Coronavirus New York: Tony’s Bicycle Shop in Queens struggles to keep up with demand during COVID-19 crisis

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ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) – A Queens bicycle store works almost 24 hours a day to put bikes in the hands of New Yorkers who need them more than ever. At Tony’s Bicycle Shop in Astoria, the phone continues to ring.

Outside, the line goes down 23rd Avenue.

It’s like that every day of the week, all day.

This is the life of a bicycle store in New York during the coronavirus pandemic.

This bike shop was seen as an essential service from day one.

“The first day, mostly essential people. As if they had to go to work, “said Dino Filippidis, co-owner of Tony’s Bicycle Shop. “Like the delivery men and the doctors and nurses, the firefighters, the police, they had to go to work and they didn’t want to use the train. But out of nowhere, we just saw an increase. “

It was about two weeks after the closure started.

He said that the gymnasiums were closed, the parents had to take their children out of the house and that the weather was warmer, business exploded.

“I feel more secure. I feel like I can stay away from social distance by cycling, “said cyclist Nicole Honrado. “I don’t really want to take like an Uber or take the subway just to commute. “

Another cyclist, Marlene Mosley, said she used to take the M60 to cross the bridge. But she says the bus was horrible and crowded.

The bike shop is now closing earlier, just to allow more time for repairs.

And the workers stay until 2 am every day just to deal with the backlog.

In fact, the demand is so high, of all the bikes inside the store, only a handful of them are less than $ 1,000. All that remains is top of the range.

Some days they have to refuse repairs because there is simply no place to put bikes.

And there is still a problem. It’s a supply problem.

Many parts are made in China.

“This has never happened before,” said Filippidis. “You know, we had the days when the MTA went on strike and there were a lot of people. “

But Filippidis says that nothing compares to what he is going through right now.

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