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Bicycle

Inside the Rocky Point Cycle shop, which is just one of several bike stores on the North Shore reporting exceptional sales amid the current health crisis. File photo by Kyle Barr

By Chris Parsick

While Long Island has traipsed through the four stages of reopening during the ongoing pandemic, many businesses have experienced a lull in sales. Movie theaters and concert venues face an unknown future. However, one booming business has turned out to be bicycle retail sales. 

“Sales are outpacing supplies. We have almost zero bicycles in stock and whenever we get more, they sell out in hours.”

— Neal Passoff

A New York Times article published earlier this month by Sasha von Oldershausen depicts the situation in New York City. The article describes stores sold out of bicycles with the wait for repairs reaching to the better part of a month. The article’s author points out that this pandemic may mark a change in the city to bicycles as a primary mode of transportation. 

Is the same thing happening on Long Island?

Bicycle sales are certainly up, according to many bicycle shops on the North Shore. 

“There has definitely been a huge increase,” said Neal Passoff, the president of Campus Cycle in Stony Brook. “Sales are outpacing supplies. We have almost zero bicycles in stock and whenever we get more, they sell out in hours.” 

Campus Cycle isn’t alone in experiencing this unprecedented demand for bicycles. Both Cycle Company in Smithtown and Rocky Point Cycle tell similar tales. 

“We have about a hundred bikes on backorder,” said Matt Connolly of Rocky Point Cycle. “They won’t be available until mid to late fall.” 

Does this mean that bicycles will become the main mode of transportation on the Island? A spring when many residents spent socially distanced at home has turned into a summer where many sporting-related businesses are saying they’ve seen an increase in sales. 

The boating retail business has also seen huge boons. 

“It’s the busiest season we’ve had in our 21 years of business.” said Cathy Bouquio, of Port Inflatables in Port Jefferson Station. “We’ve had more sales in this season to this date than we’ve had in entire seasons.” 

The Port Inflatables owner said it may be due to people spending their vacation money on recreation here on Long Island.

They’re not alone. Other local boating businesses like Island Watersports in Port Jefferson have seen similar increases. 

The reason that Long Island won’t likely experience the same switch to bicycles that the city is facing lies in the available modes of transportation. In 2016, the MTA reported 67.2 percent of the city’s workers using public transit to get to their jobs. The New York Times article specifically cites a distrust of public transportation to prevent COVID-19 transmission as a key factor in the switch to bicycles as a primary mode of transportation. However, on Long Island, close to 82 percent of working-age people rely on cars for their daily commute. 

As just one example, hitch installations, used to secure bikes to the top or rear of a car, are also on the rise. 

“We’ve seen increased hitch installations for both watercrafts and bike racks.” said Artie Kagel, of Mount Sinai Wheel and Alignment.

Airlines are continuing to see a steep decline in revenues compared to previous years, while  several states have also experienced a daily increase in coronavirus cases. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has mandated those traveling to New York from a number of these high-COVID states are ordered to complete a 14-day quarantine. 

Business owners on the North Shore said they want to believe more people will be spending their summers at home on Long Island, but either way, they are happy for the increased sales.

Anthony Boglino, the owner of the Premier Pools & Spas in Port Jefferson Station, said he has seen increased sales of both pools and spas, though the pandemic has made getting a permit for a new pool a challenge. As for whether he sees more people doing staycations on Long Island, “I hope so,” he said. “You’re guess is as good as mine.”

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Police arrive after a man was allegedly hit by a train in Port Jefferson. Photo from the inside of train by Isobel Breheny

A bicyclist was allegedly struck by an oncoming train in Port Jefferson May 15, leaving commuters stranded on the train for more than an hour.

At approximately 6:20 p.m, the 4:19 p.m. train from Penn Station came into contact with a 50-year-old male bicyclist at the Main Street grade crossing in Port Jefferson, according to a MTA spokesperson.

The man was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the MTA said. The train was delayed 71 minutes. Long Island Railroad service was briefly suspended east of Stony Brook, and restored at 7:16 p.m.

File photo

A South Setauket resident was seriously injured after he was hit by two cars while riding a bike across Nesconset Highway near Walmart in East Setauket just before 11 a.m. June 26, according to Suffolk County Police.

Stefan Kochaniwsky was riding a bicycle across Route 347 from the south side to the north side in front of 3990 Route 347 when he was struck by an east 2004 Ford Mustang. Kochaniwsky was then struck by an eastbound 2005 Jeep Liberty.

Kochaniwsky, 18, of South Setauket, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The driver of the Ford, Kevin Nelson, 22, of Port Jefferson Station, and the driver of the Jeep, Cassandra Benitez, 23, of Shirley, were not injured.

Both vehicles were impounded for safety checks and the investigation is continuing.

Raynard Dashiell was arrested for hitting a bicyclist with his car and fleeing the scene. Photo from SCPD

A Dix Hills man was arrested this past weekend after police said he hit a bicyclist while driving and then fled the scene.

Raynard Dashiell was driving a 2011 Honda Ridgeline west on Express Drive North in Dix Hills on Saturday, Sept. 10, when his vehicle hit a male bicyclist at 9:12 a.m. The bicyclist, 58, of Muttontown, was transported by Dix Hills Rescue to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for treatment of serious injuries.

Dashiell, 54, fled the scene and his vehicle became disabled approximately a quarter mile west of the crash location where he was located by 2nd Precinct officers.

Second Squad detectives charged Dashiell, with leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury. He was held overnight at the 2nd Precinct and is scheduled to appear back at First District Court in Central Islip Sept. 16. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is continuing.

Mathew McCauley mugshot from SCPD

A man arrested yesterday allegedly burglarized a bagel store and then biked away from the scene of the crime.

The Suffolk County Police Department said the man burgled Mayfair Bagels on Jericho Turnpike in Commack at about 4:45 a.m. on Monday before fleeing on a bicycle. Officers from the 4th Precinct responded to an alarm at the bagel business and found their suspect in the area shortly afterward.

Police arrested a Lake Ronkonkoma resident, Mathew McCauley, in connected with the incident. The 51-year-old was charged with third-degree burglary, as well as a parole violation.

Attorney information for McCauley was not immediately available. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.

According to police, detectives are investigating whether the suspect could have been involved in other recent burglaries in Commack.