Bikes are back


Takashi De Leon

The ReCycle Bicycle shop has been booked with repair orders and an increase in new customers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Service Manager Colton Beutel suggests that people may be seeking alternatives to staying inside due to the shutdown.

Joseph Stanger, Staff Reporter

The ReCycle Bicycle Shop has seen a spike in business during the pandemic. Frank Johnston, the owner of the ReCycle Shop, said biking is very important to the town of Ellensburg.

“It wasn’t as obvious before the pandemic,” Johnston said. “It’s a great way to get around and it’s a good alternative.”

Johnston said he’s glad his shop was considered an essential business by Washington state.

“It feels good,” Johnston said. “We’re all glad we’re working … we feel fortunate.”

The ReCycle shop is a full service bicycle store that sells and repairs bikes. Recently, the store has increased cleaning measures, monitored the people entering the store and placed hand sanitizer around for customers and employees to use. As of May 8, The ReCycle Shop also requires all customers entering the store to wear a face mask.

“We’re trying to do everything we can while [continuing] to provide services to people,” Service Manager Colton Beutel said. “Anything we can do to make things safer.”

With an increase of new customers since the COVID-19 shutdown, bicycle shops have been facing a shortage of inventory. Some manufacturers have released new models early in order to meet demand.

In addition to bikes, repairs and parts, the shop also sells helmets, bags and various accessories.

“We’ve actually seen a pretty good sized spike in all of this,” Beutel said, “It’s just more difficult in ways that we haven’t encountered before.”

According to Beutel, it’s been difficult for the shop to hold on to parts and bikes for very long due to the increase in business.

“Typically, we have bikes that we’re trying to get rid of,” Beutel said. “Now, we’re finding it’s hard for us to get bikes in order to sell. We’re basically selling bikes before they even get here.”

Beutel said business has been similar to what it’s normally like during a busy summer.

“We’re super grateful to be working and healthy,” Beutel said. “But yeah, [business] has definitely gone up.”

Trae Mcfadin, an employee at The ReCycle Shop, said he’s grateful to still have a job during this time.

“It’s nice,” Mcfadin said. “It keeps me busy instead of being just cooped up.”

Mcfadin believes having a bike in Ellensburg is almost as good as having a car.

“Everything’s within [biking] distance,” Mcfadin said. “You can do all sorts of riding around here.”

Beutel said the shop sees all kinds of different people around town, but lately they’ve been seeing a large amount of completely inexperienced riders.

“People who had never gotten a bike are starting to see what the benefit of cycling is,” Beutel said. “Staying healthy and getting outside.”

Although nobody knows exactly when the pandemic will end, cycling will continue to be an activity people can do safely while abiding to social distancing guidelines.

“We’re super lucky to be here,” Beutel said. “Every day is a learning curve and we don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure.”