(CBS Local) — As many small businesses struggle to stay afloat during coronavirus pandemic, bike shops are doing well, if not outright booming.
With limited options for social distancing-compliant exercise, many Americans are digging through their garages, dusting off their bicycles, and hitting the road.
New bikes are flying off the racks, too.
“I thought ‘Wow, this could go either way’ and I was very concerned, and it’s just been going like gangbusters around here,” Ray Atayde of Ray Jay’s Bike Shop in Arlington, Texas, told CBS 11 News.
Business has quadrupled At Grey Matter Family Bicycle Shop in Phoenix, Arizona, in the last month or so, said Mike Claffey, whose son David owns the shop.
— KOLDNews (@KOLDNews) April 9, 2020
“We’re selling bikes like burritos,” says Nate Fitzgerald, a longtime employee of Rage Cycles in Scottsdale, Arizona. On a typical Tuesday, Rage Cycles sells anywhere from zero to three bikes.
“Yesterday, Tuesday, we couldn’t count how many bikes we sold,” Fitzgerald tells Phoenix New Times. “We were like, did we sell seven, nine, 10?”
Some of the shops, like the The Bicycle Shop in Anchorage, Alaska, are not allowing customers inside, offering service at the door or from a table or tent outside.
Others have reduced the hours they’re open to the public, to give staff time to work through backlogs of repairs.
But are bike shops considered essential business during the pandemic? The state of New York did not initially list them essential but relented after a barrage of complaints caught the attention of lawmakers.
— Joanna Oltman Smith (@jooltman) March 20, 2020
A similar order created confusion in San Francisco but Mayor London Breed later tweeted that bike shops could remain open.
Clarification for those who have asked: just as auto repair shops are considered essential so people can conduct essential travel, so are bicycle repair shops and mobile bicycle repair companies. Social distancing and consistent cleaning requirements continued to be required.
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) March 19, 2020
“The coolest thing about it (is) I’ve seen more families out riding their bikes together because of the virus,” Kerry Ryan of Action Sports in Bakersfield, California, told The Bakersfield Californian. “It’s really, really fun.”