Is the COVID-19 ‘bicycle boom’ over for Baton Rouge bike shops?

During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. experienced a “bicycle boom”—a dramatic increase in bicycle sales largely driven by gym closures and the public’s desire to pick up new hobbies during lockdown.

In 2020, U.S. bicycle sales more than doubled compared to the year prior, and in early 2021, 225 reported on the local demand. But in the years that followed, demand began to taper off as lockdown restrictions were lifted and vaccination became more common, and sales are expected to remain mostly stagnant through 2027.

So, how are area bike shops faring?

Colin Dupuy, manager of Capitol Cyclery’s Gonzales location, says demand for new bicycles at his store hasn’t dipped in any meaningful way in recent years. Rather, the biggest change he’s noticed is that the supply chain issues that plagued the bicycle industry early on in the pandemic have finally been resolved.

“There was a point in the pandemic when everyone sold out of bicycles, parts and accessories,” he says. “There were no bikes to purchase. Now that we have the bikes we didn’t have two years ago, sales are great.”

Four of Capitol Cyclery’s six locations can be found in the Capital Region. Dupuy says the vast majority of his customers use bicycles for recreation and very few of them are commuters.

Jonathan Liner, manager of Southern Bicycle Co.’s Baton Rouge location, says new bicycle sales at his store have definitely tapered off since their pandemic-era highs. Even so, he says demand remains “very strong.”

“We still get plenty of business,” he says. “There’s also lots of service to do, and then there’s apparel and all of that stuff.”

Southern Bicycle Co. shuttered its Highland Road location in early 2022 but reopened on Perkins Road shortly thereafter. Though the majority of the store’s customers use bicycles for recreation, Liner says a good deal of them are commuters, as well.

This story originally appeared in a June 5 issue of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.