Queensland bicycle shops say they’re having to turn customers away because of two-month delays on new stock and overwhelming demand for repairs.

The closure of gyms and fitness centres in March has seen families turn to cycling as a form of exercise.

Owner of Bicycle Central on Mulgrave in Cairns, Gary Perkins, said he and his staff were working 12-hour shifts to cope with the number of old bikes customers were bringing to the shop to be fixed.

And he said there was a two-month wait on new bikes due to a lack of stock.

Middle-aged man surrounded by bikes inside shop.
Bicycle Central on Mulgrave owner Gary Perkins says he’s been working around the clock, with a spike in demand for old bike repairs.(ABC Far North: Phil Staley)

Prior to COVID-19, the Cairns-based store would sell just two or three new bicycles per day, but Mr Perkins said that figure jumped to 80 as soon as coronavirus restrictions hit.

Mr Perkins said a major supply shortage was looming with most bikes coming from Taiwan, where production had been affected by COVID-19.

“We don’t make bikes in Australia anymore, unfortunately. All the good bikes in the world come from Taiwan and demand has just overtaken supply by about five or six months,” he said.

“What’s happened is every bike shop in Australia has experienced the same growth. All of our suppliers are sending us emails apologising for delays but the warehouses have a finite capacity, and they’re already running out of entry-level bikes.”

New lease on life for old bikes

A spokesman from Cairns Bicycle Engineering said he was busier than ever, and another Cairns cycling shop said it had stopped bike sales altogether and was focussing solely on repairs.

Close up of man on bike smiling.
Kangaroo Point Cycling Club president Brett St Pierre says the newfound interest in cycling may help improve safety awareness.(Supplied)

“People have worked out they have a bike in the shed that’s been there for a few years, they’ve dragged it out, brought it in and asked us to get it going.

“We’re booked out, working 11 or 12 hour days, trying to get people’s bikes fixed.”

Wheels of change on Brisbane bike paths

The president of Queensland’s oldest cycling club, Kangaroo Point Cycling Club, said the city’s cycling routes were becoming congested with new riders.

He hoped the new interest in cycling would improve safety awareness and stigma against cyclists in the long term.

“If there is going to be some more people that start cycling that has to be good for the relationship between drivers and cyclists,” he said.

Digital simulation of people riding bikes.
There’s been a 50 per cent increase in the number of women joining weekly virtual rides hosted by Cycling Mums Australia.(Supplied)

Mums gear up for virtual Mother’s Day ride

Restrictions on public gatherings have meant large races across the country can’t go ahead and cycling clubs have had to cease face-to-face meetings.

Woman riding on stationary bike in garage with, profile view.
Cycling Mums Australia isn’t letting coronavirus put a pin in its annual Mother’s Day ride, with more than 300 women signed up to participate online.(Supplied)

But Cycling Mums Australia (CMA) has found an innovative way to host its annual Mother’s Day tomorrow, with more than 300 women joining a virtual ride.

CMA co-founder, Natalia de Clercq, said there had been a 50 per cent increase in mums participating in weekly simulated rides by hooking up their bikes to a smartphone app at home.

“It’s great for mental health and everyone needs it more than ever, with people so isolated. It’s been really heart-warming to have something we can do that still connects us virtually.”

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