Two articles caught our attention recently. One, in the May 18th New York Times titled — Thinking of Buying a Bike? Get Ready for a Very Long Wait says that “the United States is facing a shortage of bicycles as anxiety over public transportation and a desire to exercise has sent the demand surging. More recently, on May 26th, WJLA in College Park Maryland reported that ‘We have never seen anything like this’: There is a bicycle shortage across the nation.
As we started the year at Philly Electric Wheels, we experienced very mild weather — good news for anyone in the bicycle industry. We even signed up to carry a new line of electric bikes. With the coronavirus spreading, and the first effects of the lockdown, our staff decided to stay home, in isolation, for their family’s safety.
Six weeks later, the virus found me, and forced me to stay home for about 3 weeks. During this time, our shop remained shuttered. As we slowly re-open, the volume of calls has been non-stop. Mostly they are calls for used bikes, or budget bikes priced under $600.
We’re learning that our suppliers are sold out of their 2020 models, with September as the earliest that newer models would arrive at US warehouses. It’s also gotten harder to find spare parts for bike repairs, and longer to receive them. Some basic sizes of inner tubes are out of stock with prices going up.
Batteries, the fuel for all electric bikes, have had a 40% price increase recently. Some of our suppliers have closed shop with no inventory in the US, thus the longer lead time to get parts.
So, if you are heading out to purchase a bike, be ready to call many bike shops. Also, you may want to consider folding bikes; a category long overlooked by many people. Folding bikes come with 16”, 20”, 24”, 26” and even 700c wheels, and designed to fit people of all sizes — ideal for sharing within the family. We’ve listed some folding bikes you may want to consider…
For city riding, we recommend a folding bike with internal hub gearing, and a rear rack which could serve you well, in place of a ride hailing service or public transportation. Consider the Tern Link D7i, the Tern Node D7i, the Oyama Skyline In7B or the Dahon Vitesse i7.
If you’re still not sure, please schedule an appointment to talk with one of our folding bike advisors; they’ll convince you about the versatility of folding bikes for the greater Philadelphia region.