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Bicycle shortages abound

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our habits as social distancing measures have forced gyms to close and people to rethink how they want to transport themselves.

As a result of this people are finding other ways to exercise and move about, and often that entails hopping onto a bicycle. The industry has seen a huge uptick in demand-one it can't keep up with, say local bicycle experts.

Matt and Lisa Belknap stand in their store, Action Sports in Cortland, which has seen a great uptick in business since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

This is a mixed blessing for local shops like Action Sports in the city of Cortland. Lisa Belknap, who co-owns the store with her husband Matt Belknap, said customers are always coming to the mom-and-pop shop on Pendleton Street.

"We've been busier than normal this past season and all our bread and butter models are gone," said Lisa Belknap last week.

The green bike in the middle is the store's last hybrid bicycle. The store has run out of many bicycles other than the higher end models, because of increased demand.

Additionally, the shop can't even order from its supplier the Specialized bikes it carries. The store caters largely to the mountain biking crowd and as of the writing of this post it had one hybrid model left.

They can't even place new orders because Specialized has sold out of most models, according to Lisa Belknap, and what's left are odd-sized frames: the very small ones or very large ones or the very high end models.

Parts are also hard to order, and shipments delayed due to the pandemic so the Belknaps have to be creative. For example, they are replacing the 26" mountain bike tube, a very commonly ordered part, with a slightly different sized tube that will work just as well. Rear derail are also hard to come by, as large suppliers often buy up large quantities, leaving none for the mom-and-pop shops that need only a handful to get through a week, says Lisa Belknap.

Lisa Belknap points to the spot where 26" tubes would be. Their supplier has run out of many staples.

The Belknaps are happy people are taking to biking- but they urge patience.

"There isn't really much to have right now. We are going to have to wait for the industry to catch up," said Lisa Belknap.

Customers have been very understanding and courteous since the pandemic began, said Belknap.

Similarly, at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Virgil, which offers downhill mountain biking, the Adventure Center is noticing the increased demand.

A cyclist rides down a trail at Greek Peak Mountain Resort.

Because of the interruption in the supply chain, the center did not sell off its used mountain bikes like it usually does this year, said John Galli, owner of Mountaintop Bicycle Rentals at Greek Peak. Instead it is keeping the older models on hand in case they are needed, he said.

"I decided we'd wait to see what next year brings as far as the supply chain, he said.

Galli thinks that more people are coming on weekends because there are fewer events like weddings and graduations because of COVID.

Demand got so high, said Drew Broderick, VP of Sales and Marketing at Greek Peak, that the resort offered a special Wednesday night event throughout the summer.

And the park is suitable for various ages and abilities, said Broderick. Trails are color-coded to distinguish difficulty level.

"You don't have to be this extreme cyclist to come enjoy the bike park," she said.


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