Suffolk

Coronavirus lockdown 'boost to cycle trade', say businesses

Andrew Morris Image copyright Mr Cycle
Image caption Andrew Morris, who runs Mr Cycle in Wymondham, said he has seen a spike business since the Covid-19 lockdown.

The coronavirus lockdown has seen more people take to their bicycles to try to get some exercise - giving a boost to the cycle trade, say businesses.

The sector was exempted from closure in government regulations.

Malcolm Borg, of The Cycle Clinic in Glemsford, Suffolk, said April was the "busiest month I have had ever".

Andrew Morris, 55, of Wymondham, Norfolk - whose business repairing bicycles is called Mr Cycle - said there had been a "spike in business".

Mr Borg said: "I focus on parts sales for the home mechanic and there are a lot of those at the moment.

"I am also a distributor to other shops and my trade sales have gone up, so other shops are doing well, and the online retailers are doing well. The bike trade is actually quite healthy.

"This is the busiest month in terms of takings, but it's also a lot more work - so much there's enough for me to start employing someone."

Image copyright Malcolm Borg
Image caption Malcolm Borg said the pandemic still presented some problems for his firm in trying to get parts from suppliers

Mr Borg said when he started his mail order business about 11 years ago he built up his web presence which was now bearing fruit.

He said other firms that did not use the internet were now trying to catch up.

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He said the pandemic still presented some problems getting parts.

"A lot of my suppliers are up the wall at the moment. I'm scrabbling around trying to get hold of things. Essentially I can only sell what I've got," he said

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More people are taking to the roads on bicycles

Mr Morris said many bikes he was working on had been recovered from sheds "and they have clearly not been used for years. I help to recondition them".

During the coronavirus lockdown he returns the repaired bikes only after he has thoroughly cleaned them with anti-bacterial wipes.

"Once we have got everybody back to work it would be lovely to think they continue using their bikes," he added.

Jonathan Harrison, marketing director of the Association of Cycle Traders, said the industry was "experiencing a mini-boom, not just in the UK but internationally".

He said he spoke to a 75-year-old, who had been in the cycle trade all his life, who said business was "the best he's ever known".

Mr Harrison added the industry had not been that "buoyant" over the last six or so years, but the lockdown had "definitely turned it around and I hope interest in cycling continues".

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