Simplified: Bicycle retailers saw a run on bikes during the pandemic, and it's created shortages extending into 2021. In Sioux Falls, that means some customers are waiting months for their new ride, and local bike shops are fielding calls from shoppers all across the country.

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Bikes became a hot commodity last spring as people looked for safe ways to get out of the house amid the pandemic.

Sales of lifestyle and leisure bikes for adults grew by more than 200 percent year-over-year in April 2020, according to the NPD group, a market research company.

"We get calls every day from all over the country," Spoke-N-Sport President Chad Pickard said. "And every call is someone wanting to game the system, thinking they're going to find that bike store that's maybe a little out of the way or in flyover country."

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls retailers are no exception when it comes to shortages, though.
  • About 25 to 30 percent of bikes coming in at Sioux Falls Bicycle Company are sold before they ever hit the sales floor, sales associate Gene Noble said. Spoke-N-Sport is seeing a similar trend, Pickard said.
  • It's not that zero bikes are available, retailers say. It's just that customers may need to be flexible in what they're looking for or be willing to wait to get the exact color and model they want.
"It's not all doom and gloom," said Erik Saltvold, owner and founder of Erik's Bike Shop. "It's a good problem to have because it means people have embraced cycling."

What's causing the shortage?

It's a perfect storm of a number of factors, including:

  • More people buying bikes, depleting existing inventory
  • Manufacturing delays due to the pandemic
  • Shipping delays because products are backed up at ports.

And when bikes do come in, they sell quickly, retailers say.

What impact is this having on prices?

They're going up. It's the basic economics of supply and demand.

Shipping costs are also a factor. They're increasing – in come cases, tripling, Saltvold said – and that's impacting the higher price tags, too.

What do I do if I want to buy a bike?

Be patient.

If you've got your heart set on a specific color and model, you may have to brace yourself to wait several months. Or, you may need to be flexible in choosing from the options available.

"The best advice is plan ahead," Pickard said. "Maybe don't get too specific in color, reduce your expectations, but definitely plan ahead."