Coronavirus New York City: Tony’s Bicycle Shop in Queens struggles to keep up with demand during COVID-19 crisis
At Tony’s Bicycle Shop in Astoria, the phone keeps ringing.
Outside, the line spans 23rd Avenue.
It’s like that every day of the week, all day.
That’s the life of a bike shop in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic.
This bike shop was seen as an essential service from day one.
“The first day, mostly from essential people. Like they have to go to work,” said Dino Filippidis, co-owner of Tony’s Bicycle Shop. “Like delivery people, doctors and nurses, firefighters, police, they had to get to their jobs and they didn’t want to use the train. But out of nowhere we just saw an increase.”
It was about two weeks after the shutdown started.
He says that with gyms closed, parents needing to get their kids out of the house and warmer weather, business has exploded.
“I feel more secure. I feel like I can keep up with social distancing by cycling,” said cyclist Nicole Honrado. “I don’t really want to ride like an Uber or take the subway just to commute anymore.”
Another cyclist, Marlene Mosley, said she was taking the M60 to cross the bridge. But she says this bus was horrible and packed with people.
The bike shop now closes earlier, just to give ourselves more time to do the repairs.
And the workers stay until 2 a.m. every day to deal with the backlog.
In fact, the demand is so high that of all the bikes inside the store, only a handful of them cost less than $ 1,000. All that is left is high end.
Some days they have to refuse repairs because there is simply nowhere to put the bikes.
And there is another problem. It is a supply problem.
Most of the parts are made in China.
“This has never happened before,” Filippidis. “You know we had the days when the MTA was on strike and it was busy.”
But Filippidis says nothing compares to what he is going through right now.
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