Bikes May Be Hard to Find in 2021

Bikes. Oh, I love them so. I suppose it is a neo archetypal post bike invention thing.  Late January I reached a “let it go” breaking point. Truth is… I had run out of room for my bike hoarding problem. I decided to recognize the bikes in my “collection” we only serving my ego and some sort of weird FOMO variant.  Simultaneously, I was way behind a scheduled delivery of the County’s Scenic Bikeways – Brochure/Maps anticipated by the Green Bike Coop. Rick Hill, a member of the County’s Bicycle and Advisory Committee is also a longtime volunteer of Green Bikes in Waldport. The shop had run out of the popular brochures.

From the 1880s to the 1910s, Americans took to the wheel, sparking a nationwide bicycle craze. In the era before automobiles, bicycles were a means of affordable personal mobility. The National Museum of American History

Reed and I took a Marie Kondo approach. I didn’t even take portrait photos of our precious klunkers. Our donations were second hand and garage sale jackpot discoveries. We loaded up the truck, headed to Waldport and dropped off four bikes. We had a nice visit:  we handed off the bike brochures, Rick agreed to make an appearance on County Connections Radio Show, and we had a look around.

Included in our drop was Reed’s current bike.  He’s basically outgrown the thing. I’ve been shopping for this next bike for several years. The unfolding trajectory to me was known – at least, I thought it was. Thus, I called Bike Newport. To my surprise, however, staff said that I should anticipate a new bike somewhere between May and July.  “Oh shit…” Not good. We just gave away our daily rider. I went with my back up plan and began calling around Corvallis. By the end of the day, I had called five bike shops and visited several web sites. Nada. Keep in mind I am searching for a 24 MTB kid’s bike. My search queries were in the “kid’s bike” domain.

Rick Hill and the Green Bike Co-Op. Serving the community for 14 years. News Times has a fairly recent expose on the shop. Browsing the Co-Op’ website – I am wondering if it’s a little out of date. One of the things I will cover with Rick when we meet this week.

Here’s the copy and paste: “Bike Shortages Will Likely Last Until Next Year, and Possibly into 2022. Industry experts say production and supply chain can’t keep up with the recent boom.

When we speak of the COVID’s silver linings – discovering the outdoors seems to be high on everyone’s list. Social media easily provides the anecdotal evidence. People are getting out and getting active. This is a good byproduct of a virus that takes advantage of those with comorbidities and who have backburned the ever-essential movement practices that give humans health and wellness.

We got lucky. On the day I called Peak Sports in Corvallis the salesperson had just received and intranet notice that a Specialized order had been verified. He scanned the inventory and would be receiving one 24-inch kid’s bike. Just one.

The great news was this model was my first choice. I had planned to choose our local bike shop’s manufacturer even though the offering had a few less features. Kids go through bikes so fast. What’s your budget? How much should parents spend? Many answers, many options to consider. In that moment I didn’t hesitate. A week later we picked up Reed’s new sled.

Ahh, yes. The moment of truth… Well, the real moment comes when you actually ride the thing. Picking up a new bike does not provide “new car smell”. Many questions asked. One revelation was replacement tubes are hard to find. More planning and searching for the parts and accessories that are inevitably needed.

The whole affair has fired up my contemplative neurons.  Wired has a new story: “A Plan to Fix the US Bike Shortage Demand for bikes has soared in the pandemic. To spur production, the US should adopt the industrial policies from the Asian countries it relies on”. If you are one to search out us manufactured products this is a quick primer on how we might think about US manufacturing resiliency. 

It’s pretty amazing to realize that “In the early 1970s, bicycle sales boomed in the United States, and annual bike production averaged about 15 million per year” followed by… “Chinese factories produced about 95 percent of the 17 million bikes sold in the US in 2018, and they provide 60 percent of US bike component imports.” – Wired

As a bike enthusiast I’ve kept my eye on US made products and tried to utilize them where and when. It’s often true these parts cost more BUT they tend to be trick! Unfortunately, the entire ecosystem/supply chain of components has long existed outside of the US. At this point, it’s a fantasy that we’ll be seeing bikes made from top to bottom in the US any time soon. I would love for more local manufacturing to reoccur in the bike industry and elsewhere. It’s more or less a complex – depending on the type of products under consideration.

So. If your determined to get our early this year and determined to make 2021 a healthy victory.  If you need a bike for the coming riding season… START RIGHT NOW!

Pick up that phone and be ready to make a down payment. Be ready to choose alternate brands. You might be ready to travel, as well. Pineapple Express Adventures in Port Orford has bikes, incoming bikes and used bikes. But, inventory changes quickly. Note that Green Bike Coop, Waldport, can help you repair your current bike, they give away bikes, they also sell used bikes. It’s a groovy alternative worth supporting.

I snagged this image from Oakridge Bike Shop’s website and thought it was pretty cool. Oliva told me they had moved all customer interactions outside of the shop. Traversing into spring and summer this is likely to change. I just love their shop culture and commitment to customer service which extends out and onto the trail work they engage in.

I spoke with Oakridge Bike Shop and RIGHT NOW they have LOTS of inventory. Their shop model is largely “demos” – meaning they have a rental bike feet and sell the rentals throughout the riding season. As the recipient of one of their bikes I have been incredibly happy with the result. I purchased my Salsa Timber Jack after it had been out on the trail 17 times. In essence, I purchased a used bike (new retail $2,000) for $1,250. NOTE: at this time they are uncertain just how they will unload their current bikes into spring and summer.  Demos/rentals vs. owning your own bike. Again, don’t wait. If you are going to keep riding and would prefer your own bike. Figure it out. Now.

I will be emailing Oakridge Bike Shop and pre purchasing parts that I might anticipate needing to replace in the coming months. On my list: disc brake pads, chain, tires, tubes, shifting cables and housing.

Hope these tips keep you going gang! Good luck out there and be safe!

Riding during COVID – Go Solo or Spread Way Out

Bike Newport repaired Reed’s bike Friday. A bent derailleur hanger. My son and I tried to diagnose the metal on metal jingle. Couldn’t figure it out.

Elliott hooked up his diagnostic computer, made micro adjustments and leveraged a aluminum bar clamp device to align the stars. Brought us back. Thank you Bike Newport.  

Elliot, and Lil’ El repair and build bikes. The best plan for riding right now is to go out and ride solo and enjoy the outdoors, in non crowded areas. And, try timing your rides for when you know your route will be less crowded. (Bicycling)

We all had our masks on. Signs spoke of social distance and limited hours: Monday – Friday 12-5. New bikes arriving – repairs and builds happening. It’s not been easy. But the mood was up. 

My past normal was riding during lunch break. The shop is on my tiny circuit around the County courthouse vicinity. That ½ hour is my recharge. Liberation by bike.

It struck me earlier in the week.
Called the shop.
Do you have hours?
They do.
I sense stress.
Of, course.
This abrupt pivot.

Last week a paper suggested that runners and cyclists need much more than six feet. The report went viral, and backlash ensued. But there was some legitimate science behind the claims. Outside Magazine.

Everybody’s got a story to tell. 50 days since my last lunch break ride. From work to home office/home schooling isolation. Pass the torch. Power through it. Dispersed with shots of awe.

How are the Crowders? How is Bike Newport making its pivot?

This activity – this bike riding – in the Coronaverse. A joy/health/survival activity. A spring fever antidote in any era. The Shop has got their safety and logistics going.  If riding feels essential – and for Reed and I it does – the shop is a resource.

Blocken’s work shows that exhaled clouds behave differently when the subject is in motion. In his simulation, the particles trail out in a tight, elongated teardrop in the athlete’s wake. (Illustration: Courtesy Blocken et al.)

What of the proximity to others when riding? What about masks when riding? How to outdoor activities orient for safety and spread reduction?

For that my good reader I hyperlink you to Outside Magazine. “Inside the Controversial 6-Foot Social-Distancing StudyLast week a paper suggested that runners and cyclists need much more than six feet. The report went viral, and backlash ensued. But there was some legitimate science behind the claims. Read it. Think about it.

Hang with it and you will decipher droplet spreading aerodynamics.  

Support your local shop. Bike Newport is the largest bike shop on the Oregon Coast. Currently open Monday – Friday 12-5. New bikes arriving – repairs and builds are available by pro shop technicians.

Riding increases heart rate and fluid movement. Dodge the spray. Or, just spread out. Way more than six feet.

Awkward. How to do we move space time – expand density? Not used to this. You seem so distant, lately? COVID. Everywhere all the time. Looking for to the return to normal. But, what will that even look like? Patience. Hope.