The owner of a city centre bike sales, rental and repair shop has said that the lack of students in the city has led to a significant drop in sales.
Owner of the Bike Shed on Magazine Road, Cillian Read, said that in what is usually the busiest month for the shop during which he would normally sell hundreds of bikes, that just a handful have been sold during the month of September this year.
Many students have returned to their family homes from the city after local universities and colleges moved to online lectures due to Covid-19.
Mr Read said that the impact of not having those students has been “huge” on his business.
“In the past, our busiest month of the year was September by a longshot.
“We’d sell hundreds of bikes to students and I’d say you could count on one hand how many students bought bikes off us this year,” he said.
He said that the loss of international students was the hardest hit as students from Holland, Germany, Malaysia and Canada would have been the four most prominent.
“We would sell a lot of bikes to Irish students too but it might be a quarter Irish and three quarters other nationalities,” he said.
Mr Read said sales would also be high among Erasmus students and first year students who would normally buy bikes as a means to travel around the city.
After a busy summer, he said that despite the quiet September month that a good June, July and August “made up for the lack of turnover”.
He said that he can see things becoming generally quiet as, unlike the previous lockdown, Level 5 restrictions are in place during what are the cold and wet months of winter.
“The first lockdown was in the good weather whereas Level 5 restrictions are coming in at a time when the weather is changing and there are less hours of daylight and it’s wet and cold too, but hopefully people will get back on the bike,” he said.
He said that despite a year of “ups and downs” that it was great to be “phenomenally busy during the summer” upon reopening.
“It was great to see the faces that might not have been into us in five or 10 years, old customers came back which was lovely to see.
“It was also great to see people getting their old bikes on the road again and not having them end up in a skip or a landfill,” he said.