Bicycle boom: Warm weather plus physical distance measures keeps Calgary’s bike shops busy
CALGARY -- Physical distancing, paired with the arrival of spring, has encouraged recreational cyclists and families to fix up or purchase bikes at record rates, according to some Calgary bicycle businesses.
"In terms of demand, yeah, we are as popular as toilet paper in terms of what people are wanting and needing now as we cope with this isolation," said Brian Feick, Calgary franchise owner of Velofix, a mobile bicycle repair service.
Equipped with masks, gloves, wipes and other sanitary supplies, a technician in a van kitted out with tools is available to tune up and repair bicycles right in a client’s driveway.
"This gives them (clients) an opportunity to be even safer by not having to go too far out of their space."
Feick says business typically swells during the spring months because of the change in weather, but the pandemic has added demand from those looking to avoid crowds and storefronts.
"When it got nice out, people thought, 'Well, the playgrounds are closed so let’s get the kids and let’s go for a bike ride and have a little bit more scenery around us rather than just walking around the block again,'" said Feick.
Ridley’s Cycle has also seen a surge in demand for bicycle service.
While the storefront, located on 10 Street N.W. is closed to walk-in traffic to comply to public health measures, sales on its online shop have surged.
"We are seeing a shift in kids bikes and recreational to sport bikes," said co-owner Ron Uhlenberg who added sales are normally high in May and June.
"It just shifted everything earlier for us."
Other retail operators are also reporting more bicycle sales.
"This time last year during a certain period we sold 90 kids runner bikes. For the same period this year we’ve sold 900," said Krista Robinson, manager of MEC Calgary's south store location.
Velofix says right now there is a roughly two-week wait time for appointments, but there are spaces available for emergency repairs and assistance for essential service workers who commute by bike.