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Demand for riding bicycles creates a shortage during the pandemic

Posted at 1:31 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 22:42:31-04

BOISE, Idaho — During the pandemic riding bicycles provided one of the easiest ways to get outside and get exercise while also practicing social distancing.

There were also fewer cars out on the road during the stay-at-home order, but It also helped that amenities like the Greenbelt, and the foothills trail system was available for people to ride.

"There has never been a better time for biking around as long as you are doing it safely," said Jimmy Hallyburton of the Boise Bicycle Project. "There has been a huge bike boom across the entire country."

Biking is one of the success stories developed from the coronavirus pandemic, but now it's causing a bike shortage across the country.

It also means that the bike shops in the Treasure Valley stayed busy during the pandemic. When I went in to get my bike repaired at George's Cycles they told me bikes have been flying off the shelves, but they do still have some left.

"I know here at the Boise Bicycle Project we are selling every bike that we fix up and get on the shelf," said Hallyburton. "We have really had a huge demand for those bikes."

Part of the explanation for the bike shortage is the supply chain, as a lot of bikes and bike parts are made overseas, that has been slow to return, but Hallyburton doesn't look at a shortage as a big problem, he sees it more as an opportunity to improve the biking community.

Large metropolitan areas around the country have closed major streets and highways to provide a place for cyclists to ride, here in Boise, the city is working to close 8th street to vehicle traffic, and this kind of initiative is something Hallyburton hopes will continue after we get past the pandemic.

"It's kind of like this weird cast study that is going on now," said Hallyburton. "People are walking and biking all of the time, and once they try to take those things away, people might say you know I really enjoyed that, and now might be a good time to invest in long-term biking infrastructure."