Pandemic potentially causing bicycle shortage in Cleveland as demand soars


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — After spending the beginning of spring at home because of the coronavirus the urge for many to get outside has never been greater, and it’s also fueling a potential shortage of bicycles as demand continues to grow.

“It’s the biggest bicycle boom really since the turn of the century, the last century, the 1900s,” said Scott Cowen, owner of Century Cycles in Rocky River. “Nobody in the industry has seen anything like it and no one expected it. That’s what made it even more crazy.”

Cowen said everything bicycle related is becoming increasingly popular from helmets, to inner tubes and chains.

“We’ve never seen demand as high as it is right now and we’ve never seen supply as low as it is, that’s all across the country,” he said.

Some bicyclists say the spike in demand is also related to the long time closure of fitness centers.

“Every morning I would go to work out and those places closed overnight, so we had to figure out how to keep fit,” said Michael Hollabaugh. 

“You gotta do something to keep active or else you become stagnant, so [I] just hit the road on the bike and go as far as I possibly can really,” said Joe Westfall.

Cowen said they are pre-selling inventory that is scheduled to come sometime in the next month and trying to get customers on a bike as close as possible to the one they initially wanted.

“We sold a two years supply of adult tricycles in two weeks, unprecedented,” he said.

For continuing coverage about the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest on Ohio, head here. 

With uncertainty surrounding the future of the COVID-19 pandemic and summer still ahead there’s no telling when the bicycle boom could show sings of slowing down.

“We’ve run out of almost all our normal bicycles that we would have had for the whole summer, and we’ve ordered twice as many as we normally would have and they’re still all gone,” Cowen said.  

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