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Forget toilet paper. The latest product to spike in sales during the coronavirus pandemic is... bicycles?

SUGAR LAND, Texas – More people are turning to bicycles to enjoy some fresh air now that coronavirus restrictions are starting to ease. Bike shops across the Houston-area are seeing their sales accelerate.

The phone started ringing Tuesday morning, well before Society Cycle Works in Sugar Land opened its doors at noon. For the last several weeks, staff have been greeted each day with a steady line of customers.

Demand for a set of two-wheels has cranked into full gear since the start of the pandemic.

Nationwide, bicycles and repair services in the month of March nearly doubled in comparison to the previous year according to NPD, a marketing group. The group also found by the end of May, low-end consumer bikes were selling out.

“The best way to describe it is like a toilet paper syndrome,” said Jennie Leverett, co-owner of Society Cycle Works. “We could not stock the bikes fast enough and it sells so fast. Just like toilet paper it’s hard to come by."

Leverett said she’s sold out of bikes until September. Anything under the $1,000 range flew off shelves as more people turned to riding as a way to get exercise and fresh air, she said.

“Every week we stock about 100 bikes and it’s gone every week within 24 hours,” said the bike shop co-owner.

The shop, like many others KPRC 2 has checked with, is also inundated with bicycle repairs as people like Pat McClung dust off their old bikes.

“I was shocked they said it would take like three weeks to get service on them. I said ‘OK, we waited 25 years, what’s another three weeks,’” McClung said as she was dropping off two bikes for repairs.

Other bike riders are thankful they were able to get their wheels before the pandemic hit.

“People are definitely getting out more,” said Kyrah Sytsma who was riding her bike on a Sugar Land trail with her husband and son Tuesday afternoon. “I think that’s why bikes are sold out in a lot of places. Also, I think the smaller bikes shops are sold out because people are trying to support their local and smaller businesses.”

Leverett is urging people to check their garages for old bikes that could use repairs. She said that may be an alternative for people looking to buy a new bike.