On your bike! Coronavirus prompts cycling frenzy in Germany

Long lines and sold-out stores: Bicycle shops in Germany have never been so busy. The bike is enjoying a surge in popularity as Germans seek to get out and about in safer ways during the coronavirus pandemic.

Seven-year-old Mats sits proudly on his bicycle. It’s bright blue, just like his helmet, which sits firmly atop his head. “A real police bike,” Mats beams as he buzzes through the shop like a police motorcycle, sirens blazing. Mats is lucky. Children’s bikes are in short supply in many shops around Cologne. Even adults looking for specific models or parts are experiencing long wait times. Demand is huge at the moment. “I will never forget the Monday when we reopened the shop,” says Christoph Hopp, of Cologne’s Radlager bike store. “It was like a dam bursting.” For weeks, bike shops were among the businesses in Germany forced to shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, it was just as the annual uptick in springtime business was beginning.

“The minute the first crocuses stick their heads out of the ground, people want to get on their bikes,” says Hopp. That’s how it is every year, but “because of the closures this year, everything was obviously backed up.” Now, the rush is “just crazy,” he adds.

‘The vehicle of the hour’ It’s not just the beautiful spring weather and pent-up urge to shop that driving the surge in cycling. “Because of the coronavirus, the bicycle is the vehicle of the hour,” says David Eisenberger of the Zweirad-Industrie-Verband, or ZIV, an interest group that advocates on behalf of the bicycle industry in Germany. “We are noticing that not only on the streets but with the rush at bike shops.”

Read more here: https://www.dw.com/en/on-your-bike-coronavirus-prompts-cycling-frenzy-in-germany/a-53462018