It’s a cold, hard fact: The bike shop as we know it is an endangered species. Consider the statistics in the United States alone. In 2001, the number of bike shops in the states peaked at 6,259. By the time 2015 ground to a close, that number had plummeted to just 3,759. That’s 2,469 independent bike dealers that went belly up—a decline of 39.4%. If shops continue to close their doors at the same rate, America will have said goodbye to half its bike shops by 2024.
There are plenty of reasons why this is true. Mail order sales were the first nail in the coffin. Online sales have only accelerated that downward trajectory.
The growth in direct-to-consumer brands, such as Canyon and YT, may well be the final nail. Major bike brands, such as Giant and Trek, have seen the writing on the wall and are trying to create compromise solutions that allow consumers to shop online while still picking up their bike from a brick-and-mortar shop. How long will it be, however, before the smaller, boutique brands that have always struggled to find floor space alongside the Treks, Giants and Specializeds take a cue from Canyon and YT and also go consumer-direct? I’ll answer that question myself: Not long at all.
The only question is this: How do you feel about it? Where do you stand on the demise of so many neighborhood bike shops?