It’s 2:30 p.m. and Kayuh Bicycles owner Henry Sam is getting ready for his daily afternoon bike haul. After closing up shop, he hops in his black Subaru Outback and takes off to zigzag around the city.
“We started offering free pickup and delivery as soon as we were allowed to reopen,” says Sam, who now spends three hours a day scooping up bikes. “We want people to stay home as much as possible. And people are scared. This takes away just a little bit of the fear.”
Sam offers delivery services to anyone within a five-mile radius of his Francisville shop. If you’re a bit farther, he’s flexible, he says. And he’ll also come save you if you get caught in a bind.
“Yesterday, one of our customers got a flat on MLK Drive, so I drove out and brought both him and his bike back,” says Sam. “This is a pandemic — our main focus right now is keeping people serviced and safe, and making sure our staff stays paid.”
For many, bikes serve as an essential means of transportation. With reduced public transit schedules and social-distancing guidelines in place, that’s true now more than ever.
The city has placed bike shops on the list of essential businesses allowed to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also why bike maintenance and repair shops are on Pennsylvania’s list of “life-sustaining” businesses.
Some Philadelphia shops have closed to protect their staff, but most remain open with modifications to store hours and the customer experience. Not all are offering tune-ups, but at locations that are, expect longer than usual turnaround times. (Tune-up turnaround times average between three to six days.) Front-line workers are often given priority service. Some shops are offering discounts for health-care workers and couriers.
Here are where to get your bike serviced and what to expect.