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

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Restaurant operators like Canteen on the Green’s Julie Stevens are serving up food outside these days or offering takeout. (Photo by Don Bodger)
High job numbers seem overly rosy

Hard to believe there’s so much more employment in hardest hit sectors

Addition of greenery, tables and benches looks good along Chemainus Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Finishing touches down to the nitty gritty on Chemainus Road

Just a few minor adjustments yet to be made on extensive project

Chemainus Art Group creates mural mosaic to celebrate a joyful spring. (Photo submitted)
Art group members celebrate a joyful spring in Chemainus

Each of 33 squares pushed together into one mural

Savanah Sanchez with a likeness of herself in a Canucks’ uniform done by her mom Jessica. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Girl’s passion for hockey knows no bounds

No games, but extensive ice time for training beneficial to Sanchez

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

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

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read