pandemic causes demand to skyrocket at Old Town bike shop | ALXnow

If there’s air in the tires, Charles Bennett Moore—owner of the Alexandria location for Big Wheel Bikes—sold it.

As businesses in Alexandria struggle to retreat from the pandemic, the past few months have been an unusual bonanza for businesses along the Old Town’s waterfront Big wheel bikes (2 Prince Street).

“It was gangbusters in May and June,” Moore said. “We have quadrupled our usual demand. The supply has shrunk to almost nothing. If you come in, we have maybe half a dozen bikes.

It’s not just bike sales either. Moore said service requests grew faster than the store could keep up.

“The service has increased tenfold,” Moore said. “We’re just going crazy with the service again. People are constantly dropping off bikes. It supports us. I sold everything that had air in the tires.

Outdoor cycling, especially alone, has been cited as one of the healthier physical activities – especially compared to the risks of an indoor gym.

The business has remained open during the pandemic, and Moore said May has been particularly busy. Moore said the store has sold half of its collection of vintage bicycles, usually only items of collector interest. There is now a waiting list for new bikes arriving.

“People don’t want to be locked inside,” Moore said. “The season hit at the same time as COVID. People feel they can keep six feet apart on the bike. And with [many] gyms are closed…it’s a perfect storm for the bike industry”

This is particularly a boon for the Alexandria Big Wheel Bikes location, which sits on a waterfront virtually surrounded by new development and density.

“With all this development and things changing, [this] probably helps get a lease extension, Moore said. “A lot of businesses are not staying open. So it was a good thing for us.

Staff photo by Vernon Miles

Maria R. Newman