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Cyclopath
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PostWed Jun 03, 2020 11:45 pm 
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Washington, DC (CNN) Eric Attayi, owner of the Urban Bicycle Gallery in Houston, Texas, has watched the pandemic transform his shop in a way most businesses can only dream of.

Bicycles are selling before he has time to assemble them for display. Attayi said he'd matched his 2019 sales by the start of May. He's had to hire new employees to meet demand, and hasn't taken a day off since February. Attayi said he'd given raises and started buying lunch for his stressed staff.

As unemployment reaches record levels and small businesses scramble to survive, bike shops have been an exception.

They're thriving whether they're in car-dominated cities like Houston and Los Angeles or more traditional biking areas like Portland, Oregon, New York and Washington DC. Keeping enough bikes in stock, and finishing repairs in a timely manner, has become a challenge. Customers are being turned way, in some cases.

A recent survey from the National Bicycle Dealers Association found that 83% of shops are concerned about their inventory levels. Bike manufacturers are struggling to keep up.

"We're usually a pretty slow, chill shop," Attayi said. "Now the phone doesn't stop ringing. My guys get overwhelmed and I totally get it."

New customers are looking for ways to be active and outdoors. Bike shop owners say that the closing of gyms and yoga studios during the pandemic has contributed. Others say customers are looking for a commuting alternative to public transportation. Social spacing is easiest on individual modes of transportation, like cars and bikes. In March 2020, US cycling sales increased 39% when compared with March 2019, according to the NPD Group, which tracks retail sales.

"Bikes are like the new toilet paper," Attayi said. "If it's available, buy it."

Garfield Cooper, owner of ZenCog Bicycle Company in Jacksonville, Florida, has extra mechanics working to try to keep up with a repair backlog. Repairs that are usually done in 24 hours now require up to a month. Cooper, like Attayi, said he hadn't had a day off since February.

While his sales usually decline in the summer months with increased heat and humidity, Cooper said he hasn't seen a lag in business yet.

"It's been a long time since the bicycle has been this important to the American people," Cooper said. "It's so cool they're this interested in bike riding."

He's struggling to keep things like bike seats and helmets in stock. Cooper said he's regularly calling other shops to find parts he needs for repairs.

Robert Keating, who owns the Triathlon Lab outside Los Angeles, said he's never seen anything like the current bicycle boom in the 37 years he's worked in bike shops. He's shifted his shop from a focus on high-end bicycles to affordable bikes people are likely to ride in their neighborhood. Beach cruisers have been especially popular, he said.

"Some people are saying 'it's such a joy to be back on my bike. I can't believe I ditched it for so long,' " Keating said. "Some people say 'I can't believe how hard it is to ride. I'm going to build my strength back up.' "

Bike shop owners are also wondering how long the current boom will last. Some said customers were more interested in biking because with less car traffic, roads felt safer. Their interest may wane as traffic returns. But some cities have begun to reallocate street space to bike lanes, which could lead to more biking in the long term. Roughly 400 miles of protected bike lanes have been built in the US in the last decade, according to the advocacy group People for Bikes.

Phil Koopman, owner of BicycleSpace in Washington DC, compared the current bicycle boom to 1999, when many people bought computers to prepare for Y2K.

"Then those companies didn't sell a lot of computers for a few years because everyone already had one," Koopman said. "That's the big question. Is this a one-time thing or is it something sustainable?"

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/06/02/tech/bike-boom-pandemic/index.html
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treeswarper
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 7:04 am 
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Doesn't seem to be happening in our state, if you look at Craig's List there is no shortage of bikes for sale.

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Randito
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 8:00 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
Doesn't seem to be happening in our state, if you look at Craig's List there is no shortage of bikes for sale.

IDK, many people starting a new exercise program prefer new bikes.  I do know that RAD power bikes where my nephew works has sold all production into September.
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neek
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 8:36 am 
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Going to be some good deals on barely-used high end bikes in a year or so.
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 8:42 am 
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Randito wrote:
I do know that RAD power bikes where my nephew works is sold all production into September.

Yeah, I started poking around for a bike due to bad news on car repair and found this is the case with a lot of shops! I'm a wuss about commuting in the city via bike, so not sure if I want to go this route; but lots of folks've been biking the city for years and are still around to tell about it.

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neek
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 8:49 am 
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Kim Brown wrote:
Yeah, I started poking around for a bike due to bad news on car repair and found this is the case with a lot of shops! I'm a wuss about commuting in the city via bike, so not sure if I want to go this route; but lots of folks've been biking the city for years and are still around to tell about it.

Yeah let me tell you about it  smile.gif  get a mirror, ease into it, plan your routes carefully... City streets often beat rural ones for bike safety, but in both cases there's huge variation from street to street.  Perfect time of year to start experimenting.
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Randito
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 9:07 am 
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Kim Brown wrote:
I'm a wuss about commuting in the city via bike, so not sure if I want to go this route; but lots of folks've been biking the city for years and are still around to tell about it.

It's good to be careful.  Seattle is a mixed bag in terms of driver behavior towards cyclists.   Most drivers are careful and considerate.  But then there are the "over considerate" drivers that stop when they have the right of way and risk getting rear ended by following traffic and then the people that are super pissed off that they had to slow from their 10mph over the limit driving to avoid striking a cyclist.

Earlier during the pandemic,  traffic was so light that street riding was fairly pleasant,  but traffic is ticking up again and it seems that the percentage of drivers that believe cyclists don't belong on the road is higher than normal -- I was yelled at by some old jerk who felt it was his right to pull beside me and curse at me while riding on a low traffic street with my grandson on a come along.

FWIW: I wear a "construction worker" reflective vest while riding and I find this useful.   It helps considerate drives see and avoid me and I find that it confuses the jerks as most people subconsciously know they aren't supposed to run over construction workers and by the time they realize I'm a cyclist they have past the point where they could brush my elbow with their mirror "for fun".
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 9:23 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
Doesn't seem to be happening in our state, if you look at Craig's List there is no shortage of bikes for sale.

Gregg's at Green Lake always has a line of customers wrapped around the building.

One of the shops near me has a note on their website saying don't call us we're too busy.

This is definitely happening in our state.

The reason you see bikes on CL is because their owners know they're more valuable now than they'll ever be again.  Those bikes are selling more quickly now than in normal times.
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neek
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 9:25 am 
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Randito wrote:
But then there are the "over considerate" drivers that stop when they have the right of way and risk getting rear ended by following traffic and then the people that are super pissed off that they had to slow from their 10mph over the limit driving to avoid striking a cyclist.

So true.  Many more of these than there are complete jerks.  Or the folks who tag along behind you when there is plenty of room to pass.

Randito wrote:
I was yelled at by some old jerk who felt it was his right to pull beside me and curse at me while riding on a low traffic street with my grandson on a come along.

I'll send a curse his direction.  Loser.  Had a guy harass me once.  A month later I spotted his truck in a driveway.  Evil thoughts ensued.  In downtown you can often chase people down.  Don't ask how I know.  But a friend got punched in the face by a guy in a BMW so maybe not the best idea.  Sorry Kim this probably isn't encouraging you.  Nearly 20 years of commuting and never had any real trouble, knock on wood.

(I should add: the best way of dealing with jerks is to smile and wave, if you can manage it.)
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 9:34 am 
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Kim Brown wrote:
Yeah, I started poking around for a bike due to bad news on car repair and found this is the case with a lot of shops! I'm a wuss about commuting in the city via bike, so not sure if I want to go this route; but lots of folks've been biking the city for years and are still around to tell about it.

Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with.  But downtown has made a lot of improvements in the last few years - more lanes, some physically separated by bollards.  Traffic is still down.  Because more people are riding bikes, drivers seem more sympathetic.

Randito wrote:
I was yelled at by some old jerk who felt it was his right to pull beside me and curse at me while riding on a low traffic street with my grandson on a come along.

I'm sorry to hear that.  I got yelled at recently, but it was encouragement.  I was going up a long, steep hill, somebody leaned out the window of a passing car and yelled "keep up the good work! you're almost there!" (She lied to be about being almost there.)

neek wrote:
get a mirror

I find the rear view radar more useful for a few reasons: it doesn't vibrate like a bar mounted mirror so it's easier to see, there's no possibility of losing an eye like a helmet mirror, it flashes and changes the flash speed based on the speed of the approaching car which makes you more visible and can influence driver behavior for the better, it knows about approaching traffic long before the mirror does, it beeps at you so it requires less attention, and, finally, it shows you all the cars behind you and their spacing because usually if there's a problem it's the second one that gets you.
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neek
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 9:37 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
I find the rear view radar more useful for a few reasons: it doesn't vibrate like a bar mounted mirror so it's easier to see, there's no possibility of losing an eye like a helmet mirror, it flashes and changes the flash speed based on the speed of the approaching car which makes you more visible and can influence driver behavior for the better, it knows about approaching traffic long before the mirror does, it beeps at you so it requires less attention, and, finally, it shows you all the cars behind you and their spacing because usually if there's a problem it's the second one that gets you.

Yeah, I know (bar-mounted mirrors suck), but someone just getting into biking probably isn't going to go out and buy a bunch of fancy tech gizmos right off the bat.  Never thought about the helmet mirror taking my eye out; figured if I was in a crash I'd have other more likely scenarios to worry about.
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treeswarper
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 10:22 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
I find the rear view radar more useful for a few reasons: it doesn't vibrate like a bar mounted mirror so it's easier to see, there's no possibility of losing an eye like a helmet mirror, it flashes and changes the flash speed based on the speed of the approaching car which makes you more visible and can influence driver behavior for the better, it knows about approaching traffic long before the mirror does, it beeps at you so it requires less attention, and, finally, it shows you all the cars behind you and their spacing because usually if there's a problem it's the second one that gets you.

You like it cuz you're a guy.  Guys like all that tech stuff! smile.gif

I have a velcro on mirror, which will slip around some, and a screw into the handlebar mirror, which pretty much stays put unless I bump it.  Both work well and I assume might cost less than radar.  Maybe I'm wrong.

OK.  I have a Schwinn LeTour (VINTAGE!) for sale if anybody wants a road bike.  It's been kept indoors for all its life and even has the original tires on it.  I think it is a 17" frame.  Road bikes are very uncomfortable for me to ride and my hands and wrists took a beating on it.  Its crowning glory was going up and over the Mogollon Rim.


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neek
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 10:39 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
You like it cuz you're a guy.  Guys like all that tech stuff! smile.gif

You know what else we like?  Beer!  My bike has a built in opener.  Beat that.


(Please be responsible and keep one hand on the handlebars while drinking.)
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 11:01 am 
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neek wrote:
Yeah, I know (bar-mounted mirrors suck), but someone just getting into biking probably isn't going to go out and buy a bunch of fancy tech gizmos right off the bat.  Never thought about the helmet mirror taking my eye out; figured if I was in a crash I'd have other more likely scenarios to worry about.

I'm not saying she should go out and buy a radar.  Just sharing my experience in a thread about bikes.   smile.gif

Somebody made an "app" for Garmins that records the initial speed and how much the car slowed down, along with the location.  You can look at it all on a map.  I'm hoping over time they'll accumulate enough data to be able to show the places where drivers are most friendly to cyclists on average.

Losing an eye from a helmet mirror is one of those low probability but high consequence things.  I feel like bones can heal but you'll never make a new eye*.  And I like mine, they help me and they're beautiful.   smile.gif  It's enough to make me uncomfortable but everybody has their own comfort level and looks at risk through the lens of their own experiences.

* Unless you're a reptilian like the Queen of England and Jeff Bezos.
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zephyr
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 11:42 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
And I like mine, they help me and they're beautiful.  smile.gif

Oh my gosh.   Tell the truth and shame the devil.   haha  ~z
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