Sales are booming at many bike shops around the country, as people stuck at home try something new for exercise and essential workers adapt to scaled-down public transit.

It's an especially opportune time for those who might otherwise be nervous about sharing the streets with cars — mayors across the country haveclosed streetsto encourage cyclists and joggers to exercise.

"Stores are doing really well, and store owners who I've spoken to over the past couple months are almost sheepish in admitting that because they understand it's a pandemic," says Morgan Lommele, director of state and local policy at the industry coalition group People for Bikes.

In the majority of states that issued stay-at-home orders, bike shops weredeemed essentialbusinesses that could stay open, according to tracking by the League of American Bicyclists.

Bike sales in March were up by 50% over last year, the market research firm The NPD Group found. Including stationary exercise bikes, sales grew by 31% in the first quarter of the year over the same time last year.

"We're seeing families, individuals riding bikes in droves, more than we've seen over the last 20 years," said Lommele inan interview with NPR'sAll Things Considered.

Many retailers are running low on bikes, which often have to be ordered from manufacturers far in advance. "There was no way to really predict this back in December and January," Lommele says.

The best-selling bikes have been in the $600 to $1,500 range, she says, which is the bulk of the market.






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