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Bike shop owners pedal customers toward savings at the pump

The owner of Healthy Habits said sales increased nearly 50% during the height of the pandemic. Sales are up about 25% since before the pandemic.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Bike shops across the Quad Cities are seeing sales increase after the big boom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We haven’t seen a whole lot of change in anything other than inventory level," said Bruce Grell.

Grell is the owner of the Healthy Habits bike shop in Bettendorf.

Grell said his repair shop is backed up for about a week right now, partially because of the spring-like temperatures seen across the area on Wednesday.

Sales at Healthy Habits are also increasing. They are up about 20-25% since before the pandemic, Grell said. During the height of the pandemic, Grell's sales increased nearly 50 percent.

"They haven’t quite matched the whole COVID thing, but comparatively to what they were before COVID, they’re still up," Grell said.

Gas prices across the Quad Cities region remain high as of Wednesday. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of gas is $4.31, according to AAA. 

In the Iowa Quad Cities on Wednesday, the average price of a gallon of gas is $3.96, and the average price per gallon is $4.44, according to AAA.

With those higher gas prices, Grell expects bike sales to increase even more as bikers and commuters look to save some money.

"Especially now that we actually have bikes to sell," Grell said. "If you would have been here six months ago, it wouldn’t have mattered what gas prices did. We didn’t have bikes to sell anyway."

Across the Mississippi River at Wright's Cycles in Moline, owner Dean Wright is seeing customers look for a change.

"I’m seeing three to four customers a day coming in, looking for an economical way to replace their car, especially, you know, short trips," Wright said.

Some of those customers make the trips with a bike trailer in tow.

"We’ll see people taking short trips with their bicycles, to do more utilitarian-type activities, going to the grocery store, running errands, picking up the kids from school," Wright said.

Bike shops, while staying busy, are pedaling customers towards a way to save at the pump.

Both Grell and Wright said their respective stores are starting to recover from some supply chain shortages. Those shortages affected both new sales and parts needed to make repairs.

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