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's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

The BC Wildfire Service will be partnering with Simpcw First Nation this month in the implementation of a prescribed burn next to their community of Chu Chua. The controlled burn will be highly visible to Highway 5 and all communities in the immediate area. Pictured is a prescribed burn that took place on the Kanaka Bar Reserve last month in partnership with the Kanaka Bar Band and BC Wildfire Service. (BC Wildfire Service Facebook photo)
Simpcw and BC Wildfire Service to hold controlled burn near Barriere

Burn will be highly visible to Chu Chua, Barriere, Darfield, Chinook Cove, Little Fort and Highway 5

District of Clearwater meetings are open to the public. The meeting agendas and past meetings minutes can be viewed on the DOC's website. Every meeting has time allocated at the end for comments from the public.
Clearwater to benefit from funding through Ministry of Tourism initiative

The District’s Trails Task Force was sucessful in securing a grant for $684,000.

Carlos Sigurnjak went missing about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6, according to a Facebook post by his family. (Facebook/Carlos Sigurnjak profile)
UPDATE: Clearwater RCMP find missing man from Kelowna

Sigurnjak was found just before 2 p.m. April 8 by a passerby.

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

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

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read