The pandemic has kicked off a bicycling boom. Which makes perfect sense. People are yearning to get out of the house, breathe in real air. Gyms are closed. The weather’s good.
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve cycled. Perhaps there’s a bike in the garage collecting rust. Leave the WD40 on the shelf — it’s time for a new one.
The most versatile bicycle style on the market is the hybrid, which splits the difference between the leisurely cruiser and the high-performance road bike. Hybrids are good for taking an easy pedal around the neighborhood, doing some cardio sprint work, or embarking on a 25-mile trek.
There’s an untold number of hybrid bicycle brands. Mark Yeager, owner of St. Pete Bicycle and Fitness, feels the best value is Giant Bicycles. Sturdy, reliable and comfortable, Giant offers several models, ranging from the Escape, which retails at $490, to the top-of-the-line Escape 1 ($830). There’s also a “comfort” model called the Cypress ($435). Sizes range from extra small to extra large, based on the frame, not wheel size. Giant has a sub-brand called Liv, a line of bikes designed for women by women (and that does not mean merely removing the middle bar). St. Pete Bicycle stocks those as well.
In Yeager’s view, $500 to $1,000 will put you on a quality hybrid bike, but if folks want to step up, he recommends the Fastroad Advanced, with a carbon fiber frame. It costs $2,000.
While many businesses are suffering amid the COVID-19 crisis, a select few are enjoying unprecedented success. A former pro cyclist, Yeager admits a certain astonishment at the amount of sales he’s generating.
“Insanity is a good way to put it,” he says, standing in his shop jammed with two-wheelers. “For the last month and a half, my business has been like it would ordinarily be right before Christmas — multiplied by four. Pretty much every day we set a new sales record.”