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Bike store owners in Washington state address bike shortage

UPDATED: Tue., May 25, 2021

Marty Pluth, general manager of Gregg’s Cycle near Green Lake in Seattle, said he’s seen a huge increase in demand for bikes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But he has limited supply on hand to meet it.  (Seattle Times)
Marty Pluth, general manager of Gregg’s Cycle near Green Lake in Seattle, said he’s seen a huge increase in demand for bikes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But he has limited supply on hand to meet it. (Seattle Times)
Associated Press

Associated Press

LYNNWOOD, Wash. – Bicycle store owners in Washington state have raised concerns over a shortage that is leaving racks empty across the country as more people are buying bikes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gregg’s Cycle General Manager Marty Pluth said most of the racks are empty and the remaining bikes have already been sold and are awaiting pickup, KING-TV reported. He said the wait to buy a bike is now at least four to six weeks.

“I joke that we’ve become the toilet paper of the pandemic,” said Pluth, who operates the store in Lynnwood, about 15 miles north of Seattle. “People have been calling us from as far away as Oregon and California. The supply chain is pretty much broken.”

Currently, Gregg’s Cycle only has about 10% of its normal inventory, with 8,000 bikes on backorder.

Pluth attributes the increase in demand to the coronavirus pandemic. He said more people started buying bikes for transportation and exercise as mass transit and gyms closed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Harvy’s Bikes, which is also in Lynnwood, is also seeing an increase in demand. Owner Harvy Massoud said the store is doing double the number of repairs, but it is having trouble getting bike parts from manufacturers.

“The bicycles are so rusty, but we fix them,” he said, referring to some customers who bring in bikes more than 30 years old. “We go through them, and we return them almost like new.”

Pluth said as a result of the demand, purchases have changed.

“You look online. You put down a deposit. We tell you when it’s here, in a month or so. You come in, pick it up and away you go,” he said.

Industry experts believe it will take another year or two before supply catches up with demand again.

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