BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In a time when many businesses can’t wait to reopen, your neighborhood bicycle shop probably can’t wait to catch a breath.
During the pandemic, bike shops across the city have seen a major increase in sales and repairs. That’s the case for Front Yard Bikes.
A slew of bike frames and rubber tires is all you see when you step into this Mid City shop.
“It can fit a lot more bikes in it than we thought,” said Dustin Wheeler, general manager for Front Yard Bikes at Mid City.
The employees here can hardly keep up with the everyday phone calls.
“Our sales are crazy through the roof,” said employee Zachary Bird. “I know all other bike shops in town are just completely sold out of bikes.“
First, we experienced a shortage of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Now, it’s bicycles.
“We’ve been told you can walk, you can run, or you can bike,” said Dustin LaFont, director of Front Yard Bikes. “And those who are finding themselves on a bike are realizing they love it. And it’s making a demand much bigger than we’ve ever experienced in my lifetime for sure.”
Bird thinks that the lack of things to do during the pandemic has people wheeling out their rides.
“A lot of people are finding bikes in their garage that they haven’t ridden in years. And now, all of a sudden, they want to get out and ride with their family or friends,” said Bird.
Most people would agree, bikes are a fun, cheap way to get out of the house and enjoy a beautiful day. Bird thinks it’s even a good alternative to the treadmill.
“It’s never been that popular in the city, but since gyms are closed, a lot of people still want to get their exercise. And it’s a very fun way to do that,” he said.
Wheeler thinks it’s a great release for the mind, too.
“It’s a good escape, right now… And just kind of separates everything unknown and kind of scary going on,” said Wheeler.
These guys don’t know if the bike culture will maintain such an interest after the pandemic is over, but they realize people are catching onto the transportation convenience.
“A lot of people are finding out that they can bike to their grocery. That they can bike down the street. That it’s really not that far to a lake or a levee,” said LaFont.
Now is definitely a good time to dust off the wheels and take the family for a ride. And if you don’t have bike to pull out of your garage, the rentable Gotcha bikes are also an option. The pros say don’t forget your helmet and some water, though.
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