Jim McGregor / Special at Langley Advance Times
At the height of the pandemic, when most gyms and sports facilities were closed, active people showed renewed interest in cycling as a viable source of exercise.
The only downside was that the increase in demand created a worldwide shortage of bicycles.
Heath MacKenzie, co-owner of Cranky’s Bike Shop on 272nd Street in Aldergrove, said the shortage still exists – although demand has fallen somewhat with the reopening of the sports scene.
“There are still a lot of supply chain issues. We receive bikes, but these are bikes that we ordered 12-18 months ago. We will have bikes for sale in our store, but if you order a bike today, we know it will be at least a year before it arrives.
Unprecedented demand across the bike industry was the cause of the supply issue, MacKenzie said.
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“People wanted bikes, so the warehouses emptied and meanwhile all the factories were closing because of COVID. Most of the big factories are in China, so add shipping issues and you have a perfect storm,” he explained.
Recent news of China’s latest port closures and the government’s continued “zero Omicron” approach are both concerning. Supply chain issues are not yet resolved and are expected to continue through 2023, he said.
MacKenzie points out that when the bikes arrive in North America, they will first go to the manufacturer’s warehouses.
“This part of distribution adds to supply chain delays.”
Lack of parts is also an issue, although their stock is better than it was, MacKenzie said.
“We can order parts and we ordered heavy this year. We have a good supply of inner tubes, tires and other common parts and we hope this stock will see us through the busy months.
Wet weather this spring also dampened morale among cyclists, and MacKenzie said people were waiting to get out.
“We just haven’t seen the enthusiasm of people wanting to ride a bike. We don’t see families coming to buy new bikes yet.
In 2020, the bikes he had in store were limited to fairly expensive high-end road bikes aimed at dedicated and frequent road cyclists. MacKenzie said the in-store selection is better now.
“We have a lot more mid-level bikes now, hybrids and mountain bikes and we’re seeing the more expensive bikes harder to get now.”
MacKenzie says there are many interesting cycling areas locally for any type of cyclist.
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“There are great trails in Sumas, Bear Mountain in Mission, the discovery trails in Abbotsford or the Matsqui Flats, or many people go to Mud Bay to ride their bikes. For road bike enthusiasts, there is 0 Avenue or many locations in Fort Langley.
MacKenzie says the cycling community is happy to see many cities installing dedicated bike lanes.
“If the bicycle is to be a viable transport option, it must be safe for cyclists.”
Overall, MacKenzie is optimistic about the growth of cycling.
“We have been in Aldergrove for 20 years and we have many loyal and dedicated customers, as well as new people arriving all the time.
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