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Australia Bikes in short supply after pandemic inspires millions to take up riding

02:31  25 september  2020
02:31  25 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Demand for bikes worldwide is higher than ever and as the weather warms up across the country, people are looking to get riding . But with bike shops experiencing unprecedented shortages, how do get one?

The “ bike gang of six,” as they now call themselves, then rides a mile to wave to their grandparents. Hewitt snagged the bicycles early in the pandemic , but many are now struggling to find an affordable bicycle available for “I had been lazily taking shared city bikes around town for two years,” he said.

a man riding on the back of a bicycle: Retailers say orders are taking up to three months to arrive from overseas. (ABC News: Chris Gillette) © Provided by ABC Health Retailers say orders are taking up to three months to arrive from overseas. (ABC News: Chris Gillette)

If you were hoping to find a bicycle under the Christmas tree this year you had better send off your wish list early, as a nationwide shortage is putting the brakes on purchases.

Brisbane bike shop owner Jason Jaffrey said a huge demand for bikes during the pandemic meant he was selling his Christmas stock now.

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After two laps of the track, one of the monkeys crash and the bear then attacks it as it lies stuck under the bicycle. Scroll down for video: Warning Circus workers holding sticks push the small bikes off but after a few seconds one monkey and the bear crash. Staff can be seen desperately trying to force the

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"Unless we can get more bikes, it could be a little bit tight for Christmas," Mr Jaffrey told ABC Radio Brisbane.

Mr Jaffrey's Mitchelton store would usually stock almost 200 bicycles but after the COVID-19-inspired rush, he had only been left with a handful to put out on the floor.

"We've ended up with this perfect storm of no bikes," Mr Jaffrey said.

"We would normally carry somewhere in the vicinity of 150 to 180 bikes in stock and I think I'm under 10."

The spike in demand was first felt in April when the nationwide lockdown came into effect, closing gyms and pools and halting community sports.

It seems millions of people keen to keep fit, and those wary of contracting coronavirus on public transport, have taken up bike riding.

In Brisbane alone, a million more people have been using bikeways since lockdown began.

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"As a general rule, the bike industry as a whole sold about six months to seven months worth of stock in about six to seven weeks in April/May," Mr Jaffrey said.

"By early June pretty much all bike shops were empty or getting very close to empty. People were forced to start pre-ordering."

But the spike in demand coincided with a downturn in production as COVID-19 swept China and Taiwan, where most retailers source their supplies.

Mr Jaffrey's advice to anyone thinking about buying a bike is to get in early as deliveries are taking up to three months to arrive from overseas.

Riding out the supply shortage

Guy McCausland, from Melbourne-based wholesaler Bike Box, said the shortage was being felt around the country and the supply chain had not yet kicked back into gear.

"Access to the bikes has been delayed because of a pause in development in Europe and manufacturing in Asia," Mr McCausland said.

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"This year we've cleaned out bikes that have been one or two seasons old because people have been so desperate."

As the demand reached its peak, some bike retailers had to turn customers away.

Mr McCausland said the renewed interest in cycling was a silver lining of the pandemic, especially the increase in sales of children's bikes, which had been declining.

"Typically speaking, our bike sales were quite sporty, but the general range of bikes seem to have come on board this year," he said.

Mr McCausland said it was good to see more families riding together.

"I reckon the biggest things that I've noticed has been the amount of fathers with kids on bikes," he said.

"I don't think there has ever been more talk about councils investing in bike paths."

Edward Said: American Intellectual, Palestinian Patriot, Breaker of Dogmas | Opinion .
Politics have degenerated to dreary trench warfare. We miss thinkers like Said, who challenged prejudice and stood by their principles—but would cross divides and engage in debate even with their most strident opponents.During a lifetime that spanned nearly sixty-eight years and witnessed definitive geopolitical currents and shifts, Said stood apart as one of the world's most incisive public intellectuals. A Palestinian by birth and an American by choice, Said took on this role in the early 1980's following the publication of Orientalism, a text that dismantled European misrepresentations of Islam in its annals of literature.

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