‘The problem is multilayered’: Bicycle shortage caused by supply and demand disruption amid pandemic

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Crazy Cat Cyclery in El Paso is experiencing a shortage of bikes due to high demand and slow production.

Roberto Barrio, owner of Crazy Cat Cyclery, said they are having to turn customers away because they have no bikes available for in-store purchase.

“We have people coming in, what’s super frustrating is our inability to service those orders,” said Barrio, explaining how many potential customers have been put on a waiting list and are expecting their bikes until the summer of 2021.

He explained the problem comes from manufacturers that are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.

He said more people started looking for bicycles back in March during the shutdown.

“People were trying to stay active, the gyms were closed, they were forced to stay at home and were looking for ways to release stress,” concluded Barrio.

At the same time, he said, manufacturers were adapting to new COVID-19 protocols and, lately, have been shutting down due to virus outbreaks in the facilities.

“In December, a shipping warehouse had a shut down because of a cluster in L.A.,” said Barrio, “and they stopped shipping the products they had.”

He said the orders are most often made several months in advance and all the orders they are waiting for right now will not be delivered, Barrio expects, until later in the year.

The orders usually come from overseas and take about six to eight weeks to arrive. Now, he said, it’s taking twice or three times as long.

“There won’t be any open inventory until the third quarter of the year. This has forced us to rethink how we conduct business,” said Barrio.

Crazy Cat Cyclery is now focusing on fixing and bike maintenance to keep the business going, but Barrio said, that has been challenging as well due to lack of parts that are not coming in.

“Maybe we start doing [bike] clinics for kids,” added Barrio, saying how cycling became popular again amongst younger generations.

“I hope that this trend continues even after the pandemic,” said Barrio, explaining that the increased demand is desirable, but he wishes the supply chain would fall back into its tracks soon.

Since there are more people riding bikes, Barrio suggested developing more bike tracks, trails and parks in the city to keep promoting healthy and eco-friendly means of transportation.

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