LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- From Santa Monica to San Dimas, long lines outside bike shops are becoming a common sight. Bike Riding is the unofficial sport of the pandemic.
"We've just scrambled to find inventory. We have thousands of bicycles on back order - thousands. And we'll get maybe 30 a week," said Jay Wolff, the owner of Helen's Cycles.
"This is extremely busy from the pandemic with all the gyms being closed. Everyone wants to get out and exercise. We are the last stop for that," said Brian Rogers, the manager at Incycle Bicycles in San Dimas.
Ashley Kim has owned her bike for 13 years. A few months into the pandemic, she dusted it off, got a tune-up and purchased a light to ride at night.
"I used to be a big hiker and all the trails were closed and the ones that were open were too crowded and the gyms were closed, and so I found no options other than going back to the garage and getting my bike back," Kim said.
Bike riding is booming not just because it's a safe way to get out of your house, but it's also a safe way to to catch up with friends while maintaining physical distance.
Bike shops are always busy with repairs in the summertime. But, the summertime rush at bike shops started when the pandemic begin and hasn't slowed down. Helen's Cycles, for example, says its service department has doubled in orders, seen by the line of bikes in the parking lot.
"There's a lot of old product that they're pulling out of the garage, pulling out of swap meets, wherever they can get it. Because one, you can't buy a new bike, sometimes. And they're trying to find whatever they can to get out on a bike ride," said Wolff.
Helen's Cycles had to permanently close their Westwood store with UCLA not in session, but three of their four shops are currently open even with low inventory because demand is so high. The hardest to get bikes right now are entry level mountain bikes and bikes for kids.