New Haven bike shop sees low inventory, increase in repairs due to pandemic

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — At the beginning of the pandemic, bicycle shops quickly sold out of all their inventory. More than a year later, they still have not been able to catch up.

The Devil’s Gear bike shop has a lot fewer bikes for sale than they’d like. Last year, biking was one of the only ways to safely get out and exercise.

“April, people were getting sick and tired of being in the house,” recalled John Brehon, partner at the Devil’s Gear. “May, folks want bikes. By May, all vendors are out of bikes.”

Then the factories that made bikes had to shut down for a month or two for the pandemic. That was a year ago, however. If you come in looking for a bike now, what’s the wait?

“I would probably say a year,” Brehon said. “A full year.”

One of the problems for getting new bikes is that most of the bicycles sold in the U.S. are actually made in Asia, and the shipping routes are all backlogged. If you have a bike and need to fix it, it turns out most of the parts are also made in Asia.

The ports all those things have to travel through are all backed up, and the supply problems are not over.

“The largest bicycle component manufacturer in the world has a factory in Malaysia, and Malaysia is facing their first large COVID outbreak,” said Devil’s Gear partner Greg Ledovsky.

With no new bikes, the repair shop at Devil’s Gear is now the busiest section.

“We’re scheduling major jobs to be done in two to three weeks,” Ledovsky said.

Two to three weeks, if they can find the parts they need. Whatever you want, they’ll try to get it, just call first.

“We can schedule an appointment to assess your bicycle for repairs,” Ledovsky explained. “We can have you come in to talk about new bicycles, and even if you’re going to buy something else, we can help you determine the size or the style and narrow down the options.”

They hope that the whole industry takes a long look at how to improve in the future.

“Our supply chain, the infrastructure, needs to be worked on,” said Brehon. “We need to do better.”

Maybe even start making bicycles here in the United States, like we did 50 years ago.

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