The humble old bicycle has been in traction for some 200 years, but there’s been a sudden surge in popularity as the old craze becomes a new one.
The lockdown had its part to play in the new vibe. Gyms were shut down, sports ground came to a halt and we were forced off and out of the water.
Which left us with three options for exercise: walking, running and cycling. Perhaps people prefer longer distances, or maybe walking just doesn’t provide enough wind in the hair.
Whatever the reason, we’re currently in the middle of a two-wheeled revolution of the unmotorized kind.
“The workshop was really busy with people getting their bikes serviced for the first time in years”, says Mike Anderson of My Ride Richmond.
“We were open over lockdown for non-contact maintenance and repairs.”
People took the opportunity to dig their cobweb-laced bike out of the shed and feed its deflated inner tubes with a longed-for surge of air.
The Tasman area has some great cycleways but the lack of cars on the road during lockdown may have also helped spur wheels into action.
Those who had been putting off riding because of concerns of the bigger boys on the road, such as trucks and cars, took the chance to get their confidence up within the safety of the deserted streets.
But there’s more to the cycling boom than bringing older bikes out of the shed over lockdown. There has recently been a sharp increase in sales of new bikes, including new e.bikes.
Mike says, “people who have never ridden before are now coming in to buy a bike”. Particularly in the e.bike category, although road bikes have also shown a resurgence in popularity in the time after the lockdown.
People are looking at e.bikes as means to exercise even if their general fitness doesn’t allow them other, more vigorous types of exercise.
They’re a big help for older members of the community as well.
“People in their 60’s and 70’s are buying these types of bikes”, says Mike.
He has also had a customer ring the shop asking them to get a bike ready for him. The customer rang them from hospital where he was recovering from surgery.
He didn’t want to waste any time in getting his fitness back up once he was discharged. The e.bikes are also a favourite for couples where one of them might have a bad hip or dodgy knee. In the past the partner headed out alone for their exercise.
Now, with the ease the e.bikes afford, they can head out and build up their level of fitness together.
“The lockdown went on for long enough that people were actually able to build up a bit of fitness and now they want to continue with that”, says Mike.