High demand causing bicycle shortage, local store manager says

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been more than a year since the pandemic changed our lives forever, and many are hoping to take advantage of this warmer weather by purchasing a brand new bike.

But finding one may prove to be a challenge.

James Sawyer, a manager at Legend Bicycle, said right now, bicycles are in high demand, meaning they’re currently in short supply.

Sawyer said it’s not just a local problem either, it’s actually a global one.

“There’s no more bike’s available from any, basically every, manufacturer,” Sawyer said.

He said the uptick in sales started right as the pandemic hit last year, and it hasn’t let up.

“More bike sales, more repairs. Everything just got busier,” he said. “Demand has increased 10-fold in the last year.”

Bike shops normally will order their inventory a year in advance, according to Sawyer.

“The factories know how much to make the year before, so because of that, they haven’t been able to ramp up production quickly,” he explained.

Sawyer said there are other contributing factors to the shortage as well, including delays in production.

“Some companies haven’t increased production drastically to meet the need because they don’t think the demand is going to last,” he said.

The interest is so great, Sawyer said he’s already sold most of his winter inventory this year, which consisted of approximately 80 bikes.

“People are just coming in asking for a bike and put full money down before they even seen or it’s even built,” Sawyer said.

He said they do have another shipment coming in, but they probably won’t receive it until early summer. He said they could possibly receive another order after that in September.

There’s already a sign-up sheet for people looking for bikes, with about 20 names listed, according to Sawyer.

Across the city, Providence Bicycle’s Head of Sales Jill Muir said the phones there have been ringing off the hook.

“Probably 20 to 25 calls a day at least,” Muir said.

Muir said they have about 50 to 60 bikes available for purchase, but urged everyone to be patient if they can’t find what they’re looking for.

“As soon as the bikes come into the shop, they’re sold,” Muir said. “So we’re suggesting, even if you haven’t seen the bike, if you want it, to order it, because it’s going to be gone.”

Muir said they have some hybrids and mountain bikes on order which should be coming in soon.

Providence Bicycle is also hiring, according to Muir.

“We’re inundated with repairs, so we’re always looking for help,” Muir said. “Little or no experience is required. Our senior tech mechanics are training people constantly.”

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