Searching for a new bike? A lot of people are, but supplies are short and the waiting list long, according to Brothers Bicycle Shop owner Nathan Nykamp of Sioux Center.
It’s a situation that’s been around for a year now. As the lockdowns and restrictions on a number of businesses began, people had turned to outdoor activities as methods of getting out of the house, with bicycling a popular choice.
“The outdoor industry as a whole, from bikes to campers, saw a massive surge in demand as we moved into the spring of 2020,” Nykamp said. “I would say April and May of 2020 were probably the busiest two months this shop has ever experienced. RAGBRAI starting in Sioux Center was a blip by comparison.”
One of the reasons bicycles have been popular is that it pairs up nicely with other outdoor activities like camping and traveling.
While that newfound demand resulted in quick sales and empty racks earlier, factory issues have continued to play a role, too.
“The worst was July through August specifically because parts became hard to get a hold of. Mainly what we’ve run into is that a complete bicycle was made in probably seven different factories,” Nykamp said. “Thankfully since August, parts have been relatively easy to get a hold of, so that’s been nice. But getting a hold of complete bikes regularly takes seven months for stuff to show up.”
Normally, Nykamp would keep 80-90 bikes on hand. Now he has about a dozen on the rack, with all but four spoken for.