Coronavirus News: Demand for bikes skyrockets at bicycle shop in Queens amid COVID-19 crisis

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ByCeFaan Kim via WABC logo
Thursday, May 21, 2020
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CeFaan Kim has more on the bicycle shop in Queens that is working around the clock to help New Yorkers.

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- A bicycle shop in Queens is working nearly around the clock to get bikes into the hands of New Yorkers who need them now more than ever.

At Tony's Bicycle Shop in Astoria, the phone just keeps ringing.

Outside, the line stretches down 23rd Avenue.

It's like this every day of the week, all day long.

This is the life of a bicycle shop in New York during the coronavirus pandemic.

This bike shop was deemed an essential service from day one.

"The first day, mostly from essential people. Like they need to go to work," Tony's Bicycle Shop Co-Owner, Dino Filippidis said. "Like delivery guys and doctors and nurses, firefighters, police officers, they needed to get to their job and they didn't wanna use the train. But then out of nowhere we just saw a rise."

That was about two weeks after the shutdown began.

He says with gyms closed, parents needing to get their kids out of the house and the warmer weather, business exploded.

"I feel safer. I feel like I can keep up still with social distancing by biking around," bicyclist Nicole Honrado said. "I don't really wanna take like an Uber or take the subway just to commute anymore."

Another bicyclist, Marlene Mosley, said she used to take the M60 to work across the bridge. But she says that bus was horrendous and packed with people.

The bike shop now closes earlier, just to give themselves more time to do repairs.

And the workers stay until 2 a.m. everyday just to deal with the backlog.

In fact the demand is so high, of all the bicycles inside the shop, only a handful of them are under $1,000. Everything leftover is high end.

Some days they have to turn away repairs because there is simply nowhere to put the bikes.

And there's one more problem. It's a supply issue.

Many of the parts are made in China.

"This has never happened before," Filippidis. "You know we had the days when the MTA had the strike and it was busy."

But Filippidis says nothing compares to what he's experiencing right now.

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