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Shutdowns fueling a bicycle boom in Florida

Bike shops are seeing unprecedented sales across the state during the pandemic. (MGN)
Bike shops are seeing unprecedented sales across the state during the pandemic. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: May. 22, 2020 at 10:01 PM CDT
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While many businesses have been starved for customers and struggling to navigate the stay at home order, there’s one industry that has been thriving.

Bike shops are seeing unprecedented sales across the state.

The Great Bicycle Shop in the state’s capital has never seen the level of business it has in the past two months.

“It's absolutely the busiest I've ever seen at any bike shop,” said employee Douglas Parke.

With businesses, recreation and fitness centers closed or are operating at a limited capacity, Floridians are taking to the trails.

“Being able to get out in the fresh air is certainly healthier than being cooped up,” said Parke.

The bike boom is statewide.

Ray Kennedy is with David's World Cycle, which operates 18 stores across the state.

“There really are more new customers and new faces discovering biking or bringing bikes out of the garage that haven't been serviced or ridden in 10-15 years,” said Kennedy.

He told us the newest trend is the switch to online shopping.

“Last we checked, I think we've sold six or seven times as many bikes on our website this year compared to the same time last year,” said Kennedy.

And Floridians aren’t just buying bikes, they’re putting them to good use.

One bike trail near Tampa saw 100,000 additional riders in April compared to the previous year.

It’s about an 70% increase.

And if biking isn’t your thing, it’s never been better to trade in or resell.

"We really can't keep trade in bikes in stock more than a day or two. They're usually purchased off the floor, which is awesome,” said Kennedy.

Shelves are still stocked at the stores we spoke with, but due to the high demand and supply chain slow downs, it can be more complicated than usual to get certain parts and models.

Looking forward its not clear if the bike boom will hold.

With the state beginning to reopen, Floridians will have more options for exercise and recreation.