January 22, 2021


A Bendigo-based charity bike store is bucking the bike shortage trend, with plenty of bikes on hand for those in need.

FreeWheeling Fun in Bendigo fixes up donated second-hand bikes and gives them away to those in need.

Shed Manager Richard Hodgson said because the store had been closed for most of the year, they now have over 65 bikes in the shed.

“The rest of the year is looking very good for us,” Mr Hodgson said.

“Because we’ve been closed we’ve been getting lots of donations, so they just kept coming in and coming in and now we’ve got a shed full.

“The first day we opened we moved eight bikes, which was great.”

Plenty of second-hand bikes

Mr Hodgson said most of the demand comes from people who are cash-strapped.

“People who are refugees, single moms, people who are out of work, people who’ve just been released from prison and are now looking for jobs — we supply transport,” he said.

“They can’t afford a car and they want their kids to get to school, they want to get down to look for a job themselves.”

Most other bike stores in town are experiencing huge delays on bikes up to 12 months, due to huge demand during COVID-19.

General Manager of Bicycle Industries Australia, Peter Burke, said the major problem was the production of components like chains and gears, which were mostly made in Asia and Europe.

“There’s other factors too, including the fact that there is a shortage of shipping containers, so even when the bikes are ready, there’s an extra two, three, four-week delay on physically getting them over here,” he said.

“Every part of the bike supply is being affected by this demand and impact on production.”

Shortage hits local stores

Owner of Giant Bendigo, Nick Maroni, said his store had about 500 people on a waiting list for bikes.

“The shortage is across the board, it’s kids bikes, mountain bikes and e-bikes are very, very popular,” Mr Maroni said.

“I’ve owned the shop 13 years and I haven’t seen anything like this before, and we have all the wholesalers who come through and they’ve never seen it like this before either.”

Mr Burke said the problem highlighted how reliant Australia was on international production from Asia and Europe.

“In Australia we produce less than about a thousand bikes out of the 1.2 million bikes sold each year,” he said.

Mr Hodgson said FreeWheeling Fun would not be impacted by the global parts shortage, because they already had boxes of components from old bikes.

“We get a bike in that has a broken frame that can’t be fixed but all the components are pretty good, so we will strip it and put all our components in separate bins and label them all,” Mr Hodgson said.

“So if we get a bike in and it needs a certain component and it’s busted we just get one out of the stock.”

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    New York (WCBS) — There is a nationwide shortage of bicycles because of the pandemic, but there’s also no shortage of thefts.

A stolen bike surge is now underway in the city.

“Inside Edition” launched an investigative report.

A CBS employee locked a $2,300 bike to a fence in lower Manhattan, then walked away, using hidden cameras to keep an eye on it.

About 40 minutes later, a man rolls up, and within seconds, he is seen cutting through the lock and stealing the bike.

What he did not see was the GPS tracker hidden inside the tire, allowing CBS to track down the bike to a building on West 32nd Street.

“It’s a theft of opportunity,” Jacob Priley said.

One Priley knows all too well.

He says in October, his $800 e-bike, parked right in front of his Brooklyn apartment, was stolen.

“The U-lock was cut, and my boyfriend actually noticed that it was gone,” Priley told CBS2’s Cory James.

The NYPD says bike thefts have gone up about 30% citywide.

Last year, between March 1 and Sept. 21, there were over 3,500 complaints of stolen bicycles and e-bikes.

This year, that number has increased to more than 4,400.

“Nobody wants to be on the train,” said Jeff Ortega, who works at Liberty Cycles in Hell’s Kitchen.

He believes that is one reason for the increase in bike thefts. He says each week, he has between three to five customers who come in after having a bike or bike part stolen.

But because of the pandemic, Ortega says the supply chain has dried up and most 2021 bikes are already sold out.

“There was only high-end bikes, and not everyone has high-end money to buy a high-end bike,” he said.

For now, Priley is carrying his new, less expensive bike up four flights of stairs to keep it safely stored inside.

Police say keeping your bike inside or locking the bicycle frame to the rack, and not just the wheel, can help prevent your bike from being stolen.

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