No green light for bike repair shops

Ang assembling a small bicycle at his shop in Simpang Ampat, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

CYCLING is allowed but bicycle repair shops still cannot reopen under Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

OZE Cycle shop owner Albert Ang, 55, who has been serving the locals in Simpang Ampat, south Seberang Prai for 18 years, said he could only wait it out for now, as the high number of Covid-19 cases was another concern.

He said most of his customers are urban cyclists who ride bicycles to factories, offices or other essential purposes.

“I cater to two main types of customers — urban cyclists who commute and recreational cyclists who do it as a sport.

“Before the first movement control order (MCO) in March last year, there were about 10 to 20 cyclists who would come daily for repairs.

“I would charge them from RM10 to RM50 each just to keep the bicycles in working order to get around,” he said on Friday.

Ang, who had completed two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, said he was feeling the effects of closure although it meant keeping him and his family safe.

“My wife and I are operating this shop to support the family.

“We are facing difficulties in repaying the suppliers as most of the credit terms are only for a month.

“If this goes on, we might close,” said Ang, who is now relying on online trading for a small income.

KT Cyclone Sdn Bhd managing director Maverick Choo, who supplies bicycles and spare parts to over 50 dealers nationwide, said he has recorded a 90% drop in sales due to the pandemic.

He said most of the dealers had closed their shops for now, including his own shop in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam.

“Orders were cancelled and the whole supply chain is disrupted.

“Although we own permits to operate via e-commerce platform, the cycling industry cannot fully depend on it as many customers need help for repairs and assembly of parts at their local shops.

“Ordinary cyclists do not have the necessary tools and skills to perform repairs on their own.

“Many customers have called us up for help and it is hard for us to provide them support without opening physically.

“I hope we can be allowed to operate with strict standard operating procedure compliance,” he said.

Under Phase One and Two of the NRP, sport and recreational activities including cycling are allowed to be done individually without physical contact for health purposes and self improvement.

The activities must be observed with physical distancing of at least two to three metres apart in open spaces.

Penang youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said bicycle shops were not in the list to operate during Phase Two of the NRP.

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