A CYCLING boom has not stopped since lockdowns with Ballarat cycle shops reporting continued high demand for repairs and new bikes coming out of Christmas.
The trend to get back in the bike saddle emerged in early April amid lockdowns and cycling being one of the few allowed forms of exercise away from your house.
My Ride owner Tim Oliver was this week still catching up on a run of repairs, stemming from before Christmas, with little reprieve in people old bikes out of their sheds and wanting to ride.
This time of the year is when Mr Oliver is usually preparing his shop for sales and an influx of customers during the AusCycling Road National Championships. My Bike is right on the criterium course.
He was preparing for this extra boost in trade next months when the delayed championships hit Ballarat roads.
Strong demand for repairs and new bikes - with many orders slowed by pandemic trade restrictions - was playing out across the city.
Cyclescape's Sam Edwards said business was "crazy" busy and showed no sign of easing soon as people continued their cycling habits into the summer.
"We've had a bit of everything from new bikes and the repairs haven't stopped," Mr Edwards said. "It's been absolutely crazy busy...even in those couple of days after Christmas."
We've had (demand for) a bit of everything and the repairs haven't stopped.Sam Edwards, Cyclescape
Mr Edwards said the shop had experienced interest from all ages, including a lot of young men and boys getting into mountain biking. He said this was not surprising with such great spots like Black Hill for riders to explore.
E-bikes have also become quickly popular. Mr Edwards said people were prepared to spend for a good model, too. This could average between $5000 to $8000 for the electric power-assisted bikes.
Dynamite Cycles mechanic Daniel Sonego said all kinds of riders were getting involved in e-bikes, which had also quick become a hit in Dynamite's Delacombe and Buninyong stores.
"Everyone wants a bike they don't have to pedal. It's become a normal thing," Mr Sonego said. "It's nice for people to ride to work or for when people might be strapped for time and only have a short window to ride - they can go further than they otherwise would."
Mr Sonego said there had also been strong interest in mountain bikes as a way to ride away from cars and the roads.
Ahead of winter it was virtual indoor cycling program Zwift that had been the biggest seller. Cycling Australia started its National Road Series on the program.
Ballarat-Sebastopol Cycling Club also took its winter racing and training to the virtual platform with some A-grade riders finding themselves on virtual courses in real time with Tour de France professionals, also in lockdowns.
BSCC also hosted a series of free junior skills clinics leading into Christmas to help young riders have a safe space to learn.