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Bike sales going viral in the Roaring Fork Valley

Susan Shola helps a customer with an electric bike at Sunlight Mountain Ski and Bike shop on Thursday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Navigating the coronavirus pandemic is as easy as riding a bike.

Or at least soaring bicycle sales might indicate people are willing to give it a spin.

While some local bike shops have seen an increase in service requests, bicycle sellers are reporting a large increase, following a national trend.

Bike sales

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Michael Hardy, manager and buyer at Sunlight Ski & Bike in Glenwood Springs, said the shop is “40% up for the month of May” in bike sales.

And it’s not just locals.

“We’ve had people driving from the Front Range to buy bikes,” he said.

Darren Broome, owner of Aloha Mountain Cyclery in Carbondale, said, “Bike sales are up much higher than previous years for the first three weeks of May.”

While sales of entry level bikes have been strong, Broome said, “Most increases have been on normal stock bikes in the $700 to $3,000 range.”

Will Bradford, store manager at Basalt Ski & Bikes’ Willits store, said booming pedal power sales is a valley-wide phenomenon. He estimated the shop’s bike sales are up in the 20% to 30% range.

“The entire valley is buying bikes, trying to get whatever they can get their hands on,” he said.

Eric Sampson, of Sampson Sports in Glenwood Springs, is partially targeting the entry-level bike customer.

“I have some older frames that work well for this, so I’ll be building these as parts and time allow, and I can get somebody a quality bike for not much more than a Target bike,” he said.

Bike service

Bike tunes and repairs always keep bike shops busy in May, but Broome doesn’t see an increase in service requests at Aloha. 

“We are always booked out four to six weeks in the month of May,” he said.

But other shops have seen increased demand for tune-ups and the like.

“We probably doubled our service. We’re typically two weeks out this time of year, while this year we’re four weeks out,” Basalt Ski and Bike’s Bradford said.

Supply chain

While coronavirus may be inspiring people to ride bikes, it is also affecting the supply chain.

“I had a very hard time getting wheels and many components that come from Asia. It’s tough to build bikes without wheels or tires,” Sampson said.

Sunlight’s Hardy said the shop is expecting some trouble getting parts from China, and he predicts shortages over the summer.

“I’d recommend anyone looking to get work done should get it in sooner rather than later,” he said.

Dave Iverson, owner of Colorado Ebikes in Glenwood Springs, is also seeing an impact.

“Shipping is slow, especially for anything coming out of China,” he said.

But issues are not limited to China.

“We sell a lot of Easy Motion ebikes out of Spain, but we’ve been told we can’t get any more bikes for the rest of the year,” he said.

Reinvigorating clunkers

It’s not just new bikes getting all the attention right now — vintage bikes may be getting a new life. 

Bradford said Basalt Ski and Bike has seen “a lot of old bikes that people have sat on for a few years.”

“A huge number of people are pulling out old bikes and getting them rideable so they don’t have to use mass transit and some for recreation,” Sampson said.

Kazzy Saito, of Zen Bikeworks mobile bike shop, said, “I’ve had so many customers asking if I fix those kinds of bikes.”

He said he’s worked on bikes from the ’80s and ’90s — everything from old-school hardtail mountain bikes to vintage road bikes.

“I love to work on them, too,” he said.

Silver lining

A surge in bicycle riding is probably one benefit of the lockdown.

“We’re super stoked that people are getting out on bikes, and people who haven’t gotten out on bikes before are now enjoying the experience. It’s too bad it takes a pandemic to reap the rewards of cycling but if that’s what it takes, it’s good,” Broome said.


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