Nationwide bike part shortage comes to Anchorage

High demand has made certain parts hard to find
Mechanics have had to get creative at times to make up for shortages of certain bike parts.
Mechanics have had to get creative at times to make up for shortages of certain bike parts.(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 16, 2020 at 10:26 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Across the country, bicycle shops are reporting shortages in parts and bikes due to high demand during the pandemic, and some shops in Anchorage are seeing something similar.

As the pandemic came to Alaska, and public transportation became less available, Nicholas Carman, manager of The Bicycle Shop in midtown, said many people turned to biking as a way to get around.

“For the first time in 50 years we had to decline service at the back door here and weren’t able to keep up with the demand that was requested of us,” he said. “The amount of bikes that were sold this year was just incredible.”

But once those waves of people started to come in, supplies started to run out.

“We’re lucky to actually have quite a few bikes back left in stock, and we have some new stuff coming too, so we’ve been able to keep up with it, but it’s incredible there’s certain things that we just can’t find for service parts to get bikes rolling in some cases,” Carman said.

But not every place saw huge numbers. Rentals, like from Pablo's Bicycle Rentals downtown, have dropped off because of less tourism.

“We are obviously about 70% down as far as business goes,” said Antonio Portillo, the owner of Pablo’s.

To offset that, Portillo said they’ve started selling more bikes as well, just enough to help stay afloat.

“It’s better than zero like I tell everybody,” he said. “There are friends of mine that own several kinds of businesses, and they’re suffering tremendously, so I am kind of happy that I am one of the fortunate ones.”

But while those sales have helped, Portillo is still hopeful that next year will bring back the crowds Anchorage normally sees.

“We all are in this together, and it’s going to get better, and I think being hopeful is a good thing,” he said.

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