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19th - 21st February 2019 Arena:MK, Milton Keynes, MK1 1ST www.iceBike.co.uk
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New for 2019
A message from Dom Langan, CEO at Madison and Sportline:
Upgrade your workshop
There are always a million reasons not to attend a trade show, but given the current challenges faced by retail, here are a few good reasons why I would encourage you to register and attend iceBike* 2019.
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Charge up for 2019 There will be a big E-Bikes focus at iceBike* 2019 with the E-Bike Test Track, daily Shimano STEPS seminars from %R\2XGHQDPSVHQEUDQGQHZ Ridgeback E-Bikes and a cargo E-Bike.
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Birthday Celebrations! Tuesday and Wednesday night will see two big birthday SDUWLHV/D]HULVFHOHEUDWLQJLWV centenary year and Elite will be WKURZLQJDQÎ–WDOLDQSDUW\IRULWV WKDQQLYHUVDU\VRSOHQW\RI reason to stay for the evening entertainment.
SHOW 2019 For more information visit www.iceBike.co.uk
Free access to the Sportline Show and iceTackle* Show with iceBike* entrance
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‘We’d be naive to assume that common sense always prevails’
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2019 starts now Throughout my years in UK trade publishing, January has always felt like something of a false start to the calendar year. By the time our assemblage of colleagues, clients and industry friends have returned from their Christmas slumbers, extended holidays or advocaat-induced “illnesses”, we already find ourselves on the verge of February. If there’s one thing capable of kick-starting our year, it’s a trade show. And incidentally, at the time of writing, I’m in the process of packing a bag for our annual trip to Whittlebury Hall, home of COREbike. The fact this year’s event will have its biggest ever footprint – not to mention playing host to its largest ever number of companies and brands – points to nothing short of a wonderful show, but that, unfortunately, will have to wait until our next edition. January’s stand-out news was the European Parliament’s ruling that there should be no compulsory third-party liability insurance required for lowerpowered pedelecs and e-bikes. I’ve read numerous comments dismissing this as a foregone conclusion, and while I agree the overruling was always on the cards, we’d be naive to assume that common sense always prevails. To see that, we need only the tiniest of glances at the current state of political affairs. For now, however, the 2019 trade show calendar has begun, and with iceBike*, Taipei and the London Bike Show mere weeks away, you can be sure we’ll be back in Friedrichshafen before we know it.
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02.19 ISSUE 157 THIS MONTH Opinion
James Hamilton analyses the potential for mobile wallets in the cycling industry
Smart Cities of the future will “teem with two-wheeled vehicles”, says Kerb’s Rob Brown
The Bicycle Association recently softlaunched a market data service, offering UK sales data covering bikes, parts, accessories, and services. Laura Laker reports.
The festive period was an anxious time for retail, but to what extent was that impact felt throughout the UK cycle market?
Milton Keynes-based IBD Corley Cycles celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Rebecca Morley chats to owner Phil Corley as he reflects on professional racing, the rise of the internet and cycling DNA
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The evolution of mobile wallets By James Hamilton, founder and director of ActivelyOutdoors
6 | February 2019
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oyalty programmes are nothing new, from the punch cards at your local small business, the discount cards at your favourite supermarket and the vaunted success of Starbucks rewards. Giving consumers an extra incentive to spend their money with you can not only get you a quick impulse sale, but also has the potential to gain lifelong loyalty with a growing base of consumers interacting with your brand. As the way consumers pay for goods and services changes, so do the opportunities cycle marketers have to connect with them in a meaningful way. Yes, I’m talking about mobile wallets. Your smartphone is likely in your pocket (or in your hand) right now, but you probably haven’t fully leveraged its potential as either a consumer or a marketer. The last five years have seen mobile payments launch in fits and starts, but digital wallets are finally gaining huge traction among consumers. According to a report by Zion Market Research, the global mobile wallet market value will reach $3.1 billion by 2022 with an annual growth rate of 32%, year over year. Last year, 54% of consumers used mobile wallets embedded in their smartphones through apps such as Apple Wallet, Android and Samsung Pay, and that number will only grow.
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But what’s even more interesting is that more than half of those consumers expressed a desire to use their mobile wallets for functions other than payment. Things like digital loyalty cards, coupons, order delivery updates, boarding passes, ID cards, event tickets and even reminders about coupon expiration and loyalty card balances are all native elements of the mobile wallet ecosystem. This means that in addition to building a lasting bond with your customers through a digital loyalty programme, you can now send them meaningful lock-screen reminders – say, before a discount coupon expires or if they are due a bike service, or even to just stop by the bike shop for a free coffee after a ride – while incentivising them to make a purchase decision. Think of it as mobile content marketing that’s always in the customer’s hand. Because digital loyalty programmes can be stored within the mobile wallet and don’t require a physical card for consumers to lose or an account number to remember, they overcome the two biggest hurdles of loyalty programme longevity: consumers forgetting their cards or forgetting that they even signed up in the first place. Marketers can now remind consumers that they have a payment system embedded in the one item they never forget. With mobile payment technology, you’re a single push notification away from creating the next digital touchstone directly with consumers. As mobile payments evolve and accelerate, so do the possibilities for marketing strategies and partnerships. Through location services, for example, retailers and brands/distributors are able to team up so that a purchase at a given shop location might generate a coupon for 10% the next time they pass by said shop. As our everyday lives have become increasingly digitised and automated, mobile wallets and loyalty programmes have become more relevant for cycle marketers and the consumers you’re trying to reach. So if you haven’t yet, next time you reach to make a payment, check out the mobile wallet on your phone. Chances are, there’s a whole universe of opportunity waiting for you, and it’s sitting right there in your pocket.
February 2019 | 7
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19th - 21st February 2019
Become part of the Freewheel union Discover more at iceBike* 2019
Following an extensive testing period, Freewheel.co.uk is being RɝFLDOO\ H[SDQGHG RXW WR DOO ELF\FOH UHWDLOHUV ZLWKLQ WKH 8QLWHG Kingdom and Ireland. Dealers are invited to attend iceBike* 2019 to get the full low-down on the initiative and what it entails. For those unaware, the Freewheel programme was soft-launched in August 2018 with the primary focus of driving consumers to independent bicycle retailers up and down the country. The idea LVWRVXSSRUWWKRVHUHWDLOHUVVKRUWRQWLPHZLWKDVLJQLȴFDQWRQOLQH presence and digital marketing strategy that drives consumers to their nearest IBD.
9LVLWLFH%LNH WRȴQGRXWPRUHDERXW • The Reserve and Collect functionality • Getting commission from online sales • The tiered system – various levels depending on your business • Freewheel marketing and promotional strategy • How your business can get involved Speak to us about Freewheel, discover how it could help your EXVLQHVV DQG OLVWHQ WR WKH GDLO\ VHPLQDUV WR ȴQG RXW HYHU\WKLQJ you need. We’d love to have you on board!
www.iceBike.co.uk iceBike* is a trade show hosted by Madison and Sportline
Are bikes the future of urban mobility? By Rob Brown, co-founder and managing director of Kerb
n most cities around the UK and the rest of the world, there’s never been a worse time to be a cyclist. Every year, over 100 cyclists are killed on the UK’s streets, and more than 3,000 are seriously injured. In bikecrazy Holland, cyclist fatalities in 2017 were higher than the number of people killed while driving a car or motorbike, while cyclist deaths by people driving while texting have seen a dramatic increase in almost every country. Our streets are more congested than ever, with almost 2.5 million new cars registered each year in the UK alone. Mega-cities like China’s Beijing and Brazil’s São Paulo see around 5,000 new cars hit their roads every day. Initiatives to create cycle lanes, while well-intentioned, are cost-prohibitive for all but the most progressive and wealthy cities around the world. ‘Cool’ urban mobility solutions such as ride-hailing and electric share scooters have stolen the limelight. The humble bicycle has lost its lustre. Or has it?
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February 2019 | 9
Unless you’re living in a bubble, you will have noticed that Governments are grappling with the issue of how to get vehicles out of cities and commuters on to public transport and other, less polluting (ie, less greedy) forms of transportation. E-tolls, congestion charges and odd-even number plate restrictions are just the start. Our roads and motorways have reached a tipping point, to the extent that commuting to work in, and trying to park, a car or SUV is making less and less sense. Ride-hailing apps such as Uber, Grab and Taxify have become the one-click A-to-B transportation solution for tens of millions of commuters worldwide. Park-in-someone’s-driveway apps such as Kerb and JustPark are providing an alternative to traditional parking, and a plethora of electric scooter programmes have sprung up all over the world. But what about bikes? Of all the transportation-on-wheels solutions available in our cities today, bicycles have stood the test of time like no other vehicle. The German ‘draisine’ first appeared in 1817, almost a century before Henry Ford revolutionised urban transportation across North America and Europe with his Model T (or “Tin Lizzie”, as it became fondly known). Bikes are affordable, light, easy to park and emit fewer toxic emissions than the rider upon them. Racks and baskets mean that briefcases, laptops and
10 | February 2019
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groceries can easily be transported by commuters (an important point missed by the proponents of electric scooters). And in this age of obesity and other first world health conditions, pumping pedals for an aerobic hour or two on the way to work and back is an incredibly effective way of killing a couple of birds with the same two wheels: more time to spend with kids before school, gym sessions and membership fees can be reduced or eliminated, and the commuter arrives at work feeling alert and ready for a productive day. Not so with most other forms of transportation, where the stress of congested streets, cramped carriages, the search for parking and the perennial uncertainty of how long it is going to take to arrive at your destination make for a less than ideal start (or end) to the day. A number of high profile cities around the world are placing big bets on bikes emerging as a major type of human transportation. In Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, over half of all commuters cycle to work every day, along 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes. The German city of Hamburg has taken significant steps to prioritise travel by bike and on foot. And in clogged Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, citizens have embraced bikesharing programmes with alacrity. China’s secret?
‘Dockless’ bikes, which unlock themselves when scanned by a smartphone and which can be parked anywhere. No more need for expensive docking stations, which take up precious space in busy areas, attract vandals and graffiti, and quickly become a policing and maintenance headache for local authorities, and for the (mostly) private companies that operate them. The other issue which is often overlooked with any vehicle sharing programme, be that bikes, cars or electric scooters, is the ‘proximity issue’. Vehicle sharing programmes only work if the vehicle is close to where you need it. Most car hire companies have failed to resolve this last-mile pick-up/drop-off issue. Case in point: Hiring a car. We can all relate to the friction associated with needing to get a taxi or an Uber or a family member to drop us off at, or pick us up from, the local Hertz or Avis or Europcar hire-car branch. Their model only works because most people are hiring a car for several days, but it probably wouldn’t work for short-term rentals. The future of vehicle-sharing is a distributed model. It has to be. If I can pick up an electric share car through the Kerb parking app, that is parked and charged in a private driveway or car park 100 metres from where I am right now, I’ve overcome the proximity hurdle.
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But if I have to take another form of wheeled transport to get to that car, the model has failed. I don’t need (nor do I have time for) that friction. The same rule applies with the bike sharing models that will likely proliferate, give me the convenience of a share bike which I can pick up no more than 100 metres from my home, and I’m more likely to use it. But make me travel a few blocks or bus stops to a docking station, and the likelihood is surely less. As a result of the dockless break-through, Chinese bike share companies such as Ofo and Mobike have attracted big dollops of venture-capital and both have already entered the US market. Venture-backed US competitors such as LimeBike and Jump Bikes (which was recently acquired by Uber) are going after the same dockless bike sharing opportunities. But bike sharing programmes are not without their drawbacks. Countless stories of share bikes discarded in piles outside entertainment venues, or ending up at the bottom of rivers and lakes have created headaches for local authorities, many of which have refuted bike sharing schemes altogether. Whether bikes need to be picked up from a dock, or can be accessed from just about anywhere, the mere fact that they can just as easily be dumped and forgotten makes them more akin to shopping trolleys as a form of transportation (“I reached my destination, but just can’t be bothered to take the damn thing back to where I got it.”) This is the Tragedy of the Commons all over again: abusing the system without any real consequences. Which is different from sharing economy platforms like AirBnB, Kerb, Uber or Upwork, where there are two humans involved in the product or service exchanged. The reputational damage to a user’s ranking is greatly reduced when you’re renting a bike from a company rather than a person. Ultimately, the forward-thinking Governments of China, Scandinavia and other parts of Europe have understood that more bicycles, particularly if there are enough roads and lanes provisioned for them, can only be good for the increasingly sedentary societies that they govern. Our ‘one-click’/‘ordernow’ societies have become fat and lazy. The risks of personal injury while riding a bike to work, or as a pastime, are far outweighed by the costs to a nation’s health system borne by an overweight and unhealthy population. Ordering an Uber or a pizza, or hopping on an electric scooter or into a self-driving car requires almost no physical exertion. Cycling involves physical effort, an element of risktaking, and persistence in the face of adversity (steep hills, slippery roads, abusive drivers and unpredictable weather). For Governments, employers and parents alike, surely those traits are more akin to the values we are seeking to instill in the people who fall within our command? The Smart Cities of the future will teem with two-wheeled vehicles. And as many of those vehicles will be powered by human power, as by electric power. Investors take note! n
February 2019 | 11
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A NATIONAL ASSET The National Cycle Network could not only provide a potential boost to the cycle industry but also to communities up and down the UK, writes Laura Laker
A section crossing Manor Powis Roundabout will be re-aligned to a traffic-free alternative, in partnership with Stirling Council, with funding from the Scottish Government
eisure and tourist users of the 16,575 miles of the National Cycle Network (NCN) generate £2.5 billion to local economies each year, with cycle tourists spending more than average tourists, and favouring local businesses. There are also local health benefits. Some routes are destinations in themselves, like the 18-mile Camel Trail, near Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, or the 200-mile Caledonia Way. However, a recent review of the NCN revealed 42% of it is ‘very poor’, with issues with the surface, sharing with heavy traffic or poor signage, and there’s almost one barrier for every mile of the NCN, mostly on the traffic-free sections. 54% was classified ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
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However, if the NCN was brought up to a good standard, protecting and separating users from motor traffic, it could help solve the number one reason people don’t cycle – fear of riding with traffic. And, naturally, more people cycling is good for the cycle industry. Sustrans, the charity that runs the NCN, hopes to overhaul the network, starting with 55 ‘Activation Projects’. Xavier Brice, Sustrans CEO, says: “The NCN already enables 4.4 million people to travel actively every year, but currently only one third of the paths are away from cars and half are not the quality asset they should be.
“The new projects are the first step to help us achieve a vision for a traffic-free, safe and accessible network for all. We look forward to working closely with local authorities and other landowners to turn this vision into a reality and create walking and cycling paths used and enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities across all nations and regions.” He adds: “The positive economic impacts of high-quality walking and cycling paths are unmissable opportunities for the cycling industry. Better, busier paths mean more business. And the equation works both ways. The network is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to encourage their employees to use it and stay active, support new schemes and promote wide-community development in the process.” Brice adds that images of family cycling used by the industry often portray riders on canal paths and greenways, which are parts of the NCN – because when done well, it is attractive and safe for all ages and abilities. However, not all parts of the NCN are good, and it has an unfortunate reputation for its barriers, circuitous routes, sharing with heavy, fast-moving traffic and stop-start provision. The NCN is unusual in that it is a piece of national infrastructure run by a charity. As that charity, Sustrans has to negotiate with landowners, from councils to private individuals, for access, while raising funds to pay for improvements. These can range from signage, surfacing and lighting, to new bridges and tunnels. Over five years, projects will improve signage, remove barriers and re-route away from busy roads. Sustrans says bringing the entire network up to scratch will cost £2.8 billion over the next 22 years, doubling usage to 8.8 million users per year. It estimates the return on investment, from tourism and leisure benefits to congestion and health, at £7.6 billion. The plan is to refocus minds on the NCN, and to provide impetus and guidance to improve it. As Brice puts it: “For me, this is about attracting new entrants to cycling and in particular new types of people – families, older people etc. Fear of traffic and concern for safety are the number one barriers to why people don’t cycle. A national traffic-free network for everyone is what’s needed to attract different people and grow the market.” n
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Among the activation projects which have begun are: National route 76, near Stirling, Scotland includes the ‘Round the Forth’ circuit. A section crossing Manor Powis Roundabout will be re-aligned to a traffic-free alternative, in partnership with Stirling Council, with funding from the Scottish Government. Sustrans describes NCN 5, Flint-Connah’s Quay, Wales as an ‘important transport corridor along the North Wales coast’, but this section runs on a busy, narrow road. Working with Flintshire County Council, the charity hopes to provide a traffic-free alternative. Working with West Sussex County Council, a one-mile section of busy road on NCN 223 around Christ’s Hospital, West Sussex, England, will be moved to a disused railway line, connecting to the Downs Link between Guildford and Shoreham, one of the UK’s longest greenways. Sustrans is seeking planning permission to create a traffic-free route on a continuation of disused railway on NCN 67, Trans Pennine Trail at Methley, Yorkshire to avoid a busy road. This will link the TPT with Methley Junction. 86% of the NCN in Northern Ireland is on-road; by 2023 Sustrans will develop an NCN realignment plan to identify traffic-free alternatives.
February 2019 | 15
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A shot in the arm
The Bicycle Association recently announced the soft-launch of a market data service, offering UK sales data covering bikes, parts, accessories, and services. Laura Laker reports
n January, a Bicycle Association (BA) led initiative that seeks to provide a shot in the arm for the cycle industry was soft-launched. Market data services aggregate and anonymise sales figures from shop tills, allowing businesses to compare their own performance with regional or national averages. It also allows them to predict trends and growth without sharing their own data with anyone else. While this kind of service is commonplace in some retail industries, until now it has only existed as a much costlier, and less comprehensive service, the BA says.
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Sports Marketing Services (SMS) will manage the service on behalf of the BA, which is funding it for the industry, running on a not-for-profit basis. The service will be available for free to IBDs with a turnover below ÂŁ5 million, who contribute their data. SMS already services the golf, tennis and cycle sport industry. The BAâ€™s Steve Garidis says: â€œCustomers, trading conditions and market trends in cycling have never evolved faster, and the cycling industry has never been more diverse and competitive. Cycling is changing and growing: for sport, for leisure, for health and for transport.
February 2019 | 17
“Now our industry needs accurate market data more than ever – to underpin our advocacy work and to strengthen UK cycling businesses. That’s why the BA has developed this service – on a not-for-profit basis – designed to be as low cost and accessible as possible.” The BA hopes to use the data to make the case for greater Government investment in cycling, from infrastructure to subsidies, and to highlight cycling’s contribution to the UK economy. A recent report, produced for the BA, found the bike industry was worth more to the UK economy than the steel industry. However, this was interpreted from bicycle import data – a blunt tool in comparison to point of sale retail data. Supporters of the scheme hope having the kind of data other industries have enjoyed for years will help reverse the fortunes of the cycle industry by providing insights into what sells and what doesn’t. The BA argues good market data can help businesses understand customers better and learn what is needed to “grow sales and improve profitability”. SMS, which was recruited through a competitive tender process, will handle, anonymise and aggregate the data, so individual business data will not be visible to others.
They will collect raw sales data on the first of each month via a shop’s EPOS provider, or central database, and feed that back to the industry. SMS sports business and marketing manager Edward Willis, who is leading on the cycle industry data, tells BikeBiz: “I think the benefits are fairly multifaceted. For retailers there are clear advantages to being able to better manage their product, stock and portfolio because they have better visibility on what’s selling, what’s successful. “We aren’t saying John’s Cycles down the road has sold X number of bikes, we are saying in a particular area or price point sales have been X.” He says data also acts as a benchmark, which for brands might mean performance of new lines, while for retailers it might be putting sales performance in context – which is important in challenging economic times. “For example,” he says, “a 5% drop in sales might mean you’re still outperforming the market in a given area, whereas a 5% increase might mean you’re underperforming against the market.
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“For those small retailers there is a huge amount that they can learn. IBDs may find stocking one type of range may put off some people that they may be able to attract if they sold a different range.” BA associate director Simon Irons, who led the project, says the service takes “the best of what we have seen from other sectors like UK Grocery, where market data has long been established as an essential benchmarking tool to help businesses improve their sales and profitability performance”. He adds: “Working closely with our members, including IBDs, brands and large retailers, we can ensure the service is both high-quality and completely tailored to their needs.” BA is targeting 70% coverage by the end of the first year, and to help boost numbers, anyone signing up during the ‘soft launch’ phase, before 31st March, will receive a lifetime upgrade to the ‘silver level’. Paul Kenchington, who owns Bicycle Chain, with four bike shops in the South West of England, welcomes the scheme.
20 | February 2019
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He says: “One of the biggest problems we have in the industry is because there’s no accurate data everyone is sticking their finger in the air and hoping for the best, which means you either get too much or too little product. “Most reps will tell you the product is selling, and if you deal with a rep over time you begin to learn that’s what they say about every product. I have taken on lines in the past because of GFK [market] data, and was chuffed to bits with the results. One of the stresses for the IBD is if you’re a single outlet you have no idea really what’s going on in the market, which is a scary place to be, because you can be making some very bad buying decisions. “The problem for the cycle trade in general is no-one is making enough money. We are having to dump unsold product at the end of the year, which is great for the customer but not for the industry as a whole. Every other industry has this so it’s incredible we didn’t have it until now.” The more businesses sign up, the better the data. The scheme will be funded by BA members subscribing to the service, so more people signing up means lower costs for each member.
Heather Baker, who runs Saddles and Paddles in Exeter, welcomes the market data. She says: “I think it’s going to be incredibly useful, more so for people who don’t really know what to expect. “Let’s say cycling shoes were a big growth area. I might not realise because there’s so much you can stock as a bike shop, and it’s hard to know what’s going to be worth your time. With this data you can keep track of other areas to enable you to invest in it yourself. “As a small business you can’t do everything, and you can’t know what all the trends are, whereas a bigger shop down the road, because they sell more, might have a better idea.” Baker adds that this information will help small businesses compete against larger companies. “We are better together, the more we can share what we are doing, the more we can start to build a support network for our own businesses.” How does it work? The market data service is free for IBDs with an annual turnover of below £5 million who sign up to contribute data.
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IBDs will see a simplified version of the market data that’s easy to understand and interpret, on a monthly basis, as well as a monthly ‘top five’ products or lines, to help inform buying and planning. Bigger businesses can sign up to bronze, silver or gold memberships, with more detail on products, comparisons against their own sales data and online reporting service available to higher tier memberships. Higher tier users will be able to compare their own data to market and sector averages down to category, sub-category, and even SKU level in some areas. Irons says there will be support for businesses on how to make the most of the new service. He says: “We will have to spend the first 6-12 months educating people on how to use it, to get the best value out of the service. “To help people use it, to make more money, we are going to plan every quarter to produce training material to help people on how to use it.” That might include showing the top five selling items to help ensure shops have popular lines available to customers.
February 2019 | 21
Irons also hopes it will be possible to show what stock is available across the industry, so that if a retailer runs out of a line mid-season, they could see how much of it is held in other shops and decide whether or not to restock. This could potentially reduce the risk of a small retailer being left with excessive stock. How can data help with advocacy? The BA says the data will be a key tool in its new plan to “leverage deeper investment in cycling from Government and other agencies”. It sees this as at least as important as the trade insight. Cycling UK’s Sam Jones welcomes the market data as an important advocacy tool. He says: “One of the big problems Cycling UK and other organisations have faced is in actually showing how much cycling can make, as usually what we will talk about is how cycling can save the economy £X due to the health and environmental benefits – and for politicians those figures roam into the realm of make believe. “Industry figures will be a much better benchmark, showing how cycling makes a positive contribution to the UK economy in terms of turnover and both direct and indirect jobs.” In 2011, the London School of Economics produced a report, commissioned by Sky and British Cycling, revealing that cycling contributes £3 billion to the UK economy. This was believed to be the first report charting the economic value of the cycling industry in the UK, and it made national headlines and is still quoted today. Not only did it cite how many people the UK cycling sector employed (23,000 people), but the value of each cyclist to the country’s economy (£233). As well as demonstrating cycling’s current economic value, the report sought to indicate how much it could contribute if more people saw cycling as safe and convenient – not least through decent infrastructure. At the time Ian Austin MP, vice-chairman of the all party parliamentary cycling group, says: “This important report shows that encouraging greater participation in cycling can bring not only social but economic benefits for Britain.” n
Why cycling’s benefits extend far beyond the cycle industry In 2018 Transport for London gathered research on the economic benefits of cycling, which consistently shows the benefits to local businesses of walking and cycling friendly streets around the world. In one study cycling, walking and public realm improvements on high streets increased retail sales by 30%. It found cycle parking delivers five times more retail spend than the same area of car parking – not least because one car parking space can store 12 bikes. New research found improved streets for walking and cycling led to an increase of 216% of people stopping, sitting and socialising, and 17% reduction in retail vacancies. Cycle lanes can also carry more people than motor traffic lanes, helping to tackle congestion. New cycle lanes helped some London streets carry up to 5% more people at the busiest times of day. What’s more, cycling and walking projects deliver a whopping £13 for each £1 spent. The health benefits are well known. Businesses are increasingly aware that cycling and walking friendly places help attract workers, particularly millennials, who are more aware of the human impact on the environment. New research from a survey of business improvement districts in London, commissioned by Transport for London, found more than 85% think cycling is important for business performance, for attracting more customers, creating vibrant areas and attracting and retaining staff. 95% say the same for walking. Only 29% said their areas were currently good for cycling. Not everyone realises the economic benefits of active means of transport like walking and cycling, however. Previous research has found businesses overestimate their customers’ car use by three times.
22 | February 2019 www.bikebiz.com
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INSIDE THE DEN Kiddimoto founder Simon Booth chats to Rebecca Morley about his business of balance bikes
“I was introduced to this concept of a balance bike about 16 years ago,” says founder Simon Booth. “At the time there was a tiny little German company making these very niche products. Virtually no one else in the world was making them, and I thought it was quite an interesting concept.” Kiddimoto, ‘The UK’s original balance bike company’, was born after Booth built a wooden prototype in his flat in Axbridge, Somerset. “At the time I was a big motorbiker, and I thought: ‘You know what? These balance bikes need to look like motorbikes, that would make them much more interesting, much more colourful’,” he says. “That’s where it all started, and that’s where the name Kiddimoto came from as well. I produced one, and I hadn’t come from a toy or bike-making background, and I quickly realised that I had to get everything safety tested.
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“I sent this prototype bike that I’d made off to a safety testing lab, and it completely fell apart. So we went back to the drawing board. I’d made it out of MDF, which it is like cardboard, paper mache. I thought I’d like to make it out of really good quality wood.” Booth then developed his product out of plywood, sent it back to get tested and this time it passed. He then made his way to a small motorcycle show in Exeter and took along six balance bikes that he had made in his front room, which he had painted different colours. He says: “Pretty much everybody pointed and went: ‘What is that?’, ‘Why has it got no pedals?’, ‘Where are the stabilisers?’, ‘I could make that in my shed’. But I managed to convince six people to buy them off me, and that was it, that was all my stock. I sold literally the six bikes that I had made.
February 2019 | 25
“I knew nothing about business, I was making it up! I’d sold out my stock, but it also covered the cost of the show, the materials, which meant it broke even. That made me think I’d got a business, that this could be the start of something amazing. We all want to have our own business! That’s when the dream started to become a reality.” Booth then attended a bigger show at the NEC, where he again managed to sell all of the bikes he had taken with him. What’s more, this time he received orders for more. “It was 200,000 visitors over 11 days, this absolute beast of a show,” he says. “This was in October 2004, and everybody who had placed the orders wanted them for Christmas. I was doing that on my own, I had my wife, my fiance at the time, to help me out. I got some friends too, so it was all hands on deck. But we managed to do it, I got them out for Christmas and they were all delivered. “Christmas came and went and I didn’t get any complaints. I woke up on Boxing Day and thought: ‘What am I going to do now? Christmas is another year away’. So then I started going to kindergartens and nursery schools, just knocking on the doors there. I managed to sell quite a few to all the local nurseries.
26 | February 2019
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“I just thought: ‘I have to get out selling’. That was pretty much how it started.” Slaying the Dragons But the turning point for Booth’s business came in 2011 when he appeared on BBC TV show Dragons’ Den. “That’s a bit of a story as well,” he says. “It was about seven years ago, I’d been growing the business for six to seven years. I was doing PR, marketing, lots of shows, trying to get the brand out there and making sure it was in front of all of the right customers. I thought I knew my demographic, I was getting the message out there. This was pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter and all of those things, so it was old school marketing. “I was at a trade show talking to the mother of a twoand-a-half-year-old that was a biker, and found that she had never heard of Kiddimoto. I thought: ‘How can this be? With all of the PR and the marketing that I’ve been doing, how is this possible? I’m obviously not doing enough’. I decided I needed to do something high-profile, a real ‘in-your-face’ marketing campaign.”
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He reveals he had the idea to visit the Den when his wife left him in charge of the kids, his youngest being about five months old at the time. “It was the first time I got to stay at home with them,” he says. “I thought: ‘You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to go on Dragons’ Den. It’s the only way I’m going to get a high profile campaign, I have to go on TV in front of millions of people’. So that’s what I did. I literally picked the laptop and applied, and two weeks later I was in front of the Dragons. That’s how quick it was. There was no preparation.” Dragons’ Den is a BBC TV show where budding entrepreneurs get three minutes to pitch their business ideas to five multimillionaires, in this case, Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Duncan Bannatyne, Hilary Devey and Theo Paphitis. After each pitch, the Dragons have the opportunity to ask questions about the venture. The entrepreneurs don’t always have to answer, but what they choose not to address could very well affect the outcome. The pitch is over when each Dragon declares: ‘I’m out.’ Booth appeared on the show with his three-year-old daughter Ruby, who demonstrated the pedal-free bike with a few demo laps in front of the Dragons. He delivered his three-minute pitch and asked for a £75,000 investment for a 10% stake in the business. “They thought I had a great idea, but there were a few little holes in the business.
28 | February 2019
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“It’s a two-hour ordeal, the cameras don’t stop rolling, you don’t get a break. You don’t have access to any of your numbers or your spreadsheets or anything like that. You could probably say that it’s a form of torture. Deborah Meaden is the best at interrogating people for numbers, she absolutely tied me in knots. Apart from that, the response was really good. It was positive. They were on my side, I think I won them over.” Meaden, however, was still less than impressed with Booth’s answers to her financial questions and was the first to go out. She was quickly followed by Jones and Paphitis. “I thought that was it,” Booth admits. “But then Duncan Bannatyne said: ‘I’m going to make you an offer’, and I thought: ‘I’m in!’.” Bannatyne, in fact, made two offers, the first was the full amount of money for a 30% stake of the company, and the second was half of the money for a 15% stake, the latter meaning Booth would need another Dragon to come in too. After asking a few more questions, Devey also made Booth the offer of the other half of the money for 15% in the business. Booth accepted the joint offer from both Dragons. “I thought: ‘I’ve just got to take it, I’ve got to say yes. I’m not going to negotiate on this. I’m going to be on TV, I’m going to get airtime’,” he says. But despite shaking hands in front of the cameras, Booth didn’t actually end up taking the investments.
FEATURE FEATURE someone’s back pocket, but that it will compact enough to make a difference whennext it goes their bag.” “What happens is ainprocess of due diligence,” he explains. The“yeses” first sample of handshakes the final design was delivered toTV Terry in July “The and the are pretty much all stuff. 2017, at which pointserious, he wasyou stillsit working cafés, Afterwards, it gets aroundfrom a table andshowing discussraw what prototypes to potential asking them to picture the to your plans are, what theinvestors business and looks like and how you’ve got finished helmet as where he’d had in hisgoing. mind for six years. At last, it was where you are and you’re now hisdecided hands. “It another didn’t specialneed moment,” he says. “Iat was “It in was thatwas I probably the investment really happy with it. felt I stillit am.” that point, and they was better that I managed it and kept LIDThey launched a months later, on 10th November theFour business to myself rather than giving2017, it away. gave me crowdfunding through Indiegogo andSo bywe thedidn’t New Year the advice and campaign decided that was the way to go. had smashed its target. a year hundreds actually go through withNow, the deal in on thefrom end the but launch, they gave me of helmets have sold and the buzz continues to grow. I still lots of advice andbeen really pointed me in the right direction. have contact with Hilary Devey now, she mentioned us in her What’s next?as well. autobiography More sizes, a children’s areitcoming early “It was theincluding feature pitch on the range, episode went out on,2019, and it and on there is no shortage of ideas for whatBooth will follow. A range was at the end for about 15 minutes,” continues. “I think of helmet such as rain is first the viewingaccessories, figures were about fourcovers and a and half winter millionliners, for the set to follow Most ofwas all, about though, Terry sees LIDmillion. as an enabler showing, andtoo. the repeat three and a half The of mobility: scope calls is endless, especially this new category next day we “The had phone from John Lewis,with Toys R Us, of electricTesco, scooters havetoy exploded in the US and are now Hamleys, all which the major retailers.” coming to Europe. I started onpoint this in thatwhose wasn’t This proved to beWhen a major turning for2015 Booth, appearance prime time TV grewinhis on anyone’son radar; it all happened thebusiness last year.substantially. So, the future is exciting.”n
“Oh my God, it was amazing!” he says. “I’d been growing the business quite steadily and quite well on my own, I love PR and building the brand through media but the TV grew the business that year by 400 per cent. It just went absolutely berserk. “I learnt an awful lot through that process. From that moment it jumped massively. For a few years after that, it doubled in size year on year, and we had a massive growth plan. We’d moved to a really big new headquarters, offices and warehousing, to enable us to future proof the business.” He admits that the in the last couple of years things have been a bit more difficult (due to a certain B-word, he says), but is optimistic about the business and the industry. He says it’s about developing new products that are innovative and interesting. “We’ve had to do a little bit of restructuring in terms of building the sales team, strengthening the marketing, and we’re looking more at developing the new products. We’ve got a new range of bicycles, kids bicycles. It’s the next step of the balance bike, we’re pushing ‘Lots our range be able tothink offer older children our quality oftopeople sporty cycle and innovation and our products. So we’ve got a range of bicycles, helmets look silly, which they do!’ 16in, 20in and 24in that should be ready for Easter. We’ve been developing those for the last two to three years.
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“They’re really interesting and exciting products. We’re going to get more and more kids going on bikes, that’s the idea.” IBDs are the future In addition to developing new products, Kiddimoto is also building a much more customer-focused way of working. Booth says: “We’re going to be working more closely with IBDs, developing relationships where we can serve them with the products that they need. We’re going to have marketing programmes that will be supporting the IBDs. I think it’s about really good IBD service, face to face with the customer. We’re building really good relationships so that we can service them, and we want a nice dealer network that we work closely with so that they then talk to the end-user. “We work with them because they’re the experts, they’re talking to the end consumer so if we’ve got good relationships with them and we’re going and talking to them regularly, we’ve got the feedback to be able to develop the products that will actually work through them. We don’t want to be one of these online direct-to-consumer companies, we’re not going to be selling through the mass market, through the big chains, we’re
30 | February 2019
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purely going to be IBD-centric. That’s really our focus for the mid-to-long term. “It’s probably against the grain of what everybody else is doing. We’ve bucked the trend forever, so we’ll keep doing it. That’s our thing, that we try to be a bit of a disruptor, trend-setter, leader and pioneer.”
BB-FEB19-TANDEM GROUP CYCLES:Layout 1 24/01/2019 09:07 Page 1
How was Christmas for the cycling industry? Laura Laker explores how the industry fared in a challenging time for retailers
32 | February 2019
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he 2018 festive period was an anxious time in retail, with pre-Christmas warnings that low consumer confidence and high levels of debt would translate to depressed footfall on the High Street. This, pundits predicted, would simply add to a long period of declining activity for bricks and mortar shops. Springboard, which provides retail performance analysis for the High Street, predicted footfall on the High Street would drop 4.2% in December 2018, compared to 2017 when footfall was already down. What actually happened was a 2.6% decline in footfall in December 2018, the second largest drop since the 2010 recession. Springboard summarises it as: “The 2018 Christmas trading period will be remembered not for the weather as it often is, but for the challenges faced by retailers.” Its Christmas report characterised early December by declining footfall, partly due to an increase in popularity of experiences as gifts, and partly due to plummeting consumer confidence. In the second half of the month, it says numbers rallied, before dipping again for the final week before Christmas. This time next year, cycle industry-specific market data will be available for Christmas 2018 and 2019, thanks to the Bicycle Association’s new initiative, run by Sports Marketing Services (SMS). This will give us a more accurate picture of festive performance across the cycling industry. For now, BikeBiz caught up with a few willing retailers to see how Christmas was for them. Some declined the opportunity to talk, but those who did reported a mixed performance over the festive period. What we got was perhaps a limited, if interesting, snapshot of the current situation. Calvin Cox, head of brand marketing at Sigma Sports Overall, it’s been another successful year for Sigma Sports as the demand for the great brands we stock continues to grow. Despite being out of season, we still see strong demand for a wide range of categories – we’re even seeing growth in the sale of road bikes over the winter months. That being said, I think the last few weeks before Christmas trading is a challenging period for many retailers in the industry. The explosion of Black Friday has encouraged consumers to spend large amounts in a short window, impacting their appetite and ability to spend in the weeks that follow. For a company like Sigma Sports, we understand that the majority of our customers are making purchases for themselves and perhaps the guilt of a Black Friday binge is turning them away from selfgifting in the last few days before Christmas.
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Richard Todd, managing director at Assos SBO UK Christmas was fairly flat, but overall we have had a very good year because we’re selling a lot more in the summer. When I said that to people and bemoaned the winter for only being flat, people looked at me as if I’m crying tears of champagne. People out there are struggling, I think you can see that yearly by the amount of product that’s [discounted] on sale. There are certainly brands which seem to be constantly on sale. I’m not sure you can separate Brexit from the current economic situation. UK politics is so bizarre right now that actually nobody is even talking about it, because where do you start? No-one knows where to start thinking about a solution. We have done very well with tights across the winter, our lower body garments are very strong but we have had improved sales of our tights and of some new winter jackets. What continues to sell for us throughout the year, even through the winter, are summer shorts. That might be a reflection of people who are training indoors, recognising the importance of good shorts when you’re on the bike indoors. If you aren’t getting out of the saddle, getting off at traffic lights to relieve the pressure, you’re sitting there, static, for an hour and a half. Chris Brown, director at Stonehenge Cycles bike shop, Salisbury The business has been in my family for about 42 years, it was bought from another family that started it in 1897. Now it’s run by me, my brother and sister. Christmas was as expected for us. If we are looking at November, December and January we are ever so slightly up on last year. Overall, we have been flat pretty much for the last two years. Given the current situation with Brexit, and the fact that we are in Salisbury so we had everything that went on with the poisoned Russians, the fact we’re coming out of the year flat is the most surprising thing. We had a very strong summer, and the good weather I think kept people at home for the holidays. The biggest difficulty for us is that markets are changing and spending is changing. You think you can see a pattern, then it goes and changes on you. I think that’s what the industry is suffering from at the moment; stores that are shutting aren’t managing to rebalance. It’s no secret that road biking seems to have dropped very much off a cliff. It’s still an important part of our business but it’s nowhere near as large a part as it was. We sell everything from e-bikes to mountain bikes, and hybrid to kids’ bikes. That diversity certainly helps. We have had really good sales and profitability on the step through, more traditional e-bikes. We are seeing a migration of customers that would have bought £300 to £400 hybrids buying £2,000 e-bikes instead.
February 2019 | 33
We have had some pretty good road sales coming out but they have been quite price-sensitive, so the margins have been lower. E-bike customers tend to be 60-75 years old, or mountain bikers in their mid-30s who turn to e-mountain biking. We have definitely struggled on more of that traditional £400 to £800 adult bikes. There’s a lot of pressure on that part of the market from people migrating to e-bikes, and from Halfords and Decathlon, who can provide bikes at those price points incredibly competitively. Spokesperson for bikesy.co.uk, online discount aggregator We get product listings from most of the major online retailers and from that we can identify and compare discounts and prices and find harder to find sizes, for example. Every day, I will pick daily deals, things I can see through the data, that are highlighted due to a discount, but people use the site to buy all sorts of things. There is a general visitor to sales ratio I expect.
34 | February 2019
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That is down this year: I’m still getting people coming in and looking, but they aren’t buying. We are probably down about half of what we would have expected on high-end bikes and wheels. There was a big push towards more discounted clothing instead. That was the case in November as well. I’d say shoppers were being cautious. Alex Davies, Look Mum, No Hands café, workshop and online shop Because we have the café and the online shop, we are not as reliant on repairs as most shops. The online shop was down 15% compared to last year, and we were 14% down in the café. I think with the online shop, we didn’t have a killer new product this Christmas, which could have accounted for online shop sales. The café was quieter in the run up to Christmas this year; we had an event on 12th December with a 70% drop-out rate – I expect 50% drop out, but of 118 people signing up, only about 40 came. We are closed for Christmas from the 21st because no-one is around. The first week back in January was quiet, but things have picked up since then. n
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Penetrating the UK market Namedsport managing director David Hannah speaks to Rebecca Morley about the origins of the sports nutrition company and what it hopes to achieve in the UK market
amed, pronounced Na-med, is an Italian company with a 20-year history of selling health food supplements to the pharmacy chain in Italy. In 2014, it added some sports products to its range which ultimately became Namedsport, which is now a separate company in its own right.
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“Although we are sister companies, Namedsport has its own structure,” says managing director David Hannah. “That helps us understand ingredients and formulations, and we had a ready channel for distribution in that the existing sales had something to bring into the stores.”
February 2019 | 37
The predominant channel in Italy for both companies is pharmacy sports shops, gyms and bike shops, and many pharmacies carry the sports range as well. This is different to the UK market, Hannah says, where Boots and the independent pharmacy chains carry very little sports nutrition. “We deal with Boots the chemist in Italy, but obviously here they don’t have anything in this category, so in the future maybe they’ll do it. Look at what the supermarkets are now doing with sports nutrition. It could be in the future, I don’t see any sign of it yet but it’s a legitimate category in its own right in that area.” Named is an acronym for natural medicine, and you’d be forgiven for not reading it as Na-med the first time. “All English speakers in the early days say ‘Namedsport’, and therein is the first part where we have a communication issue. Our customers that phone us on a daily basis now are saying Na-med. Once they are exposed to it, they understand,” Hannah says. But what products does the company actually offer? “We have a range of functional products, and those functions cover hydration, energy, proteins, recovery and snacks. In an ideal world, all athletes would cover most of their needs from their regular diet. Unfortunately, that’s rarely practical. The supplements we offer have functional ingredients for specific times, like hydration, recovery or energy,” Hannah explains.
38 | February 2019
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“If you need 5,000 calories for a day of training, or 3,000 even, you may not practically want to eat that shortly before going on a bike. We find that certainly the professional athletes use these products where required, and they have applications to everybody. What we have to help people understand is when to use the products and that’s part of the education process. To help them, most of our key products use functional ingredients that are branded. You can find them online with their own independent research. As much as we are trying to educate people on product function, we’re helping them to understand what we’re putting in those products, to give them energy or hydration, and the feedback we get is very positive. People are interested in the development of ingredients, and for us, that’s an important part of the product make up.” In 2017, Namedsport had its first involvement with Giro d’Italia, and at that point, it was only trading in Italy. “Giro d’Italia is a premium event over there, and the exposure we got through that event was phenomenal,” Hannah says. “That also included a number of the classics and some of the stage races. We are the title sponsor for those events as well as a partner. We do European wide premium events now, and with Eurosport covering them, we get a lot of exposure in the sport that we’re supporting.
“That high visibility helps retailers with activation. Activation is highly important for the brand, as we are not just committing our name to an event, we are at the event. “We’re actually adding some theatre to it as well. That gives us the opportunity to sample, which we are highly committed to. We gave away nearly a million cycling bottles last year, a lot of sampling for gels and bars. Because we don’t compete with our retailers, the retailers benefit in that we’re creating that awareness for them. We did that last year at Tour de Yorkshire and we’ll do it again this year.” He says a lot of people saw what Namedsport committed to Giro d’Italia, and believes the company ‘took it to another level of what people had been doing previously’. It also has four world tour teams as ambassadors, and as the teams’ personnel move around, they take products with them. “We are highly visible, not only at the event, but with the teams as well,” he says. “If you follow any of the riders on Instagram, you’ll see they are heavily engaged on social media. A lot of them are voluntarily helping the brand with exposure and that’s one of the strongest points. “Unlike other professional sports where you’re held at a distance, cycling has this close community where we at the races are speaking with the riders, the team doctors. It’s more a small family moving around from event to event.” The brand has seen success in Italy, but Hannah admits that in the UK it has been a ‘slow build’. “The UK penetration level for sports nutrition isn’t quite as high as some other countries. There’s room for all the brands that exist now if we can do our bit to grow the penetration level. That’s where I see the cycling stores perhaps having multiple brands in store, not just one or the other. The internet’s a major factor in that, but we’re not crashing prices on our website so we’re supporting the retailers in that respect. Hopefully, that is what is going to endear us to the retailers that are out there.
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“The cyclists see us subliminally as well. When we did Tour de Yorkshire, quite a lot of people said: ‘I saw this, but I didn’t know what it was’. We always knew that would take some time. But we’re in year two now, and we are definitely a brand that people have heard of.” In order to penetrate the UK market, Namedsport is looking to work closely with bike shops. Hannah says he is impressed by what bike shops are doing at the moment to survive in a struggling retail environment, with some opening cafes to increase engagement in their community. He says the company has different ranges for different channels, with protein-based products aimed at the gym channel and more specialist ranges aimed at the bike channel. But he says the more familiar people are with the brand, the better. “We have a number of dedicated distributors for whatever channel we’re in,” he explains. “We also have our own sales force on the road that supports those. For the IBD channel in the UK, we’re working with Raleigh, and the fact that they are that well known is an advantage for us. It’s interesting times. The company is growing unbelievably rapidly, from just Italy we now have daughter companies in Spain and the UK. Month by month we’re finding more and more distribution. That’s all on the back of the pro Tour cycling season. People are seeing us there and this is a brand that’s bringing something a little bit different to the market. “A lot of us were involved in sports nutrition for a number of years with another brand. We all got together on this one and it’s a different sport. What I like about cycling is that it’s growing in the number of people doing it. I was quite surprised by the Cycle Show in that the age group was slightly older than I imagined it was going to be. I’m finding out all of these things through experience. “There is a similarity in the bike trade to the health club trade in that everybody wants to sell additional products but their core business is fixing and selling bikes, and in the health club industry it’s selling memberships. And when they go to retail they need to adhere to some retail principles, and some are better than others at it. There are some incredibly savvy, well-prepared cycling retailers and I think they are the people that embrace change and they’re looking at different ways to do it, for example, cafes or making their shops clubhouses for ride outs. It’s not one way, you have to adapt as things go on.” So what are the brand’s goals for 2019? “We want to broaden our reach in the cycling channel, and we have aspirations to grow our business in the gym channel where historically people have used sports nutrition, but again it will be with another part of our brand, and really build on the brand recognition. We have to do more to be seen. We will support not only top-level cycling but also grassroots,” Hannah concludes.
February 2019 | 39
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TRENDSPOTTING Evans Cycles outlines its top six trends for 2019
t’s never been a more exciting time to get into cycling than right now. With so much choice and ever-expanding variations and niches, there’s something for everyone. So, what can we expect to see more of going through into 2019 and beyond? We’ve been polishing the crystal ball to identify the hottest trends and what we expect to see more of throughout the year. e-MTBs that ride as well as pedal-powered MTBs Let’s get one thing straight – electric bikes aren’t going to disappear any time soon. Once seen as the reserve of the recreational and occasional cyclist, many of us are now realising the benefits of that power assistance for extending rides and maximising fun. The good news is bike brands are cottoning on that e-MTBs ride best when they utilise ‘proper’ MTB geometry, to create machines with the trail performance to match any pedalpowered bike. Take a look at Cube’s Stereo 160 Hybrid or Specialized’s bonkers 180mm travel Kenevo for examples of e-MTBs that can take on any descent and get you back up the other side.
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Electric road bikes are better than ever There’s a new generation of electric road bikes rearing their heads for 2019. A bit like their off-road brethren, squint a little and it’s almost impossible to tell them apart from a non-electric, aero framed road bike. The latest motor and battery technology such as Bosch’s Generation 3 Active Line Plus drive units, found on Cannondale’s Sleek Synapse Neo, provide drag free pedalling beyond the cut-off point of the motor. With added resistance on the drivetrain being one of the biggest issues of many road-going electric bikes, could this new tech open up the possibilities for more e-bikes on the Sunday club run? Gravel and adventure riding is getting bigger Once, gravel riding was thought of as the grubby-faced young upstart of cycling. But if there’s one thing 2018 taught us, it’s that venturing off-road on drop-bars is the quickest, most sure-fire way of injecting some fun and adventure into your riding. For 2019, not only are we seeing more and more brands developing gravel, all-road and adventure bikes but component manufacturers,
February 2019 | 41
clothing companies and shoemakers are getting in on the game. We’re now seeing ‘gravel’ specific wheelsets with wider rims intended for running large volume tyres while still retaining road wheel weights like Mavic’s new all-road options. As bikepacking continues to rise in popularity, clothing brands are designing kit made from natural fibres such as merino wool. Merino, like other natural fibres, is ideal for warding off stinky odours even when worn for multiple days. Look at Kalf ’s latest Club long sleeve jersey as a perfect example. Discs are here to stay Mountain bikers have known it for decades; disc brakes rule, plain and simple. The road world has, for some reason, been begrudging in its take up of this most obvious of advances in both safety and reliability. The tide is turning though. For the past year sales of disc braked bikes have outstripped that of rim-braked counterparts. Alongside which, the UCI’s relaxed stance on the use of disc brakes in the pro peloton has meant we are seeing more teams move over to discs. Dimension Data has recently announced that it will be running all disc braked BMC bikes in 2019 including the superlative Teammachine. The even better news is disc brakes are now trickling down to even lower price points and not just on gravel or adventure machines. Cube’s more racy Attain has two versions in the sub-£1,000 category specced with discs. Is the front derailleur dead for off-road riding? The introduction of the 1x drivetrain has been one of the major defining moments of modern mountain biking. Getting rid of the front derailleur simplifies the whole bike, ideal for new riders and experienced racers alike. Riders worried about losing out on gear range needn’t fret either; 1x cassettes feature a much wider spread of gears than that found on bikes with front derailleurs. Shimano still offers front derailleur options for almost all of its off-road drivetrains but the other groupset heavyweight SRAM has dropped the derailleur for almost all its drivetrains. Just like with discs on road bikes, mountain and gravel bikes are benefitting from the trickle-down of 1x drivetrains into the realms of the entry level. Trek is now speccing almost every bike from the £675 Roscoe 6 upwards with a single chainring drivetrain. How wide? It’s been no surprise that tyre width has been a hot topic in the mountain bike world. One thing we have seen is a steady ballooning in girth of the tyres many manufacturers are fitting to bikes. Whereas once it was common for a trail bike to have nothing wider than maybe a 2.3in tyre, now 2.3in almost seems narrow as wider 2.4in, 2.5in or 2.6in tyres are becoming commonplace. 42 | February 2019
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For almost every aspect of riding, this increase in width has been a good thing. Wider tyres (along with wider rims) create better tyre profiles, allowing the tyre to function as it’s supposed to, so grip and rider confidence are increased. The larger volume also allows you to run lower pressures, again improving tyre performance and also boosting ride quality and comfort levels. If you haven’t tried a wider tyre, why haven’t you?! Do it now and feel the benefits. n www.bikebiz.com
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FEBRUARY 2019 Decâ€™ 18
THE DISTRIBUTION ISSUE
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CHICKEN IBD TIFOSI FOCUS
A ruby anniversary Milton Keynes-based IBD Corley Cycles celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Rebecca Morley chats to owner Phil Corley as he reflects on professional racing, the rise of the internet and cycling DNA
t’s fair to say that with a National Road Race win and decades of IBD ownership behind him, Phil Corley is a man who knows the trade inside out. Having been founded in Great Linford in 1979, this year marks a ruby anniversary for Corley Cycles, now based in Stacey Bushes, Milton Keynes. “Nothing has really happened in 40 years,” laughs Corley. “We’ve seen a lot of changes with the business we had then and what we’re doing now. I’ve had three different premises in that time, but I’ve been in this current one since 1987.
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“At the time, Milton Keynes was like a new town, with young families there, and I identified a market and it has worked out quite well over the years.” Corley became a British pro champion in 1978, and was still racing when he opened his first shop a year later. “Opening a store wasn’t necessarily something I always going to do,” he says. “It was a case of figuring out what you can do once you’re a retired bike rider, but obviously, being a rider doesn’t automatically make you qualified to go into business.”
February 2019 | 45
He notes, however, that the decision was much easier in those times, mainly due to the lack of internet. “We had a good 20 or 30 years before we had any trouble from that,” he says. As we’re all no doubt aware, the internet has caused an almost unrecognisable change across the retail industry, with many businesses struggling to keep up with the constantly evolving trends. Corley says that although the internet has caused him trouble, he recognises that it is progress for other people. From a personal perspective, he describes some of the technological changes as a ‘nightmare’. “I don’t know where it’s all going to end,” he says. “We’re trying to move far more into the service side, we have good mechanics, we have a very good workshop and hopefully a very good reputation, so we’re trying to expand that side of things. “There are certain areas that we do very well – it’s a case of offering things that you can’t get on the internet, like upmarket bespoke bikes. If someone wants to custombuild the bike of their dreams then we can sit down, have a coffee with them and talk through everything they need. That’s something that you’ve got to experience at the retail end. You can’t really do that online unless you know exactly what you want. You need someone who knows what they’re talking about to go through it with you.” It’s a similar story to other bike shops around the country. “We don’t have a choice. You either go down that road or go out of business,” Corley explains. “I get a bit bitter about it because for years and years we’ve had our pants pulled down by suppliers, taking in pre-season buyings and that kind of thing, to popularise a product and put it on the wall.
46 | February 2019
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“But after we’ve popularised it, the guys on the internet get hold of it and my total stock becomes worthless. “It took quite a long time of being taken advantage of and never being paid for it before the suppliers started to realise that it couldn’t carry on like this. I really don’t know when it’s all going to end. At the moment, I suppose it will be with what we’re doing here and now, moving more towards the service side. We have quite a strong club and a strong following locally, and we all enjoy our cycling and dealing with the customers that come in.” Other than the obvious simplicity of buying online in the comfort of your own home, the internet has also redefined the way consumers research their potential purchases. Online comparison means customers can find the cheapest deal at the click of the button, which makes it even more difficult for brick and mortar retailers to compete. “Everyone comes in with their phone, and we just can’t sell things,” says Corley.
“I do think there’s a future for the IBD, but the trade as we’ve known it is finished” “Customers want us to show them a product, to see it, handle it, and then to get it at a lower price than I’m buying it for.” Moving more towards service is one way the store is responding to this, concentrating on what it does well. Corley says the store is good with service, bike fitting, collection and delivery, as well as looking after the needs of its customers. He says: “Even when it looks like someone’s bought their stuff on the internet, our workshop is still open to all, don’t be shy! We charge the same, we won’t charge you a premium for having bought stuff on the internet, you can’t do that. You’ve got to embrace it, I do understand that, if that’s the way it’s going to be. I’m probably painting a bit of a grim picture. I do think there’s a future for us, for the independent retailer, with service and custom building in certain areas, but the trade as we’ve known it is finished.” Despite the challenges, Corley says he’s still managed to make a reasonably good living out of something he enjoys: “I’ve raised two families, had children and grandchildren, and they’ve all got houses and they’re all healthy. I’ve got a couple of ex-wives who’ve got very nice houses as well! It’s not all bad, and that’s from the bike trade. “It’s just sad when things change, but not necessarily bad. It’s sad because it’s not as you remember it.
“What’s bad is being taken advantage of, and that’s something I feel quite strongly about as an independent bike dealer, that we’ve had the rough end of the stick. Suppliers have allowed the internet to get this huge foothold on our business without having to do the work to get it. I’ve never been paid for it, none of us have. When we’re all gone, they’ll have to think of some other way to popularise their products. I’ll be long gone by then. Maybe it’s not a bad thing, maybe it’s just progress, and maybe I’m being a bit old-fashioned because I’m in retail, but I don’t like it. When my daughter has her children they won’t even know that the shop existed. Not just a bike shop, but any shop whatsoever.” One thing a local bike shop does provide is a sense of community, which you don’t get on the internet. This is something people want, Corley says, and his store does have a strong club and following. Every year it does a trip to Belgium, and it also had around 20 riders doing the Coast to Coast in June. He says it’s important to him that his employees are keen riders, partly due to the fact that being involved in the cycling community is where you find future BB-FEB19-GREYVILLE:Layout 1 23/01/2019 13:38 Page 1
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February 2019 | 47
employees, but most importantly, he says it’s about meeting like-minded people. “I think it’s important for my customers as well, to come in and to speak to someone who’s passionate about what they’re dealing with, passionate about what they’re selling and what they’re doing,” he says. “I’ve never been that good a businessman, but what I wanted was a really nice bike shop, and I’m happy I’ve managed to build that.” Throughout the 40 years it has been in business, Corley Cycles has seen many new ranges of products come through the shop. One such trend that has gained momentum recently is e-bikes. The market for electricassist cycles is now stronger than ever, and this is something that Corley is promoting. He says: “It’s an area that the customers need to have a point of contact for. You can buy a cheap internet e-bike, but what do you do when you’ve got trouble with it? We can’t do anything with it, but if it’s a branded bike of reasonable quality then we can. We’ve got mechanics who are trained and can deal with these things. So that’s another area where we can see a potential for growth.” So after four decades, does Corley have any plans to retire soon? His long-term business partner retired five years ago, and Corley bought him out and carried on. “I’m 67, so I’m past retirement age,” he laughs. “What I’d really like to do is get some investment, to be able to do what we want to do, and move over to service. To move the store forward to a modern-day bike shop, concentrating on services more than sales, and e-bikes, custom builds, upmarket gravel bikes and things that people want to touch and feel. Things that they’re not going to waste hours of your time on then buy on the internet. We can concentrate on all of those things and do it in a professional way, to future-proof ourselves really. “I do love the bike trade, even if it doesn’t sound like it sometimes! But I’ve been involved for a long time and before that, I was racing. So for 50-something years, I’ve either been riding bikes, racing bikes, riding as a professional or selling them. It’s in my DNA now, which is why I’m passionate about the way it’s going and the way the trade is going.” He continues: “Big businesses are involved now, but when I started it was probably more of a cottage industry. This is like an industrial unit that we’re in. We moved here in 1987 and we were probably one of the first businesses in the country to be operating. It was about 3,200 square feet and we opened seven days a week. In 1987, no one did any of those things. No one operated a shop that size, and nobody opened seven days a week either. “I feel that we’ve sort of led, during plenty of that time, and we’re still here,” Corley says.
48 | February 2019
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“We’ve always been open to new ideas and new trends. Even when mountain bikes were at their height, we never went away from selling race bikes because it was in our blood and we’re enthusiasts. When race bikes became popular again, we were ready to pick that up. A million and one new shops opened when they thought the bike was re-invented at the London Olympics. A lot of shops opened off the back of that and a lot of them are closing now. Business is still there and it’s still good, but there are too many outlets there.” He continues: “Internet companies come in with a lot of backing and a lot of money, and are prepared to sell stuff at less than they buy it for, what chance do we stand? In the long run, I don’t think there’s going to be any winners. The public can buy their stuff cheaply but for a limited amount of time. But there won’t be any service or any back-up, or any other stuff that we’re doing now.” He references Evans Cycles, which was sold to Sports Direct last October and resulted in the announcement that half of its stores could close. “They don’t come a lot bigger than that,” Corley says. “It’s a bleak outlook if we carry on as we were. So we just have to try to adapt.” With the challenges many retailers are facing in the industry, keeping an independent bike shop open for so long is a huge achievement, and Corley Cycles plans to celebrate accordingly. “We want to do 40 events,” Corley concludes. “From small to large, we want to host 40 days of something, or 40 nights.”
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50-53 BBFeb19 Sector Guides - Hybrids and folding_Final.indd 2
Contact: 01773 532 694 email@example.com
Contact: 0031 1034 03504 firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2019 | 51
Distributor: Tandem Group Cycles
Distributor: Raleigh UK
The Jack is a high quality affordable bike that’ll meet the requirements of most commuter or leisure riders. The alloy frame has our 3-point locking mechanism with telescopic handlepost for a safe and tailored fit. Equipped with high quality Shimano 6-speed derailleur gears, double wall alloy rims and mudguards make it excellent for commuters, leisure riders and people looking to take the bike away on holiday. You can take it almost anywhere and the ride is always great. Dimensions when folded are approximately 860 x 660 x 350mm.
The Curl frame design makes for Dahon’s smallest ever folding bike. This multipatented 3-point folder is made from hydroformed aluminium, with V-coupling at the rear and an oversized stem tube, for stiffness. A roller rack makes for easy pushing while folded, and quick-release pedals are strong and user-friendly. At 12.6kg, with 16in wheels, the bike folds to a tidy 54 x 27 x 58cm. Designed with urban living in mind, three gears come in a fuss-free internal hub.
The Flight series from Ridgeback has been designed as stylish and understated bikes for urban riding or general fitness. We reckon we’ve pretty much nailed that with the latest range, and with other touches like the Shimano 8-speed internal hub gearing and the M365 hydraulic disc brakes (on the Flight 03), they’re also as user-friendly as possible. Whether you want a basic bike for getting about, or something a little fancier, the Flight range has you covered.
Contact: 0121 748 8050 email@example.com
52 | February 2019
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Tern Vektron Q9
Tern Link D7i
Distributor: Raleigh UK
Distributor: Moore Large
Distributor: Moore Large
Compact, convenient and electric, the Raleigh Stow-E-Way is both a proper folding bike and e-bike with a strong, light frame without compromising on performance. Complete with a kickstand, mudguards and a rear pannier rack it is ideal for tackling any journey. The powerful 45NM rear wheel motor will quickly get you up to speed, the TranzX system has four support levels so you can decide how hard you want to work and the motor will assist you up to a speedy 15mph. It is designed with handle-mounted power controls, placed close to the grips, so you can easily select from the power levels.
The new Vektron gets even better with improved geometry, Bosch’s newest and virtually silent motor, and a burly, extended rack.
The Link D7i is perfect for getting around in the city. Equipped with a 7-speed Shimano Nexus internal hub, mudguards and rear rack, you can customise it into the perfect urban bike. It possesses an Andros handlebar stem for tool-free riding position adjustments on the fly. FreeDrive chain cover protects your clothes from grease and dirt. Bomb-proof wheels built with Sapim spokes. Schwalbe Big Apple tires with Kevlar puncture protection. Folds compactly in ten seconds for storage and transport.
Contact: 01773 532 694 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: 01332 274 252 email@example.com
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Features: - Bosch Active Line electric drivetrain. - Hydraulic disc brakes. - New frame design with a reclining battery for a lower centre of gravity and better ride. - Integrated Atlas Rack works seamlessly with Thule child seats – no adapters needed. - Resizes in seconds to fit riders 147cm– 195cm (4’10” – 6’5”) so a single bike can be shared by the family.
Contact: 01332 274 252 firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2019 | 53
Z Hydro Pack
Packman Travel Saddle Pack
Pannier Back Pack
Oxford AQUA D Packing Cubes
Distributor: Chicken CycleKit Perfect for longer journeys, thanks to its ventral and pectoral straps, sleek design, low weight and resistant materials and its various pockets. Foam reinforcements make the pack comfy and the adjustable straps means the bag can be adapted to the shape of the rider. The 3L water bladder is made from PEVA and is guaranteed to be BPA-free, it is easy to clean and transport. Contact: 01525 381 347 email@example.com
54 | February 2019
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Distributor: Silverfish UK Part of Birzman’s brilliant Travel Series of on-bike bags designed for bike packing adventure. The range includes bags for frames, handlebars and saddle mounting, making a stylish, integrated system. The Packman is a 6-litre (50 x 18 x 16cm) saddle pack made from functional high density fabric which is both water repellent and abrasion resistant. Contact: 01752 843 882 firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributor: Pannier Back Pack XLC 16-litre single waterproof pannier bag, with roll top and buckle to secure. The bag has a premium quality finish but offers great value at £65.99 RRP. Padded removable shoulder straps means the pack can switch from a pannier to back pack quickly and easily. The product is perfect for the everyday urban cyclists or commuter who is jumping on and off the bike and needs a convenient luggage solution. Contact: 07730 666 646 email@example.com
Distributor: Oxford Products Keeping everything dry when carrying luggage on a bicycle is a high priority, which is why if you’re wanting to cycle in all weathers that the Oxford AQUA D packing cubes are simply essential. With internally taped seams to guarantee the waterproof and dustproof material can work to its best, they also come in a set of three consisting of a 5-litre, a 7-litre and 12-litre waterproof bag. Contact: 01993 862 300 firstname.lastname@example.org
Z Adventure R17 Waterproof Saddlebag
B&W bike box II BH96500
Back Roller High Viz
Distributor: Ison Distribution Relatively lightweight and aerodynamic as luggage options go, these practical rear bags are secured over the rear wheel to the underside of a conventional saddle using Q.R. nylon straps and stabilised onto a standard seat post with rubberised Velcro nylon straps. Available in a choice of sizes. These self-supporting bags avoid the need for an additional rear carrier rack and also act as useful rear mudguard. Contact: 01353 662 662 email@example.com
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Distributor: Bob Elliot & Co Ltd
Distributor: John Jordan Limited
The Z Adventure R17 is a saddle bag designed to carry a large volume of items without the need for a rear rack. Equipped with several sustainable self-adhesive straps and anti-tear material on its base, this bag attaches to the saddle rails and seat post for optimal weight distribution on the bicycle. With a volume that can be adjusted from 8 to 17 litres, this bag is designed for cyclists travelling over long distances.
New from B&W, bike box II. Suitable for road bikes up to 62 cm frame. For simplified packing the top shell can be completely removed.The bike frame is secured to the base of the box with several straps and protected by layers of foam. There are four wheels, two freely rotate through 360 degrees, two fixed inline wheels two carrying handles and two pulling handles (one pulling handle for pulling on two wheels).
Contact: 01539 621 884 firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributor: Lyon Equipment Ortliebâ€™s Back Roller is the default choice for high-quality panniers, used for global backcountry bike adventures and city commutes across the world. Built to last, and totally waterproof, the High Viz version adds safety and visibility for those cycling on busy roads in low-light conditions. Contact: 01539 624 040
February 2019 | 55
Thunderstorm City 30 Back Pack
Ventura Bikepacking Range
Suffolk Rear Pannier Bag
AQUA V12 Backpack
Distributor: Polaris Bikewear
The Thunderstorm City Backpack has been designed for year-round, everyday use not just cycling specific. It combines welded seam technology with a roll top closure for complete waterproof protection to level IPX6 as defined below. The international standard is called IEC 60529 â€“ Degrees of Protection Provided by Enclosures and it was developed by a technical committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission.
The Polaris Ventura range features four high quality bikepacking bags. With waterproof fabric used throughout the range and the unique Fixieâ„˘ attachment system, our bags are built to withstand the harshest conditions. The range includes a seat pack, a handlebar bag and two different sized frame bags allowing you to pack as heavy or light as your adventures require.
These roll-top panniers fit everything you need for a cycling adventure. A convenient large outer pocket and additional four-way stretch side pockets secure water bottles, jackets, or other often-needed items. Features: - Bluesign waterproof textile & leather - Ortlieb QL2 attachment system - Compatible with most pannier racks - Integrated carry handle
56 | February 2019
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Contact: 01246 291100 email@example.com
Contact: 01933 672 170 firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributor: Oxford Products A bag perfect for the cycle commuter with the waterproof design, welded seams and a roll top closure, working together to keep wet weather from gaining access to the inside of the bag and thus your belongings. With 12 litres of capacity you can fit sandwiches, spare clothes and electronic gadgets (tablets) with ease. Comfort is another major feature of the bag, with a padded back panel and reinforced straps designed to share the weight across your body. Contact: 01993 862 300 email@example.com
Lotus H2O Waterproof Rear Pannier Bags (Pair) (22.4L)
Roadster Saddle Bags
Tourguide Compact Bar Bag
Distributor: Bob Elliot & Co Ltd The Lotus H2O Waterproof bag collection is a tarpauline PVC material with taped seams. Keep your belongings safe and dry. • Capacity: 22.4L • Available as a pair • Waterproof bag • Tarpauline PVC • With taped seams • VR fitting attachment Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributor: Silverfish UK Part of Birzman’s range of bike bags and accessories. The Roadster saddle bag comes in two popular. The Roadster I - 0.3 litre measuring 13 x 7 x 4cm and the larger Roadster II – 0.4 litre measuring 15 x 8 x 5cm. Both are constructed from high quality, water repellent 300D Polyester with reflective straps and feature a light attachment loop for extra visibility. Finished in black with a stylish green lining material with discrete pockets for tools, tubes and all your riding essentials. Contact: 01752 843 882 email@example.com
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Distributor: Extra This clever handlebar bag attaches to the included QuickClick handlebar mount for fast, easy installation and removal. It’s the perfect solution for storing essentials like phones and nutrition during your ride. It converts to a waist pack for storing your essentials whilst off the bike. 5kg capacity and durable nylon construction ensures contents are stored securely with full internal padding for extra protection. Contact: 01933 672 170 firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributor: ZyroFisher Blackburn Outpost luggage is the complete bikepacking solution. Trail tested over thousands of the most rugged miles through Blackburn’s own ranger programme. Our rangers have taken on the toughest routes across Europe and the Americas and with this qualified feedback Blackburn have developed the superbly robust and capable Outpost range. With Frame, Seat, Handlebar, Top Tube and corner bags, the Outpost range will fit any bike. Contact: www.zyrofisher.co.uk
February 2019 | 57
The Bikebiz DIRECTORY 2019 is out now, providing the industry with a musthave guide to the UKâ€™s retailers, distributors, manufacturers and related businesses.
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The Cycle Division Ltd Units 17&18, Park Valley Mills, Meltham Road Huddersﬁeld, West Yorkshire, HD4 7BH Tel: 0845 0508 500 Web: www.thecycledivision.com
Yellow Jersey Prospero, 73 London Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1LQ Tel: 0333 003 0046 Web: www.yellowjersey.co.uk
V12 Retail Finance 20 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way Cardiff, CF24 5PJ Tel: 02920 468900 Web: www.v12retailﬁnance.com
Velotech Services Ltd 26 to 27 Western Road, Stratford Upon Avon Warks CV370AH Tel: 0845 475 5339 Web: www.velotechservices.co.uk
Cycle Expo Yorkshire Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, HG2 8NZ Tel: 0113 394 6130 Web: www.yorkshirecycleexpo.co.uk
The Bikebiz Directory 2019 is available to view online at www.bikebiz.com
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MARKETPLACE FRAME RESPRAY, REPAIR & BUILD SERVICES
TO TO ADVERTISE ADVERTISE ON ON THESE THESE PAGES PAGES PLEASE PLEASE CONTACT CONTACT email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call call 0207 0207 354 354 6028 6028
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BIKES & ACCESSORIES
Santa Cruz Santa V10 Santa Cruz Cruz V10 V10 Period respray Period Period respray respray Santa Cruz V10 Period respray shown with shown shown with with with new with with new new shown with with new custom paint custom paint paint chromecustom chrome plating chrome plating plating
custom paint chrome plating
Professional bicycle frame Professional Professional Professional bicycle bicycle frame bicycle frame frame respray service respray respray respray service service service ·· Trade Trade prices prices · Trade · available available Trade prices prices available available ·· Specialist frame repairs Specialist · Specialist frame · Specialist repairs frame frame repairs repairs ·· High & end product High quality quality · High · service service High quality quality &service endservice product & end & product end product ·· Quick & reliable turnaround Quick &· reliable Quick · Quick & turnaround reliable & reliable turnaround turnaround ·· Replacement decals available Replacement · Replacement · Replacement decals available decals decals available available ·· Established Established · Established ·1974 1974 Established 19741974
www.argoscycles.com www.argoscycles.com www.argoscycles.com www.argoscycles.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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64 | February January 2019 60 2019
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LIVE-QUERY ON AVAILABILITY MORE THAN 3000 ARTICLES INDIVIDUAL CUSTOMER DISCOUNT LOW SHIPPING COSTS New Dealers can register online.
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INDIVIDUAL CUSTOMER DISCOUNT LOW SHIPPING COSTS
·· Established Established · Established ·1974 1974 Established 19741974
www.argoscycles.com www.argoscycles.com www.argoscycles.com www.argoscycles.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
New Dealers can register online.
01170117 972 4730 0117 972 972 4730 4730
TO ADVERTISE ON THESE PAGES PLEASE CONTACT email@example.com or call 0207 354 6028
BIKES & & ACCESSORIES ACCESSORIES BIKES
BIKES&&ACCESSORIES ACCESSORIES BIKES
New 2017/18 trade catalogue available
BOTTOM BRACKET SOLUTIONS
33 integrated, CNC machined aluminium complete BB Solutions
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Bearing presses, Hangers and Sealed bearings Now with double sealed Enduro bearings Online BB Adaptor finder: wheelsmfg.co.uk
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thecycledivision.com 64 | January 2019 WMFG 88 x 107mm.indd 1
EPOS & COMMERCE
62 | February 2019
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12:00BIKE LABELS, BOTTLES, BAGS & GENERAL PRINT
The mental health benefits of cycling A survey by Cycleplan, which aimed to understand the health benefits people experienced after taking up cycling, discovered that three-quarters of respondents noticed an improvement in their mental health...
veryone has their own reason for starting cycling. Whether it’s to improve fitness, build muscle or lose weight, many people start with a certain goal in mind. However, although the physical benefits are widely documented, what is often forgotten is how much it can benefit our mental health too. A survey by Cycleplan, which examined the health benefits people experienced after taking up cycling, found 75% of cyclists noticed an improvement in their mental health since getting on the saddle, with 8% even saying it helped with their depression or anxiety. ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’ really does stand true, and cycling can play a crucial role in this. To demonstrate, here are the top mental health benefits of cycling – it’s amazing what two wheels can do! Keeps stress at bay Some life stresses are worse than others. Some can be solved with a hot bath and a nice cup of tea, but others need more attention. But how powerful is pedalling in helping us keep life’s pressures at bay?
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Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone – it prepares your body for a ‘fight or flight’ response during stressful situations. Having elevated levels of cortisol for an extended period of time due to a demanding, modern lifestyle can increase your chances of obesity, insomnia, heart disease, digestive issues and depression. Unfortunately, work is often a cause of stress and, for many people, taking to the road on two wheels does a world of good for these tough circumstances. Even Lizzie Deignan, Olympic Road Race silver medallist, who cycles for a living, swears by cycling as a form of therapy. “Mental well-being is the most important cycling benefit for me. I rely on cycling and exercise to relieve any anxiety or stress that I may have built up,” she says. Reduces anxiety As cycling decreases our levels of stress, it also decreases our chances of suffering from symptoms linked to anxiety. Better still, cycling has some of the same effects as some anti-anxiety medications. As soon as you get on the saddle and start your ride, endorphins – which are your body’s natural painkiller – are released in your brain.
February 2019 | 63
Although they’re primarily released to prevent exercise from causing our bodies (too much) pain, they also play a crucial role in relaxing our mind and boosting our mood. Fights against depression A recent review of 26 years of scientific research by the University of Toronto has confirmed what many experts have long theorised. Exercise not only treats depresssion – it can also prevent it. In fact, researchers have estimated an inactive adult who exercises three times a week can reduce their chance of suffering from depression by 19%. While this study seemed to confirm that exercise such as cycling can improve and even prevent depression, it’s not entirely clear how exactly it does so. Many researchers have hypothesised that the link could be more indirect than you’d expect – like providing a distraction from stressful circumstances or encouraging healthier habits such as a better diet or a better sleeping schedule. Helps you practice mindfulness Just 11 years after the first modern bicycle was rolled out in 1885, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in an article for Scientific American: “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without a thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” What he was referring to is what we now know as mindfulness: being completely engaged with what you’re doing and where you are at a particular moment in time. Cycling epitomises this – you don’t have to think about anything apart from keeping the pedals turning. This means your brain can have a welcome break from brooding thoughts that, unfortunately, come with modern life.
64 | February 2019
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Boosts your self-esteem We already know that having good self-esteem makes us feel good about ourselves, and cycling is a great way to boost self-esteem. The success of sticking to a cycling training programme and seeing your fitness and performance increase allows you to enjoy a sense of achievement. Not only that, but in a society that’s seemingly obsessed with body image, how we look has a direct influence on our self-esteem. As we cycle and our fitness and appearance improve, it has a strong positive effect on how we see ourselves. Prevents cognitive decline It’s an unfortunate fact that as we get older, our brains become a little, shall we say – slower. We can lose a lot of important brain functions as ageing and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, attack brain cells, which can cause us to lose a lot of important brain functions. An important brain function that’s often at risk is long-term memory. The system of the brain responsible for this is the hippocampus, which seems to play a major role in things like remembering past experiences, facts and events. However, it’s not all bad news – it was recently discovered that aerobic exercise such as cycling counteracts our declining hippocampal function as we age and even in diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Improves your social life Just when you thought all of the mental health benefits of cycling had been unveiled, it turns out it can improve your social life as well. Whether you’re part of a cycling club or have a group of friends who cycle, coming together with people who have the same level of passion for cycling is hard to beat. The benefits to this are so much more than just filling up your calendar for the weekend. Regular socialising with like-minded people has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety, increase memory and recall, and even reduce your risk of developing type two diabetes! n
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DATA AND ANALYSIS
The pothole issue
he ongoing decline in funding for minor roads cost the wider economy £2.04 billion in 2017, according to Cycling UK, the charity which runs pothole reporting tool Fill That Hole. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee’s inquiry on Local Roads Funding and Governance, Cycling UK policy director, Roger Geffen MBE, explained spending on minor roads, ‘B’, ‘C’ and unclassified roads, was continuing to decline despite overall increases by councils on road maintenance. In 2009/10, English highways authorities' total spend on road maintenance was £4.19 billion. This figure went in to sharp decline in 2013/14 to £3.46 billion, and gradually increased to £3.63 billion in 2016/17. Despite this overall recent increase for road maintenance, funding for minor roads has continued to decline. Eight years ago, £2.51 billion was spent on minor roads, representing 60% of overall spend. In 2016/17, despite surface conditions worsening, only £1.87 billion was spent – 51% of the overall road maintenance budget. In real term spending, funding for looking after minor roads in 2016/17 compared to 2009/10 levels declined by 40% (£1.22 billion). The Transport Research Laboratory estimates for every £1 cut on local roads, there is a wider economic cost of £1.67. This means the reduction has cost England £2.04 billion, or one-fifth of what the ALARM survey estimates is needed to repair all the potholes in Britain. Speaking after his appearance before the Transport Committee, Geffen said: “Good road maintenance is not just about spending money to save money, it’s also about saving lives and limbs. Cycling UK’s findings show that cuts to maintenance budgets for local roads are a false economy, as this is where they most endanger pedestrians and cyclists. “Pay-outs to cyclists for highway damages are typically 13 times higher than those made to drivers, mainly because they are more 66 | Febuary 2019
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likely to involve injury rather than just property damage. When you add in the costs of injuries to the NHS and to employers, the case for local road maintenance becomes overwhelming. “Yet the Government continues to boost spending on new motorways and trunk roads, while letting our existing local roads rot away. After several hard winters, it’s high time the Government reversed these skewed priorities.” An FOI investigation by Cycling UK in March found the average compensation payout to cyclists for maintenance related damage is 13 times higher than to drivers (average £11,000 for cyclists to £841 for motorists). Department for Transport figures found at least 390 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured due to pothole-related incidents since 2007. n
Statistics 40% reduction in real term spending on minor road maintenance since 2009/10 Only 51% of overall road maintenance budget goes on minor roads, despite making up 88% of the overall road network. Down from 60% in 2009/10 Cyclists’ maintenance claims cost councils 13 times as much as other road users due to risk of personal injury
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19th - 21st February 2019
Become a Shimano Service Centre Take your business to the next level
Stand out from your competitors by becoming a Shimano Service Centre. Qualifying bike retailers that meet Shimano Service Centre standards can join the network to provide bike-lovers ZLWKWKHEHVWELNHFDUH%HQHČ´WVLQFOXGH â€˘ Global Support Program â€˘ Digital Marketing Support â€˘ In-Store Branded Materials
To take your service programme to the next level and join the ELJJHVWVHUYLFHQHWZRUNLQ(XURSHVSHDNWRDPHPEHURIVWDÎ?RQ the Shimano stand at iceBike*. There will be dedicated Shimano Service Centre seminars throughout the show for those eager to learn more as well as WKH RÉ? FLDO ODXQFK RI WKH 6KLPDQR 7HFKQLFDO 6HUYLFH &HQWUH 9LVLW www.iceBike.co.uk for full details and register for the show now.
â€˘ Workshop Improvement Services â€˘ Technology Training Opportunities â€˘ Access to the Latest Shimano Technologies
www.iceBike.co.uk iceBike* is a trade show hosted by Madison and Sportline
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Freewheel open to all Madison retailers and over 250 brand new products at iceBike* 2019! Register for 2019 www.iceBike.co.uk Freewheel
Shimano Service Centre
In extremely exciting news the
As always, a fantastic range of
Back by popular demand is the
Freewheel dealer network is to be
seminars are being laid on. This year
opening of the Shimano Service
opened to all Madison retailers
there will be experts from outside
at iceBike* in 2017. This will take
Centre at the Madison Distribution
within the United Kingdom and
cycling in the form of customer
centre stage at the show and will
Centre site which all iceBike*
service guru Alf Dunbar alongside
attendees are invited to. There will
local bike shops to be part of the
well-respected personalities from
merchandising and POS usage.
also be a dedicated area at the show
biggest initiative of its kind in
Park Tool and Shimano. There will
Brand and retail experts will be
the country and ultimately drive
also be a seminar dedicated to
on hand to help explain what goes
to be a Shimano Service Centre and
consumers in-store. Find out more
Freewheel for those eager to learn
how they can sign up.
more about the programme.
SHOW 2019 For more information visit www.iceBike.co.uk
Free access to the Sportline Show and iceTackle* Show with iceBike*