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

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of Maple Ridge man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge still driving more, taking transit less

A sign to students outside Pitt Meadows secondary. The school is not currently listed by Fraser Health as having COVID-19 exposures. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Four more Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows schools exposed to COVID-19

Cases at three public schools and Maple Ridge Christian

Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Ernie Daykin is still astonished at this community’s beauty. He recently captured this image of the snow covered peaks of the Golden Ears in the background, and cherry blossoms in the foreground. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View of Golden Ears from many different perspectives

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Spray paint was discovered at Hot Rocks. (Special to The News)
Popular Maple Ridge summer destination vandalized

Rocks discovered with spray paint along South Alouette

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

A total of $4,800 of stolen property was recovered and returned to businesses inside the mall

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

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read