Pandemic bicycle boom leads to increased sales and service

CLEVELAND — A bike shop owner in northeast Ohio has always had a passion for cycling, and over the past two years has seen an explosion of others taking up the hobby.

What do you want to know

  • Cycling has grown in popularity during the pandemic
  • James Watson said new bikes are hard to come by so used bikes are a hot commodity
  • Sales and service calls have nearly doubled over the past two years

James Watson said sometimes he needed to put in some strength to work on bikes.

“It’s always nice to be able to stop. If your gears aren’t working and you can’t pedal, you’re bored. If you can’t stop, it could be life or death,” Watson said as he tinkered with the brakes of a children’s bike.

Watson owns Upcycles Bike Shop in Cleveland. He said new bikes are hard to come by, so used bikes are the hot commodity right now.

Watson said most of his business works on used bikes using aftermarket parts.

He said there has been a bike boom during the pandemic, which has seen sales and service calls nearly double in the past two years.

Watson has owned the store for a decade, but said the customer reaction to receiving a bike never gets old.

He said he thrives on sharing his passion for cycling with others.

“I hope we make the young lady a lifelong rider,” Watson said after a customer received her bike. “Because it’s the best.”