From Ryan of 94.9 KYSS-FM's "Smith and Nelson" morning show:
It's been a crazy few months for all of us as we navigate through life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the weirdness of staying 6 feet away from people in stores, empty tables at restaurants, and not a concert to be seen, we've had a pretty big reason to celebrate around our house. Our daughter is five-and-a-half and has just transitioned from the world of four wheels to two. Yep, she dumped the training wheels and is ready to take her rightful place in that sweet world of freedom that only exists once you graduate to a "big kid bike."

If you've attempted to find a new bike lately, it's proven to be a bit of a tricky task in Missoula. We went to multiple stores in search for bikes without much success. Our first trip started with high hopes of having our daughter sit on different bikes to see what size would fit her best. Instead, the picture below shows what we found when we arrived at the bike section. Our quest took us to a number of stores around town that were struggling with inventory.

Photo: TSM

I talked with one employee at a local bike store and they were explaining the recent shortage of stock to me. They said at this time of year, in a normal year, people are purchasing new bikes as the weather improves and they have plans to get outside. But with the coronavirus there's been such a higher number of people that have been looking to participate in outdoor activities. That means more people purchasing bikes. And bike suppliers are having to face the increased demand as well as their own shipping issues that have come with the pandemic. The end result is a lot of stores not being able to replace their stock once they make a sale.

We ended up getting lucky the other day and found a store that had received a shipment of kids' bikes. We felt like we hit the jackpot after being to a handful of places with little or no stock.

I know I'm not the only one that has faced the issue since I've seen a couple other stories this week about the bike shortages around town. You can read more at the links from pieces done by The Missoulian and NBC Montana.