Bicycle stores still short on bicycles due to COVID-19 | Belleville News-Democrat

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Stores haven’t faced this serious of a bike shortage since a 1970s boom driven by environmental concerns, and metro-east trails are busier than ever.

Bicycle sales soared in March of this year, when the coronavirus closed gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, hair salons and other businesses. State officials designated bike shops as “essential” parts of the transportation industry and allowed them to stay open.

“(Biking is) a way to keep active, and a lot of folks have had this newfound time on their hands,” said Jon Greenstreet, co-owner of Bike Surgeon in O’Fallon.

Many big-box stores have been sold out of bicycles since April because they only carry lower-priced basic models that are popular with newcomers, Greenstreet said on Wednesday. One supplier told him that his inventory for the whole year was depleted in a week. . . .

Reports of increased metro-east trail usage are anecdotal, but consistent.

Parks, an avid cyclist, said Madison County Transit trails “definitely” have been busier this summer. Adam Litterst, who lives across the street from a Nickel Plate parking lot in Edwardsville, heard the same thing from his roommate.

“He said that when he started biking in May that the trails were packed, more so than he had ever seen them in the two years we have lived here,” Litterst said. “There were a lot more bikers, but also people in general, walking, running and on bikes. I think people who had been cooped up for a couple of months were just wanting to get outside and do something.”