacy for the consumer to not wait.