Grand Rapids bike shops struggling with nationwide shortage

Posted at 11:42 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 23:42:55-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Bike shops everywhere are scrambling for more merchandise with COVID-19 creating a shortage.

Freewheeler Bike Shop says this is the busiest its been in over a decade.

Since reopening curbside, Freewheeler has sold over 1,200 bikes and they’ve sold a record of 87 in just one day.

“Bicycles have definitely become the new toilet paper,” said Manager Pat Lennon.

Some customers are buying bikes before they’re built, meaning they are still in the box at purchase.

“Literally we’ll tag it with their name and build it. They’ll come in the next day and ride it. So it’s almost like first come, first serve,” said Lennon.

The shortage comes as a result of manufacturing and people wanting to get outside during the pandemic, even as stores and restaurants begin re-opening.

“It’s cool seeing people get into the sport.”

For those who already own a bike, repairs are also taking longer. Tune-ups can take a couple of weeks.

"Usually, I’d tell people 3 to 5 days turnaround, and we’re looking at two to three weeks, which I hate telling people,” said Lennon.

Freewheeler says they’re fortunate enough to have a variety of bikes and brands. They’re expecting their next shipment in mid-July, whereas other shops may not have one planned until August or September.