Coronavirus Update: Bike Shops Are More Essential Than Ever

Delivery cyclists, Jacob Hernandez (at left) and his stepfather Jose Herrera rely on bike shops for repairs. Photo by Kari Jensen.

Delivery cyclists, Jacob Hernandez (at left) and his stepfather Jose Herrera rely on bike shops for repairs. Photo by Kari Jensen.

This story was reported by Kari Jensen.

It’s been over a month since Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down nonessential businesses, but then failed to include bike shops on the original list of essential workplaces that could stay open. Bike shops were soon added after an outcry from bicycle advocates.

Since then, bike shops have been a crucial resource to the city’s two-wheeled commuters, some who cycle to avoid riding subways. They’ve also helped New York’s estimated 50,000 commercial cyclists, who have been busy delivering groceries, food, and various items to residents told to stay at home.

Jose Herrera said it’s vital that the bike shops are open for sales and service. “Yes, for essential workers so they can get their necessary repairs and (so) we can bring food to people who can’t get it,” Herrera said, as he and his stepson Jacob Hernandez picked up a food delivery order from Lena, a French restaurant and wine bar on Eldridge Street, and then quickly departed on their electric assist e-bikes.

Back at Lena, Roger Ridley, a bartender who also is a cook during the lockdown, said the restaurant is reliant on delivery workers who, in turn, need the bike shops.

“The bike shops are the biggest thing that are keeping a lot of businesses, a lot of small restaurants open right now,” Roger said. “It may not seem like it, but it’s keeping a lot of people happy, at least able to get a meal.”

We checked in with a couple local shops to see how they’re doing:

At Frank’s Bike Shop (553 Grand St.), Frank Arroyo, owner and manager, said, “[Our customers] are trying to get the least expensive bike they can right now … whether it’s a delivery bike or … a single-speed bike [to] get around the city. Not everyone is touring or racing bikes right now. They’re not enjoying it to that extent. They’re mostly buying what they would need: functional bikes that they [use to] travel back-and-forth.”

Frank Arroyo stands in the doorway of Frank's Bike Shop as he helps Jayy Hubbard, whose seatpost is stuck. Photo by Kari Jensen.

Frank Arroyo stands in the doorway of Frank’s Bike Shop as he helps Jayy Hubbard, whose seatpost is stuck. Photo by Kari Jensen.

Arroyo said the lockdown has affected the business because he has a shortage of help and has had to limit store hours, and he is being careful not to expose the only other employee he is currently working with. “And of course, unfortunately, people don’t have much money to spend on buying new bikes …They get what they can. They’re repairing what they have to,” he said.

Diego Costales, managing partner at GoGo Gone (317 Grand St.,) echoed Arroyo, saying, “The biggest concern is the health of our employees. We have become so vigilant in how we conduct business these days. We only allow one customer at the time inside the shop and we implemented disinfecting the shop five to six times a day. We also are working on modified business hours … One unusual thing is we have seen customers pulling their old bikes from their storage/backyards to get them tuned up and then ride them.”

Christien Shangraw temporarily pulls his face covering down to talk with a phone customer at GoGo Gone.  Photo by Kari Jensen.

Christien Shangraw temporarily pulls his face covering down to talk with a phone customer at GoGo Gone. Photo by Kari Jensen.

As far as who’s buying bikes right now, Costales said, “We are selling to our regular day-to-day customers. But the most surprising ones have been the healthcare workers that usually take public transport and now are looking for alternative ways of commuting … They are buying mainly hybrid [bikes because] they are versatile and comfortable to ride. “

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Here is a list of bike shops that are currently open. We suggest calling the shops to check their updated hours, days open, and services offered. Some are open by appointment only.

CC Cyclery – 530 East 13th St., (646) 602-6944

Dah Shop – 134 Division St., (212) 925-0155

Frank’s Bike Shop – 553 Grand St., (212) 533-6332

GoGo Gone – 317 Grand St., (347) 949-2798

Hao Jian Tou Bicycle – 46 Eldridge St., (646) 630-8889

Joulvert Ebikes 354 Broome St., (646) 685-4489

New Bo Bo Bicycle – 96 Elizabeth St., (212) 226-1668

NYC Velo – 66 2nd Ave., (212) 253-7771

Off the Bridge – 72 Canal St., (212) 775-8599

Trek Bicycle Bowery – 303 Bowery, (332) 900-1555