Consumer interest in bicycles during the COVID-19 pandemic restriction period has been so high retailers say they are unable to keep up with demand.
Aaron Bashford, owner of Tathra Beach and Bike said while summer bike sales were down due to the bushfire emergency, and remain down compared to last season, bikes have been flying off the shelves during the pandemic.
The industry is so busy, and manufacturing is stunted, so getting bikes has been difficult.Aaron Bashford
"In a weird way I think the pandemic has convinced a few people who haven't thought about exercising before to get out there. Anything we sell below $2000 is gone," he said.
"With gyms closed and no competitive sport people are looking to ride bikes. I've seen way more new faces, which is good.
"And, I really do think another reason for the boost is because people can't travel to Canberra and are buying locally.
"In the cities I heard from our reps and friends that straight off the bat sales went gangbusters straight away.
"Sales have been bigger than Christmas, but we don't have that commuter market. It's all recreational here."
Mr Bashford said high demand across the country combined with a slowdown on imports has made it impossible to source bikes from suppliers.
"The industry is so busy, and manufacturing is stunted, so getting bikes has been difficult," Mr Bashford said.
"We're working on next season at the moment, and we've back-ordered stock to make sure."
Owner of Bega and Merimbula Sportspower stores Troy Burhop said he was forced to close his Merimbula shop for five weeks, and moved his bike stock to Bega where he saw an "upturn" in sales.
"There definitely was a spike [in sales], and there is still demand, but we can't buy bikes," he said.
He also said consumers have been forced to buy locally due to travel restrictions, and said the difficulty in buying imported products should spur the government to support local manufacturing.
"There's hopefully been a shift in peoples mentality. People are trying to support local businesses," he said.
Mr Bashford said while bike servicing has been constant during the pandemic, metropolitan retailers have been so busy they have been unable to service bikes due to excessive demand.
"One thing I have seen is families walking in and all buying bikes together," he said.
Both stores have been able to keep their staff at work, with Mr Bashford able to access government JobKeeper payments.
For Mr Bashford, who also owns a Tathra cafe forced to close due to COVID-19, things have been more complicated.
He has not owned the cafe for the government's strict 12 month period, meaning he cannot access the JobKeeper program, and sales at the bike store have not dropped by the cut-off point of thirty per cent.
While he had to layoff his cafe staff "straight off the bat", the upturn in bike sales has meant he can reopen the cafe after the easing of restrictions.
He is hoping the cafe will open this weekend.
"I've got two opposite situations with both shops, but I am much happier not to rely on government grants to keep the bike shop open," he said.
"I was keeping an eye on the cafes, and I thought why fight for customers in a small town."
He said the most popular bikes have been electronic e-bikes, dual suspension mountain bikes for the town's burgeoning bush trail scene, and "lots of kid's bikes".
Both Mr Bashford and Mr Burhop said the construction of the Tathra to Kalaru bike path will attract locals and tourists once travel restrictions are eased in June.
"I think you'll see people drive to Kalaru from Bega to ride to the beach," Mr Bashford said.
"People may also not be so keen to jump on planes or boats now, but who knows what we are in for.
"I think if it wasn't for the bike trails nearby this shop wouldn't work.
"We've been through serious fires and COVID-19, and we are still open, so that is saying something."