Shop owners put surge in cycling down to Covid-19 lockdown

A cyclist passes Dunluce Castle on the Antrim coast yesterday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

Bicycle shop owners across Northern Ireland are putting a surge in interest in the sport down to sports men and women trying to fill the gap left by the lockdown of gyms and swimming pools.

From Derry to Belfast, independent shop owners are reporting a rise in numbers taking to two-wheeled exercise as other sports outlets are closed down due to the coronavirus crisis.

Council-owned and private gyms and swimming pools have been closed to control the spread of Covid-19, leaving sports men and women in a dilemma.

A spokesman for Total Cycling in Derry said staff noticed a run on products since the weekend as sports people rushed to fill the fitness gap, with a particular interest in turbo trainers which allow cyclists to train indoors.

“We've sold out all our stock, new and old in a day. It looks like people are getting the bicycles out of mothballs too because we're getting all sorts in to be repaired,” the spokesman said.

Eamon McConvey of McConvey Cycles in Belfast has limited services to essential repairs to meet the crisis.

Mr McConvey said: “We're not charging for labour, only for parts so people can keep mobile.”

Slane Cycles, also in Belfast, reported an “undoubted” rise in interest in the last week while Brian Cassidy of Claudy Cycles in County Derry said people were looking for forms of exercise that would observe social distancing.

“People are coming in for repairs so they can go out on their own or in pairs. Everything from bicycles to turbo trainers are selling.

“You're getting the ordinary five-eights coming in who have been sent home from work with their children who are off school. It's like the summer holidays have come early but people are picking cycling because its extra exercise and its safe from the virus,” Mr Cassidy said.

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