Bay Area bicycle shop business is booming

One business that's going gangbusters during the COVID-19 pandemic is bicyle shops.

Shop owners say the demand for repairs is just as great as the sales of new bikes.

KTVU contacted about a dozen bicycle shops. All said they are super busy. 

One shop owner described the level of business as "unprecedented."

It is perhaps a signal that people are shifting gears as they adapt to a new normal.

At Market Street Cycles in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, owner John McDonell said he's about five days behind in getting bicylcles repaired by the promise date to customers.

"It's been an explosion that I don't think anybody could have seen coming," said McDonell.  

He said the first available service appointment is the beginning of June.

"Service has just been nonstop. A lot of that is people pulling bikes out of the closet that they haven't touched in 10 years or so."

McDonell said the high demand is equal parts service of older bikes and the sales of new ones.

"All models of bikes, especially $1,000 or under,  are getting cleaned out. People are buying bikes that they would not have considering during a previous time," said McDonell. 

He said the surge started as soon as the shelter in place order went in effect.

"I work from home. The gyms are closed," said Matthew Herridge of San Francisco.

He said getting his bike repaired is essential,

"This is the only way I can get out and get my exercise. It's definitely been keeping my sanity.  I think I would have gone insane without it."

The shop owner said bicycling has built-in social distancing, that people appear to be shifting gears and breaking away from their pre-pandemic ways of getting around. 

"Who wants to take a bus or a train anyway? Who wants to get into an Uber or Lyft or a cab or a share bike that 14 other people have been on that day?" said McDonell.

People looking for new bikes may have to wait awhile.

"The only thing that has caused us to slow down at all is suppliers and distributors are running out of everything," said McDonnell. 

He said many bike shops are busy so he's urging people to be patient with their repair shops.