Alaska Bike Companies Adapt and Keep Rolling
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
We checked in with bike companies around the state as shelter in place orders began to take effect. Here's what we found.
Alaska’s bike industry is adapting and rolling with the punches under coronavirus restrictions and advisories. Bike businesses from Juneau to Fairbanks are weathering the crisis as Alaskans turn to biking as a way to stay healthy and happy until the crisis subsides. The following is a sampling of bike store stories from around the state. Support your local bike shop and other outdoor retailers.
Speedway Cycles is open, building bikes and “knocking out repairs.” Owner Greg Matyas, who is also the founder, designer and owner of award-winning Fatback Bikes says he’s also busy working on new products for the 2021 and 2022 release.
Alaska Bike Adventures co-founder Christina Grande works at The Bike Shop on Northern Lights (still open with social distancing measures in place) as she gets her fledgling bike tour company off the ground with fiancee, Dusty Eroh. Though they don’t start trips until the ground dries up anyway, probably around July 1, Grande is offering all kinds of informative online video tips to help folks be more comfortable when they go out for some socially distant riding and/or get in top shape for summer tours to come.
Chain Reaction Cycles. The shop reports being “surprisingly busy” keeping bike enthusiast morale up while operating under coronavirus mandates. Curbside pickup and hunker down delivery service is available. Indoor bike trainers have been a popular seller as have bikes for the whole family from tykes to adults.
Among its adaptations to coronavirus public health measures, Goldstream Sports has staked popup tents outside the shop for al fresco sales transactions and bike dropoffs. Customers can drop bikes off in stands outside the shop and call from the car to discuss repair needs. Forest says the store is getting lots of support from the community with people buying in-store credits now in anticipation of future uses.
Juneau Bike Doctor owner Kent Hill says he is open by appointment. While bike sales aren’t what they were this time a year ago, Hill says he is still “fairly busy” with bike repairs and sales. The cancelation of Juneau’s annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, which usually nets a few bike sales from visiting athletes’ families, also hurt Hill’s bottom line. On a happier note, Hill noted that Specialized, a popular national brand, is offering customers who order directly online to pick up their new bikes at his store.
Backcountry Bike and Ski is open by appointment only for emergency repairs and new bike sales. Their Facebook page explains it was a tough decision but being part of the solution, not the problem, during this hard time is “something we feel we have the power and responsibility to do.” For repairs, call them at 907-746-5018 and/or text 907-376-6262. Shop owner Tony Berberich says he looks forward to resuming regular business hours just as soon as it’s safe to do so.
North Shore Cyclery was among the first shops to announce keeping doors open by reservation. The store also offered discounts for long-term rentals in an effort to help keep Talkeetna healthy and happy during the virus crisis.