Kids’ Bikes in High Demand
Update 5/14: The Sports Den now has several child trailers available.
Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Local sports shop and service center The Sports Den is seeing a surge in demand for bicycles during Safer at Home.
The demand for quality bicycles is occurring globally, resulting in inventory shortages for Trek and Specialized bicycle brands.
“Entry-level mountain bikes and family bikes have always been our main areas of business, but the level of interest in these areas is substantial right now,” said sales manager Breanna VanDeHey. “A lot of people are looking for comfortable, lightweight bikes that they can use around the neighborhood and on local trails.”
The Sports Den typically experiences an increase in bike sales in the spring as residents eagerly anticipate the chance to enjoy warmer weather after a long winter.
“Our biggest demand has been for bikes under $800 across the hybrid, fitness, entry level mountain bike and kids bike categories,” said VanDeHey. “We think that many people were using the stimulus money or recent tax return that they received to purchase these bikes, which is why we aren’t seeing as much for sales on the higher end bikes. As a positive note of this pandemic, many people are getting the opportunity to experience the joy of riding a bicycle, something many of them haven’t done regularly since they were kids.”
She said the Safer at Home order and school closures have made people even more eager to head outdoors.
“Usually we sell 3-5 bikes on a busy Saturday in spring but right now we are selling 8-10,” said VanDeHey. “Kids’ bikes are in high demand because I think many parents are trying to encourage kids to get outside and play while they are now trying to balance working from home and entertaining/educating children. I know my kids are getting kicked outside a bit more than I normally would be this time of year!”
The Sports Den has been able to find bikes for most customers but is having difficulty restocking its inventory with like models. Last week, it had 80 bikes on back order as it waits for Trek and Specialized to fill orders.
“We are also seeing increased demand for child trailers that can be pulled behind bikes and we are currently sold out, as are all of our distributors. We have a great relationship with bike dealers all over Wisconsin and nearly all of them have run into similar issues,” VanDeHey said. “This means that our color and size selection is going to start to decrease on most bike models. It also means customers need to be patient with us as we wait for these orders to arrive.”
The store is taking deposits from customers who would like to claim any back ordered bikes as soon as they are available, but some vendors are anticipating that certain models and colors may not be available until August.
With gyms closed, biking is an alternative for exercise and also great stress relief.
“We are really happy to be able to continue to help customers get outside and enjoy cycling, especially during this stressful time,” she said. “We have had to make a lot of modifications to our sales process in order to allow customers to still get new bikes or have their current bikes serviced, but we are grateful that we still have this opportunity as many other businesses have not been able to stay open during this pandemic.”
Customers should call ahead to discuss their bicycle needs and schedule an appointment to do a test ride. Staff members sanitize bikes prior to test riding and once a bicycle is chosen, will bring out a selection of accessories to customize the bike. Once chosen, the buyer can pay for the sale inside.
Other measures The Sports Den has taken to stay safe during COVID-19 include sanitizing the credit card terminal regularly and offering curbside delivery within 15 miles for bikes.
“We are asking customers to call the store at 715-384-8313 before stopping down to drop off service items and to allow our staff ample time to get their products repaired,” VanDeHey said. “Our repair turn- around time may range 2-6 business days depending on how many items are already scheduled.”