Grand Forks bicycle shop reports high sales, with some models selling out

Pandemic leads area residents to seek safe outdoor activities.

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Dave Sears (left) and Pat White work to restore a 25 year old Trek 970 bicycle. (Adam Kurtz/Grand Forks Herald)

As area residents look to get outdoors during the pandemic, sales of bicycles have shot up to the point where they are getting hard to come by, and what’s left in stock is high-end.

In recent weeks, The Ski and Bike Shop on South Washington Street has sold more than 300 bicycles in the $500 to $800 price range, depleting the shop’s stock of mid-range bikes. Those bicycles are manufactured overseas, and the coronavirus pandemic has slowed shipping, making it harder for the shop to restock. Customers have turned to higher-end bikes and are having older ones restored.

“It just popped up overnight,” said Terry Knudson, one of the three co-owners of the store. “With everything going on, I think a lot of people wanted to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”

Knudson said he has seen sales like this before, but that was about 15 years ago. Before the pandemic, the business was able to get shipments of new bicycles about once a week. The last one came in about a month ago, meaning customers who have pre-bought need to wait. The shop is expecting its next shipment sometime next week.

Two months ago, a customer could have purchased a bicycle for $550. Those models quickly sold out, followed by $700 and $900 models, which means people looking to spend time outside on bicycle trails need to start their search in the higher-end.


“I wish we could get some more bikes quicker, but nobody can,” Knudson said.

The low supply of mid-range bikes has made customers much more thoughtful about the kind of bicycle they need to buy, according to Pat White, another one of the store’s co-owners. Some customers are making three to four visits to the store before they take the plunge on higher-end bikes, which can range from $1,000 to $6,000.

White said the higher prices can be a tough pill for some customers to swallow but, ultimately, has helped them make more appropriate choices about which bike is best suited for their lifestyle. Though they may look similar, using a light-terrain bike as a mountain bike in locations such as Turtle River State Park or the Pembina Gorge, can lead to damage, and customers are now more aware of the differences.

“The economy has forced them to make the appropriate choice for themselves,” White said, adding that putting people on the right bike helps customers enjoy them more.

It isn’t just sales that is keeping the shop busy, it’s repairs. People are rummaging through their garages for old or damaged bicycles they can have restored. Small repairs can be done on the spot, but the shop is looking at a turn around of two weeks to refurbish an old bike.

“It’s been crazy,” said Dave Sears, a bike mechanic at The Ski and Bike Shop. “This is always our busy time, but everyone’s digging their bikes out of the shed.”

Sears is a cyclist, as are the owners and staff at the shop. He said going out for a ride helps him focus on things outside the pandemic.

“It gets your mind off all the junk going on in the world,” he said.


Terry Knudson, co-owner of The Ski and Bike Shop stands next to a rack of bicycles waiting for repair. (Adam Kurtz/ Grand Forks Herald)

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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