Australian bike shops are struggling to keep up with the boom in sales since coronavirus restrictions came into force last month reports the Guardian.
“We’re the new toilet paper and everyone wants a piece,” Grant Kaplan, manager of Giant Sydney, a bike store in Sydney’s CBD, tells Guardian Australia.
“We can’t keep up with sales. Literally the phone is ringing nonstop,” he laughs, as another call came through in the background.
The store has had to stop servicing bikes – typically a major source of revenue – because its mechanics are overrun with putting together customers’ new purchases.
Marshall, who has worked in bike sales for the last four years, told Guardian Australia he would expect to see $10,000 in sales on a Saturday, but for the past two weekends “have done $40,000 each Saturday, with similar sorts of levels during the week as well”.
South Melbourne’s bikeNOW is seeing similar figures. Co-manager Nathan Ziino says they sold between 40 and 45 bikes last weekend, many of which are entry-level models costing $700 to $1,200.
Nathan Ziino of bikeNOW typically sells $4,000-$15,000 bikes to high-end clientele. But Ziino says most of the shop’s recent customers have been families wanting to stay active while social distancing.
“Families are sick of walking everywhere as their form of exercise. The kids are home from school or being home-schooled. If you go to a football oval and there are lots of people already there, you can’t go on [due to social distancing measures],” he says.
“But on your bike you are exercising and practicing social distancing.”
For others, coronavirus restrictions have finally given them the time to take up a new hobby.
“They talk as though they have been thinking about it, and now the ideal scenario has come up: they have the time of their hands, gyms are shut, pools are shut, so why not get a bike?”
Ziino predicts they will see a second rush of customers once social distancing measures are eased, consisting of those who have to start commuting to work again but don’t want to risk catching public transport.
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