UNITED STATES—The year 2020 has been a disaster for many businesses. The fear of getting the Coronavirus, the stay at home orders, and the mandatory shut down of businesses have all taken their toll on many businesses and whole industries.
However, some businesses have thrived since the COVID-19 numbers started rising. There was that run on toilet paper that put TP factories into overdrive and a run on all the virgin forests left standing, and in the Golden State, people are buying bikes at a rate unseen before.
Bike Sales Up in Long Beach
According to a report from KABC 7, a shop owner in Long Beach has reported sales have almost doubled since the same time last year. Chris Nolte, the owner of Propel Electric Bikes reported shop sales in May of 2020 were up 100% for the same time in 2019.
He attributes this to the COVID-19 stay at home order that shut down all the gyms, and “people started looking to alternatives to getting out there and exercising, and bikes kind of became a savior for a lot of people.”
Statewide Bike Boon
This isn’t just a local thing as bike shops all over the state have similar stories. The owner of Menlo Velo, a bike store and repair shop in Menlo Park says he’s never been so busy in the 25 years he’s run his shop. If waiting lists and short supplies are a sign of a boon, then it looks good for Menlo Velo and other bike shops in the state.
According to a LA Times article, shops in the Bay Area have reported the same thing. Waitlists for bike tune-ups and repairs along with a difficulty keeping bikes on the sales floor for even a few days has become a shared experience for many bicycle entrepreneurs.
While air pollution is down and more people powered transportation is a good thing, there’s one catch: some drivers have been driving much faster. Indeed, California’s cyclists fear the speeding spike. And with more and more e-bikes on California’s streets, e-bike accidents are also increasing.
A New Revolution?
Biking enthusiasts are hoping this will become the start of a movement that will put more and more people on bikes much the same way that Denmark turned to bicycles in the 1960s and 1970s. They now boast that 62% of people commute to work every day, and the streets are often more crowded with bikes than cars.
A recent PeopleForBikes survey of about 1,000 people showed 9% of American adults rode a bike for the first time in a year because of the pandemic, and a majority of the riders say they will continue riding after the quarantine are over and the shops open up.
This survey shows that as a society, we’re a ways off from a similar revolution, however, the numbers are trending in the right direction. Hopefully, it won’t take another crisis to get people to start pedaling.