Though the coronavirus pandemic has hit many businesses hard, Peru’s local bike shop is thriving as residents look to get outside with families as they also maintain their distance from others.
“It really went crazy selling stuff … probably a month ago,” Mike Inglehearn, owner of Breakaway Bike and Fitness in downtown Peru, told the Tribune on Tuesday.
Inglehearn had just finished up helping one couple as two employees worked on bikes behind the counter.
The COVID-19 outbreak has kept everyone in the shop busy. Customers have come in interested in buying new bikes or just getting an older bike dusted off and tuned up.
“A little of everything,” Inglehearn said.
So much so that the problem he faces now will be getting his hands on the most popular models to sell.
Though he still has bikes, he said that some of the ones he is sold out of won’t be back in stock until late summer.
And judging by the calls he is getting from markets outside of his, he is not the only one with that problem.
“We have people calling from Fort Wayne, Kokomo,” he said.
Inglehearn’s shop is experiencing what many around the country are seeing right now.
Brian Morris, a bike shop owner in Arizona told The Associated Press recently that he initially worried he was going to have to shut his business down for a while as stay-at-home orders went into effect, but the executive order from the governor there allowed him to stay open.
“We’ve seen a huge spike in sales across the board, from beach cruisers all the way up to high-end mountain bikes, road bikes,” Morris said. “A lot of tubes, tires tools as a lot of people are learning to do home repairs with a lot of shops being overloaded in service. We have seen a major spike and had a hard time keeping up with the demand at times.”
The same has been true in California, according to another AP story.
“We have a three-day sale once a year literally called ‘the madness sale.’ This just feels like two straight months of madness sales,” said Dale Ollison, a bike mechanic at Hank and Frank Bicycles, an Oakland, California, shop that is selling online and doing curbside pick-ups.
Oakland was the first California city to launch a “slow streets” program in April and has closed 20 miles (32 kilometers) of city streets to cars to create a safer outdoor space for pedestrians and cyclists. San Francisco soon followed, closing sections of twelve streets in a city that already has a robust network of bike lanes.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, an advocacy and education group, has seen demand for its classes on city biking – now online – jump from 30 participants to more than 100, Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier said.
“A lot of folks are dusting off their bikes to get themselves and their families a bit of fresh air during all of this,” he said. “It’s the perfect tool for this time.”
Locally, Inglehearn said he is seeing much the same thing.
People, he said, first seemed to react to stay-at-home guidance from the state as a directive to stay in their homes or at least on their property. But as officials started in with the message that it was indeed OK to enjoy outdoor recreation, Inglehearn said people seemed to start to look to bikes as a way to not only get outside but to spend time with their family .
That was helped along by stimulus checks from the federal government and the presence of the area’s Nickel Plate Trail.
“The average rider is riding the trail,” he said.
To help keep residents informed during the ongoing health emergency, this section is continuing to evolve.
Though many events have been canceled, some, like mobile food pantries and blood drives, will continue to take place. The top portion of this section will list such events and be updated daily. Cancellations and closures of various events, agencies and public buildings will be listed below those items.
The state of Indiana, in a partnership with OptumServe Health, has opened a coronavirus testing site at the Indiana National Guard armory at 77 German St. in Peru. Individuals who are symptomatic or COVID-19 or close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 positive patients are eligible for testing. Residents will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required, but those with insurance are asked to bring information with them. For more information or to schedule a test, visit lhi.care/covid testing or call 888-634-1116.
The Peru Public Library has reopened to the public with social distancing guidelines and other precautions in place.
The United Way of Miami County is now accepting grant applications for money from a coronavirus relief fund made possible by the Lilly Endowment. Money from the $225,000 dollar fund is expected to paid out in three phases – for immediate relief to longterm recovery – and is targeted to help “human and social service nonprofits on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic.” To apply, visit the local United Way website at www.uwmiamip.org.
The Miami County Local Emergency Planning Committee will meet on May 28 at 4:30 p.m. at 78 McKinstry Avenue.
The Loree Brethren Church will host a chicken noodle dinner on June 4 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 8483 S. Strawtown Pike. Carry-out only.
The Dukes Health Care Foundation of Miami County is accepting grant applications from organizations “that promote the health and well-being of the citizens of Miami County.” The deadline to apply is June 30. Application packets for tax-exempt organizations can be picked up at the Miami County Chamber of Commerce office at 13 E. Main St. Those with questions should contact John Claxton at 765-473-7189.
Dog tags are available at the Miami County Courthouse, Room 107, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The fee is $5 per dog.
Residents can also mail payment to Miami County Courthouse, 25 N. Broadway, Room 107, Peru, IN 46970. They are asked to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope and tags will be mailed along with a receipt. Please make checks payable to Miami County Treasurer.
For questions, call 765-472-3901 Ext. 1860.
Peru residents looking to renew or purchase dog tags need to contact Peru Animal Care and Control at 765-470-2410 or at the office located at 75 German Street. The animal control officer is available between the hours of 8 a.m and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
North Miami Community Schools is currently accepting online applications for both Little Warriors Preschool and kindergarten.
Little Warriors Preschool is certified through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Child Care Developmental Fund and is Paths to Quality Level 3 Certified.
The school offers both full-day and half-day options. Half-day preschool is open to all 3-and 4-year-olds, and the full-day preschool is open to all 4-year-olds. Children must be 3 or 4 no later than Aug.1 of the current school year to enroll. Preschool is every Monday through Thursday, and tuition is and $35 per week for half-day or $60 per week for full-day.
The elementary is also registering students for kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year. Registration for both programs can be found on the North Miami Elementary School site under “PK/K Registration Information.”
For questions, please contact the elementary school at 765-985-2155 on Monday or Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.