INDIANAPOLIS — As bike sales spike across the nation, an Indianapolis bicycle shop is working to keep up with the local demand. Often, selling out.
"We have definitely already sold more than we did last year, by a few percent, easily," Scott Irons, the owner of Indy Cycle Specialist, said.
Irons Irvington bike shop didn't temporarily close down like several other businesses during the coronavirus crisis. Instead, he and his team have been trying to keep up with demands and remain stocked.
"We're selling out of bikes," Irons said. "We don't have a lot of kids bikes, we've sold out of almost all of our entry-level bikes. We're selling out of bikes like crazy."
Even though we're all remaining socially distant, we're also trying to find ways to enjoy the outdoors and stay active as the weather warms. Biking makes the top of that things-to-do list.
"Our service and repairs are out almost three weeks on getting any service done," Irons said. "For whatever the reasons, people are outside riding bikes, and it's just something that they can do individually and with family.
"The bike has been a great alternative to getting outside and getting some exercise. And more and more people are doing that than have before COVID-19," Irons said.
Indy Cycle Specialists now does most, if not all, of its operations outside of the shop. Customers are not permitted to enter the storefront or search the racks. But Irons said customers don't seem to mind.
"We're asking lots of questions and kind of getting the shopping aspect really down to just a bare minimum almost," Irons said. "Bikes are sized ... So, we can really only narrow it down between a couple bikes. And bring them out. And people try them out, test ride them, and buy them if they like them."
Parts and accessories, such as helmets, belts, and small items, are tough to keep in stock right now as well. Although sales have surged for Irons bike shop, they are also working through new sanitation guidelines to combat the coronavirus, requiring even more time and focus.
"I mean, we have protocols and procedures now that didn't exist six to eight weeks ago," Irons said.
"We've definitely changed how we've done everything," Irons continued. "As far as cleaning bikes when they come back in, making sure customers' hands are clean when they test ride bikes, making sure we're keeping ourselves clean in between every single cell that we make."
The new sanitation protocols are guidelines that will more than likely stick around for Indy Cycle Specialists post-coronavirus, even when Irons decides to open the storefront to customers again.
He hasn't put a timeline on opening the storefront yet because everything has been working well out of the parking lot.
"We have a beautiful store, so we do want to get people back indoors," Irons said.
"We're probably going to require a mask and kind of start our second stage of this process, and starting to let some customers in," he explained. "We are going to limit that. If you're dropping off a bike or picking it up from service — there's really no need to come in. We can handle everything in the parking lot. but if you need to try some clothes on, you really need to see some product ... then we are going to start allowing people into the shop."
Irons says that if you're shopping for a bike, there are a few things to consider before making a purchase. The first being what bike size you need.
"Well, the most important thing when buying a bike is buying the proper size. There are all different sizes for different heights," Irons said.
"Also, the correct type of bike. If you're riding in the city or on mountain bike trails, you have to get the right type of bike. But the most important part is the size," Irons said. "You can't fix the wrong size."
Irons also said to consider whether you should buy a bike new or used.
"It's kind of like a car, you don't know what its been through," Irons said. "If it looks beautiful and it's in great shape and its like new, then you probably have something great. But if its an older bike, then you might end up buying something that's going to constantly need repairs."
The key to getting the right bike is understanding how bikes fit because sizing is the essential part, Iron says.
Indy Cycle Specialist
5804 E. Washington St
Monday – Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; June – Aug. Only