Realizing Just How Essential Bikes Actually Are
Bike Shops all around town were surprised as their traffic increased along with news of Covid-19. The week before we really started locking everything down was a tremendously busy week for us. People were coming out of the woodwork to get their bikes fixed and ready to ride. As we serve a diverse demographic we had many paying customers getting their bikes ready and many Sliding Scale customers who needed the work done for next to nothing (and in many cases free). Meanwhile our bike racks that hold our refurbished bikes started looking more and more like the toilet paper aisles. Our small team is always struggling to keep up with demand as we have never had the bandwidth to refurbish bikes fast enough for both the demands of the showroom floor as well as the Earn-A-Bike program, especially when the mechanics are spending the majority of their time on work orders and sliding scale repairs. Our shop depends heavily on our volunteer team and, in all honesty, still struggle to keep up under normal circumstances. As this virus descended upon us we informed all of our volunteers that they could no longer come in, we roped off the shop so that customers could only come as far as our front door, and our small team of staff (which now would not include 25% of the crew as they were more at risk) basically locked ourselves in with a bunch of sterilizing solution and our tools so that we could keep our neighbor’s bikes working. We have yet to catch up as our inventory dwindles, sliding scale needs increase, and our already limited capacity has contracted all the more. We are super proud of how much we have been able to accomplish and how many we have been able to serve under these conditions while still mourning the fact that there is only so much that a few of us can get done.
As buses become an increasingly bad option, as people that have been shut in are looking for a way to exercise in a way that complies with social distancing, and as those with nowhere to be ‘Safer at Home’ depend on their bikes both to get them around as well as tote their belongings, the need is only on the rise. More than ever, bikes are essential and WellBuilt Bikes is doing our best.
We have also been forced to put our Earn-A-Bike Program on hold for the time being. Below is a little glimpse at one Earners story which might help shine some light on the cost of that program not being able to run right now.