Pandemic boosts bike sales as Hawaii turns to pedal power as exercise alternative

Pandemic boosts bike sales as Hawaii turns to pedal power as exercise alternative
The Bike Shop manager Carl Nethercutt stands in front of a shrinking supply of bicycles left in his showroom. The pandemic drove customer demand for bikes. (Source: Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At The Bike Shop on South King Street, empty racks tell the story. As more people stuck at home turned to pedal power for exercise and fresh air, sales hit a peak in May.

"It was crazier than sale weekend," store manager Carl Nethercutt said.

In seven years at the store, Nethercutt says he has never seen his showroom as bare as it is today.

"Anything $1,000 or less were the first ones to go, especially the hybrids, the beach cruisers and the kids bikes," he said.

To compound the situation, factories that supply bikes on the more affordable end of the price scale haven’t gotten back to full-scale operations. That’s slowed down re-stocking stores.

McCully Bicycle and Sporting Goods is expecting a small shipment soon. On Monday, there were only a few bikes left on the sales floor.

“As far as our shipments, we’re only getting about 20 to 25 percent of what we would normally order. As far as what’s on the floor, it’s a little bit less than that at the moment,” manager Ryan Takayesu said.

It will be that way for a while. Nethercutt says sparse supplies of new bicycles from manufacturers could be the norm through the rest of the year.

"Hawaii is the last to get the sunshine in America, so by the time we get on the computers, what was available yesterday is now gone," he said.

On another front, bicycle repair is booming. The Bike Shop is booked for big fixes through early August.

"Tune-ups is the biggest thing people want, bringing old bikes to life," Nethercutt said.

McCully Bicycle is also busy with repairs. Unlike many other industries hurt by the pandemic the bicycle business has been extraordinarily busy.

“We also realize that it could change at any minute,” Takayesu said. “It would be nice if we could keep this rolling It’s nice to see a lot of people out on bikes and out on the roads.”

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