I know this all ‘makes sense’ when you think about it, but I still find it a strange paradox.
Covid has boosted some industries so much that bike shop owners are scrambling to find trained mechanics and real estate agents outside Paris are constantly changing ads in their windows because little houses in little towns are being snapped up by city people suddenly working from home all the time.
John was down at the bike shop yesterday trying to get his Mavics fixed and he said that it was mayhem there – everyone needs a bike these days and half of them need them fixed, I guess. The cycling industry is booming…or at least part of it.
Then you just take a step to the left and you have a similar shop in Girona, Spain, that just went out of business after 10 years. The ‘problem’ with Girona, of course, is that it’s a tourist town and nearly entirely given over to cycling tourists. Add to this the fact that just about all these tourists are not Spanish and you start wondering how Bike Breaks actually lasted this long (non-EU travellers are still exceedingly rare in Europe). They were also mainly a rental outfit, until they had to sell their whole fleet to stay alive, of course.
I don’t know the whole story, but I talked with the owner yesterday (they were one of our partners down there) and it turns out that they never received any financial aid from the Spanish government, highlighting how essential it was for the tax payer to come to the rescue of businesses affected by Covid. We are in France, which is a country of many frustrations, but when it comes to doling out dough to the needy, there is no better. We also don’t have a fleet of bikes to maintain or rent to pay, so we feel for our colleagues who aren’t as lucky.
Bike Breaks isn’t the first of our friends to have to close in the last year and half and I imagine they won’t be the last. With some light at the end of the 2021 tunnel, though, we hope they are.