BikeBiz April 2019

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Apr’ 19

APRIL 2019



A new exclusive partnership for cycling locks and helmets in the UK.

Please contact your Extra UK Area Sales Manager for more info on: Tel: 01933 672170 | Email:

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BB-APR19-WISPER:Layout 1 25/03/2019 12:00 Page 1 FOLLOW US BikeBizonline


‘We will ensure the BikeBiz Awards take place in the most convenient, feasible location for attendees’

CONTENT Editor James Groves Staff Writer Rebecca Morley Graphic Designer Tom Carpenter

ADVERTISING SALES Sales Manager Richard Setters +44 (0)207 354 6028

SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to or email

ARCHIVES Digital editions of the magazine are available to view on Recent back issues of the printed edition may be available please call +44 (0)203 143 8777 for more information.

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MANAGEMENT Media Director Colin Wilkinson

Printed by Buxton Press Ltd ISSN: 1476-1505 Copyright 2019


Looking to the horizon In our last edition, I spoke of how, as Brexit negotiations rumble on, it becomes more and more arduous – excruciating, even – to continue formulating fresh thoughts on a process that now appears so utterly tedious it beggars belief. That’s why, as Theresa May continues to stumble around parliament, postponing all meaningful decisions and posing as the living embodiment of uselessness, I’m opting to focus on an event that can channel considerably more positivity for our industry. On 12th September, the BikeBiz Awards will be returning to the Cycle Show at the NEC Birmingham. Now in its 11th year, the BikeBiz Awards celebrate the UK cycle industry and the people and companies whose hard work behind the scenes keeps the cycle world’s wheels turning. Following visitor feedback, we are relocating to the Cycle Show, not only to meet ticket demand, but to ensure the BikeBiz Awards take place in the most convenient, feasible location for our attendees. The Cycle Show continues to grow impressively every year, and pairing the Awards ceremony with the show’s after-party will place our winners and nominees exactly where they should be: at the heart of the cycle industry. More details about this year’s Awards, including tickets and the nomination process, will be available in the near future. Watch this space!

James Groves

Biz Media Ltd, Axe & Bottle Court, 70 Newcomen St, London SE1 1YT


All contents © 2019 Biz Media Ltd. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Biz Media Ltd. cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein.

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Editorial: 020 3143 8779 Advertising: 020 7354 6028

Rebecca Morley

Richard Setters

Tom Carpenter

staff writer

sales manager

graphic designer

+44 (0)203 143 8777

25/03/2019 12:13

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APRIL 2019 Opinion



E-bikes – the perfect solution? Gocycle founder Richard Thorpe discusses usage, enjoyment and ‘cheating’


Getting headucated Hedkayse’s Kate Thomas and Iain O’Brien weigh in on the helmet debate




Is indoors the future? Alexander Michael explores the new world of virtual cycling

29 A one-stop shop Rebecca Morley visits Oxford Products

IBD Focus



The end of the road Jim Clark, owner of Jim’s Cycles, is retiring and closing his bike shop after 34 years

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E-bikes – the perfect solution? By Richard Thorpe, Gocycle founder and designer


he Netherlands, a land famed for its love affair with cycling, has captialised on the benefits of e-bikes, selling them at a one-to-one ratio against traditional bicycles in 2018. Is it time for the rest of us to catch on? Are e-bikes the future, and more importantly, are they actually good for health? Here are my personal experiences. Having founded Gocycle in 2002, I have been at the commercial and development coal face of the e-bike industry for more than a decade. I truly believe they are the perfect solution for living healthier and more sustainable lifestyles. Personally, I have been riding e-bikes for nearly 20 years – be it for daily commuting, running errands or simply fun – and I still love riding them today. I live close to my place of work – it’s around four miles each way. Most days, I’m able to commute to and from work as well as being able to make it home for lunch, and this is only possible because I ride an e-bike. We all experience work pressures, personal commitments and hot weather conditions, where commuting can frankly become a chore on a traditional bike. Electrical assist allows you to ride consistently – it makes getting out the door much easier, which is half the battle in staying active regularly, and especially with cycling to work in the early morning. Anything that reduces the barriers to get moving can only be a good thing, and e-bikes indisputably offer that. Higher usage Over time, I’m confident I’ve burned more calories and maintained my fitness level to a higher standard than if I was commuting on a traditional build. Prior to starting Gocycle, I commuted by a nonpower bike – a single speed diamond tube frame. Despite its simplicity, convenience and its lightweight build, I just don’t believe I would be commuting as regularly as I have done on my Gocycle e-bike. It is not an altogether common occurrence, but those occasional times where you are tired, run down and have a 20mph headwind (seemingly both ways!) may make you decide that the experience was just too negative to continue, and the pattern will break.

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On a Friday, for example, you will think to yourself: ‘I’m not doing that again’. Monday arrives and you decide to have a few weeks off. On an e-bike, that Friday morning commute will be a breeze, seemingly with a tailwind both ways, as the motor takes the strain. You’ll get to work on time, ready to tackle the day, and ready to cycle to work again on Monday. But it’s after a short break when an e-bike will really show its value. With a non-powered bike, your first commute into work after a two-week break will be hard. We all know the horrible equation: it seems to take two to three times longer to get your fitness back than the amount of time you took off in the first place, and that’s a huge barrier to getting back in the saddle. But with an e-bike, your first commute after a break will be a positive experience. You’ll get to work in a similar time and you’ll feel really good about getting back out there and not succumbing to lethargy. In the long-term, e-bikes are simply easier to live with and they become a bigger part of your lifestyle, which results in a more active lifestyle on the whole. They become a part of your life in a way that traditional bikes – for many people – never can. E-bikes have the distinct advantage of enabling you to get from A to B, if you choose to, with very low effort/output. As they say with non-powered bicycles, ownership is high, usage is low. We spend too much time beating ourselves up over sticking with a fitness programme, and that inevitably leads to a stop-start regime. The e-bike is your trusty steed, patting you on the back and encouraging to get you back into the swing of things. If you don’t feel up to it, it will take the strain for the first half of the journey. Nine times out of ten, once you get moving, you’ll up your heart rate regardless of the help you’re being given. Electric commute It’s worth noting that commuting on two wheels can be stressful as well as dangerous (though driving or being stuck in traffic comes with its own type of stress).

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However, I have noticed a distinct difference in the feelings you have when arriving at your destination, be it work or home, between using a car or e-bike. The latter provides a sense of achievement, a feeling that you don’t need to go to the gym, that you’ve done your small part for the planet, and the mood boost you receive from natural endorphins. Arriving home or at work by car is usually a feeling of relief. Relief that you arrived on time, having just missed traffic, or if not, the relief of finally getting out of your car but ruing the time you have lost. In my opinion, stress levels when commuting are reduced when riding an e-bike instead of a traditional bike. There are many times where the added power allows you to keep up with the flow of traffic better, or enables you to accelerate into a safer gap or stay ahead of a lorry behind you. E-bikes are more flexible in this area and for less fit or powerful riders, they could quite literally be a lifesaver. Some more solid research needs to be carried out, but in my opinion, across a wide range of abilities, e-bikes are surely safer than traditional. Ride happy When someone is considering purchasing an e-bike, I always point out that you will ride in exactly the same way you always have – you’ll simply get there quicker, travel further and have more fun! A recent Norwegian study highlighted in The Telegraph appears to corroborate this viewpoint. How much effort you put in is based on your personality, not whether you have a motor or not. Riders on normal bicycles used about 20% more energy than those on e-bikes, but the e-bikers got from A to B 20% faster. Most people would see that as a pretty reasonable trade-off. Also, when you consider that you’ll use the e-bike more over the longer term because it is more fun and more practical than a car – for short errands, for example – it’s clear the e-bike has the credentials to become the de facto commuter and recreational two-wheeler of choice. These days, we are even seeing e-bikes cropping up in the road bike segment. I had previously believed that this was many years away, but I’m certainly not complaining – they make perfect sense as a great way for more riders to keep healthy. Consider those riders who are injured, or, for whatever reason, are unable to keep up with the Sunday group ride. Rather than giving up and spending weeks/ months building up your fitness alone, there is now an option to keep doing what you love, having fun and staying fit. And with all the modern stats you get with cycling these days, it will still be easy to compare power output and calories expended so all in the group can maintain credibility among their peers. Another area that e-bikes will show promise in is rebuilding fitness and mobility for those who have been treated for heart disease. Normally, patients treated for these conditions will not be allowed to drive for a certain period of time. E-bikes offer a credible transportation option, allowing the rider to avoid exceeding safe limits of exertion.

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Who is really cheating? As is the case every time we dare mention the e-bike, some will say it’s cheating. For me, cheating is getting in your car. Riding an e-bike could only be considered cheating if you are disguising your motor, or you have more power or battery capacity than is allowed in an e-bike race. But this ‘it’s cheating’ viewpoint is pretty pointless and negative. Any opportunity to reduce the barriers to more people cycling has to be utilised. I’m not a fan of e-scooter sharing programmes in their current form, but I believe they are helping to shift people out of cars and accelerating the transformation of our cities and roads to be safer and more cycle-friendly. We all have different fitness levels, and e-bikes allow more people to stay more active. The more e-bikes out there, the more people will be cycling, and that can only be a good thing. One of the real ironies is that in the future, I predict that when it comes to cycling for fitness, the go-to machine will be an e-bike instead of a normal bike. Aside from the fun factor that encourages more usage over the long-term, most high-quality e-bikes come with a pedal torque sensor that provides the rider with their pedal power output. You don’t need to purchase expensive power cranks or be an electronics guru to understand the data and how to analyse it. Many e-bikes have apps that allow you to monitor your strength and fitness levels. For example, we have a HIT (High-Intensity Training) stat on the Gocycle that provides you with your average power output over 20 seconds as well as peak power. We have a leaderboard running in the office, which is fun – though our resident rugby player is well beyond most of us mortals! I predict that there will be more of this e-bike health stat data coming as the industry moves to ‘e-bike 4.0’. It all really comes down to enjoyment. E-bikes make commuting more fun, and when exercise is fun, you are more likely to keep it up and make it a permanent part of your lifestyle. Are e-bikes good for your health? Yes, of course they are. n

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After After After


Headucation, headucation, headucation


By Hedkayse’s Kate Thomas and Iain O’Brien

e believe it’s your choice to wear a helmet. Disclaimer – Iain came from NZ, a country where it’s compulsory, by law, to wear a helmet while riding a bike/cycle on a public road, since 1994. Iain didn’t get his first bike until he went to high school. He was 12. It was a royal blue, handlebar mounted two-lever, ten-speed Healing Clipper. He soon hit the upgrade section at the local bike store. His first purchase was a spring-controlled dial speedo that ran off the front wheel like an old school dynamo light. At the time of writing, Iain is heading towards his 43rd birthday. That means that for a few of his early years, he didn’t have to wear a helmet – that’s if he had a choice. He didn’t. The rule in his house was that if you ride a bike, you wear a helmet. And that was that. Surveys say that if you put a helmet on a rider’s head, rather than a baseball cap, they will behave differently. They inherently take more risks, and this is the case regardless of gender, age or situation. Iain soon learned from his science teacher that if he was going to get to, and just past, the magical 50kmph (30mph) on the flat (the NZ speed limit for town roads) that 90% of his energy was going to be combatting wind resistance. This then meant he had to find the smoothest and straightest nearby street. Britannia Street it was.

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Newly asphalted, black, oily-smooth, runs with the prevailing wind (or into it, depending on where he started) and not very busy. He tried, and tried, he pushed and pumped. Still days, tailwind days. He eventually got there. He broke the speed limit on his 10-speed. Would Iain have done this if he wasn’t wearing a helmet? He doesn’t know! He didn’t know differently. But probably, if you had to push for an answer, yes!? Once the 50kmph had been knocked off, a lot of his after schools were then spent slogging up the ‘Wainui’ Hill (or the Korokoro, Maungariaki, Normandale, Harbour View, Tirohanga Hills) just to turn around and see how fast he could go on the way down. He eventually got confident, and good enough, that he had to time his runs so that there was a break in the traffic and he knew a car wasn’t going to hold him up. He could go faster than a car! He did have tears streaming from the corners of his eyes, chest on his seat, wobbling knees, but he could hit 75kmph reasonably often. Would Iain have done this if he wasn’t wearing a helmet? He doesn’t know. He didn’t know differently but he probably would have. Between riding on the road and off it (trying to improve his MTB skills) Iain had had his fair share of ‘offs’. His last road crash was his fault, he completely misread the road.

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He ended up hitting the curb, ‘supermanning’ his front wheel, head first, and two rolly-pollies later, on a grass verge. A sprained thumb, a sore wrist (the other one), and a cracked leading brand EPS helmet; it sacrificed itself for him, it did its job. He got lucky. He did wonder, as he did the ‘full body still working and in one piece systems check’: ‘I do still have half of my ride to go and this helmet isn’t much use any more’. Would this have happened if he wasn’t wearing a helmet? Probably yes, but he does know it helped him. His very first crash on a bike wasn’t his fault, there was nothing he could do about it. A car door, opening at just the wrong time, no time to do anything, and over the door and front wheel he went; tough landing, donk on his head, left a fair amount of skin behind, and a slightly buckled front wheel. Ironically, the car door opener, the culprit, had been in the very same accident the previous week, but as a rider. Would this have happened if he wasn’t wearing a helmet? Yes. The vast majority of his crashes have been his fault, he says. He’s had three crashes on the road and too many to count while on his various MTBs. As you can see he’s been fortunate to have been wearing a helmet in at least a couple of ‘incidents’. This means he’s had to buy a few helmets in his time. ‘Money well spent’, his Mum would say, and then: ‘When will you learn?’ What his Mum didn’t tell him was that he actually has to ‘treat his helmet as he would treat his head’ between rides. All knocks, bumps, and drops cause damage. EPS doesn’t repair or recover. There never has been a helmet that would recover to be able to go again, until now. Argentina, Australia, Chile, South Africa and NZ are just a few of the countries that currently have some form of law in place that makes wearing a cycling helmet mandatory. Yet here in the UK we have some of the busiest roads, a cycling infrastructure nowhere near as advanced as some of our European neighbours, and a blooming cycling commuter population, and it’s only a suggested guideline. Hand in hand with the increasing cyclist commuter population are the Bike Share and Cycle to Work schemes, the price and availability of e-bikes, and the ‘kid still in us’ commuter on scooters and e-scooters. It’s becoming easier and easier to travel further, and faster, both in the time taken and speed on-route, than ever before, without a car, a bus or a train. It’s healthier, on more than just the physical level, and it’s taking congestion causing traffic off our roads, but it is putting more possible vulnerable users there. So, remember from earlier, surveys say that if you put a helmet, rather than a baseball cap, on a rider’s head they behave differently. They inherently take more risks, and this is the case regardless of gender, age or situation. This is not to say the results of the survey are skewed or wrong, but what the survey says is that if you put a loosely fitting baseball cap weighty eye-tracking equip on – versus the same equipment firmly fixed to a well fitting helmet – you’ll ride slower, you’d be less jerky in any, and all, of your movements with said baseball cap on, you’d be concerned, and/or scared, it’d fall off and break – and eye-tracking equipment isn’t cheap. 12 | April 2019

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Results from that study, though, are irrelevant for Iain, for one straight up reason. Given road conditions, given infrastructure, and sadly, given an all too common feeling and treatment towards cyclists from drivers, he just wouldn’t ride a bike here without a helmet. Nor would he at home in NZ. He also wouldn’t wear all dark colours when out on his bike, or ride at night without lights. He wears knee pads when on his MTB and he has his headlights on in the day time when he’s driving. He wouldn’t drive without a seatbelt or walk on the left side of a road without a footpath. He wouldn’t eat ‘street food’ without a local’s recommendation. He wouldn’t play cricket without a helmet. He wouldn’t ski or snowboard without a helmet. There are so many things he did/ does to reduce the chance of the worst happening, and if the worst does happen, he’s as prepared as he can be. Does this suggest those who wear helmets take fewer risks? That those who wear helmets are involved in fewer accidents? Is there a very different attitude on the slopes than there is on the roads?

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If it was to become law to wear a helmet in the UK, is there a way where it could be implemented without taking away cyclists’ liberty, their freedom of choice? Here is one possible way: • Law for all children under the age of eight to wear a helmet when on a bike, scooter or skateboard when on a public road • Every year from law roll out that the lower age goes up one year: 2019 >8 years must wear, 2020>9, 2021>10... • Government supply first helmet for children Pros and Cons: • Any child will only know wearing a helmet. It will become habit, for both parent and child, and it will become the norm with their own age group • Will not affect current cyclists’ freedom of choice • What the Government spends (£5 direct from factory), it saves at NHS • How would/could this be policed? • What if you lose or break your helmet? Most of us already make our kids wear a helmet when doing those things, anyway. As a parent, a Mum of two boys, Kate has always insisted that they wear a helmet when riding. From the day they were born, she has wanted to protect them from as many of the uncontrollable dangers of the outside world. You may find that extreme, and she’s definitely not a ‘wrap them in cotton wool’ type of Mum. She is, though, abundantly aware of the ‘uncontrollables’ and would never knowingly under-prepare them for the worst. 14 | April 2019

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Her children learned to ride wearing a helmet. The family went out on family rides all wearing a helmet. At 14 and 21, they still wear a helmet. Was it a chore to make them wear one? No. Did they suffer because they wore a helmet? No. Did they benefit? Yes, absolutely! While learning to ride, both boys fell off numerous times but always bounced back. They bumped their heads, but they got up and, thankfully, they got back on their bikes without worry. Kate’s eldest, at 18, was knocked off his bike by a motorist reversing out of their drive. Had he not been wearing his helmet, she dreads to think what the consequences could have been. She did worry. She still worries. She also knows, and it does calm her (as much as a Mum can be about her two amazing boys), that she has given her two boys the best chance of coming through the worst of situations. New road rules and traffic management techniques are being trialled across London with varying degrees of success. It’s happening, the roads are becoming safer. There is still the ‘angry driver’ we’ve all seen on multiple occassions via YouTube. There’s still the unforeseen opening of a door, a momentary loss of driver concentration (changing a CD in this instance) that can cause a car to veer violently off the road, no more than 40m from the intersection and pedestrian crossing he crossed over, up the curb, over the footpath, through your concrete block fence and into your front garden. Thankfully, not taking a cyclist or a pedestrian with him was a strange way to find some local fame. So, put a helmet on Iain’s head, and he’ll actually ride his bike – which, inherently means taking more risks. Wearing a helmet is liberating. It allows you to ride a bike. n

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The perfect fit… Fusion’s Jamie Hawthorn tells Rebecca Morley why the brand is so unique to the UK market


usion is a 20-year-old Danish high-performance sportswear brand with a difference. It is offering a unique proposition for UK retailers, that it feels is different from the current competition, and something that provides solutions to the current market challenges UK cycling retailers face. In this time, Fusion has built a successful brand and business that works with its retailers, on the principle of regular reordering rather than large six monthly seasonal preorders placed months in advance, which end up all landing at the same time, putting strain on cash flow. “Fusion products are produced to the highest standards in Europe, at its own company manufacturing facility using only European-sourced, high-quality materials,” Jamie Hawthorn of Fusion explains. “This enables Fusion to control production 100% and offer a completely flexible, highly efficient supply chain that delivers excellent stock availability to our retailers all year round with no overproduction, waste or stock risk. “We are focused on producing the right product at the right time that our retailers can reorder when they need to.

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“This flexibility is not possible when many brands use third-party vendor production facilities that produce clothing for many brands in large quantities at set times during the year, with strict timescales when these orders need to be placed by the retailer to the brand and the brand to the vendor. This current system used historically by many brands is completely inflexible for the retailer and the brand itself, but the challenge to us is: ‘Are UK retailers ready to try something different?’” He continues: “We also supply clothing to the running and gym wear sectors, who have the same market and production challenges. Our highly flexible system puts the retailers firmly back in control so they can choose what they range using their own experiences and information that we are constantly providing on our best selling products. We prefer an approach where our retailers start with a small efficient range and expand and amend this range over time. As they sell one, they buy one, which provides Fusion with essential and up to date data on products sold, trends and sizing.”

21/03/2019 11:11


The Fusion range does not change every season, but continues to offer established best selling products all year round. At the same time, it has an ongoing product development programme, whether this will be ongoing enhancements to an existing product or developing something new. It does not feel the need to define its products by the production or range year, which it says is typical with the current industry and has been led by the need to produce completely new autumn and winter and spring and summer products, with no range continuity. This means retailers receive only large orders, which when not sold need to be cleared quickly at low or zero margin, or at a loss to get ready for the next inbound seasonal pre-order. Fusion formed in 1999 in Aalborg, Denmark, and through manufacturing precision, use of high-quality technical fabrics and a constant drive to be innovative, it has forged a reputation for making durable, functional and cutting-edge products. Fusion says it constantly strives to ‘push the boundaries’ in the development of new products, with a dedication to continually exceed the needs of customers that is only matched by its customers’ own dedication to their chosen sport. Hawthorn explains: “Fusion in Denmark has doubled its sales turnover during 2018, however, the level of stock held at the Danish HQ warehouse has been halved due to our production flexibility and constant replenishment of key best sellers. This is further proof that our highly efficient supply chain system is ensuring we are stocking the right products in the right sizes and at the right times.” In early 2018, Fusion partnered with Upgrade Bikes, which is a wellrespected distributor in the cycling industry with successful brands and an excellent retailer portfolio, Hawthorn says. He continues: “It was not only the attraction of the quality product within the Fusion range but also how we do business. Upgrade has historically never considered adding a clothing brand to its brand portfolio, but the Fusion proposition presents it with a clothing solution that does not require it to place six-month pre-orders in large quantities, all held in stock with high stock risk.

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“We feel we have the right product, brand and solution for UK retailers and we continue to work on the improvement of brand awareness of this successful brand within the UK.” As well as offering a unique proposition, Fusion is different in that it is available to IBDs only, and not available through online only retailer partners. It has become part of Upgrade’s IBD 100 dealer initiative, which offers 100 products from the Upgrade catalogue exclusively to IBDs. Fusion made its COREbike debut this year, showcasing its range alongside Upgrade at Whittlebury Hall. Dealers were able to see the range as well as a selection of other products that make up the IBD 100 range. Speaking about the IBD 100 programme, and the addition of Fusion to the distributor’s portfolio, Rory Hitchens, marketing manager at Upgrade, says: “IBD 100 is supporting the independent dealer with a range of products that bring about unique conversations with their customers. We think it is important for dealers to develop a point of difference and Upgrade supports this with a unique selection of key lines from our top-selling brands. “It is also a chance for Upgrade to introduce brands like Fusion Clothing, that sit best in an in-store environment and with a limited dealer base where the brand can be exclusively promoted.”

“Fusion products are produced to the highest standards in Europe, at its own company manufacturing facility using only European-sourced, high-quality materials” So given the success Fusion has had in Denmark, what has the reaction in the UK market been so far? Hawthorn says: “We’ve had a good reaction to the product range, and retailers that have personally tried the products in advance of ranging it have claimed they are some of the best products that they have seen for a long time. The challenge is due to the current market conditions, many retailers are either reducing the clothing they buy, moving to custom kit only or dropping clothing altogether. But there is not a need to do that once you have the right solution, which we feel Fusion is.” Matt Killick, sales manager at Upgrade, adds: “Fusion Clothing will be a very different proposition for the retailer because there’s no pre-ordering, there are no seasonal buy-ins needed, it’s buy one, sell one. There’s no commitment needed in any sizable amount from the retailer, so it’s very unique and something we’re trying to get people’s heads around really, because they’re so used to buying clothing in a certain way. Having to only buy one bibshort and one jersey is alien to some people. But it will come I’m sure, we just need to keep pushing it and getting the brand name out there.” n

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Outdoors is free, but is indoors the future? As the technological revolution gathers momentum within sport, Alexander Michael explores the new world of virtual cycling


e are now deep into the third industrial revolution – the mechanical is being cast aside in favour of the digital. New technology relentlessly invades and transforms every aspect of our daily lives, reshaping everything from our homes to our cars and even the humble bicycle. Electronic groupsets and the e-bike are just two ways the bike has been thrust into the 21st century, becoming another addition to the list of “must remember to charge” devices in our daily lives.

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But there is one development that has taken cycling in an unexpected direction, moving the landscape from outdoors to indoors. The rise of online worlds is inexorable – virtual reality, social media and immersive video games are all drawing the user into an environment often bigger than their own. In cycling, these interactive innovations have all melded in one ever-growing piece of software that, if you believe those involved, could change the shape of the sport in unforeseeable ways. April 2019 | 21

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Zwift, at its core, is an online training platform for cyclists, that links up with your smart turbo trainer to offer structured workouts. Pretty simple right? But where Zwift truly stands out is in its ability to connect users who ride side by side in an ever-growing virtual world. Indoor training has existed for decades, hitting a new phase in the 1980s with the birth of spinning, which continues to be a popular institution of the modern health and fitness industry. Britain’s first ever Tour de France winner, Sir Bradley Wiggins, recently recalled his 13-year-old self slogging away in his London home using a turbo trainer and listening to a Walkman when his mum wouldn’t let him out to train at night. And now his son Ben is following in his footsteps. “My son, for example, wants to be professional,” Wiggins recently told a gathering of cycle industry bods at the launch of Zwift’s new pro racing league. “He comes home from school and rather than go and play Fortnite until 3am, he goes on Zwift now. We’re happy because he doesn’t have to go out in the dark. “It’s also the connections they make – one of his best mates lives in London and they hook up and meet each other to go riding, which is amazing really.” The inspiration behind Zwift, as set out by company CEO Eric Min, is something all cyclists can relate to.

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Speaking at the same event as Wiggins, held in the central London Pinarello store in January, Min said: “It all started in November 2013. I’d been a cyclist for ages and I relocated to London from New York and I just struggled to get outside. “What I missed was the social fabric of cycling and the racing scene in New York City where I’m from, so I soldiered on riding indoors, riding a turbo, something I was used to. What I missed was the social element. “All the tech was there, whether it was social network, Strava or gaming tech, and I thought, ‘why can’t we try to replicate even 80% of the social elements of riding, whether it’s competition or training or club riding? “For it to be successful it had to be at scale. You needed to have an environment where you could have a global community of cyclists. That’s how it all started.” In many ways, Zwift is the quintessential model of the 21st-century invention – you find a group of people, and you connect them in a way they have never been connected before. In Zwift’s case, you take cyclists who are serious enough to train indoors, but who are missing the social stimulus of riding, and you take them to their own world from the comfort of their sheds, bedrooms and living rooms.

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And while it’s possible to see Zwift as just another good idea and nothing more, the reaction of cycling’s biggest institutions has been fascinating. In September 2018 the UCI, cycling’s international governing body, announced it would be laying down the rules for eSport in cycling, including anti-doping regulations. UCI president David Lappartient said: “We’re looking to the future of every aspect of cycling and so were keen to help virtual cycling develop. “We want to ensure that happens properly by creating some clear guidelines and rules, including anti-doping.” Lappartient’s willingness to develop the virtual side of the sport suggests he feels it is more than just a helpful training tool for amateurs – it could play some significant role in the future. He also announced plans for a World Championship of virtual cycling, something likely to frustrate the cycling’s traditionalists who would oppose anything that lessens the glory of the coveted rainbow stripes. The UCI’s commitment was echoed by British Cycling, the national governing body, who announced its own BB-APR19-GREYVILLE:Layout 1 13/03/2019 09:16 Page 1

e-racing championship alongside a long-standing partnership with Zwift that will stretch beyond the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. British Cycling’s commercial director, Jonathan Rigby, said: “The eSports market is particularly exciting for cycling as it enables so many more people to participate and be active. “We are thrilled to be exploring this new territory with Zwift, to innovate in cycle sport. Its technology and our cycling expertise will together allow communities of cyclists to get more out of riding bikes for competition and for fun. We are also excited about what this could mean for identifying talent. “We are proud to have a wealth of gifted riders competing on the world stage and we are confident that Zwift technology will enable us to unearth more future stars.” Earlier this year, the British national virtual championships culminated in a live final between the top-ranked winners separated by ages and gender. Riders competed for a national jersey, much like pro riders. Moving forward, British Cycling’s interest in virtual racing will be motivated by two main prongs – participation and the Olympics.



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Last summer, the International Olympic Committee met with representatives of the eSports and gaming industries to discuss a potential future platform for eSports to be included in the Olympics. With debate raging about whether traditional video games are too violent to be included in the Olympics, virtual cycling could be the perfect medium between traditional endurance sport and the gaming world. British Cycling would hope to be at the vanguard of any new cycling-related Olympic discipline, in order to capitalise on past two-wheeled glory and do what it does best – deliver excellence. On the other side of the coin is participation. One of the key facets of British Cycling’s role in this country is to get as many people on bikes as possible, to get them active and keep them healthy. Through a combination of cycling education, mass participation events, advertising campaigns and support for racing, the governing body encouraged almost half a million people to get on a bike in 2017. And in partnership with HSBC, British Cycling is aiming to get two million people to cycle by 2020, so any new approaches will be welcome. Virtual cycling could be the doorway for thousands of potential cyclists, previously deterred by any number of factors – dangerous roads, time constraints or cycling’s often snobbish reputation. While Zwift is benefitting from the support of cycling’s biggest authorities, it is also looking to expand through its own initiatives.

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In December, the company announced it had secured $120 million (£91 million) in Series B investment to further invest in eSports and grow the running aspect of the platform. More than one million people had created accounts on Zwift at that point, with users logging more than 410 million miles. Amongst those million people are some familiar names, like British sprinter Mark Cavendish, the winner of 30 stages of the Tour de France. The Manxman said: “Zwift has transformed the way the professional peloton trains. Before Zwift, there is no way I would have chosen to ride an indoor trainer. Now though, I genuinely enjoy it – it appeals to the gamer in me. Riders like myself are genuinely fitter now, thanks to Zwift.” Cavendish’s endorsement marks the next step in Zwift’s evolution – the pros. In January, the online training platform launched the KISS Super League, a virtual race series aimed exclusively at professional riders. The ten-round series features 15 teams from the second and third divisions of pro cycling, including more recognisable outfits like Cofidis, Israel Cycling Academy and British domestic outfit Madison Genesis. Drawing in pros is essential for any cycling brand aiming at longevity - where the professionals go, the industry will follow. Just look at heart rate monitors, power meters and electronic groupsets, now widespread in the peloton and in turn filtering out to the mass market.

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Zwift is looking to be that next revelation, even bringing in the former head of marketing for the Premier League, Craig Edmondson, to bolster the professional edge. While launching the KISS Super League, Edmond said: “We’re not here to compete against the mighty backdrops of the Monuments and Grand Tours of pro cycling. “Our role is to deliver something brand new to cycling. By gamifying racing, we will create entertaining coverage and introduce an added dimension to bike racing. Team-based competition, power-ups, course ‘knowhow’ and the differences in racing physics make Zwift a new battleground for competition. Watts per kilogram is only one of many key factors.” Min added: “Pro cycling has embraced Zwift as a training platform and Zwift has proven itself as a talent ID platform for pro cycling. Now is the time to push on with eSports and in doing so build value for pro cycling. Our goal is to create a new sport within a sport, celebrated by pro cyclists, amateur cyclists and cycling fans all over the world.” Not only does Zwift hope to be home to a new “sport within a sport”, it has already been the springboard for amateurs to reach the top tier of professional cycling. Launched in 2016 as a talent programme for women, the Zwift Academy gives riders the opportunity to showcase their ability and even achieve contracts with professional teams Dimension Data and Canyon-SRAM.

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This programme represents Zwift’s true immersion into the culture of professional cycling. There are of course other training apps catered to pretty much every kind of cyclist there is a market for. Trainer Road, for example, is more finely tuned for riders trying to focus their training and progression, without the need for social stimulus or pretty animation – a pared down experience for those just looking for results. The Sufferfest is another platform carving out its own corner of the indoor training market. With its own bizarre language and titles, Sufferfest has honed in on cycling’s cliquey nature to keep you hooked and offers an extensive four-dimensional power (4DP) test, which aims to go above and beyond the analysis offered by the ubiquitous functional threshold power (FTP). While these apps have a firm grasp on their own spots in the market, the sheer numbers behind Zwift are what raise it to a higher echelon than the competition. The true nature of cycling is in the relationship between rider and landscape, so there is no chance of Zwift usurping that. But in an era when every entrepreneur is hunting for the next Facebook, in the cycling world, Zwift may have found exactly that. n

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Rebecca Morley visits an Oxford Products dealer open day for a behind the scenes look at the company


xford Products is aiming to be a one-stop shop, with the idea that a dealer can get everything they need for their store from one place, one company. From 26th to 28th February, the Oxfordshire-based company held an in-house trade show to display its products to interested bike dealers. “It’s the only way to properly represent what we do, because we can’t carry samples of all our products around,” marketing director Henry Rivers Fletcher says. “Shows aren’t that popular anymore. The shows that have been successful are probably consumer shows, and when you’ve got a full focus on the consumer it’s not for the trade so much. We’re sold on this concept, but we still do lots of shows.

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“This will just be available all the time for this kind of stuff. We’re still quite young in the IBD market, but not a lot of people know about it to just come here, so we have to start it somehow.” As well as its own product ranges, Oxford also had other brands it distributes on display, including Kali. It was recently added to sit alongside Acros components and Taya chains as exclusive brands, and founder Brad Waldron was on hand to answer questions from dealers. Commercial head of cycle David Jesson says: “We are certainly looking to enhance our third-party distribution offering as the year goes on. We have gaps in the catalogue that we are now actively looking to fill and we shall be looking at top brands to get behind.

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“Thankfully, Oxford has the backing to make these ambitions come to fruition. Our own products serve bike retailers very well and we’re investing in new products and building the depth and breadth of the brand. Our ambition is to add a layer of premium brands that sit above the Oxford offering.” The company is enjoying consistent double-digit annual growth, and Jesson says the cycle market presents the greatest opportunity for rapid development. He adds: “We’re aiming to double our trade in cycling every three years with growth coming from our wholesalers, UK independent bike dealers and key accounts as well as our international partners. The growth in IBD is supported by five RSMs on the road, as well as significant investment in product through our own research and development. We have three design engineers to work on rapidly prototyping new ideas with the help of our 3D printer. You will continually see more premium products appear in our catalogue. “We recognise that at present the independent bike market is a hard one for dealers, so we enhance our support by offering monthly promotions, point of sale and merchandising units to boost the rate of sale and, where necessary, offer stock rotation to keep our lines fresh and fast-moving in-store.”

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Behind the scenes Established in 1973, Oxford Products is a global leader in motorcycle and bicycle aftermarket products, and its range encompasses everything that makes life on bikes better, the company says, from clothing and helmets to accessories, hard parts, locks, luggage and more. These market-leading products are designed in-house by a team of active enthusiasts and skilled technicians, based at the company’s 100,000 square foot purpose-built headquarters in Oxfordshire, UK. With the support of the latest CAD technology, a 3D printing suite and a fully equipped test laboratory, the company innovates, analyses, tests and develops unique products in pursuit of the “best experience for two-wheel enthusiasts”. Oxford’s current head office was opened in 2014 by UK prime minister at the time David Cameron. The company says it is to ramp up its brand distribution ambitions through 2019, adding some 50,000 square feet of space to its distribution centre later this year. One important concept for Oxford is the idea of in-housing talent. Conducting a tour of the facility, Rivers Fletcher says:

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“About ten years ago, we started to crystallise our idea about how we wanted to move the company forward, and how we wanted to develop products, and the theme you’ll hear repeated again and again at Oxford is ‘in-housing’. We don’t want to be paying some external company margins for them to be doing stuff for us. We want all the passion and expertise in the business. “One of the very first things we did was to start bringing design in-house. The first part of that was graphic design – over the years we’ve developed a team of eight graphic designers, doing all of our two-dimensional work. They’re involved in the product right from the start, and in some cases, they’re actually doing the product design. “We also generate the consumer-friendly packaging that will go into the shops, and test it to make sure it’s solid enough and it does the job of selling the product. There’s also the rest of the product cycle – advertising, brochure pages, e-shots, all the launch material and the press stuff. We have people looking after different stages of the product marketing process, all the way down to our website.”

He also talks about the three-dimensional side of production, product engineering. “There is a bank of product category managers who will look after luggage, locks, electronics, hardware, workshop, all different categories of products, divided up amongst them.

“We’re aiming to double our trade in cycling every three years” David Jesson Oxford Products “Then they’ve got to make the product come alive. Generally, their first port of call will be product engineering, so they’ll bring a product brief up from market demands, sales teams, customers, research into competitors.

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“The other side is in the 3D CAD design. It could be something as simple as a little plastic clip that holds something down, or it could be patented product designs that don’t exist, solutions to products that don’t exist in the world, that we’re having to come up with a concept for. We bought a 3D printer in 2013 as our first major investment in this part of the business, and it’s been used pretty much every day since.” Between the two warehouses, Rivers Fletcher says there’s about £10 million worth of stock at any one time. “Obviously that grows every year as we grow, but that’s our average at the moment. In March, we might have £11 million worth of stock because it’s the peak period and then it might drop down to £8.5 million towards the end of the season, as the stock levels run down. We’re designing and sourcing most of the products ourselves. We have to have enough stock to support six to nine months of business at any one time, hence the very large stock.” One-stop shop Products Oxford had on display included its full range of lighting, and Jesson says the new 2018 lighting range had been a ‘huge success’, with lighting sales up 25% last year. He says: “Historically, we’ve only had lights up to about £20, but we are starting to premiumise. We’re finding our stores are really interested in buying a whole collection from a supplier, not a bit of this and a bit of that. We can be their lighting supplier for the whole season, across a whole range of user needs. Everything we’ve been doing is almost the one-stop for the retailer. But we still have the budget lights in our essentials range.” Oxford also has a new range of gloves for the summer, as well as the winter range which had been new for 2018. As with the lights, Jesson says it’s about the dealers having ranges that are suitable for riders all year round, and being able to see these products at Oxford. “Historically, our business has been very seasonal, it’s all been summer focused, so we’ve been building our winter range up,” he says. Oxford will also have a new range of kids helmets coming out this year, he continues. The in-house graphic designers are given a brief for the products, and then they need to work with the factory, due to the structure and shape of helmets. “You have a flat piece of design and then when they’ve formed the polycarbonate over the shell it distorts everything,” he says. “You have to allow for that in the design, it’s a really fiddly thing to get right.” Also on display was the Metro Glo, with ‘Phyzibility’, defined as ‘a state in which the human form is able to seen’. The helmet achieves this definition with a 360-degree fibre optic moulded into the shell, allowing the head to be seen from all angles in low light conditions. “This is to fit with the winter cycling, commuting from a safety point of view. Something like half of all accidents happen as a side impact for cyclists, because they’ve got the headlight pointing forwards and the rear light pointing backwards, and they don’t have anything that lights the sides up. So we created this as a product to help illuminate. “If the driver can relate to the rider as a human, and there’s actually been some research done, then there’s some kind of instinct that says: ‘I’ve got to look after my own’, and their driving style softens a bit.”

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He adds: “We have a helmet for every occasion, for a more serious mountain biker to a commuter. We do very well with helmets and they’ve been one of our fastest-growing categories.” A world stage “Oxford is the backbone of the business,” Rivers Fletcher continues. “It’s profitable, it’s sustainable, it’s distributed not just here but all over the world. Our third party brands are purely UK distribution, however, Oxford is a global thing for us. The world’s a massive place. Every year our export business generally grows quite significantly more than our UK business, because our UK business is quite mature. In export, we’ve got the whole world to go out to, millions and millions of consumers. “We generally have a good, better, best philosophy. We may start with a fairly simple functional product to fulfill a category, and then work up a better product with more features, more technology, and then once we’ve learnt more about the market we’ll develop the best product. Good, better, best – with three different price points. What we want to achieve in bicycles is really a reflection of what we’ve done in motorcycles, which is to become a really useful, friendly one-stop shop for a dealer, with products that the consumer asks for.” Oxford also designs its display systems alongside its own packaging. “These are all bespoke,” Rivers Fletcher says. “Within the 22 years that I’ve been at Oxford, I’ve been developing display systems and we’ve been doing it well before that as well. They’re market-leading displays and they do an amazing job of dragging the consumer over to them. A consumer can walk in, have a wander around, and these will draw them over. They’ll pick up some items they didn’t realise they needed, and a few others that they did. We’ve been doing this system for a long time in the motorcycle business, and we’ve had a lot of success with the product development, we just want to copy and paste that success. “We’ve only just started on the bicycle side, we’ve got a long way to go. But investing in great guys on the road, people who know the market and the customers, and then having a really good support system here for them. We have a really proactive returns department, so if there are problems they are dealt with quickly.” IBD focus The company is also working closely with IBDs to make sure it knows what it can offer them and the support it can give, as Jesson says it’s ‘a tough world out there’. Rivers Fletcher adds: “Our focus is on the products that we develop, the brands that we’re bringing through and what we provide to the dealer. We don’t make our products just for our showroom, we have a team of merchandisers who take these out to the shops and build the shop.” Jesson adds: “The whole premise really, if you strip back the shine, of what Oxford does is about making the dealer’s life as easy as possible and supporting them because we know that retailing is a tough business to be in.” Rivers Fletcher concludes: “We do have a few shops that say: ‘Do you know what? I don’t need anything else. Can you just run the whole thing? Here’s an empty shop, can you just fill it?’ That’s why being a one-stop shop is quite important to us.”n

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Extra, Extra, read all about it! Extra UK and ABUS formed a new distribution partnership in March. Stephen Hayes, Extra UK head of marketing, and John Harris, ABUS brand manager, talk good matchmaking and prioritising quality How long has this move been in the works? SH: Changes to long-standing relationships tend not to happen overnight, and contractual obligations needed to be respected. Our priority has been to ensure as smooth a transition as possible and to make sure that there wasn’t any loss of service to IBDs. We’ve been busy putting in place the brand management and marketing resources needed to ensure the success of the brand in the future. What attracted Extra UK to the ABUS brand? SH: Quality, first and foremost! Think of the best in bike safety and security and only a handful of names spring to mind. To have the opportunity to partner with the most innovative and established brand in the market was something we couldn’t refuse. We had gaps in our portfolio which are perfectly covered by ABUS and it is a very good match with the other premium brands in our range.

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What makes Extra UK a better fit for ABUS than other potential distribution partners? JH: We understand that historically, previous distributors have established a solid footing for ABUS in the market. Given fresh enthusiasm combined with our sector experience, Extra is wellplaced to make ABUS the ‘go-to’ lock and helmet brand for the UK and Ireland again. We have a very experienced, passionate and driven sales team that will help to ensure the best sell-through, as well as showing some different angles on the attachment rate and upsell. The expertise that ABUS has in multiple industries is obvious in the quality of both helmets and locks. All product is engineered, designed and tested in Germany across its multiple sites. All of the lock production is still in-house in Germany – aside from a handful of UK specific products that are manufactured in ABUS-owned factories in the Far East.

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This is a big strength for ABUS which it is important to communicate to the trade and consumers alike. What is Extra UK’s plan for ABUS throughout 2019 and beyond? JH: For the rest of 2019, we have some great shows and expos lined up where customers and consumers can view the full ABUS range. One of the key drivers of ABUS is the absolute quality of the product, and we believe experiencing the unique features at first hand is the best way to convey this to potential buyers. There is a full calendar of trade and consumer shows as well as social media and advertising to ensure everyone is fully up to date with the new, innovative technologies. There are some pretty exciting products coming out that we can’t say too much about now, but watch this space! We will also work to significantly increase attachment rates in-store and online, as a good quality lock and helmet is a must-have when any bike is sold. We’ll be working closely in partnership with our ABUS dealer base to really ensure this is activated. Can we expect to see other significant new distribution deals in the near future? SH: Extra UK has made significant and positive internal changes in the last 12 months, investing in additional people and resources and particularly strengthening the brand management and marketing departments. We have a strong portfolio of brands with plenty of innovation taking place, so there is plenty to keep us occupied. Our priority has always been to offer focused attention on what we have rather than to dilute our efforts over too many brands. There will always be gaps in our portfolio, but we only seek to take on new commitments if the additions complement what we do and are a good complement to our other brands, as is the case with ABUS. ABUS aside, what are your priorities for 2019? Which brands are you most looking forward to developing? SH: We aim to optimise the opportunities within all our brands. Newer brands often offer the easiest and greatest growth potential in percentage terms, but our more established brands like Topeak, Fizik, Crank Brothers and Brooks all still have significant potential in them to develop in the future. All have new products and innovation that we are keen to communicate to customers for mutual benefit. We also have the nutrition brands of Clif and Nuun that only use natural ingredients. In a climate where consumers are increasingly mindful of what they put into their bodies, this can only represent a growth opportunity to push their benefits especially when Clif develop products such as the amazing ‘Nut Butter Filled’ range! n

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The end of the road Jim Clark, owner of Jim’s Cycles in Northumberland, tells Rebecca Morley why he is retiring and closing his bike shop after 34 years


im Clark is retiring after 34 years of running his bike shop, Jim’s Cycles, based in Northumberland. This means he will close the shop, a decision that was made partly due to the rise in online sales. In a struggling retail environment where store closures are becoming all too common, he explains the impact the internet has had on his business. “A lot of it has to do with the retail side of the business, not so much the repair side,” he explains. “On the retail side of it, our figures over the last three to four years have dropped dramatically profit wise. The workshop mid-spring through summer is very busy, but it still doesn’t bail out the front shop. And that’s basically what happened to M Steel Cycles in Gosforth as well, and one or two other businesses.” M Steel Cycles, which had been trading since 1894, shut in 2017. Clark adds that he wants to issue a small thank you and dedication to Geoff Dobson, one of the former owners of M Steel Cycles.

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He continues: “Our suppliers need to start looking at their pricing structures. At the end of the day, they’re still making good money. And they’re very reluctant to start giving us better terms, if you want to call it that. If they don’t start giving us better terms, all the small bicycle shops and even the big ones are going to have no customers left. “A lot of it is to do with greed. They’ve had a monopoly for years, and so have we. But because of the internet pricing structure and online sites, our way of business that we used to have on a plate isn’t there anymore. We’re looking towards our suppliers to reduce their costs so that we can reduce our costs to the consumer, but it’s just not happening. We’re being drummed out of the market. Even I’m buying parts and spares off the internet, as some of the time, I can find an item cheaper. I feel embarrassed asking customers for certain sums of money when I know that if they went on the internet they could get that at a vastly reduced price.

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“Especially for someone like me, who’s been with the trade for 34 years. I’ve been a cyclist for 53 years, I’m an examateur racing cyclist and endurance rider, it’s been my life from the age of 13. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m quitting now, while I’m ahead.” He says people come into the shop with a bag of spares or accessories that they’ve bought off the internet, and ask him to put them on their bike at a knockdown price, which he says he can’t do. He adds that he used to be able to do a subsidised labour charge, because he was making profit on the spares and accessories he was selling, and in turn putting them on the bicycle, but that stopped happening, and Clark describes it as a ‘vicious circle’ which is only going to get worse. “You can only adapt to a certain point, but at the end of the day, if you’re not getting the footfall into the shop because of internet suppliers, how do you drag them in? “I think what will happen is, if the trade itself, the suppliers, don’t start giving us a fairer deal, then people are

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going to go on the internet and buy the spares and accessories there, and do the repair from that. There are quite a few businesses around the North East that have closed in the last two years, and they’ve all cited, partially, internet sales. “This has been ongoing for the last, with the bicycles, for the last six years, and as far as the workshop, spares and accessories are concerned, probably the last three to three and a half years. It doesn’t matter what you do. I’ve put signs out, ‘discount this’ and ‘discount that’, and advertised, but it doesn’t make any difference. You may be getting rid of or selling a spare or an accessory, but at the end of the day, you have to take less money profit wise. Where’s the logic in it? We’re in it to make money.” The internet has been a growing concern for many businesses across the retail industry. Cambridge shop Ben Hayward Cycles also closed down in 2017, shutting its doors after trading for 105 years. The statement on its Facebook page also referenced the changes in the High Street, saying:

22/03/2019 12:08


“The High Street has changed, retailing has changed and despite our best efforts, we find ourselves fighting to survive let alone thrive in our saturated Cambridge/world marketplace.” In November last year, the ‘oldest bike shop in Bath’, Johns Bikes, closed its doors to the public. It had been running since the 1970s. Even established bike shop chains have suffered, one notable example being Evans Cycles. In October last year, the retailer was sold to Sports Direct as part of a pre-pack administration, which resulted in the announcement that half of its stores could close. JD Sports Fashion and Halfords had also been in the race to rescue the struggling retailer, which traces its history back to 1921 when the first F.W. Evans Cycles shop opened on Kennington Road in southeast London. Clark continues: “There isn’t an overnight solution that’s going to fix this, unless some of the online sites start to go bust, and go under. We all know about Evans, and there are a few more that are struggling.

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“Only the healthy ones will survive, but it’s the healthy ones which are hammering the trade.” Jim’s Cycles has had some staffing changes throughout its time, as 16 years ago, when Clark was 50, he dismissed all his workers and decided to run the shop by himself as a one-man band. This helped bring his costs down, he says. “It’s just as well because I own the premises, I’m not paying out rents and things. So I’m not paying a lot out, but I’m still way under what I used to make.” Now, the shop has been sold to a developer, meaning Jim’s Cycles as it is will cease to exist, he says. “It’s just the climate that we’re living in. There are a lot of business people out there with whizz ideas and all that, but at the end of the day, are those ideas sustainable, and are they making any more money? “Optimism is one thing. Surviving and making a living is another. If things had been what they were, there’s no way I would have thought about retiring. I’m still riding about 200 to 250 miles a week. But I’m ready to go, and I will miss the trade. I’ll miss the people who come in, the customers. My customers have been very loyal up to a point, but money speaks. I’ve broken the news to them and they said: ‘Jim, what are we going to do?’ Because there isn’t another bike shop for maybe five or six miles away. “I’ve always been self-sufficient, and I’ve always tried to give my customers value for money on all aspects. Value on the stuff that I sell them, and value on my expertise and labour. I’ve got a sign on the counter that reads: ‘Skilled labour is not cheap, cheap labour is not skilled.’ Everybody laughs at it, but it’s the truth.” 

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The world’s largest manufacturer of bicycle chains, KMC, has recently restructured some of their range. All chains of the newly created e-series have been developed specifically for the needs of e-bike users and their e-bikes. On top of that, a completely new production process has been developed for the riveting of the e-series chains, enabling KMC to substantially reduce chain breakage during faulty shifting or shifting under extreme load. Just like the logical naming of our X-series chains, the same philosophy has been applied on the e-series. The e1 is clearly recognisable as a hub- or single-speed chain, while e9, e10 and e11 account for their corresponding derailleur systems. The e101 has a very special position within KMC’s e-bike offering. A 10,000km+

warranty applies for this wide bushed chain in combination with the wide KMC sprockets and chainrings. Also, the new packaging speaks for itself in terms of both clarity and logic. On the recognisable square box, the consumer will immediately recognise which chain they need. When we asked why KMC changed to a PP (polypropylene) packaging instead of the familiar cardboard, project manager Rob Compas responded the following: “Because of the fact that our former packaging was very difficult to recycle, laminated cardboard, KMC started looking for an environmentally conscious packaging. Polypropylene is 100% recyclable.” The new packaging offers additional benefits, as the project manager explains:

Special, cold-forged e-bike pin, 10% larger surface, for even more certainty 40 | April 2019

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“We now only have two packaging sizes for our entire range, differentiating them with a unique label. In this way, we avoid the need to pulp packaging residues during model changes.” continues Rob Compas. In addition, the new polypropylene packaging is very solid and presents perfectly on any wall display. Part of the restructuring project is also the KMC shop display, mentions Rob Compas. The soon to be available solutions for TEGO and Slat Wall allow the dealer to freely choose a personalised product range. Both solutions involve a simple magnetic banner and scannable product cards. The transparent box design ensures a high-end and professional shop presentation on the wall displays, the finish of the chain and also the MissingLinks are visible at first sight. A new feature is the ‘Durability Factor’, which makes it easy for both dealer and consumer to find the right chain for their requirements. Starting this undertaking in 2016, for project manager Rob Compas, a key point was that the chains could be packed fully automatically. The corresponding machine was developed and built in the Netherlands. KMC continuously strives to reduce its CO2 emissions, a few examples are the appearance of solar panels on the production facilities and sales offices. Furthermore, there is an ongoing project aiming to reduce the general use of packing material and another spearpoint is introducing efficient workshop solutions,

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which KMC already has been offering for a couple of years. The dealer can choose either a bulk packing of 25 chains or a 50-metre reel. The 50-metre reels offer significant advantages: The dealer always has the right chain length available, the loss of chains and additional waste is negligible, furthermore, in comparison to the individually packaged chain, the reels work out to be better value. The complete e-series together with 15 other models is available on 50-metre reel. KMC has third parties conducting research in order to reduce carbon footprint of each chain produced. From a perfect product presentation to a highly efficient workshop, KMC offers the optimal solution for every need.  April 2019 | 41

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1 2

3 4








Brentwood 2.0


Forefront 2 MIPS

Vector Tech MIPS Helmet

Distributor: Ultra Sport Europe

Distributor: Madison

Distributor: Ultra Sport Europe

Distributor: ZyroFisher

The remake of a classic, Bern’s all new Brentwood 2.0 continues to define urban cycling style. Utilising our Zipmold+ technology, the Brentwood 2.0 comes in three shell sizes and has a patented soft visor to protect your face from sun, rain and whatever the day may throw at you. Like a great-looking pair of jeans, the Brentwood 2.0 never looks out of place, on or off the bike. RRP £69.99

Brand new for 2019, the Lazer Coyote is a clean and practical MTB lid that we’ve engineered to offer the best we can in style, performance ventilation, comfort and, most importantly, safety. The TS+ fit system provides comfort with all the adjustability you need and the bottom shell makes for a super clean finish. It comes in small, medium or large and with a MIPS version for just £20 more.

An evolution of our awardwinning Forefront helmet, the completely redesigned Smith Forefront 2 is a full coverage helmet ideal for all-mountain riders who demand superior protection, ventilation and eyewear integration. For added protection, Koroyd has been extended into the back of the helmet to fully encompass the helmet. Internal air channels are combined with open intake and exhaust ports to maximise ventilation, while AirEvac channels promote airflow to prevent fogging of your eyewear.

Improving protection and impact performance is the number one priority of the Alpinestars Vector helmet. Vector helmets are designed with extended coverage. The outer shell is made from a vacuum formed PC in-mold with EPS inner liner and is reinforced with a rigid internal frame embedded into the molded helmet. With the Vector Helmet’s inner size ring, riders are able to make easy snap length and height adjustments to improve fit.




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5 6











IKON Full Face Helmet

Status Helmet

Distributor: Moore Large

Distributor: Kiddimoto

Distributor: Silverfish UK

Distributor: ZyroFisher

The Altona is much more than just a helmet. It is a helmet and glasses in one thanks to the integrated break-proof visor. It is available with and without Varioflex, the technology from Alpina, which ensures perfect visibility in all lighting conditions. The self-tinting (photochromatic) visor responds to UV light and darkens automatically. The light silver-coloured reflective surface reflects infra-red rays, ensuring 100% UV protection at all times.

Introducing the next generation in kids helmets – the IKON Full Face Helmet. Here at Kiddimoto we are very child-centric in all of our product development. Our IKON kids Full Face Helmet, in this bold blue and red colourway, provides unprecedented full protection when balance biking, cycling, BMXing or scooting. It is perfect for all little adventurers as the chin guard can be removed with one click, essentially making it two helmets in one.

The Status Downhill/BMX helmet redefines the standards for what a mid-level full face helmet should be. Incorporating design cues from the championship-winning 100% Aircraft helmet, the Status offers elevated performance and comfort at an exceptional value. Available in five great colourways, as well as a youth version, all featuring ultra-light design, fibreglass shell and a padded polyurethane chin bar. The Status complies with ASTM F2032 and F1952, CPSC, CE, and AS Bicycle regulations.

Street meets tech. At home on the dirt or in the streets, the Local blends classic skate style looks with new-school comfort and technology. The retuned shape fits closer and looks smaller, and the Local adds a cycling-style Action Fit system to a street helmet for a more secure fit. Hit the pump track, shred some vert, or rock it while you’re riding around town. For comfort and style, keep it Local.

Contact: Lauren Smith, 01332 274252

Contact: 01749 871175

Contact: 01752 843882

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Local BMX/Skate Helmet


21/03/2019 12:29


10 9







Sweet Protection


Tejat Road Elite Helmet


Falconer II MIPS

Finale 2

Distributor: Bob Elliot & Co

Distributor: Oxford Products

Distributor: Jungle Products

Distributor: Raleigh UK

Introducing the Funkier Tejat Elite helmet. Weighing just 230g and available in a range of colours and sizes, the Tejat is a great choice for the road. Features: • High quality, safety, comfort and a great design • 25 vents • User-friendly Funkier turn-fit system • Comfortable Funkier Quick Dry cooling technology • Large cooling vents including three internal ventilation channels • Inmold

Let’s start with this: this isn’t your average bike helmet. The City is a purpose-built urban helmet featuring integrated drop-down eye shield and removable ear pads. The integrated airflow system provides maximum ventilation to make the commute to the office a pleasant one. Composite Fusion Plus technology incorporates multi-density cone shaped layers of EPS foam, and reduces impact G forces by as much as 25%.

The Falconer II MIPS Helmet is a top-of-the-line helmet for fast-paced cycling. With an aerodynamic geometry developed to also provide extreme ventilation, the result is a quicker and more comfortable ride – all wrapped in our four-piece variable elasticity shell technology for great protection. Special features include STACC ventilation, easy adjustment with Occigrip turn-dial and comfort pads.

The Uvex Finale 2 is the latest addition to the Uvex range. Lightweight at just 300g, bug nets, vented body, moisture wicking padding and adjustable peak are some key features. Safety is always at the forefront of product design for Uvex. The main structure of the helmet extends at the back for full support and the fit is fully adjustable. Available in two shell sizes with the option of a plug in LED, we think this is a real winner in the mountain bike category and beyond.



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Contact: 01993 862 300


Contact: 0773 066 6646

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15 14








Omne Air Spin

Legit Carbon

Syntax MIPS Road Helmet

Distributor: i-ride

Distributor: 2pure

Distributor: Direct to retailer

Distributor: ZyroFisher

The Vento is a new helmet concept from Catlike which concentrates on the fundamental pillars of ventilation and aerodynamics. The Vento incorporates an internal mesh of aramid, which reduces the weight and allows the ventilation channels to be larger. The reduced surface area provides less resistance by having a surface that connects the incoming and outgoing ducts and optimises aerodynamics. When it comes to the protective properties, there are no compromises.

Whether commuting or out for a weekend ride, the Omne Air Spin pushes you to go further. Optimal liner density and thicker core protection zones provide ideal all-round protection for everyday use. Meanwhile, ventilation channels and low weight, inspired by our award-winning road cycling helmets, the Octal and the Ventral, deliver optimum comfort and functionality on longer rides.

Developed for competitions, the Legit Carbon exceeds all of the certifications for racing downhill and enduro. Providing optimal ventilation due to the two large exhausts working in synergy with the EPS channels, it keeps the head cool at both high and low speed. The ASTM-certified chin guard hosts three wide vents, while durability and quality are enhanced by an injected PU foam, paired with the chin guard and three polycarbonate shells strategically moulded on the EPS liner.

Relentless performance and style. The Syntax MIPS combines a touch of European flair with slightly deeper coverage and high-performance features - all tucked into a very slim design. The outer shell is molded from a tough polycarbonate that’s fused permanently to the EPS foam liner using our in-mold construction process to enhance durability and ventilation without excess bulk.


Contact: 01444 243 000

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Contact: 0131 449 4147



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Crazy Stuff




Pink Bunny Childs Helmet



Hiri Helmet

Distributor: Greyville Enterprises

Distributor: Extra UK

Distributor: Oxford Products

Distributor: Oneway Distribution

Safety can be fun with Crazy Stuff Character Children’s helmets. Manufactured with a three dimensional shell in a selection of animal designs. The Pink Bunny illustrated is just one example. Created in Denmark and complying with EN1078 and TUV standards, these helmets are a safe and easy way to get a child into the idea of wearing a helmet at an early age. One model fits all sizes between 49” and 55”, which represents an easy to stock and easy to sell product. Matching bells and locks complete the range. Retail Price £24.95

A helmet developed by pros, for pros. In the race, top performance counts on every single stage, whether on a steep uphill climb, with its low weight of 220g (for a size medium), or in the nerve-racking top speed of the sprint. The AirBreaker from ABUS supports you on every single kilometre. Thanks to the honeycomb structure of the innovative multi speed design, the AirBreaker always offers the best possible aerodynamics and at the same time ensures optimum ventilation.

Featuring LDL multi-G impact technology which can reduce rotational forces by 25% and impact G-forces by 12%, and Composite Fusion, enjoying that thrill of pushing on the pedals as hard as you can in the Therapy is something everyone should experience. When it comes to performing your best in a race or training, an ill-fitting helmet can be a disaster. This is no more: with the micro fit closure system, a small, lightweight dial closure system allowing for precise and easy adjustment for the perfect customised fit.

Safety in the city. The Hiri Helmet is Spiuk’s urban mobility solution. It presents a modern and very compact design with a slightly extended front that acts as a visor. The Hiri provides excellent ventilation with its 17 openings and incorporates a removable rear LED light, with up to 72 hours run time. The Hiri improves the cyclist’s visibility with three light modes: continuous, intermittent and sequential.

Contact: 01933 672 170

Contact: 01993 862 300



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Contact: Peter de Vries, 0031 103403504

April 2019 | 47

21/03/2019 12:30


22 21

24 23



Sweet Protection


Mini Hornit


Bushwhaker II Carbon MIPS

Montaro MIPS Helmet



Distributor: Jungle Products

Distributor: ZyroFisher

Distributor: Hornit

Distributor: Velobrands

The Bushwhacker Carbon MIPS is an Enduro and trail-specific bike helmet offering stateof-the-art protection and performance. With extended coverage in a lightweight and highly ventilated package, this is the perfect helmet for your trail adventures. The carbon fibre reinforcement adds up to 15% protection improvement. Special features include STACC ventilation, adjustable visor and comfort pads: All wrapped in a five-piece shell technology to ensure superior protection.

From long climbs to rowdy, technical descents, the Montaro MIPS helmet inspires your ride no matter where the trail takes you. Its compact shape offers deep, confident coverage, and the Roc Loc Air fit system boosts ventilation while improving fit. In addition to this helmet’s already impressive cooling power, it’s outfitted with hydrophilic, anti-microbial pads that can absorb up to ten times their weight in sweat.

Mini Hornit helmets, or LIDs as they’re known, are a bit, no a lot cooler than other helmets! Designed to look stylish and fun (or quietly understated in the case of Stealth), they are fully adjustable, comfortable, lightweight and definitely something kids will want to wear. The helmets also have an integrated LED light on the back, an added safety feature and great when cycling in the evening. New helmet designs will be launching in 2019 with prints including llamas, sloths, unicorns and a chiller spider.

• Super lightweight, coming in at 235g/8.3oz (medium) • Nine vents designed to improve aerodynamics and cooling • Quiet riding experience thanks to the reduced wind noise close to riders’ ears • Redesigned internal channeling to further improve the aerodynamic capability • Resistex padding: a carbon fabric providing a continuous filament of conductive material based on active carbon. Draws moisture away from the rider’s head.



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Contact: ashley.quinlan@

21/03/2019 12:30

BB-APR19-ULTRA SPORT (SMITH):Layout 1 21/03/2019 09:25 Page 1


The Bikebiz DIRECTORY 2019 is out now, providing the industry with a musthave guide to the UK’s retailers, distributors, manufacturers and related businesses.

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19/03/2019 11:53

The Cycle Division Ltd Units 17&18, Park Valley Mills, Meltham Road Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD4 7BH Tel: 0845 0508 500 Web:

Yellow Jersey Prospero, 73 London Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1LQ Tel: 0333 003 0046 Web:

V12 Retail Finance 20 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way Cardiff, CF24 5PJ Tel: 02920 468900 Web:

Velotech Services Ltd 26 to 27 Western Road, Stratford Upon Avon Warks CV370AH Tel: 0845 475 5339 Web:

Cycle Expo Yorkshire Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, HG2 8NZ Tel: 0113 394 6130 Web:

The Bikebiz Directory 2019 is available to view online at

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BB-AP19-UPGRADE 1 :Layout 1 15/03/2019 10:44 Page 1


Argos Marketplace Ad Apr19.indd 1

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·· Established Established · Established ·1974 1974 Established 19741974

New Dealers can register online.

MARKETPLACE 01170117 972 4730 0117 972 972 4730 4730


BB-APR19-CYCLE DIVISION MARKET PLACE:Layout 1 19/03/2019 09:25




33 integrated, CNC machined aluminium complete BB Solutions

• • •

Bearing presses, Hangers and Sealed bearings Now with double sealed Enduro bearings Online BB Adaptor finder:

64 | January 2019 WMFG 88 x 107mm.indd 1


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25/03/2019 12:37


Transforming our streets Eleven new projects are to receive £50 million investment to create ‘Healthy Streets’ across London


n March, the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) announced 11 new successful bids in their multi-million pound Liveable Neighbourhoods programme. The funding, which has increased from £33 million in November 2017 to £53.4 million this year, will be used to transform local neighbourhoods in inner and outer London, with new walking and cycling infrastructure, new pedestrian crossings and rat runs closed to motor traffic. New pocket parks and revamped public spaces will improve air quality and make local streets more attractive places, helping to support local high streets. Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Enfield, Hounslow, Lambeth, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge and the City of London have all been awarded funding.

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This means that 18 boroughs have now received Liveable Neighbourhoods money to reduce car use and turn local areas into safer, greener and healthier places for Londoners to live. Liveable Neighbourhoods is part of the Mayor’s record £2.3 billion overall investment to create ‘Healthy Streets’ across the capital, with the aim of increasing the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80% by 2041 and cut the damaging impact of air pollution in the capital. Recent TfL research has highlighted the economic benefits of walking and cycling in local areas, with infrastructure improvements such as new cycle routes leading to increased retail spending of up to 30%. April 2019 | 55

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01772 459 887



Distributors of great brands across the UK Find your Local stockist at: or contact us on: Tel: 01772 459 887 Bob Elliot Ad 1 Logos.indd 1

12/02/2019 15:50


Sections of New Oxford Street and Great Russell Street will be closed to motor vehicles, and a section of Bloomsbury Way will become bus and bike only

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “For too long streets around London have been designed solely around cars and motor traffic. Our £50 million investment will transform neighbourhoods and local town centres in inner and outer London, making them cleaner, greener and more pleasant places to spend time. “Working with these boroughs to make our streets more welcoming for walking and cycling is vital for our health and wellbeing, but also essential for the future vibrancy and success of London’s local high streets.” The projects awarded funding this year include:

The setting for the British Museum will be improved by pedestrianising Great Russell Street and the pedestrian environment will be improved around Holborn station. A freight reduction scheme will be delivered in partnership with the local Business Improvement District.

Shortlands, Bromley This project will improve travel connections for pedestrians and cyclists to and past Shortlands station, from the surrounding area with new protected cycle lanes on Bromley Road and Valley Road and new pedestrian crossings across the busy A222. New public spaces will be created around the Shortlands war memorial and Shortlands village centre, along with pocket parks and improvements for walking throughout the scheme area, thereby improving the sense of ‘place’. Station Road will be significantly improved for pedestrians crossing with the introduction of a new ‘pocket park’, and a new ‘cycle hub’ will be constructed at Shortlands station. School Streets will make it easier for pupils to get to school without cars, and three low traffic neighbourhoods will be created, reducing the impact of traffic on residential streets.

Enfield Town, Enfield Investment in Enfield Town Centre will focus on Church Street, reducing traffic dominance by narrowing the carriageway, connecting Market Square and the shopping centre and making it safer to walk to the train station. Junctions will be redesigned to be safer for pedestrians and cyclists and segregated cycle tracks will be built on Cecil Road, connecting with existing routes built as part of Enfield’s mini-Holland programme. Little Park Gardens and Town Park will be revitalised, and new 20mph speed limits will reduce danger while sustainable drainage on roads will help to reduce flood risk in the area.

Holborn, Camden This project will remove the gyratory and introduce protected cycle lanes along High Holborn and Theobalds Road. Sections of New Oxford Street and Great Russell Street will be closed to motor vehicles, and a section of Bloomsbury Way will become bus and bike only.

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Old Town, Croydon This project will reduce speeds on the Croydon flyover, reallocate road space to cycling and turn an unhealthy major road into a Healthy Boulevard with new green infrastructure.

South Chiswick, Hounslow Investment in South Chiswick will provide a new pedestrian bridge under Barnes railway bridge to fill a missing link in the Thames Path at Dukes Meadow. New cycle connections will be made between the Thames Path and the upcoming Cycleway 9. Grove Park piazza will be redesigned, School Streets will be introduced and low-traffic neighbourhoods will be developed in the residential areas south of the A4. April 2019 | 57

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DATA AND ANALYSIS Brixton, Lambeth This project is focused around Atlantic Road in Brixton, which will be transformed for people walking, cycling and using the bus. Local freight access will be maintained with technology utilised to better manage loading and servicing. The investment will overhaul public spaces, widen footways and add a number of new pedestrian crossings, creating a much more welcoming environment for the area’s many visitors, residents and businesses. The project will build high-quality infrastructure on three key strategic cycle routes: Brixton to Clapham Common, Brixton to Camberwell and Brixton to Herne Hill. Low traffic neighbourhoods will be created in Ferndale and Railton and a new, fully segregated cycle route will link to the Loughborough neighbourhood. Freemasons Road, Newham This project will transform the Custom House Area of Newham for walking and cycling, building on the Crossrail investment in the area. A high-quality cycling link will be built between Custom House Interchange and Cycle Superhighway 3 on Newham Way and a network of local routes will be developed to enable sustainable travel across the wider station catchment area. A new town square and arrival point from the Crossrail stations staircase will be created by reclaiming carriageway space from Freemasons Road. General traffic will be removed from the New Barn Street underpass, restricting it to buses and bikes only. South Bermondsey, Southwark Investment at the Bramcote Park estate will reduce car use by make walking and cycling much easier for local residents, and will connect the area with the future Cycleway 4 and Old Kent Road. Roads will be closed to through traffic, junctions redesigned and streets will be made easier to cross on foot. Links will also be improved to the Deptford Parks Liveable Neighbourhood, for which Lewisham Council was awarded funding last year.

Project Name

Atlantic Road

Croydon Old Town

Ilford, Redbridge This project will transform access to Ilford Town Centre by breaking down the severance of the A406 North Circular Road and the river Roding. New segregated cycle lanes will enable people to cycle around the area safely. New bridges will be built over the River Roding and Alders Brook, enabling more people to walk and cycle to neighbourhoods north of Ilford Town Centre. The project will enable the thousands of new residents of the future Ilford Housing Zone to access good quality open space along the river Roding valley and cycle links to Wanstead, Stratford, Barking and Essex. A new walking and cycling route will be provided to the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy. City Cluster, City of London This project aims to reduce traffic passing through the ‘City Cluster’, in the east of the City of London, an area with the highest density of business activity in the Square Mile. A zero-emission zone will also be created with innovative technology developed to implement and manage the zone. Reductions in traffic will enable streets to be transformed in line with the ‘Healthy Streets’ approach to create a quality environment for people walking, spending time and moving through the area. This will be coupled with a programme of activity to open streets as public spaces, initially with lunchtime closures rolling out to permanent traffic restrictions in the busiest streets. n

Overall TfL Contribution

Holborn Camden

South Bermondsey


Bow, Tower Hamlets Roman Road will become one-way for motor traffic, dramatically reducing traffic. Bus improvements will also be made to better service the town centre. Proposals for St. Stephen’s Road include the provision of continuous footways and the removal of the car park to create a new outdoor space. Proposals for Old Ford Road include better traffic management and will include the introduction of cycle facilities. Modal filters will reduce traffic on residential streets throughout the area, including the road underneath Coborn Street rail bridge.

Borough contribution



£3,100 £12,582













City Cluster

City of London





Tower Hamlets




South Chiswick





Ilford Redbridge £3,290 Shorlands Bromley


£2,040 £5,330 £2,544 £4,983

Enfield Town Centre





Freemasons Road





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BB-APR19-YORKSHIRE CYCLES:Layout 1 22/03/2019 09:40 Page 1



Exhibit a at



Call or emai email il the team at 6132 0113 394 613 32 / exhibitor@cy

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Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.