When the coronavirus hit Australia hard in early March there was concern that all retail shops including ours would have to close. There was a huge flurry of activity in our workshop as people got their bikes serviced prior to shutdown. And oh my! Weren’t they quick to pick them up too.
Then the word came down that businesses that were essential to transport could stay open. We were buoyed by the UK’s decision to classify bicycle shops in that category and it turned out to be the case here. So we stayed open. But it went really quiet here as people hit the supermarkets hard and adjusted to staying home. Then on Thursday 26 March it was like someone turned on a switch. The phone started ringing hot and bikes started flying out the door. It hasn’t stopped since.
Bike shops all across Australia started running out of bikes. The supply side had been hurt by factory shutdowns in China in January and February. But more importantly, people were stuck at home with only limited options for activities. Travel, restaurants, cinemas, gyms and museums were all out. Bikes became a must-have.
We took a bit of a risk at Renegade Cycles and started buying as much available stock as we could handle. And we have continued to place abnormally large back orders for bikes to keep the pipeline full.
When will it all end? John Burke the President of Trek Bicycles believes it will run at least two years and one would have to agree. Trek has increased their production by 60%. Industrywide, factories are at full capacity. And they aren’t keeping up if lead times are any indication. We had to put in our Christmas 2021 order last month to give you an idea.
Who saw that coming in their crystal ball!