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Manufacturers can’t keep up with the exploding bicycle demand

If you’re looking to buy a bicycle this summer, you may be out of luck. 

A cycling boom sparked last year during the coronavirus pandemic has continued into 2021, creating short supply across the nation. Manufacturers are struggling to supply bikes to an exploding customer base of people newly eager to enjoy the outdoors.

The shortage is leaving business owners with little or nothing in stock — and customers with few options.

Jason Dohrmann, who owns Summit Ski & Cycle in Los Angeles, said he has never seen a bike shortage like this before. Dohrmann told CBS News correspondent Nichelle Medina that his store ran out of bikes last year. 

“We’re definitely not making that much money, but we’re just making enough to survive right now,” Dohrmann said.

Dohrmann said he thinks he won’t have bikes to sell until next year. Until then, he is switching gears and focusing on bike repairs when he can get parts. 

“Bikes would have to sit here for an extra couple of weeks just waiting on a part when usually we get it done in one day,” he said.

Dohrmann’s problem is similar across the U.S. During the pandemic, bicycle makers said they slowed down production because people were forced to stay indoors. But once COVID-19 restrictions started to lift, demand for bikes skyrocketed and manufacturers have yet to catch up, one analyst said. 

Bicycle sales grew 55% between December 2020 and February 2021 when compared to that same period in 2019, said Matt Powell, senior industry advisor and vice president at market research firm NPD Group. Bike sales are part of a larger trend of Americans buying more outdoor equipment this summer, Powell told CBS News. 

“We’re seeing camp furniture, grills, coolers, hammocks, recreational tents, all very strong,” he said. “And then, of course, the cycling business has been outstanding.”