A The downtown Frederick used bike store isn’t struggling to find bikes like other stores across the country have been, in the face of constant supply chain shortages. On the contrary, the store owner ended up with the opposite problem.
Matthew Fox, owner of ReCycles Bikes, said he probably has more bikes on hand than at any other time in the store’s history.
“Traditionally, I hover between about 50 and maybe 80 bikes in inventory,” Fox said this week. “I have about three times as much right now; there are about 100 in the store here and another 150 in stock.
Looking around the shop, which is located at 125 S. Carroll St., it’s easy to see what he means: it looks like there’s a bike crammed into every inch of available space.
As a store specializing in second-hand bikes, ReCycles Bikes’ situation is in stark contrast to what many other parts of the bike industry are reporting. Buying a new bike has been notoriously difficult for over a year, according to Road.cc, a cycling industry news site.
Along with various supply chain issues that have slowed bicycle shipments around the world, Road.cc also notes the explosion in demand for bicycles, especially at the start of the pandemic.
This explosive demand is something Fox has seen itself in 2020.
“We were wiped out pretty much instantly,” he said of the early days of the pandemic. “From late May to October 2020, we had basically nothing to sell. And we had people coming in constantly, and we just had to disappoint them.
So what explains the glut of bikes now? Although Fox said he couldn’t be completely sure, he thinks it could be because people realize biking just wasn’t for them after buying a bike in 2020. In fact, he predicted it.
“Now we see what I kind of suspected was going to happen,” he said. “So many people bought bikes in a short time, and for some of them the hobby stuck, and for others not so much. So over the last three or four months we’ve had a huge influx of trade.
He received so many bikes, in fact, that it totally changed the way he worked.
“It’s a bit strange, because I usually collect them throughout the year,” he said. “It’s part of my workflow, going out after work and picking up inventory from anywhere. But now I’m already kind of done for 2022.”
Fox’s store has been open since 2019, after it started selling and repairing bikes away from home part-time in 2013. After all that time, Fox had to change the criteria it uses to accept customers. bicycles, simply because there are too many.
“Usually I would buy 1990 and up, as far as model years go, and now we’re doing 2005 and up,” he said. “That cuts maybe a third of the number of trades we accept.”
Likewise, he also lowered the prices of many in-stock bikes by 10-20%, hoping to get them out.
As Fox faces a flood of bikes, he said he’s not entirely free of supply chain issues. Since ReCycles Bikes also services bikes, Fox had a hard time getting parts for the bikes. Some parts are so hard to find that he waits between six months and a year.
“And we can’t store it that long, so we just give it back to the customer,” he said.
Currently, Fox has more hybrid bikes in stock than anything else, a type of bike that combines the characteristics of mountain bikes with dedicated street bikes, which he says is ironic, as these were among the harder to find at the start of the pandemic.
ReCycles Bikes is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday.
Follow Patrick Kernan on Twitter: @PatKernan