Governor Brad Little’s announcement of the initial lockdown orders on March 25 caused gyms to close and left many individuals scrambling to find alternative ways to stay active.
Thus began what Manager of the Cycle Learning Center (CLC) Gabe Finkelstein deemed the “Bike Boom.”
Bikes have been selling out all across the Boise area. According to Finkelstein, shops have seen an increase in bike sales of around 50% to 100%. The CLC experienced its most successful month financially since it opened in 2012.
Finkelstein has enjoyed the increase in bikers, not only as a manager of a bike shop, but also as a biking enthusiast.
“It’s been great bringing new people into the sport. I’m glad that so many people have learned how great it is,” Finkelstein said.
Senior finance major Brandon Gresser is an avid biker and has noticed a large increase in traffic along the Boise River Greenbelt and other biking trails.
“I noticed it mostly on a lot of the beginner trails. People are getting new into the hobby and want to hit the foothills,” Gresser said. “It’s a little annoying. I like to go at my own pace, but at the same time I’m not going to blame them for being there.”
Gresser explained that it is a good thing that so many new people are getting into biking. He believes it is a good way to stay socially distanced while staying active.
Emily Dobrzyn, a senior majoring in environmental studies, has found that biking is a great alternative to going to the gym for her. She recently got into the sport due to gym shutdowns and the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an easy way to get outdoors,” Dobrzyn said. “It isn’t my ideal way, but it is all that I can do. I am terrified of places where everyone’s sweat touches stuff. You can never trust the person on the machine before you and you can’t see the germs.”
Even with the growth in sales that the CLC has seen, they have also faced many of the same challenges that other businesses have during the pandemic, such as having to come up with new guidelines of how to act within the store, whether that be for the employees or customers, in order to comply with health and safety guidelines.
Another problem they have encountered is when it comes to the services they provide. The CLC not only sells bikes to students, but serves as a place for students to learn how to maintain and fix their bikes. In the past, the CLC was able to assist with repairs and maintenance lessons, but can’t now due to COVID-19 restrictions.
While they typically have hands-on lessons to help students, the CLC has added a DIY section to their website. The new feature allows students to self diagnose an issue and walks them through the steps to fix it.
The CLC also has a table out front with tools that are free to use, and only require that you sanitize anything used.
“I think you have to look at the brighter side of things during these times and I’m glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to pick up biking,” Dobrzyn said.