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Local bike shops facing shortages amid supply chain disruptions

Because of Coronavirus related disruptions, getting a bicycle may not be as quick and easy as it once was.

Posted: May 14, 2020 4:41 PM

Eugene, Ore. -- It's been as busy a time as Hutch Bicycle's Jay Loew can remember...

"It's been beyond busy," Loew, a partner at Hutch's, explains. "Probably the busiest that we've ever seen in the history of this store."

And how long has the store been open for? Since 1927, Loew tells KEZI. 

That volume of business is a similar story down the street at Bicycle Way of Life. 
"I would say we're significantly up," says co-owner Matt Ritzow. "The mix though, it's different."

While bike sales may have risen in the last month or two, but now there's a new problem to address -a lack of products- as supply chains in China and the United States cope with massive disruptions. So why is there a supply chain problem? Many of the parts necessary to make bikes occurs in the original coronavirus epicenter.

"The supply chain's disrupted and other parts of these bikes are sold worldwide in other parts of the world," says Loew. "Countries have shut down like Italy. So it's created a big network of problems for us and manufacturers for sure."

"A lot of these countries left China for the manufacturing and distributing of their products but all the little plastic ferrels and fittings and grommets come out of China. So even though the bikes weren't necessarily manufactured there. They needed the parts and when China shut down for CoVid, it means the bikes couldn't be built."

"Now that China's ramping up there's not enough containers on the boats to get the product over now."

So what is primarily being affected?

"It's [the bikes] under 1000 dollars and now it's creeping up into the sub 2000 dollar group for sure," says Ritzow.

"The 550 dollar bike or the 700 dollar bike...those are pretty strong price points that I'll get 2 or 3 a week in that I don't have on the floor and I don't have in the back," Loew explains.

With so much uncertainty around the global economies and supply chains that go beyond biking, things like repairs may take a bit longer.

"People are bringing their bikes in the grove getting them fixed up just to get some exercise to get out and about and it's created quite a backlog for us," Loew says. His repair backlog is as much as four weeks as people dust off their bikes sitting in their houses or apartments. 

The biggest thing both say consumers can do is be patient as everyone navigates the coming months together. 

"It isn't that we're not working hard and dilligently to try and service the cycling needs but these are crazy new times for sure," Loew concludes.

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