It’s been a whirlwind few months for Ashburton bike shop owners Paul and Monique Brake, who are currently riding a wave of cycling resurgence.
The couple, who run Stoked Cycles on Burnett Street, began operating in mid-February, but five weeks later were forced to shut up shop because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The business reopened for contactless click and collect bike maintenance under level 3 and since level 2 has been flat out with bike servicing and sales.
Extra staff have been employed to meet servicing demand and some long days have been put in by the Brakes.
Paul Brake said a lot of people had rediscovered a love of biking during lockdown, or had enjoyed the time off to get on their bikes.
Families and people of all ages had jumped into the saddle to get exercise and to keep their sanity.
“We’re flat out right now, but I do expect things to calm down a bit soon.
“From a business point of view, it’s been great for us, but it’s gone from having no work to having more than we can handle at times.”
He said up to 40 bikes had been lined up for servicing and repair work in recent days.
He and his team were catching up with the backlog.
Monique Brake said new bike sales had also been brisk.
Electric bikes and children’s bikes had been big sellers lately.
Mrs Brake said her husband had been packing in regular 13-hour days and working weekends to meet demand.
The couple’s three children had been cared for by willing grandparents on a number of occasions over the past few weeks. “We’re grateful for the support of family and friends and we’re also grateful to the customers who have been understanding at this very busy time.”
The Brakes are looking forward to getting out on their bikes as a family when things calm down a bit, but for now, they’re happy with the decision to buy their own business.
By Mick Jensen