COVID-19 and the Cycling Economy

The stock market has fallen about 30% since the start of the month and it is all centered around the Coronavirus. Italy has been shut down along with many US cities, including our near and dear Los Angeles. The U.S. along with the world has been forced into a recession. With cities shut down and social distancing encouraged, it begs the question for all of cyclists: how will this affect me?

USA Cycling has stopped all events across the US for the next couple of weeks, which could potentially extend to the end of May. Riding recreationally in San Francisco has been banned and everyone is required to stay indoors unless it’s absolutely essential. With racing on hold and cycling illegal in SF, there will no doubt be a huge hit to the economy. The deeper underlying problem is that most of the big Spring Classics have been cancelled and now the next peak is in July/August area. Why would most people train if the next race is in 4-5 months? Not only that, most entrepreneurs have been forced to unemployment or a recessionary period, causing a lack of income in an already expensive sport. There’s no income, no reason to train, and it’s also illegal to train outdoors in certain parts of the country.

The sport has already been shifting slightly to indoor riding with Zwift and Wahoo working together to make a VR program that makes it much more convenient and conceivable than it used to be. Long-story short: indoors will experience a huge boom. More people are buying Zwift than probably ever before and more people are forced to ride indoors, creating and actual NEED for people to buy the subscription. Times are changing, and the business models that can operate without contact with others are the ones that are going to succeed, forcing those with advanced tech to come out leagues ahead.