Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

One enduring legacy of the pandemic looks to be how Americans approach transportation. Roads emptied as the majority of the workforce was forced to work from home. Americans reevaluated their lifestyles, from their living situations to how they utilized their time. A consequence of this great reevaluation looks to be America’s renewed love for cycling.

The Bike Coop, Albuquerque’s oldest bike shop, which has been in operation since 1977, has seen business explode since the start of the pandemic. The aggressive increase in demand has allowed the neighborhood institution to reinvent what a bike shop can be in Albuquerque and its services.

Amanda Batty took over last fall from the Coop’s founder and previous owner. A former professional downhill mountain biker, Batty approached this new chapter with an eye for equity and a mission to share her passion for the sport she loves.

In an interview with The Paper. Batty spoke about her excitement regarding the recent interest in cycling and the boom it has been for shop owners around the country, especially in Albuquerque. “I’ve seen more bikes come out of storage in the past 18 months than I have in my entire life,” Batty said. “We’re getting bikes that haven’t been ridden in 20 years, because I think this is the first time in a long time where people are tired of staring at screens.”

A self-identified nerd for the industry, Batty noted that America’s interest in cycling hadn’t reached this extent since the 1970s. According to BBC, nearly 1 in 10 American adults hopped on a bike for the first time in 2020. The demand has also been placed unprecedented pressure on suppliers. Batty noted that demand has been especially acute for bikes under $1,000 and $500.

The demand for more affordable bikes has also inspired Batty to reconsider the services offered by the beloved bike shop. After taking over in spring earlier this year, Batty discovered that the shop was home to dozens of old and unused frames. To increase the affordability of their bike stock, Batty decided to refurbish and turn those unused bike frames into highly sought-after affordable models. The shop also offers repairs, tunes, restoration and shipping services. 

As of November 1, The Bike Coop will offer same-day delivery and in-store pickup services. Batty’s motivation for offering this service was to allow customers the option of limiting their exposure and risk to COVID from visiting the shop, as well as allowing local shops to compete with larger outlets, such as Amazon and Walmart, by offering hyperlocal shipping. 

The Bike Coop also hopes to set an example for other local bike shops in the city. Batty emphasized that the Bike Coop is dedicated to paying their employees a livable wage. “How do you profit off of people that you don’t even bother to take care of,” Batty said. 

“For me as a shop owner, to take care of my community and to give back is pretty freakin’ cool,” Batty said.

The Bike Coop is located at 120 Yale Blvd. SE, a block from the UNM campus. For more information on sales and events by The Bike Coop, visit their website or Instagram.

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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.