Richmond-area bike shops see major spike in business over COVID-19

Updated: May. 5, 2020 at 1:16 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Nicer weather means more people are trying to find ways to get out and enjoy it during the coronavirus pandemic.

While some businesses have had a very hard time with strict restrictions in place, Richmond-area bike shops are seeing a boom and keeping customers safe.

"We've never sold so many bikes in such a quick time. It's pretty unprecedented," said Will Hart, Carytown Bicycle Company Sales Associate.

Hart says sales are up 50% on average. In April, they sold a record 160 bikes.

"In one light it's really exciting to see so many people want to get outdoors and enjoy being a little more active and getting into a new hobby or sport such as cycling. It's just sort of hard to deal with the crazy demand during these times when we have to be extra cautious," said Hart.

Richmond cyclists like Jeremy Neighbors rely on bike shops to stay open.

"I try to bike as much as possible especially when it's nice out. Overall it's a good option for me," said Neighbors.

His two wheels are his main mode of transportation around the city most days.

"I'm really glad the bike shops are staying open in general because I do believe it is an essential necessity," said Neighbors.

It’s the same story elsewhere for bike shops. So they’re all shifting into high gear by modifying business hours to allow for extra repair time and allowing one-on-one socially distant customer service.

As it stands now, it can take weeks for a bike repair with business booming.

"A little silver lining is that we've seen a little bit lighter traffic on a lot of the major commuter roads which I think has invited a lot of people people who are willing to venture out into the street and ride bikes," said Hart.

Coincidentally, the City of Richmond is also making the area more bike friendly. Projects on Turner Road, Brook Road and Mosby Street are adding in bike lanes and other safety improvements.

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