New Orleans bike sales skyrocket as residents look to get
out of the house, avoid public transportation, and replace the gym.
Quarantine has left many New Orleanians feeling cooped up
and, as a result, the local demand for bikes has increased exponentially during
the COVID-19 outbreak. "It's a way for people to get exercise, be outdoors
where it's safer, and get out of the house," said Michael, owner of Bicycle
Michael's on Frenchmen Street.
Bike sales across the country have increased, and
manufacturers are struggling to meet the demand. Local shops like GNO Cyclery
have felt the surge and are completely sold out. "I mean, every order we get
coming in, we're selling completely before it hits the floor," said Bill, the
shop's owner. "We have bikes sold all the way up through July."
According to The New York Times,there is a
national shortage of bicycles available to consumers. The national sale of
leisure bikes jumped a whopping 121 percent in the month of March, while commuter
and fitness bikes increased by 66 percent. These days, many residents have
found biking to be a safer alternative to the streetcar or other methods of
public transportation, while others are considering it an alternate form of
exercise as gyms remain closed or restricted.
With many bike shops losing rental business in the wake of
COVID-19 and the subsequent decline in tourism, the newfound interest in biking
has helped mitigate financial loss. "It's probably up at least 50 percent, numbers-wise,"
said Michael, concerning his shop's quarantine sales.
Looking to the future, New Orleans might be seeing a more
bike-friendly populace as cycling trends upward and the city's infrastructure
expands to include it as a realistic method of transportation. "I think we're
going to be busy for a while," said Michael.