Bicycle Shops See Surge of Interest


A possible silver lining to the cloud of the pandemic: We’re exercising.

Sidewalks and creekside trails in and around Des Moines are jampacked these days with walkers. Entire families, not just retirees, are turning out to pad around their neighborhoods, and maybe even wave to and speak with the folks across the street.

Bicycle shop inventories have been largely picked over as people have decided to exercise a bit. Shop workers tell me repairs are taking unusually long periods of time, as people are hauling out of their dusted-over bikes and finding they need a tune up or new tires.

As an avid biker, I have witnessed this firsthand, with countless clutches of moms, dads and kids now pedaling along the impressive trail system that is growing up in Central Iowa. Newbies are pretty easy to spot, as they don’t always observe the etiquette of biking (bike right, pass left), and all too often somebody is missing a helmet. Hey, they cost maybe $40.

I’ve spotted more kayakers and canoeists in the Raccoon River the past month than I’ve seen in 20 years. And golf courses are crowded even on weekdays.

If you haven’t joined this revolution, there’s plenty of summer left, and bicycle shops will restock. So let’s hope that the pandemic moves on, while the exercise kick stays.

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