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Demand will remain high, supply low at Minnesota bike shops in 2021

Interest in biking grew in 2020 thanks for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in record numbers of people taking an interest in biking, and Minnesota bike shops are continuing to feel the effects.

Erik’s Bike Board Ski, which operates stores throughout the Midwest with locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, recently advised customers to buy their bikes early this year. Erik’s anticipates inventory of bikes and bike parts will remain tight this year, even with weekly shipments.

The store also recommends pre-ordering items if they are not in stock. Pre-orders will arrive within 60-150 days.

"Bike sales definitely took off, I would say April into May last season — and really never let off," Erik’s Bike Board Ski regional manager Chris Rogers recently told MPR.

The tight supply comes as the market for bikes, parts and accessories has grown nationwide in the past year, with the shutdowns of 2020 encouraging more people to take up the outdoor pursuit.

According to market researcher NPD Group, April sales were up 75% in 2020 compared to the previous year, reaching $1 billion. April sales are usually between $550 and $575 million.

In fact, 2020 was likely the biggest year for biking in the U.S. since 1973, according to the Union Cycliste Internationale. Ridership on pavement, on dirt, at parks and other categories was up by 20% or more, per a UCI June report.

With ridership soaring, cities like Minneapolis also took steps to make room for the influx of bikes. Last spring, Minneapolis closed parkways to cars to allow walkers and cyclists more room to spread out. 

In its Monday newsletter, Axios noted that the bike supply shortage is likely to hit mom-and-pop retailers harder than the major chains like Target, Walmart, and Dick's Sporting Goods, which are at the "front of the line" for inventory.

What's more, the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain is likely to mean consumers are paying 30% more for bikes than they would have done 18 months ago.

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