Cedar Rapids bike shop owners say bike shortage won’t end soon

Demand for bikes skyrocketed during the pandemic, but suppliers have not been able to keep up.
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:11 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Are you trying to buy a new bicycle and can’t find one in stock? You’re not alone.

Some of the racks are bare at Halls Bicycle Company in downtown Cedar Rapids.

The owner of the store, Mike Johnson, says if you’re in the market for a new bike, you could be in for a long wait.

“Initial order right now, depending on the bike, it could be anywhere from six months to a year and a half [before the] bike would come in,” Johnson said. “I think there’s some frustration for people getting ready for RAGBRAI, for Iowa’s Ride, that they wanted a new bike this year. It might not be available for them this year.”

Demand for bikes skyrocketed during the pandemic, but suppliers have not been able to keep up.

“Most of the bikes manufactured for the U.S. are manufactured in some kind of an Asian country,” Johnson said. “Those factories shut down for a time and as they opened back up, it was a limited production in those factories.”

Logan Orcutt, the owner of Goldfinch Cyclery in Cedar Rapids, says he has the same high demand and shortage that Halls has.

“Bicycles are just kind of trickling in, and we joke that they’re pouring out all the same time,” Orcutt said.

Both Goldfinch and Halls do have some bikes in stock, but only about a third of what they would normally carry.

“I think really every bike manufacturer in the world is coming up short with their production demands and as a result have been allocating bikes to shops,” Orcutt said.

“We don’t have an option of which bikes become available,” Mike Johnson said. “When they become available, we just take the bikes that are available and bring them into the shop to get them built up and ready for customers.”

And yes, customers are getting a little desperate, traveling from all over the U.S. when a bike comes in stock.

“A gentleman called from New Jersey looking for a specific bike and a specific size and specific color,” Johnson said.

“We just had somebody from South Dakota roll in for a bike,” Logan Orcutt said. “Our regional customer base has grown substantially. People are definitely crossing borders to find a new bike.”

Bike shops are doing everything to get people rolling this summer.

“Like us, a lot of shops are getting creative and encouraging people in lou of buying a new bike this year, that they pull that old bike out of the garage, and maybe they update some of the parts, or they tune it up,” Orcutt said. “Either way we’re getting everybody rolling, there’s a lot of new ridership, especially in Cedar Rapids, which is really exciting to see.”

“If you have a bike you’re getting ready for RAGBRAI, now is the time to start bringing that bike in to get ready for RAGBRAI at the end of July,” Mike Johnson said. “The last minute things just aren’t gonna happen like they used to, especially if you need parts. Parts are really hard to come by.”

The bike shortage is real, and it’s not about to end anytime soon.

“Getting the bike industry caught back up could be [anywhere] from a year to two years before we’re in a position where we used to be where we have bikes in stock,” Johnson said.

“Not really meeting the demand is something we might expect for another year or two,” Orcutt said.

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