CONYERS — If the novel coronavirus pandemic has produced any positive effects, it may be that many people have endeavored to become more in tune with their physical health during the past several months.

While individuals are slowly joining (or returning to) gyms or spin classes, many others have sought exercise in the great outdoors, making cycling a popular alternative. Or, perhaps, the popular alternative.

According to the Associated Press, domestic bicycle sales are at their highest level since the oil crisis of nearly 50 years ago. And folks are also shaking the cobwebs off their old bikes, many times discovering their old rides need some maintenance.

Selling and repairing bikes is the specialty of Al Smith, the owner and general manager of C-Town Bikes in Old Town Conyers, but the same public fervor that current make bicycles attractive – the cycling industry realizes some $6 billion a year, according to the Associated Press – also makes product difficult to come by these days.

“The major effect is all general bike parts and accessories are all sold out,” said Smith, who recently bought out his partner and is the sole owner of C-Town. “Our store is normally well-stocked, especially at this time of the year, with those kinds of things. But right now we look like an old side-of-the road place now. Older bikes that have been collecting dust for many years are in here now. We’re waiting on parts to fix these bikes.”

“Whenever parts come in, we’re celebrating. The most basic things, like tubes and tires, are all sold out.”

Smith also said that C-Town Bikes, which is an authorized Trek dealer, doesn’t have any new or used bicycles on offer either, certainly a sign of the times.

“We don’t have any bikes to sell right now,” he said. “If you don’t have an order for a bike now, you’re too late. Our projections are if you don’t find a bike in the next couple of weeks, you won’t buy a bike until next summer. That’s how bad it is. I’ve probably got $100,000 back ordered and about $30,000 for people who have pre-ordered.”

Smith’s showroom right now is filled with bikes waiting to be repaired.

“We’ve been slammed busy,” said Smith.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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