There’s a huge uptick in interest since pandemic-related restrictions
Biking & Kayaking
in the Cape Fear
By FRITTS CAUSBY
RESIDENTS of the Cape Fear have more time on their
hands than ever since the coronavirus forced the
economy, schools, team sports and businesses
deemed nonessential to shut down.
With so many people dealing with business closures, facing a
temporary hiatus or working remotely, all the kids doing remote
learning, and social distancing making many favorite activities an
impossibility, nontraditional sports such as mountain biking and
kayaking have witnessed an unprecedented surge.
Places like Blue Clay Bike Park and Brunswick County Nature Park
might have been almost deserted on a weekday afternoon before
the pandemic, but now parking lots are full. People are going out in
droves to take advantage of the miles of trails that wind through a
variety of terrain, varying in difficulty from beginner and intermedi-ate
to advanced and expert.
Local bike shops have struggled to keep pace with the demand.
“There has been a line at the door every morning when we open,”
says Jim Mincher, owner of Two Wheeler Dealer in Wilmington. “It’s
like everyone suddenly decided they want to ride bicycles.”
Shawn Spencer, owner of Bike Cycles, is experiencing similar
“As a lifelong resident of Wilmington and an owner of a bicycle
shop for over 20 years, cycling has not seen this large a surge in my
lifetime,” he says.
The uptick in demand coincided with the forced closure of many
parts manufacturers across Asia and China. Although most bike
makers keep a large supply of inventory on hand, with even rela-tively
small companies such as Jamis typically having around 30,000
bikes available, the supply dried up quickly.
“There is no available inventory in this country right now,” Mincher
says. “The supply chain is in upheaval and it will probably be a year
before it is back to normal.”
Most of the inventory that bike shop owners and manufacturers
plan for is stalled because of the disruption in the supply chain.
“We just can’t get the bikes,” says Matt Jones, president of City
Bicycle Company. “We can’t get baskets, seats, tires, tubes, bells and
lots of other popular bicycle accessories because all our normal sup-pliers
are out of product.”
WBM FILE PHOTO 18
WBM september 2020