Bicycle sales are up around the world as another result of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a surge in demand that is difficult to meet.
From Manila to Rome to the U.S., backlogged orders could take weeks or even months to fill, according to The Associated Press.
Bowling Green has been no exception.
Since mid-March, when the pandemic first upended daily life in the U.S. and much of the world, Nat’s Outdoor Sports has seen a significant increase in bike sales.
“We have had double our normal bike sales for 2020,” said Lisa Martens, the owner of Nat’s. “When businesses, gyms and schools started closing, everyone started looking for outside activities.”
When sales increased, Martens immediately ordered as much bike inventory as possible, which should keep new bikes coming into Nat’s through the end of the year, she said.
Now, she is looking at another activity on the rise.
“For us, the bike demand segued into a kayak demand. Now we are seeing kayak distributors trying to keep up with demand. Everyone is looking for recreation close to home,” she said.
As for biking, “I’ve seen more people out by themselves or with their families,” said Karissa Lemon, a coordinator for the Warren County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Lemon also organizes BikeWalk BG, which advocates physical activity and promotes biking events around the community.
BikeWalk BG is typically able to have events, such as bike rodeos that might teach kids safety, or community bike riding events.
With the limits on group gatherings, it has temporarily shifted its outreach.
Partnering with the Warren County Public Library, the organization made a video for DIY bike rodeos and encourages parents to get together. BikeWalk BG’s website and Facebook page has additional video resources.
“We are looking forward to having regular bike rides and events again soon,” Lemon said, noting that social distancing measures would be in place.
She also expressed optimism about a new bike education trailer that was originally scheduled to begin offerings this summer, but it has been postponed due to the pandemic.
The trailer would visit neighborhoods and schools and offer children biking tips around the community.
For people looking to purchase a bike, whether beginners or experienced bikers, Martens encouraged buying sooner than later.
“If you locate one and want to buy it, don’t wait because it won’t be there hours later,” she said.
Nat’s is allowing people to add their name to a list to be called when a bike they want arrives at the store.
Back-ordered bikes are coming in weekly, Martens said.
Buyers should know which type of bike they want, either a mountain, road or hybrid bike, before ordering, she said.
When getting out on the road, Lemon offered advice on safety and getting the most out of it, which includes wearing a helmet.
“Ride your bike in the same direction as traffic. Bikers have to follow the same traffic laws as cars, and cars should give respect to the shared road space in return,” she said.
Bikers should also add lights to make themselves noticeable if they ride at dusk or dawn, and they should not feel anxious about riding.
“Don’t be intimidated by distance, place or traffic,” Lemon said. “Just have fun.”