“[Bicycles are] the new toilet paper and everyone wants a piece.” – Grant Kaplan, manager of Giant Sydney in Australia.
Bicycles are the new toilet paper. A month ago when I adventured out to the grocery store, hand sanitizer and toilet paper (of all things) were the hot commodities. Now, it seems, bicycles are seeing a huge surge in sales and the demand is making shop owners liken it to the “toilet paper crisis”.
Bicycle stores are reporting a huge uptick in sales during the COVID-19 crisis. While bike-sharing has been very popular in the past, the need for social distancing and excessive disinfecting of – well, anything and everything – is requiring people to be more careful. Many are looking to purchase and it’s a great time to do it with less traffic on the roads and pathways.
In Melbourne, Australia they are reporting a 76% increase in bikers on bike paths. Bike shops in Minnesota say sales have increased by 50%. The Dutch e-bike company, VanMoof, has had an increase in online sales of 48%. And it’s not only new purchases. The maintenance sector is also seeing an increase as many are digging out bikes they’ve owned for years and realizing they need a little TLC.
Bicycle Retailer suggests we are in a “Bike Boom”:
“…any of the specific historic periods marked by increased bicycle enthusiasm, popularity and sales. There have been several bike booms over the years. Time magazine referred to the years of 1965-1975 as “the bicycle’s biggest wave of popularity in its 154-year history.” The 1990s witnessed a mountain bike boom, and the early 2000s saw an increase in road cycling popularity. The 2010s began to boom again with bicycle sharing and e-bikes coming to market.”
So, yes, it seems that bicycles are the new toilet paper. But if you are using an existing bike or purchasing a new one, make sure you’re still adhering to safe social distancing. Don’t ride in groups – unless those you are riding with are the same people you’ve been in quarantine with. Stay out of crowded areas – this is simply the easiest way to stay safe. Keep your spit to yourself. “Spit contains saliva but could also contain sputum from the lungs or drainage from the posterior nasopharynx,” says a specialist with The Polyclinic in Seattle. And most of all, if you’re feeling sick, don’t go out.
Safe riding, everyone!