'Desperate' shopping for bicycles turn up short

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Assenmacher Bicycle Company in Mundy Township. Pictured on June 23, 2020. (Photo credit: Ron Hilliard/Mid-Michigan NOW)

FLINT, Mich. - Searching to buy a bicycle? You might be spinning your wheels.

Shoppers report that big box stores and bicycle shops are having a hard time keeping them in stock.

“I have been seeing more people on their bikes,” said Ben Arnold of Grand Blanc.

His brother, Sam Arnold of Grand Blanc Township, thinks “everyone is suddenly getting into biking, because they can’t do anything else.”

Ready to roll out for the season, the Arnold brothers were getting work done on their bicycles, but they saw the effects of high demand and low supply on Tuesday.

“People are just desperate looking for bicycles, and it’s the same everywhere,” said Matt Assenmacher, owner of the Assenmacher Bicycle Company in Mundy Township.

Assenmacher said more people were choosing to get bikes fixed, because it had been hard to find new bikes.

“Our repairs are way up: up probably a hundred percent, but our sales are off a little bit,” he said.

He said June would typically be his busiest month, but he said global trade and manufacturing were disrupted and prevented him from getting products in the store.

“It’s the worst supply chain that I’ve experienced.”

He said supply chain issues were combined with an already growing bike culture.

“This year it’s been very intense, because people have more time at home. Health clubs and fitness clubs have been closed.”

Bike sales were treading in uncharted territory, according to market research company The NPD Group.

The company reported that year-over-year bike sales for April 2020 jumped 107 percent for children’s bikes and 203 percent for adult lifestyle/leisure bikes.

Despite Assenmacher enduring a drop in sales for the month of June, he expected to have to have more bikes and more sales in the coming weeks.

“It’s already going to be one of my best years in a long, long time,” he said.