Outdoor recreation increases during pandemic; local outfitters try to keep up

Outdoor recreation popular during pandemic

CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - For several months now we’ve reported on empty racks at bike stores as more people turn to outdoor recreation during the pandemic. But it’s not only bikes that are hard to find.

More and more people are getting outside. If you didn’t already own a canoe, kayak or bicycle before the pandemic, you were left waiting a long time to get your hands on one.

Bryan Wolf is owner of Roads, Rivers and Trails in Milford.

“We’re starting to catch up on inventory,” he said. “We’re starting to get kayaks back in.”

Wolf explains beginning in March, the store saw an increased interest in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and camping.

“If we’re going to look at some of the positives of COVID and the pandemic, it’s that people are reconnecting with nature,” Wolf said. “And they’re getting out and a lot of those people are getting out for the first time or first time in a long time.”

Another popular activity is biking. And it’s not only people buying new bikes, they’re getting their old bikes serviced. That means bike shops are very busy servicing old bikes or waiting for new bikes to be ready from the manufacturers.

At Bishop’s Bicycles, also in Milford, they’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand. A simple tuneup is taking about six weeks. A new bike can take up to six months.

“That’s the big thing right now, is just being patient,” Bishop’s Bicycles Manager Terry Powell explained. “We’ve got bikes on order, we’re just waiting for the manufacturer to get them in and get them to us.”

Powell says even finding parts to fix a bike is taking more time than usual. He expects indoor trainers will be the next popular thing for people to purchase ahead of the colder weather.

Powell and Wolf both say they hope people that have a new interest in the great outdoors will stay active even when their lifestyles return to normal.

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