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More St. Louisans Are Buying Bikes During Pandemic

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Joshua Phelps

Bike retailers around the St. Louis region have reduced capacity for in-person visits due to the COVID-19 crisis. But even with less foot traffic, some shops are seeing an uptick in sales. 

According to Big Shark Bicycle Company owner Mike Weiss, the Richmond Heights location has gone from an average of 60 sales per week to nearly 140 a week since about mid-March. 

“Now the limiting factor is supply,” Weiss said. 

Weiss talked to host Sarah Fenske on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air and said he’s having to order bikes from countries including Canada and is getting bikes in shipping containers to keep up with demand. 

“If it rolls and it looks like it was a bike at some point, we’re going to try to buy it,” he said.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many are looking for other creative outlets. In the St. Louis area, that outlet is biking. 

“Kids are out of school, families are home,” Weiss said. “You can’t spend your money on vacations, or certain types of recreation. Gyms are closed. All of that is adding percentages to the uptick in demand.”

As a result, Weiss said many entry-level bikes priced in the $350-$500 range have gone out of stock, and the price-point range for those wanting a bike has gone up. But he said it’s only temporary. “There’s hope,” he said. “I think the shortage is going to last six to eight weeks, and we’re going to see the products coming back gradually and with more depth.”

Listen:

In addition to buying bikes, some people are hitting the trails, and Emma Klues, vice president of communications and outreach for Great Rivers Greenway, has noticed an increase in visitors. 

“We’ve seen people walking, running, biking [that has resulted in] a 50% increase on many of our trails,” Klues said.

Biking gives people a chance to connect with nature and those around them while maintaining social distancing, she explained. She hopes, even with the reopening of gyms and other recreational facilities in mid-June around the St. Louis area, that many will get hooked on cycling instead of putting their bikes up.

“It’s a really interesting time for people,” Klues said. “They feel stagnant, they feel stuck at home. To be able to get outside and move and see nature progressing ... and connect to the community in a distant way ... I think people are seeing the value of that for their quality of life.”

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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