Bisti Bicycles experiencing high customer demand for bikes amid COVID-19 pandemic

Matt Hollinshead,
Bisti Bicycles bike technician Shane Rakestraw checks the front tire of a bike on Monday, July 13, 2020, in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Cyclists are hitting San Juan County’s rugged trails whenever they can during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Bisti Bicycles started providing reconditioned rides for them during a time when many businesses had to shut down.

Located at 213 W. Main St. in downtown Farmington, the business enhances used bikes and sells them for what the owners feel are reasonable prices — as little as $200, but no higher than $2,000.

The owners opened their shop in March among empty storefronts and temporarily-closed businesses and, due to the Complete Streets Project, they now have no on-street parking along West Main.

But they do have an air-powered, orange sky dancer, or tube man, to attract customers. It flails away behind the business to attract people to a back alley entrance off a free city parking lot that's now the best way for customers to get into businesses still open in that construction zone.

And they also seem to have a lot of optimism.

A solitary workout

They say customer demand has been quite high because getting on a bike provides a rider a challenging, long-lasting workout — all while practicing social distancing.

Bisti Bicycles is selling between 10 and 20 bikes per week since opening day. They’ve also had their strong days, selling eight bikes on July 10 alone.

“I’ve seen a big uptick in sales... More people want to go riding, so everybody’s been in here… We’re busy pretty much every single day,” assistant manager Haden Cox said. “We’re so busy, it’s insane.”

A safe ride is key

Co-owner Sheldon Sandoval said Bisti Bicycles checks things like whether brakes are set correctly, if bolts are screwed on tight enough and if the forks and tires are connected the right way. The bike frames are also sanded down and polished.

“All the bikes get the same TLC, to bring them back to life and then get them operating smooth,” bike technician Shane Rakestraw said.

Bisti Bicycles employees say they also rigorously clean each bike for a good 15-20 minutes, which helps get rid of any built-up dirt, grease and grime, before taking them to the showroom floor.

Because it’s unknown how long the pandemic will last, Bisti Bicycles wants to ensure their bikes will last a while.

“They’re going to last you four, five or six years down the road,” Sandoval said.

Bisti Bicycles, located at 213 W. Main St. in Farmington, is selling between 10 and 20 bicycles per week, according to co-owner Sheldon Sandoval. However, Sandoval also said the shop sold eight or nine bicycles back on Friday, July 10, 2020.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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