Bicycles in high demand during pandemic, local bike shops see rush of business

WAUWATOSA -- John Jensen knows a lot about bikes – and metaphors.

John Jensen

"Used bikes going out of here like water over a dam - just amazed me," Jensen said.

It is a rush of business - Johnson's Cycle and Fitness is riding.

"COVID - there was no weekend. Every day was a Saturday. You open the door, people are tugging at the door. At the end of the night, okay, we're closing," he said.

That left him with a showroom fresh out of what he calls, the meat and potatoes, of new and used bikes. Stocked instead with an overflow of repairs.

"A lot of people have come in, saying, are you going out of business - and I'm like, the furthest thing from it every bike store in North America is having a record year," he said.

Jensen sold 150 bikes in April alone.

"About $9000."

That's 3 times what he'd normally do. Now, he's lucky to get a few parts or bikes in at all.

'I'll call you in a month when we get them in. A month?! Yeah, that's when we're getting them," he said.

During a time when many people are outside more — COVID-19 caused delays in overseas shipments of bikes.

"It's like the burner on your stove - if you don't have a man give me a whirlpool. It doesn't work that way. This is what works and if we don't have it, you gotta wait," he said.

While he may not be a seamstress.

"Nothing else we can do. I can't knit these things."

Jensen will surf this wave right over the dam.

"Four months from now, we'll be sitting around drinking coffee wondering what we should do today. Until then, it's go time," he said.