Bikes have been racing out the door from shops as more Kiwis forced to stay in the country get the cycling bug.
Electric bikes and traditional bicycles have been flying off the floor through lockdown and accelerated after the restrictions were lifted, the renewed interest in biking is said to have been sparked by the onset of Covid-19.
New Zealand imported $91.8 million worth of bicycles last year - more than 253,000 - and $67m worth of electric bikes, according to Stats NZ.
The number of e-bikes imported into the country has almost doubled the total of the previous years in 2017, 2018 and 2019. About 63,500 electric bikes were imported last year, up from 47,350 in 2018 and 23,326 in 2017. Most bicycle imports are from Taiwan, while China leads in e-bikes.
Not only are sales surging, but demand is at an all time high for repairs.
Campbell Read, owner and director of Charge About NZ and eBikeStudio.co.nz, said the pandemic had encouraged people to back on their bikes -- and to get a new one.
He said a big factor in the surge in sales was the inability to travel internationally and therefore more money in the pockets of consumers.
"When we went into lockdown everybody started getting a bit desperate going 'oh God, we need to get a bike to get about because this is one of the few things we're allowed to do'," Queenstown-based Read told the Herald.
"The demand has been huge. Even panic-buying. The evening before going into level 4 lockdown, people rocked in and bought $12,000 carbon electric mountain bikes."
Sales today were still "really high" and consumers seemed to be interested in higher-end, good quality models, many had done their research doing lockdown, he said.
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Sales in the business were up about 200 per cent on this time last year, he said.
"A lot of retailers have [sold out of bikes] ... big importers haven't been able to meet demand because they have to get all of their orders together at the beginning of the year," said Read.
"I've noticed that there's a lot of empty stores out there, the big guys and the heavy discounters, seem to be almost out of stock."
Read said there could be a bike shortage in New Zealand in the months ahead as major manufacturers prioritise distribution to markets with higher demand closer to home.
Prices of bikes in the next season could also be hiked as a result, he said.
The tourism arm of Charge About NZ sold most of its rental bikes to meet demand. The business' import and distribution division eBikeStudio.co.nz sells bikes to retailers priced from $4500 to $13,000.
"Regular bikes sales have been strong too. Our dealers across the country have all said that bike demand, generally, is really high - it's one of New Zealand's top past times."
While biking is most popular with those aged 50 and over, Read said demand from younger people had increased, particularly in the urban bike market, as many looked for alternatives means of transport around the cities.
He puts the surge in sales in recent weeks down to "more disposable income because people aren't travelling" and the focus on domestic tourism and many wanting to see the country by bike as part of camping trips.
"There's been a rediscovery of biking - it was one of the options during lockdown that was regarded as acceptable - people started to rediscover their own bikes, all of these old bikes, certainly down here in Queenstown, were coming out of the garages; 1980s mountain bikes - it was great to see."
Prior to lockdown, the country's biggest city recorded 3.7 million cycle movements for the year to March 2020, an increase of 2.1 per cent on the previous 12 months, according to Auckland Transport.
The number of cycle movements recorded for commuter trips decreased during lockdown. However, it recorded a surge in the number of people, especially families, taking advantage of quieter streets by walking or riding bikes in their neighbourhoods. Some areas saw a 100 per cent increase in bike use compared to the same period last year.
The demand for bikes has also been recorded by online marketplace TradeMe.
Trade Me spokeswoman Millie Silvester said demand for bikes had increased since New Zealand entered lockdown, and demand had not petered out after restrictions lifted.
Sales of bikes in the second quarter of the year jumped 17 per cent compared to the same time a year earlier. In June, sales for bikes on the site were up 27 per cent.
There have been more than 400,000 searches for bikes on the site in the last seven days, up 22 per cent on the week prior, and 'mountain bikes' were among the most searched for items over the past week.
Mike Tritt, founder of e-bike retailer Electrify NZ, said the business with nine stores nationwide was swamped with demand from Alert level 3.
"We're normally a very seasonal business where demand peaks in summer, [but] we were selling more bikes while we were still in lockdown under the level 3 restrictions than we were at the very peak of summer. We emptied our warehouses out very quickly," Tritt said.
He said e-bikes had experienced "a massive boom" in demand in the last five years.
"When we started a bit over five years ago the main demographic was older, boomers, if you like, who were using them primarily for recreational purposes. In the last five years, we've seen a rapid growth in the number of customers who are a bit younger than that looking to use them for commuting."
Tritt said sales of e-bikes in its Tauranga and Auckland stores had been "very good" and they were increasingly being used alternative modes of transport for commutes.
According to Auckland Transport, 14 per cent of Aucklanders are biking more often than they did pre-lockdown and 75 per cent said they intend to continue walk or bike after lockdown ended.
Across 5 weeks of level 4 and 3 lockdown, bikes accounted for 15.8 per cent of local traffic in Auckland.
Jolisa Gracewood of Bike Auckland said the potential for the bike market was "enormous".
"What this all shows is that people are keen to jump on bikes – for fun, for health, for ease and reliability of getting around, and to do their bit for climate action. It's a great way to get to school, to the shops, and to break-free of congestion on your commute.
"The public is keen and the potential is enormous. More people on bikes should mean safer streets for everyone, less heavy traffic to contend with, more independent kids, a healthier populace, nicer neighbourhoods and livelier shopping streets," Gracewood said.
"We now have a massive once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to urgently bring our streets up to scratch, so people of all ages can get around as freely and happily as they did during lockdown."