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Bike shortages hit Montreal, as many look for ways to exercise at a distance

Last Updated May 29, 2020 at 7:11 pm EDT

Bikes for sale at Cycle Robert in Montreal. (Photo taken by Alyssia Rubertucci)
Summary

Montreal has even dedicated 112 kilometres of its roads to pedestrians and cyclists only, starting in June


But higher demand for bikes means more repairs, and a big tune-up can set you back a month in wait time


MONTREAL (CityNews) – If you already owned a bike before the pandemic, you may have already got some good use of it or maybe have even considered selling it now that bike shops in Montreal and abroad are facing a spike in sales, and are having a hard time keeping up with demand.

“We’re like a Dairy Queen that’s running out of ice cream. We’re going to have to survive on selling accessories,” said Pierre Poulet, owner of Cycle Robert.

“Gravel bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, anything under $2500 is selling like hotcakes. Anything under $800, they just went. One Saturday, I think we sold 13-14 bikes.”

Sales at Cycle Robert in Montreal’s LaSalle neighbourhood are up over 100 per cent.

“Some days we’re selling two bikes, some days were selling ten bikes but the average has been eight bikes a day for the past two months.”

Owner Pierre Poulet says he thought the pandemic would have devastated his business. But now stock of the bikes he ordered last year are running low.

“We started the season with about 375 bicycles and we’ve got 75 bikes left in stock.”

More and more people have been turning to bikes to stay active and get around instead of using public transport throughout the pandemic.

Montreal has even dedicated 112 kilometres of its roads to pedestrians and cyclists only, starting in June.

“What we’re hearing from consumers is a lot of their vacation plans have fallen through, that they’re not going to go abroad, so they’re investing in their vacation and in their leisure and they know that having a bike is the best way to take advantage of their regions,” explained Magali Bebronne, program manager of active transportation at Vélo Québec.

“I was imagining a bike that could do a little bit of everything and hopefully they had it in my size and I checked last night and just by pure coincidence, they had it. So, we said we can’t wait cancelled some plans and made it here for opening to be sure we got it,” said Sam Blondeau, a customer at Cycle Robert.

But higher demand for bikes means more repairs, and a big tune-up can set you back a month in wait time.

Pierre says there are minor D.I.Y. repairs cyclists should do before bringing it in.

“At least air in the tires and dust the bike off, put a little oil in the chain.”

As suppliers across North America scramble to produce more bikes and get parts from different companies whose production stopped during the pandemic, Pierre says he expects new models of entry-level bikes to be in stock by mid-summer, although it may be a little too late.

“If you see a bike in a bike shop that fits you, you like it, it might not be the perfect colour but I would say just buy it. Don’t waste time and don’t start shopping around because you’re not going to get a bike, because everyone is selling out.”