Bicycling shops are on a roll with bike boom

Whether it’s Americans tired of staying at home and looking for some outdoor recreation or to enjoy the spring, or those cutting back on travel expenses in an economy with high unemployment and shuttered gyms, the coronavirus has been good for the bicycling business.

Ashton Haukes (left), Eliza Haukes, mom Aimee Haukes and dad Derek Haukes head home on bicycles along the Paul Bunyan Trail Saturday, May 30, after an outing to Nisswa. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Business has been off the chain for local bicycle shops like Easy Riders Bicycle & Sport Shop in Brainerd and Red Raven in Crosby.

“This is a modern bike boom,” said Brian Moon, Easy Riders overseer and service manager.

Red Raven co-owner Patrick Stoffel said, “We’ve seen an increase in repairs, an increase in bike sales, and I’m assuming it’s because people have more time on their hands, and a lot of people are dusting off bikes that they’ve had in storage for a while.”

Bicycle shops nationwide have been putting the pedal to the metal trying to fulfill customer orders and repairing bicycles for enthusiasts.

“The southern United States, their season went longer than anticipated. They had a nice long fall, so people kept riding and kept buying. We had an early spring, so people started riding and buying earlier, so there’s a big overlap. And that created some unanticipated shortages of bikes,” Moon said.


The NPD Group, a U.S. retail tracking service, found independent bike shops saw repairs go up by 20%.

“Bike shops, due to COVID, are either operating at limited capacity or with limited staff,” Moon said. “Me, personally, my wife and I are working 85 to 90 hours a week, six days a week, for the last nine weeks, so the staff that are in bike shops are front line little servants.”

Whether it’s Americans tired of staying at home and looking for some outdoor recreation or to enjoy the spring, or those cutting back on travel expenses in an economy with high unemployment and shuttered gyms, the coronavirus has been good for the bicycling business.

“Because biking was publicized and promoted as a positive way to spend time and stay healthy and be active during COVID, there was a reinvigoration or re-entry of cyclists — people who had had bikes, like biking, but hadn’t ridden in the last 10 years,” Moon said.

Easy Riders Bicycle & Sport Shop Sunday, May 31, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Easy Riders, in business for almost half a century but the Washington Street bike, ski and snowboard shop, has experienced a bicycle boom of sorts with the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a global shortage of bicycle supplies, so it’s bikes and accessories, and the general public needs to know and understand that,” Moon said.


Easy Riders is following social distancing protocols, offering curbside pickup and allowing people to shop online or over the phone first with its outdoor recreation consultants.

“We’re using gloves and cleaning. … We’re delivering products to people’s houses or picking products up from their homes. ... And for the last eight weeks, we required appointments. Now that the governor has opened up retail, we are allowing more walk-up traffic,” Moon said. He added, “Electric bikes are selling really well. People are buying mountain bikes because we have Cuyuna trail system here.”

At Red Raven near the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System, Stoffel said, “Our phone has been ringing off the hook. … It’s been a good amount of locals, but a good amount of people who have never ridden the trails before are getting into mountain biking. More people are becoming aware of mountain biking and Cuyuna.”

A message at Easy Riders’ website states: “You may be asked to hold due to call volumes at this time. Please be patient and nice, our staff (who are able to come in during COVID-19) are working incredibly hard to serve the cycling community.”

“We’ve tried for the last eight weeks experimenting communicating with people … so they have the best buying experience in the midst of COVID, so they can get the service they want or need … in a timeframe that suits their wants or needs,” Moon said.

Stoffel said, “Most of our vendors are out of stock. … Some of our vendors are releasing their 2021 bikes early to accommodate the need.”

According to the League of American Bicyclists, most of the states that issued stay-at-home orders deemed bicycle shops essential businesses that could remain open.

“People are buying new bikes. There was a stimulus check that was sent out. … They’re being encouraged to spend the money and do something positive … so we’ve got a bike boom that happened as a result of COVID with the stimulus and stay-at-home orders,” Moon said.


According to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, an estimated 20% to 30% of bicycle shops were closed as of about a month ago, but bicycle shops like Easy Riders persevere.

“A bike is an awesome counselor. We believe that we’re going to solve some problems in the midst of the COVID crisis by putting awesome riding bikes in people’s hands so that they can go and have a revitalization experience, so they can stay positive, stay healthy,” Moon said.

FRANK LEE, county and features reporter, may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write features stories for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. The weekly newspaper is owned by Forum Communications Co.
What To Read Next
Get Local