One German sector that’s been quick to recover from the effects of the coronavirus lockdown is cycling. While turnover in two-wheelers dipped as bike shops were prohibited from opening, businesses bounced back quickly when the lockdown was eased.
In a poll published on May 19 by the industry association ZIV, two-thirds of retailers and 69 percent of repair shops and other support providers said they expected to do the same or more business in 2020 as in 2019. 54 percent of dealers reported that business was already back to normal.
Only 18 percent of cycling business said they had been forced to apply for state help to survive. And a mere ten percent reported letting employees go.
In fact, the corona crisis may well prompt a further cycling boom in Germany, opening up new customer bases and business opportunities in Germany, as fewer people are using public transport.
Dutch bicycle subscription provider Swapfiets reported significant increases of new customers, especially in larger German cities. In poll of these users, 42 percent said that the coronavirus had influenced their decision to take out a subscription. Of that group, 45 percent cited restrictions on public transport and 38 percent health concerns vis-à-vis crowded busses and trains as motivations.
And Germany’s cities are already reacting to this incipient trend. Berlin, for example, has create kilometers of “pop-up bike lanes” by reserving sections of road previously used by cars for cyclists. The new lanes are officially temporary but no deadline has been set for their conversion back to car traffic.