Pete Lilly of Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop poses in front of his store in Toronto on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Pete Lilly of Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop poses in front of his store in Toronto on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Waits for bike repairs stretch months amid Canada parts shortage due to COVID

This time around, stores are already low in stock after last year’s unprecedented rush

One year to get a 12-speed chain. Five hundred days for a new saddle. And up to a two year wait until certain bike models come back in stock.

These are the wait times that retailers like Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop in Toronto say customers can expect to wait if they need certain parts for repair jobs or specific bicycle models.

Bike stores found themselves inundated by demand from new customers looking to spend more time outside when the pandemic started last spring, but Pete Lilly, owner of Sweet Pete’s, said this year looks to be even more complicated for bike shops as they deal with shortages in bike parts.

“We’re still in the same situation we were in last year, but maybe slightly worse just because at least last year we were starting with full stores and basements,” said Lilly, who’s shop is in Toronto’s West End.

This time around, stores are already low in stock after last year’s unprecedented rush.

Lilly said consumers should plan for longer service times, especially as more people start taking their old bikes out of storage and into shops for maintenance for the spring and summer

He said shops are doing their best to find different solutions for fixes, and to at least make bikes rideable when they don’t have the supplies to completely repair them.

Some bike shops are even stopping the sale of certain parts online so they can ensure that local customers will be able to access them for certain fixes. Sweet Pete’s recently stopped selling disc brake rotors to reserve them for shop jobs.

In Calgary, Ridley’s Cycle said employees had to constantly be aware when looking up availability dates for products.

“I was looking at bikes and thought, ‘oh it’ll be available by June or July, that’s not too bad,’ and mentioned that to a customer,” said Joshua Jean, the shop’s service manager.

“I didn’t have a keen eye on it and it was actually June or July of 2022… That’s just something we’ve never seen before.”

While parts are the main source of headaches for bike shops, many bike models are also out of stock for months out come, leaving consumers with few options.

The cost of models that are in stock has also gone up as manufacturers and retailers deal with the rising cost of metals, rubber, wages and shipping. The best selling city bike at Sweet Pete’s used to be $699 but now sells for $749.

For new cyclists and people who are looking to get work done on their bikes this season, Jean at Ridley’s Cycle implores customers to be patient and to try different avenues for bike repairs if their local shop is completely booked or doesn’t have parts

“Don’t be intimidated and call around, there’s other options out there,” said Jean, saying there are some shops that are a 20 minute drive outside of Calgary that have much lower wait times, as well as other business models for bike mechanics.

“We’re starting to see a lot of home mechanic businesses pop up, or more reputable mechanic van businesses where people drive around and fix people’s bikes at their homes, so there are options to get your bike ready.”

He said cyclists can also walk in to their local shop to see if a mechanic can at least make minor fixes so their bike is rideable while they wait for more major repairs.

For people who are getting into cycling for the very first time, Lilly stresses that their experience buying a bike and getting it serviced this season will not be the norm.

“Things are out of hand because of factors that we’ve never seen before,” said Lilly.

“Bike stores want to help you and we’re here to provide good customer service and get you on a bike, it’s just this is really unusual.”

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The board is planning a 2021 festival no matter the conditions, they are going to make it work! (BCMF directors Buddy Thatcher (from left), Kristen Boulier, Rose Clark, Jeff Gray, Corissa McNeilly and Jayme Kennedy (front), and her hair. (photo submitted)
Bella Coola Music Festival planning on 2021 fest

The BCMF is planning for a 2021 festival on July 17 and 18, however it may look.

The Lost Lake trail is a popular hike for locals and visitors for it's accessibility (Khya Saban photo)
LETTER: Lost Lake trailhead trees shouldn’t be cut down

The area is slated to be cut by the Bella Coola Community Forest

Easter is on Sunday, April 4, 2021. How much do you know about Easter history and traditions? (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz about Easter and its traditions

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Most Read