Bikes a two-wheel cure for cabin fever

Bike sales and repairs across Australia are up as cabin fever from the coronavirus begins to bite.
Bike sales and repairs across Australia are up as cabin fever from the coronavirus begins to bite.

Bored Aussies struck down with COVID-19 cabin fever are dragging their long-ignored bicycle relics from the back of the shed and literally getting back on the bike.

And if they can't repair it, they are splashing out for new models as suppliers run out of stocks.

Owner of Ghost Gum Bikes, based in Newcastle on the NSW coast John Maisey says repairs are "'through the roof" and his shop is the busiest it has ever been.

"We are doing more repairs than ever before - every square inch of the workshop is filled bikes," Mr Maisey said.

He says his customer base is growing by the day as people struggle to cope with the COVID-19 lockdown.

"People who are going batshit crazy being stuck inside are getting the old relic from the back of the shed repaired so they can do something other than just walking around.

"You can't really blame them."

Further north, Queenslanders are joining the two-wheel craze with the number of cyclists using the intercity bikeways around Brisbane more than doubling, according to Andrew Demack from Bicycle Queensland.

Bikeway counters on the Bicentennial Bikeway show the number of cyclists passing the counters has swelled from a daily average just under 5000 to 7598 on Sunday - a 78 per cent increase in traffic.

Online retailer Pushys reports sales "have gone crazy" with home trainer kits selling out in the first stages of the lockdown.

"Business on a whole has increased - across bikes and accessories such as helmets, lights, apparel," Mr Demack told AAP.

"But it's kids' bikes that have also gone crazy as parents try to get them out of the house and off the screens."

Initial estimates have seen a 50 per cent surge in bicycle sales across the state, he said.

Back in Newcastle, Mr Maisey says he will continue to make hay while the sun shines.

"It's great to see more people out there riding in their everyday clothes, not just the cyclists in all the gear," Mr Maisey said.

"I'm trying to look on the bright side and think that this is good for cycling and more people will be aware of cyclists in general.

"Hopefully, it might just improve bike safety. You never know."

Australian Associated Press