Demand for bikes rivals Cabbage Patch craze, says shop owner

·3 min read
Suppliers are already warning that the bicycle shortage could continue into 2022 because they can't keep up with demand.  (Shutterstock/Popova Valeriya - image credit)
Suppliers are already warning that the bicycle shortage could continue into 2022 because they can't keep up with demand. (Shutterstock/Popova Valeriya - image credit)

The owner of a bicycle shop in Cape Breton says demand for bicycles and parts is so high that he barely has enough stock to set up a display in his store.

Interest in biking soared across the country last year as travel restrictions set in and people looked for exercise options that went well with physical distancing.

Bill Goldston, who owns Frameworks Cycle and Fitness in Sydney, said the interest hasn't slowed a year into the pandemic.

"I was at Zellers when the Cabbage Patch Kids came out," he said. "I had to open the door for 300 people to tell them we only had 12, and that was nothing compared to this. This is something that I've never experienced."

Goldston said the biggest issue stores are dealing with now is stock.

His suppliers are sold out and they've already asked him to place his order for 2022. That's six months earlier than usual.

Even with that much notice, there are no promises that his full order will arrive.

The bikes he's receiving this summer are largely spoken for.

"For the most part, we will sell pretty much everything before it gets here because it's trickling in so slowly that we don't get a point where we can get a display up of any consequence."

Repairs were also in high demand last year, as people dusted off their old bicycles. But basic parts are hard to find now.
Repairs were also in high demand last year, as people dusted off their old bicycles. But basic parts are hard to find now. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

It's the same situation in bike shops from one end of Nova Scotia to the other.

In Yarmouth, Danny Manser said anyone looking for a new bike this year is probably already out of luck.

"I ordered like 40 bikes last fall and only received five. They said the rest might not arrive until December, which is after the season," he said.

Manser has operated Manser's Bike Shop since 1976. He never imagined he'd see demand like this.

"It's frustrating when people call or walk in and say, 'I'm looking to buy a bike,' and you just look at them and say, 'No, I don't have anything.'"

Manser said he spent last summer fixing up old bikes that hadn't seen the light of day in years. But now, some of that work is also impossible.

Basic parts, like tires, tubes and rear sprockets, are few and far between.

Manser said the companies that make parts are the same ones that supply parts for new bicycles, so everyone is out of luck.

"My suppliers when I go on the website, they list zero inventory."

New Brunswick bicycle stores are also struggling to fill the shelves with bicycles this year.
New Brunswick bicycle stores are also struggling to fill the shelves with bicycles this year. (Vanessa Blanch/CBC News)

This week, Goldston received a shipment of 10 bicycles that he can actually put in the store — a rarity these days. He expects them to be gone by next weekend.

"People come in every day. We get calls every day."

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