Saturday, April 24, 2021

Are Practical Bicycles on the Rise?

2020, with all it's failings, has at least jumpstarted a cycling revolution! Inventory for almost every bike has sold out, or is non-existent. Bicycle companies are taking pre-orders (think Velo Orange, Rivendell, and quite possibly your local bike shop). Every business associated with cycling, from bike parts, to clothing, to cycling accessories, (like Po Campo and Terry Bicycles) has seen a phenomenal uptick in sales. Not to mention, e-bike riders that had been growing exponentially pre-pandemic. Just try and get a reasonable priced e-bike today! Folks are flocking to two-wheels.

Where are all the new riders coming from? Just take a look at your local rail trails. A three-fold increase in use! Enough to make most regular riders uncomfortable in unvaccinated heavy breathing crowds. It's obvious that cycling is a wonderful family activity. And at least one family member needs a new bike or service on existing bicycle. I also think more people are commuting, or if not, are squeezing in a fitness ride post home office hours (like myself).

Speaking from experience, pre-pandemic regular riders are also responsible for rising bicycle sales. I bought a mountain bike to get away from crowds, while my husband also purchased his own, in his case, to do future extended backcountry touring. I think many folks are treating themselves to new bicycles, because it's instant gratification, they make us happy at a time when travel is non-existent or unsafe. What better time - if you can get one - to add that unique plus one bike to your collection?

As the title of this blog post suggests, it appears practical bicycles are selling fast. Are there more people riding to the office? I'm not sure, considering how many people currently work from home. I wonder if people are buying what they can get their hands on. Does that explain why folding bikes have become extremely popular? Or are city dwellers escaping city crowds, heading to parks on a practical bicycle that's easily stored in limited spaces? At any rate, I'm fascinated with Dahon's limited stock and their new pandemic-inspired venture, the HIT, a low cost bicycle to meet the rising demand. The Marin Larkspur is also intriguing, and what explains the instant (15 minutes) near sell-out of pre-orders for a more expensive option, Rivendell's Platypus? And that's only the frame...

What has been your experience? Did you buy a new/used bike in the past year?


  1. I am amazed at how many people have turned to bicycles over the last year, and I think it's great! For hoarders, er, collectors, it's been a good time to sell because while generally it's easy to lose 50% or more when selling a bike, right now, with so many people looking, it's actually been an okay market for reselling.

    I did buy a bike in the last year (have had it for a bit now, but haven't been able to ride it more than a test - for various reasons that I won't bore anyone with right now). I suppose, technically, I bought a frame because I had several of the parts needed, but it was an in-stock frame from a less-known maker, which is probably the only reason I was able to obtain it as everything else I was looking at buying was at least a 3 month wait. I'm a little surprised that the bicycle industry has not caught up and/or started to increase production. I know the LBS near my home has said that they are struggling even to get replacement parts and wait times currently are well into summer for many bikes/parts.

    It's all a little crazy, but also a good thing to see so many people riding.

  2. Yes, a LOT more riders, when the virus was at it's worst, my wife and I took to riding the "bike lanes and back streets" instead of the local urban and rail trails we have due to severe overcrowding!! Not just bikes but runners/walkers too!! We've slowly work our way back to the "trails" since we both have had both our required shots and 14 day incubation period complete. We do still wear MASKS, just due to the heavy usage. I was told the "Gravel Bikes" are HOT seller but what I see on the trails is "flat bar road bikes and E-bikes of every shape, size, configuration"!! Only a odd folding bike here and there, at least her in Colorado Springs, CO. Yes, we did buy new bike but only because the "Crank Forward" style machines we had just didn't work well for either one of us so bought the mentioned flat bar road bikes, called fitness bikes too and are happy with them. LOL, the shortages of bikes, ect. at shops is a VERY REAL thing, we had to buy our bikes from "two" different shops. My Giant Escape 3 comfort in a MD frame was the only one in a 3 state area just built up at the shop I got it at. They told us it would be a YEAR wait for my wife's Liv Alight 3 but we found one in a box at a 2nd. local area shop, bought it and had them assemble it while my wife Jo watched!! :) We got VERY Lucky!! :)


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