There's a national bicycle shortage as Americans search for new ways to exercise and commute to work during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Many local stores are out of affordable bicycle options for customers, according to reports, as demand surges.
Some online retailers have moderately priced bicycles available to ship to your door and will provide resources in installing the bike at home.
The process of buying a bicycle is much like buying a car — many cyclists will tell you that it's important to see or test a model firsthand before riding off into the sunset. But the novel coronavirus pandemic has pushed both curious shoppers and diehard fanatics out of bicycle stores as many have remained shuttered to in-person business, even as the demand for bicycles has soared. According to a New York Times report, local bicycle retailers across the United States have experienced an 200% increase in the demand for bikes and parts. Because the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread due to close proximity and shared air supply, city dwellers are turning away from public transport and ride-sharing options like Uber and Lyft. It seems that many are now hoping to use bicycles to get around, as commuter bikes sales have jumped 66% in March alone — and bike riding might be an excuse to get out of the house for others, as leisure model sales also jumped 121% in the same period.
All this flurry of biking has left many stores and distributors sold out of their most popular models, particularly those priced below $200. According to The Times, there's a severe bicycle shortage as manufacturers work to pump out more models. While it's always good to call a local retailer to see if they have any options in stock for you, many of those who are on the hunt for a new way to get some exercise or get to work are turning online to find bicycles in the interim.
If you're looking for your first bike, you might turn to some of the well-known superstores in your area — places like Sears, Kohl's, and Dick's Sporting Goods are selling bicycles online, with some popular models unavailable currently due to demand. The same can be said for online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Overstock, which all offer free shipping on available bikes, and in some cases, might provide a curbside-pick up option. But there are also a few direct-to-consumer brands you may have never heard of that might have plenty of stock online. And other manufacturers, like Giant Bicycles, will take your order but direct you to a local retailer for delivery and service.
A note on third-party sellers: Because most of the affordable city and cruiser bike models have sold out, you may see options on e-commerce sites to purchase them from third-party sellers. Be aware that these prices can be significantly marked up due to demand — unless you're dead set on a certain color or style, you may be overpaying for a bike that's usually a fraction of the price.
Where you can buy bicycles online:
Below, we're sharing a wide array of retailers that sell bicycles online, with multiple models available at different price ranges. Some will have online resources to help you choose the right model for you: Helping you pick the correct size bike, providing assembly resources in your area, and providing service options for when it's time for a tune up. All will ship bikes directly to your door during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Walmart. The big-box superstore may have stock that fluctuates based on your locale, but most of their models can also be shipped to your home. Many of the commuter models below $300 have sold out online, but some lower priced options like this colorful $174 women's cruiser are still available.
Amazon. Many popular models are indeed out of stock, but the platform's ability to allow third-party sellers to fulfill orders might allow you to find certain models you can't find elsewhere. Despite being sold out elsewhere, popular Schwinn models are available on site through these independent sellers.
REI.This outdoors speciality retailer has shifted their bike offerings to ship directly to your home, and is offering help in assembling the bikes (attaching pedals to handlebars and more) with new email and hotline options. REI offers 10 plus brands of bikes but specializes in mountain bikes and those models designed to handle off-road terrain.
Dick's Sporting Goods. There are plenty of options available at Dick's, including beach-friendly cruisers at under $200 currently, and free shipping available on some models. While popular brands like Schwinn remain sold out online, Dick's also provides store pick-up options, meaning your local location might have one in stock that you can snag.
BikesDirect. This online retailer has thousands of models available to consumers and also has resources on how to assemble them at home — nearly all of its cruisers are currently sold out, but the site lists clear restock dates, and will allow you to pre-order bikes before they ship them out. Many hybrid bikes are currently available.
Bicycle Warehouse. This purveyor of many different models has told customers it still has stock available despite shortages elsewhere. If you're looking for parts to repair an older bike, Bicycle Warehouse also has comprehensive offerings in stock.
Bike Exchange. Working with more than 600 local cyclist retailers across the country, Bike Exchange allows you to shop for bicycles in your area, including used models that might retail less. They also might connect you with local sellers that have more inventory than big-box retailers (like this $150 cruiser).
L.L. Bean. There's only one bicycle model available at L.L. Bean to ship to your home, but for a mountain bike, it's pretty well priced (currently on sale!). The Maine-based outfitter's bike might be a good option for those who haven't experimented with a mountain bike before.
Direct to consumer options. Brands like Canyon and Commencal have been shipping supercharged bicycles to cyclists at home for years, but their enhanced offerings for advanced riders might be right for you now.
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