BY RIANNE PEREDO
Bicycles sales are on the rise globally because of the seasonal change to warmer weather in many countries and COVID-19. Guam’s sporting goods stores have also been affected in various ways.
Hornet International Inc., which does business as Hornet Sports, began bicycle repairs and limited retail sales when restrictions loosened in April. Customers have been seeking not only bicycles, but also cycling accessories and repair services.
“We have experienced heavy shortages of bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories. Such common items such as tires, tubes, bike carriers and saddles are either very limited or out of stock,” said Hikko Lin, owner and manager of Hornet Sports. “Bike lead times have increased about 30 [to] 60 days on average for delivery of new bikes.”
Hornet is an authorized retailer of Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd. bicycles, which are primarily manufactured in Taiwan. The store sells approximately 375 to 425 bicycles yearly.
The repair services offered by Hornet have a consistent queue because of an increase in customers as well.
“This has definitely affected our ability to turn around bikes within 24 [to] 48 hours. Our current turnaround during this time has been stretched to around [four to six] days. We have put every able person on repairs to try to not let customers wait that long,” Lin said. “Hopefully within the next few weeks, we can bring the wait time to a more reasonable time frame.”
Other items that customers are seeking at Hornet include water bottle cages, water bottles, lights and pumps.
BikeFix, a cycling goods store that also offers repairs, was previously located in Tamuning. The business moved to the E&R Sardea Building in Hagåtña in May and has had more customers buying bicycles.
Derek Horton, owner of BikeFix, said he sells hundreds of bicycles each year and has already surpassed last year’s sales.
“With the adult bikes, we’re selling here and there. We’ve been forced to buy whatever we can find in whatever sizes we can find. People are starting to realize. We explain it to people. I try to be as transparent as I can with customers. People are receptive to it; people don’t like to be lied to,” he said.
Horton has also turned customers away who are seeking repairs on a case by case basis. “Repairs where we have to do tune-ups and fixing stuff — there’s so many things already in queue — it’s hard to take in more. Some people are cool with it; some people are fine,” he said. “I was already dealing with backlog at the old shop [location]. I juggle repairs around depending on the urgencies. Small stuff — we do on the spot.”
The bestselling bicycle brands at BikeFix are Scott Sports and Cervélo Cycles; the store also carries apparel and accessories by the former. Shipments are “usually a week turnaround,” according to Horton.
Horton also checks product availability online every day to place orders for more stock. “All our brands are international distributors. We pulled [two] in from the U.S. One of our other brands, Cervélo — we can pull from [the] U.S. and Asia,” he said.
The Guam Cycling Federation, a nonprofit organization which aims to unite the local cycling community and host sanctioned events, opened its membership period in June.
“As far as I can tell, the bike shops have really flourished and seen a boom that has been kind of mirrored globally,” said GCF President Eric Tydingco. “What I’ve seen for the [Guam] Cycling Federation — although we’ve seen loss of revenue — we’ve seen many new people starting to bike. It’s encouraging for us.”
There are approximately 60 to 70 members currently in the organization and more are anticipated.
“Our membership is [an] annual one. We usually max around at 140 [to] 150 people who join. … Our membership just started in June; the pace has definitely accelerated. The same time as last year we may not have been as high. I think we’re going to see more people join our federation because of the benefits alongside our membership,” Tydingco said.
Membership benefits include access to an off-road trail at the Guam International Raceway Park in Yigo, retail discounts and discounted race fees.
However, COVID-19 restrictions which prohibit organized sporting events caused the federation to postpone and reschedule its various events. “We have a membership ride; we had to reschedule that in mid-May for July 19,” said Tydingco.
Because of the extended wait times for repairs at Hornet and BikeFix, Tydingco viewed it as an opportunity to learn how to do small repairs himself. “Some things I’ve learned by going to YouTube; those are available for people to have a resource if they’re more motivated to do those things themselves if they can’t wait. A lot of people will take a bike [in] to fix a flat. … [It’s] very easy to do. [It was] one of the first things I learned when I started cycling,” he said.
GCF will continue to aim for increased participation from the local community as restrictions loosen for outdoor activities when Guam transitions to PCOR 3 in the future.
“Part of our mission is to grow the sport … I’ve seen new faces on the trails; that’s been encouraging too, seeing the new cyclists,” said Tydingco. mbj