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VeloSwap returns to Denver during pandemic biking boom, low supply

Posted at 5:02 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 22:28:31-04

DENVER — Vendors are setting up for another year of Veloswap. The event was forced to take a year off in 2020 due to the pandemic.

"It’s a total circus, but it’s a ton of fun," said Mackenzie Hardt, owner of Hardt Family Cyclery.

"If you like bikes, this is Christmas the first week of November," said Bruce Lien with Recycle Bicycles.

For more than three decades, VeloSwap has been a place where cycling enthusiasts can buy and sell bikes, parts and accessories. It couldn’t come at a better time.

"The demand is high and we are hoping to fill the gaps where you can’t get it online," said Colin Barry, the operations manager of VeloSwap.

A U.S. Census report shows bike sales hit a five-year high during the pandemic. As gyms and public transportation shutdown, people found other ways to go places and get the heart pumping.

"This is something we can still do in a group setting and yet something to feel safe and approachable by a lot of people," Hardt said.

Hardt says the supply chain shortage happening globally is impacting his local shop as well.

"We are pre-selling bikes six to eight months out now, which is crazy to be doing in the bike industry," Hardt said.

The pandemic is also taking its toll on nonprofits like Recycle Bicycles. A group that has given more 22,000 bikes away to people who can’t afford them. Lien says to continue giving bikes, they had to take parts from one bike to fix another in order to continue their mission.

"The old saying that necessity is the mother of invention, that was where we were at," Lien said.

The pandemic is leaving its mark on VeloSwap.

"We should be over 200 vendors. In years past, we’ve been a little bit more than that, but, of course, with the pandemic we’re in right now, people are still coming out of there shell," Barry said.

While they may be down on vendors, it’s not hurting ticket sales. Nearly 2,000 people have purchased their tickets ahead of Saturday's event that goes from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.