People have turned to the outdoors in great numbers due to COVID-19, which has led to an enormous demand for recreational equipment, including bicycles.

“We’re overwhelmed with customers,” said Bob Fullem, owner of The Downtube Bicycle Works.

Fullem opened the shop in Albany 50 years ago.

What You Need To Know

  • Bob Fullem, the owner of The Downtube Bicycle Works, compares the current demand to the bike boom of the 1970s when he opened the store

  • Not only is the retail side of the industry booming, but repair work is also in high demand

  • Some bikes are on backorder until 2023

“It was very difficult to get bikes and when you did, they sold right out,” he said. “That was the '70s bike boom.”

Now the team at Downtube is experiencing another boom thanks to the pandemic. But there are few bikes to be had.

“They sold all of the bikes out of their warehouses and they couldn’t get ready replacements,” he said. “Now they’re getting replacements, but they don’t have full warehouses."

Fullem says most of the bikes he receives are sold before they arrive.

“Some of them are scheduled now for 2023. That’s not 2022, it's not 2021, it's 2023,” he said.

Not only is the retail side of this industry booming, but there is also an enormous demand for repairs. A showroom that is typically full of new bikes is overwhelmed by bikes waiting to be fixed.

Fullem says if there is one positive from the past year, it's that people are trying new things.

“It’s a joy to see so many people out there biking, having fun on the trails,” he said. “I see so many people biking now that have never biked before.”