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.