While last season's supply shortages persist, a few bicycles and cycling accessories are slowly trickling in at Mathieu's, the bike shop where I work. Many of these orders were placed long ago and they are just starting to show up. Trek and Specialized, the two brands we carry, have indicated that a larger volume of bikes should be arriving this spring — and hopefully that is the case. I'm guessing most dealers throughout the nation are facing the same circumstances.
Along with my usual job of cleaning bikes prior to tune-ups, which is picking up with the nicer weather, I did build two of the new arrivals: Trek Precaliber models for kids; one in hot pink and the other in roarange (road orange). Frankly, these were extremely easy to put together — even for me — but it had been quite a few months since I'd performed such a task.
Returning to the topic of scarce bicycles and parts, I believe it could be next year before this problem straightens itself out. The demand continues to be way more than manufacturers can keep up with, which is too bad ... given the fact that the popularity of riding is so high right now, but it's dang hard to even obtain a bike.
On top of that, bike makers are compounding the parts dilemma. They are "robbing" the stuff we need to repair existing bikes in order to produce new two-wheeled machines. For me personally, I'm having a devil of a time locating a 7-speed cassette for my 1988 Schwinn Circuit road bike, and good luck finding an 11-speed chain of any kind. Heaven forbid, if I had to "retire" one of my bikes due to a lack of parts.
Patience and prayers might be the only answer. But one thing is for sure. If you're thinking about buying a bicycle or fixing one, don't wait ... or you'll be too late.
Making the switch
With the roads being fairly clean, I finally jumped on a road bike this week ... my previously mentioned Schwinn. I've just got to say, despite being a 33-year-old bike, I still love riding it.
Two things happen for me when I switch bikes. First, because I hadn't been on the Schwinn since last season, and the fact that I've been cruising on my monster machines over the winter, it felt very foreign for the first few miles. Your riding posture is different, your derriere seems out of line on the saddle, and the bike's weight factor isn't an issue ... so you're just flying.
Secondly, because my bikes are always in pretty good working order, I tend to forget — from one season to the next — if there are any carryover issues. The first touch of the brakes on my Schwinn the other day quickly reminded me that I need new pads on the front. Easily solved.
And there's one other thing I should add. At the end of my initial 2021 trek with my Schwinn, I stopped to chat with my neighbors, Ted and Carolyn. After catching up on the latest news, I positioned myself to head home. However, a little lack of concentration — and forgetting I was "clipped" into my pedals, for the first time this year I might add — it was ass over teakettle for me in no time. As I was picking myself up off the ground, Carolyn kept asking if I was OK. My response: Hurt, no. Embarrassed, yes.
Oh well, just another moment on my bike. Stay safe ... and don't forget to use flashing lights while riding!
(Editor's note: I hope you like the new look for Pedal2Page. I'll give you more details in future postings.)