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May/June 2020

POWER

YOUR ROAD RIDES!

MAY/JUNE 2020

NEW BETTER GRIP - CLASS-LEADING WET CONERING AND BRAKING FASTER ROLLING - TUBELESS TECHNOLOGY IMPROVES PERFORMANCE LONGER LIFE - X-RACE COMPOUND OPTIMISES TREAD WEAR STRONGER - 4X120 TPI CASING IMPROVES ROBUSTNESS AND COMFORT

EXCLUSIVELY FROM

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www.bikebiz.com FOLLOW US BikeBizOnline

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‘We’ve been handed a once-ina-lifetime opportunity to press the reset button on both carbon footprint and global health’

CONTENT Editor James Groves james.groves@biz-media.co.uk

Graphic Designer Tom Carpenter tom.carpenter@biz-media.co.uk Production Manager Sarah Lamb sarah.lamb@biz-media.co.uk

ADVERTISING SALES Sales Manager Richard Setters richard.setters@biz-media.co.uk +44 (0)779 480 5307

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INTERNATIONAL BikeBiz and its content are available for licensing and syndication re-use. Contact Colin Wilkinson for opportunities and permissions. colin.wilkinson@biz-media.co.uk

MANAGEMENT Media Director Colin Wilkinson colin.wilkinson@biz-media.co.uk

Printed by Buxton Press Ltd ISSN: 1476-1505 Copyright 2020

Biz Media Ltd, 4th Floor, 44 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7LN All contents © 2020 Biz Media Ltd. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Biz Media Ltd. cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Biz Media Ltd. and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Biz Media Ltd. nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.

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THE EDITOR

Here today, gone tomorrow Well, cycling industry, where do I even begin? After seemingly endless concerns regarding Brexit (remember that?) it’s fair to say that we, as an industry, were due an upturn in fortunes. Sitting in the comfort of my own garden, contemplating these words, it feels rather crass to paint an ongoing global pandemic in a positive light. Every day, our heroes at the NHS continue to risk their lives to save countless others, while the vacuous among us relax at home, complaining that they’re sick to death of Netflix and they miss the pub. That it’s taken a global pandemic to deliver the biggest bike boom since the London 2012 Olympics is a rather morbid twist of fate, and while it’s regrettable it required such a dramatic shift in circumstances, we’ve been handed a once-ina-lifetime opportunity to press the reset button on both carbon footprint and global health. One thing I keep hearing, be it from cycling industry peers, friends or family, is that neither our economy nor our society will ever be the same again. The connotations of such drastic change do not, however, have to be negative. For our industry, at least, it has acted as the most colossal advertisement for cycling imaginable. Unlike previous bike booms, this opportunity isn’t limited to a year or two of lucrative business. We’ve been dealt a hand that, played right, could indeed herald this “golden age of cycling” our Prime Minister keeps talking about. Yet the pieces will not fall into place without collaboration, diligence and assiduity. Today, our country is more united than ever. Let’s not wait for tomorrow.

James Groves

Editor james.groves@biz-media.co.uk

Editorial: +44 (0)203 143 8779 Advertising: +44 (0)779 480 5307

THE TEAM

Staff Writer Rebecca Morley rebecca.morley@biz-media.co.uk

Rebecca Morley

Richard Setters

Tom Carpenter

Staff Writer rebecca.morley@biz-media.co.uk

Sales Manager richard.setters@biz-media.co.uk

Graphic Designer tom.carpenter@biz-media.co.uk

+44 (0)203 143 8777

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MAY/JUNE 2020

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27

A new normal? Could COVID-19 result in a shift away from car dependence? Rebecca Morley attends CIE’s virtual 2020 Summit

22

Local roads: What are the priorities? BikeBiz listens in to a Westminster policy conference where speakers met virtually to discuss the funding of local roads, maintenance and preparing for future challenges

27

Why we need to invest in cycling to get out of lockdown Yellow Jersey pens an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson

33

33

The rise of indoor The lockdown has inevitably accelerated an already burgeoning indoor trend. Rebecca Morley weighs up the long-term impact

37

Five minutes with... SwissStop We catch up with Christian Heule, international sales at SwissStop, to find out more about a brand celebrating its 85th anniversary

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IBD Focus BikeBiz reaches out to cycle retailers to find out how they have adapted their businesses in response to the ongoing restrictions, before catching up with The Bike Side on opening an IBD during a pandemic

www.bikebiz.com

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@bikebizonline

bikebiz

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POINTS OF VIEW

A tenfold increase in cycling? As the UK lockdown continues, Mayor of London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman outlines how London could adapt to enable socially-distanced travel…

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ith London’s public transport capacity potentially running at a fifth of pre-crisis levels, up to eight million journeys per day will need to be made by other means. If people switch only a fraction of these journeys to cars, London will grind to a halt. Essential deliveries and emergency services will be stuck in gridlock and Londoners will once again be exposed to toxic traffic fumes and rising levels of road danger. Our city’s economic recovery will be choked off. We need to come out of this crisis in a radically different way. At City Hall and TfL, we are working on a radical plan – the Mayor’s Streetspace plan, which will fast-track the transformation of London’s streets to enable millions more people to safely walk and cycle as part of their daily journeys. These changes, unparalleled in a city London’s size, will be designed to serve the unprecedented levels of walking and cycling that we expect to see following the end of the lockdown. Some early modelling by TfL has revealed there could be a more than tenfold increase in distance cycled, and up to five times the amount of walking. We’re already seeing emergency changes being made across London, with pavements being widened in Lambeth, a shopping street closed to cars in Hackney and residential streets being made access-only in Croydon. The Mayor’s Streetspace plan will build on this, transforming London’s main roads, repurposing general traffic lanes and parking spaces for temporary cycle lanes and wider footways so that people can safely socially distance.

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We will quickly roll out a strategic cycling network using temporary materials, building new routes to reduce crowding on underground and train lines. Some roads may be restricted to bus lanes and bikes at certain times of the day. More space will be given to pedestrians to reduce crowding at busy transport interchanges. These measures are intended to reduce the likelihood of danger to the public from a risk of exposure to the virus while travelling. Our travel patterns, as well as where and when many of us work, will have to change. Many people will continue to work from home for many months to come. We’re likely to have fewer longer journeys to work and more, shorter journeys in our local neighbourhoods. We will rapidly transform local town centres on the TfL road network to enable these local journeys to be safely walked and cycled where possible, and work with the boroughs to make similar changes on their streets. Wider footways on high streets will facilitate a local economic recovery, with people having space to queue for shops as well as enough space for others to safely walk past while socially distancing. We will work with boroughs to reduce through traffic on residential streets, creating low-traffic neighbourhoods right across London to further enable more people to walk and cycle as part of their daily routine, as we have seen happen during lockdown. London’s road to recovery cannot be clogged with cars. It has to be one that Londoners can walk and cycle down as part of our city’s greener, cleaner, healthier future. n

www.bikebiz.com

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POINTS OF VIEW

The mental health benefits of cycling By Edward Pegram, business manager, Cycle to Work at Raleigh UK

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ll too often in this fast-paced modern world, it’s easy to forget the important things in our lives – our friends, our family and our health. If we all take one thing from this pandemic, it’s that time is precious, and we need to spend it wisely with the people that matter the most. Over the last few weeks, cycling has increased significantly, both for individuals and families, who have been able to enjoy the quiet roads and time spent together exercising. For many, this time has been spent adapting to new ways of living, but for our key workers, it’s been spent saving lives and keeping the country running. Bike shops have played a pivotal role in this. Sales to the leisure market have been very positive due to the increased use of bikes for daily exercise. Repair and service businesses also seem to be strong, with many people choosing to repair their existing bikes. From an environmental perspective, the pandemic has led to a huge reduction in pollution levels in our towns and cities, and as many businesses look to return employees to work, we anticipate that people will continue to opt for active forms of travel like walking and cycling, boosted by the Government’s investment in cycling infrastructure. The longterm health, wellbeing and environmental impact of this readjustment could help save money, make us a pro cycling nation, dramatically improve our air quality and make many of us more active. According to a report by Cycling UK (2018), bicycles made up only 1% of mileage accumulated by all vehicle traffic.

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We could be looking at a shift to more dependency on sustainable modes of transport such as walking and cycling, particularly in our towns and cities. Both employers and individuals could reap the benefits of more active lifestyles. Around 20 million adults in the UK are classed as physically inactive and globally, one in four adults are not active enough. The advised exercise can include a brisk walk or light cycle ride, which can have huge health benefits. Research by the British Heart Foundation outlined that physically active employees take 27% fewer sick days and are more engaged and more productive in the workplace. Inactivity costs the UK economy an estimated £7.4 billion each year. The positive environmental, economic and health benefits of active travel are clear, but something that we rarely discuss are the mental health benefits of cycling. COVID-19 has emphasised the importance of being there for each other, through coming together as a community and offering support to those in need when many of us are away from loved ones, facing the strains and balancing lockdown life. Cycling is a great endorphin booster and has many positive and powerful benefits for our mental health. As well as being a great stress reducer, cycling can help you regain some balance in your life. We’ve been actively promoting cycling to encourage people to make the most of their daily exercise to improve their wellbeing. The majority of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves overwhelmed, either by the complete change to our daily lives, or from the continuous stream of news during this time.

www.bikebiz.com

22/05/2020 10:30


POINTS OF VIEW

“Cycling is a great endorphin booster and has many positive and powerful benefits for our mental health. As well as being a great stress reducer, cycling can help you regain some balance in your life” Hopping on your bike and embracing the open road can do wonders for your mental wellbeing and will help you feel a sense of freedom. When you’re cycling, you have to focus on balance, momentum and very little else. The sensations of the present moment leaves your mind with very little time or space for racing thoughts which might otherwise preoccupy you. By focusing on your emotions throughout the ride, it allows you to feel the tightness in your calves as you push up inclines and the breeze against your face as you descend, leaving you very little headspace to be preoccupied with anything else. If going out is particularly anxiety-provoking at the moment, then cycling is a great place to start to help you venture back to the outdoors.

www.bikebiz.com 

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Aerobic exercise can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety and help prevent those feelings from developing into panic attacks or anxiety disorders. If your anxiety is creating a barrier to getting outside on your bike, try starting with a tranquil route, such as local waterways or canals, where the serenity of nature provides a calm and relaxing environment. Breaking free from the confines of our homes, exercise can provide you with a sense of self-control and satisfaction which in turn can make you feel more positive about yourself. Our sense of self may have taken a little dip during this time, and that is completely understandable. Many of us are embracing a more natural state, possibly far removed from our previous people-facing appearance, and finding what makes us feel like ourselves is extremely important. n

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FEATURE

A new normal? Could COVID-19 result in a shift away from car dependence? Rebecca Morley attends Cycling Industries Europe’s virtual 2020 Summit to explore its impact on the sector

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OVID-19 has undoubtedly changed every aspect of our lives in recent months, from the way we work and travel to the way we communicate with friends and family. But it will also have a huge impact on many of our choices post-lockdown; many Governments are actively encouraging a shift to walking and cycling to avoid excessive traffic and overcrowding on public transport. Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors are being created in England as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund – the first stage of a £2 billion investment recently announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps. But will initiatives like this actually change people’s habits and discourage their over-reliance on cars? And what is needed to make this ‘new normal’ a reality?

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The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak were discussed at the Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) 2020 Summit, which took place digitally at the end of April. Speakers highlighted the role of industry, technology and cycling in the pathway to recovery. “We are in very challenging times; we have to learn a new way to work,” began Tony Grimaldi, CIE president. “We need to go far beyond recovery. We need to build a sustainable, economical, successful Europe.” Technology remains an untapped potential Paul Lee, global head of research for the technology, media and telecommunications industry for Deloitte, spoke of cycling as a ‘megatrend’ of the 2020s and stressed the importance of technological innovation to make it safer, faster and more attractive.

www.bikebiz.com

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FEATURE

“It solves problems and upgrades everyday life – that’s what we see technology and cycling doing in combination,” Lee said. Right now, there are over one billion bikes in the world, he added, but there are only six cities where cycling accounts for more than 10% of all journeys. Reasons for this include a fear of injury, the desire to avoid arriving at work sweaty, and the comparative physical effort required. This, Lee said, is where e-bikes come into play; for many, their small size could make them preferable to electric cars, and they would also decongest our roads. Lee went on to speak of the impact smartphones can have on cycling: “There are close to four billion smartphones out there in the world. In the most developed markets, about 90% of adults now have one,” he said. “Part of their functionality is navigation, which can be used to make existing behaviours easier, such as driving, but they can also be used to nudge different behaviours.” Smartphones already encourage people to walk, so the next step is to encourage them to get on two wheels by showing them where shared bikes are as well as how fast cycling can be – particularly on an e-bike. “Technology has many applications for the greater use of cycling, whether in the form of e-bikes or conventional bikes,” Lee continues. “There is a lot of potential still to be tapped into. By making cycling faster, easier and safer, the adoption of cycling will surely rise. Hopefully, it will increasingly become regarded as the default option for moving around as many people as possible.” A once in a lifetime opportunity Kevin Mayne, CEO of Cycling Industries Europe, spoke of the ‘series of noises’ that COVID-19 has provoked, with people trying something different in response to the pandemic. “That noise is cycling,” Mayne said. “But what I also hear is people using phrases like: ‘Let’s get back to normal.’” However, if this ‘normal’ means going back to heavily congested roads, Mayne said we will have learned nothing from this ongoing crisis and all we’ve been through. “We will have forgotten that humans need space. They need places to move, places to meet and places to stop. “If this is normal, we have not understood what the European Green Deal needs. It says we must have sustainable and inclusive growth. It says we must have deeply transformative actions, and that we have to move fast because we only have until 2030 to reduce our carbon emissions by half. If this is our normal, we will not achieve that.”

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Smartphones can be used to nudge different behaviours, according to Deloitte’s Paul Lee

“Our taxpayers’ money should not be bailing out failure” Kevin Mayne According to Mayne, the first step is building a plan for smart and inclusive growth. “Our projects have the best return on investment of any investments in mobility,” he said. A fully-fledged cycling plan can deliver better health, better public spaces, sustainable local jobs in bike share and deliveries, in IBDs and in sustainable tourism. Dispersed efficiently, this can benefit not only congested hotspots, but the whole of Europe. “Our taxpayers’ money should not be bailing out failure,” said Mayne. “Are we really going to bail out the airlines again? Are we really going to bail out the car industry because they cannot sell their electric cars?” Mayne is calling for a €5 billion European e-bike access fund, to allow Europe’s champion companies in the cycling industry to throw their weight behind a real plan. “This is your once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Mayne. “This is the only time you will have empty streets and you can reset the normal.”

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FEATURE

Peering through the gloom Matthew Baldwin, deputy director general for mobility and transport, European Commission, spoke of the role of sustainable urban mobility in the EU Green Deal. “So much has changed this year that it’s worth peering through the gloom to see what fundamentals remain in place,” he said. “When I do, I see a bright light that is the future of cycling and the future of sustainability in Europe. “That’s not just because we’re cycling nuts who are unable to grasp the reality of the new situation, but because so many of the fundamentals of the cycling industry are indeed reinforced by a number of aspects of this crisis.” We need to ease the congestion, Baldwin continued, both in terms of passenger and freight transport in cities. Cycling produces very low external costs, costs which need to be internalised. It has been calculated that for each kilometre ridden by bicycle in the city, you create a positive value of eight cents for society, whereas one kilometre driven by car costs 50 cents. “The humble bike itself is in the middle of a technological transformation. The e-bike is really coming into its own with new battery technology, lengthening the feasible commuting distance in our biggest cities,” Baldwin said. “Safety remains a concern for lots of reasons; 70% of the people dying on our roads in cities are vulnerable road users – cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

“We need to go far beyond recovery. We need to build a sustainable, economical, successful Europe” Tony Grimaldi Baldwin explained that more needs to be done to reduce society’s overdependence on the car. “Unless we can boost public transport together with active mobility in our cities, this death toll will continue to rise,” he said. “Fear is often cited as the main reason why people don’t cycle to work, and that’s why we still see the car prevalent in even short trips.” At some point in the not-too-distant future, Baldwin believes we’ll look back on this “terrible time in our lives” as the time active mobility “turned the corner” and began to reclaim its place as the go-to transport solution.

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Much of Europe’s city space has been given up to cars

“WHO is telling us to cycle during the crisis, and it’s happening in member states encouraging exercise as part of the daily lockdown routine,” added Baldwin. “I’ve never heard so many people talk about how pleasant the city is – even in these awful circumstances. The reduced noise and pollution is not going unnoticed. The fact that you now ride your bike through the centre of Brussels accompanied by bird song is just extraordinary. “It’s not always been so easy because there’s not always enough space for everyone to do so. That’s when you start to realise just how much of our city space has been given up to the car. “Linked to that, of course, is the rise of the bike as a key way to get around. I really applaud the bike sharing companies who’ve been offering, in collaboration with cities, free use of bikes for essential workers in the crisis. Cargo bikes are being used to deliver shopping for those who can’t leave their homes, as well as urgent medical supplies for hospitals.” There needs to be a strong political case made for cycling if it is going to deliver on its transformational potential. “It’s going to be a difficult period,” Baldwin concluded. “You’re not the biggest and the most powerful lobby, you’re going to need to be seen, not just on Europe’s streets, but in the corridors of power.” 

www.bikebiz.com

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APPOINTMENTS

This month’s movers and shakers throughout the cycle industry...

Uberto Thun-Hohenstein, Pinarello

Denise Huang, Bafang

Cicli Pinarello has appointed Uberto ThunHohenstein as chief executive officer. Thun-Hohenstein brings a wealth of industry experience, following a series of senior positions in an international career spanning a number of European markets, including 27 years at Pirelli. His main objective in his new role at Pinarello will be to improve the brand’s presence across its key regions, extend the distribution network and further increase the brand’s global awareness. Thun-Hohenstein said: “I’m very proud to work for such a prestigious brand as Pinarello. I see a great opportunity to grow in all markets and strengthen our position in segments which are developing very rapidly with excellent new bicycles. “Pinarello has excellent brand equity and I consider myself fortunate to become part of the organisation and lead the business through the next phase of growth. “I’m a passionate cyclist and have been a loyal Pinarello customer for many years, which makes me all the more enthusiastic to take on this new challenge.” 

Bafang has welcomed Denise Huang as its Taiwan contact agent in the recently opened office in Taichung City. “Our Taiwan representative needed to be experienced with OEM manufacturers, supply chains and the current global market trends,” said Sunny He, Bafang’s co-founder and deputy general manager. “That’s why we are glad to join forces with Denise who has developed keen insider knowledge after more than ten years in the bicycle industry for several OEM and aftermarket businesses.” Huang added: “It’s my honour to become Bafang’s Taiwan agent and I already enjoy the many different challenges I expected from my new occupation. To create and keep good relationships with all Taiwan customers is the service that has top priority to me – and to Bafang – in our common goal: to be a trust-worthy business partner for our customers and to further be part of the sustainable success story of e-mobility.” Bafang’s Taichung office services OEM customers in Taiwan for sales, after sales, product presentations and all other aspects of OEM needs and requests. 

Ralf Northoff, Trelock

Pete Fitzboydon, Cycling UK

Trelock has named Ralf Northoff as its new lights engineering manager. The 39-year-old will act in the same role across GPS Allegion’s Kryptonite and AXA, responsible for the entire coordination of the lighting development team in France and Germany. Northoff has 15 years of experience in managing product developments in the international automotive industry, racking up expertise in both mechanical and electronic development in the process. He has previously held roles at ZF, Behr-Hella, Kostal and Aumann. 

Former chief executive of London Sport Pete Fitzboydon has been appointed as Cycling UK’s interim chief executive. He takes on the role from Paul Tuohy, who announced he is stepping down from the charity. Fitzboydon will be in post until the autumn while Cycling UK appoints a new face to the permanent position. “I am delighted to take on the challenge of leading Cycling UK at a time when it has never been more important to get more people active,” he said. 

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www.bikebiz.com

21/05/2020 15:54


Kelly Barnes and Simon Hiscox, Laka Laka has bolstered its leadership team with Kelly Barnes and Simon Hiscox. Barnes joins Laka as VP for marketing and currently sits on the Board of Directors at British Surfing. Prior to this, Barnes worked across over 100 territories as the global head of business development at Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles and has over 11 years of experience in sports marketing, and was previously head of marketing at Yellow Jersey. Hiscox joins as Laka’s growth director and will be responsible for driving Laka’s customer-growth across Europe. Hiscox previously held the same position at Seedrs and was also head of marketing at direct-to-consumer brand PactCoffee. Tobias Taupitz, Laka’s CEO and co-founder, said: “Kelly and Simon’s expertise will help launch Laka in Europe this year, extend our product range and allow more cyclists to enjoy fair, transparent, and communitydriven insurance products.” 

Gareth Mills, Bikmo Gareth Mills has joined Bikmo as chief marketing officer, having led Strava in the UK for the past three and a half years. The appointment marks a “significant moment” in Bikmo’s brand growth. “We are delighted to welcome Gareth at an incredibly exciting time for the company,” said CEO David George. “We’re proud to offer cyclists the coverage they need to keep themselves active and be there to support them when they need us. “Gareth brings a wealth of experience from the bike and endurance sports industry, both Strava and Science in Sport, and is here to build Bikmo into the most trusted global cycling insurance brand.” The new appointment coincides with the opening of a new office in Chester, designed around the Bikmo bike culture. 

www.bikebiz.com

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Simon Hiscox

Damien Hars, Alexandre Israel and Nicolas Berges, Bollé Brands Bollé Brands has confirmed the appointments of three new executives as it looks to build on the acquisition of Spy Optic late last year. Damien Hars has joined Bollé Brands as digital director. He brings strong digital experience to the group, having spent the past seven years defining and implementing Rossignol Group’s digital strategy. He will take responsibility for the development of B2C and B2B platforms for all brands, and will also take over the development of the group’s new RX platform. Ultimately, said the company, his mission will be the launch of Bollé Brands digital commerce platforms worldwide. Meanwhile, Alexandre Israel joins as global marketing manager for the Bollé brand and will lead on future development and the expansion. He arrives having spent ten years in a similar role with Babolat. Last but not least, Nicolas Berges has been appointed as sales director, France. He will take on responsibility for all sales activities for Bollé, Cébé, Serengeti and Spy products in the French market. He comes with strong experience in building a qualitative distribution network, and he has excellent knowledge of the sport industry, the optical channels and luxury brands thanks to his experience at Oakley and Luxottica. 

May/June 2020 | 17

21/05/2020 15:54


FEATURE

Simplicity, vision and hitting the sweet spot: SPOK’D on making cycling coaching more accessible and affordable to all

Richard Lang is an ex-professional rider who is passionate about finding ways in which technology can help people achieve their goals. In 2019, he launched SPOK’D, an app that uses smart algorithms to make cycling coaching more accessible and affordable to everyone... Can you give us a short introduction to SPOK’D? The idea came about back in 2016, when I was out on a ride with a few mates. We were talking about the difficulties for a coach of delivering a highly personalised training plan for any more than 20 athletes, while for a rider, the cost and time commitment of having a coach is significant. I thought there has to be a simpler and more accessible way of delivering top-level training. From there, a founding team was established with my good mate Chris Newton (Team GB coach). We developed the initial concept, which was built by a local software development agency in Manchester.

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By mid-2017 we had a concept that we shared within our closed network and it fell flat. Riders loved our vision and what we were aiming to achieve, but the execution wasn’t there. I definitely underestimated the vast amount of effort it would take to get a software business off the ground. Plus, the more we dug into the coaching side… it’s a complex beast. There are two elements to brilliant coaching: the data versus softer, more fluid side of coaching – like how people are feeling, how well did they sleep – and we had to make sure we hit the sweet spot.

www.bikebiz.com

22/05/2020 13:28


FEATURE

In early 2018, I was fortunate enough to receive investment from the Startup Factory and this was when SPOK’D and my capabilities as a tech lead really started to grow. It took us another 12 months of testing, rider feedback, development and lots of late nights before we opened the beta up to the public in February 2019. We received our first paying rider a week later and it felt like we made it. Today, we’re still a relatively small team but we have grown to a fantastic network of coaches, nutritionists, bike fitters, mentors, data analysts and SPOK’D riders. It’s been a long time in the making, but there is so much more to come. How does the app work? There are two key values that SPOK’D stands for; smart and simple. These values create a framework for how we want a rider to feel when they use SPOK’D. It begins when a rider signs up to SPOK’D via the website and from there they move into building their personalised coaching plan. You can build a plan within four steps: 1) set your goal, 2) input the time you have available to train, 3) link your accounts, 4) establish your fitness levels. One click later and your personal plan has been built. As you start to train, your plan adapts to you, using a few key principles. Planned versus actual workload completed, how the sessions felt – hard, medium or easy – and your lifestyle metrics from energy levels to sleep. These all have an impact on how your plan dynamically changes. Plus, anytime during the week, you can change your training availability and a new session is created with the plan adjustments applied. This removes the stress of a rider thinking ‘what do I have to do next?’, ‘how do I reduce my session as I feel tired?’ or ‘I’ve got to work late and I can’t ride tonight’. It gives the riders confidence they’re doing the right type of training that is aligned with their goal, and stops them from beating themselves up, mentally, if they have a crappy few days, get ill or miss a session. Also, we want people to enjoy the social side of cycling, whether it be a club ride or weekend coffee loop. That’s why you can add a ‘free ride’ anytime, and this allows SPOK’D to collect your workload and that’s then factored into next week’s plan. All this makes SPOK’D a cycling coach in your pocket that is on call 24/7. What makes SPOK’D unique? Eddie, a SPOK’D rider, summed up nicely why we’re different to what’s out there in the market: “Using SPOK’D has taught me the difference between training and being coached.

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SPOK’D founder Richard Lang

“There are plenty of linear training plans you can follow, but they don’t adapt, whereas SPOK’D is dynamic and it will change my plan depending on my form, feel and feedback.” This differentiates SPOK’D from other apps and provides people with an alternative to hiring an online coach. We do realise we’re never going to replace an online coach, but we’re providing riders an alternative that’s deliberately priced low – just £9.99 a month – to make coaching more accessible. At that price point, we hope SPOK’D is a simple decision to make and something that delivers real value. One of our users, Simon, joined after Christmas and has reported an almost 10% increase in FTP within 11 weeks, just by following a flexible structured plan and making every session count, so it can really make a difference.

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FEATURE

What has the reaction to the app been like so far? It’s been amazingly positive, but it wasn’t always that way. It’s taken a lot persistence and patience as we don’t have masses of development resources or loads of money. The product is still developing every week, with new features and functionality being added. However, we’ve seen 412% growth in sign-ups within the last four months. Plus, on average, riders complete 83% of their sessions they plan for the week. This metric alone highlights the fact that SPOK’D has become an integral part of their routines. How do you plan to grow the app, both in terms of increasing users, and advancing the technology itself? This is something we’re super excited about. When it comes to building technology, it’s about taking a step back and applying a novice mindset. What this means is: we assume nothing and we’re truly guided by user feedback; we dig deeper into the core question: ‘How can we help riders train smarter, in a simple way?’ Taking this approach has allowed us to create a technology roadmap of what is required to improve the algorithms that set the user’s workouts and plans, plus gain valuable insight into a rider’s mindset.

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Therefore, purposely building what a rider actually needs from a data point of view and the educational/motivational side of things. One method that has allowed us to increase rider numbers has been the way we go about building SPOK’D. We’re transparent. I go onto the SPOK’D Instagram page and talk about the features we’re trying to develop, share the designs within the our closed FB group and this allows riders to give direct feedback and shape the platform. By opening SPOK’D up to the broader community, we find it drives a lot of word of mouth. Also, we’re exploring a number of integrations with other cycling platforms, which will enhance the experience and make it even easier to train smart. How niche is your target audience? SPOK’D is for anyone who loves riding their bike and has an appetite to improve. By tapping into shared passions and attitudes, rather than generic cycling demographics, SPOK’D is able to coach riders of all abilities. There are people who train simply by feel, those that have a particular goal like increasing power or endurance, and others are category two chasing their category one licence. 

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FEATURE

Cycling UK’s Roger Geffen spoke of the need for greater separation for cyclists when there is a high volume of traffic

Local roads: What are the priorities? Rebecca Morley listens in to a Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum policy conference where speakers met virtually to discuss the funding of local roads, maintenance and preparing for future challenges

P

oor road surfaces and a lack of quality infrastructure are two of the key barriers to cycling. According to a 2020 Savanta study, 44% of UK citizens aged 16+ never cycle, rising to 54% for women. A third of those surveyed said they don’t cycle more because it’s too dangerous. More specifically, the research pointed to cars, heavy good vehicles, bad road conditions, buses and lack of cycle lanes as potential cyclists’ ‘key worries’.

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The UK’s local road priorities were the focus of much discussion at a Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum policy conference in late April, where speakers from the Department for Transport (DfT), the RAC, Cycling UK and more met virtually to discuss funding and maintenance priorities for local roads, priorities for road users and integrating active travel systems.

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FEATURE

Delivering value for money Following the opening remarks, the first speaker was Gary Kemp, policy advisor, local infrastructure division, DfT, who stated that £1.5 billion will be provided for local highway maintenance for the 20/21 financial year. “All the ministers I’ve worked for are acutely aware of the importance of the local road network,” he said. “By length, 98% of the roads in England are local. Almost every journey starts and ends on one. “Our ministers understand that a safe and reliable network improves connectivity to schools, shops and jobs, boosts the local economy and is good for general social wellbeing.” The long-term settlement for local highway maintenance was to be finalised in the autumn spending review, but this may now change as a result of COVID-19. Kemp added: “At last year’s Transport Select Committee, Jesse Norman – who was road minister at the time – said the department was very keen to get a long-term settlement that would provide real uplift in funding for local highway maintenance.” Regardless of what the long-term settlement is, Kemp said the department will expect to see increased efficiencies from local highway authorities. Delivering value for money will be more important than it’s ever been. “We expect to see more collaboration between highway authorities and the increased adoption of innovation,” Kemp continued. “We want to see highway authorities sharing their ideas and their lessons learned. If that means pooling resources so that unaffordable pieces of kit become affordable, or trying new ways of working that otherwise couldn’t be done without collaboration, then we would really encourage that.” Going forward, Kemp said, highway networks will have to adapt to an increasing digital world and futureproof their roads in some way. “Road infrastructure in the next 20 years will be the most impacted it’s been since the introduction of cars. But that might give opportunities to local highway authorities.” Stop and start Another important issue raised was the condition of our local roads – with research published earlier this year by Cycling UK revealing that only one in ten local authorities are meeting their own targets to fix potholes and road defects. David Giles, director, Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), spoke of the ongoing impact of a stop/start approach to funding: “Considering that one in five local roads is now classed as ‘in poor condition’ with less than five years structural life remaining, one thing is clear –

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One in five local roads is now Active travel has been “completely classed as ‘in poor condition’

overlooked”, says Cycling UK

Will micromobility change short distance demand for a car? Another key factor to point out, in terms of priorities for road users, is the length of their journeys and what mode of transport suits their needs best. Nick Lyes, head of roads policy at RAC, says that 23% of journeys in a car are two miles and under, and previous research has shown that 57% are five miles or less. But why are drivers so dependent on their vehicles? 73% of drivers agreed that they would find it “very difficult” to adjust their lifestyle without a car, with 54% of those saying they are essential to carry heavy things, 45% saying they need them to stay connected and 26% saying there is no other way to get around. While some of these reasons are of course practical, it would be interesting to see how habits change post-lockdown, with more and more people realising there is less need for a car for shorter journeys. Could drivers turn to active travel in the future? It seems the answer could be yes, with a recent AA survey of nearly 20,000 drivers revealing that 36% will walk, cycle or run more after lockdown is over. And with the Transport Committee launching an inquiry to explore the safety and legal implications of e-scooters (the UK is the last major European economy where e-scooters are banned everywhere except on private land – with the landowner’s permission), it could be that we soon have even more choice on how we travel.

whether your vision for the future of the local road network is to support the Government’s levelling up strategy and social cohesion goals or to underpin the shift to a zerocarbon economy, you simply wouldn’t choose to start from this point. “And as 25 years of the AIA’s ALARM survey has shown, the network has been significantly undervalued and underfunded by six successive Prime Ministers and 17 transport secretaries. There needs to be a fundamental shift; you cannot simply have drones flying around as the central idea for a way of shifting the costs. Local authorities have told us that there’s been a pattern of short-term cash injections stemming accelerating decline, followed by years of underfunding.”

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FEATURE

The Transport Committee recently launched an inquiry into e-scooters

This has resulted, Giles continued, in budget shortfalls and contributes to an ever-rising bill in the cost of putting our roads right. Over the last decade, the total highways budgets have been a long way from a sustained investment pattern. “It’s very encouraging to hear the Chancellor’s intentions to rectify the situation, but in reality, we just haven’t seen that over a long period of time,” Giles continued. “The pattern has been one of stop and start. Once we take inflation into account, highways maintenance budgets in 2020 are still 17% lower than a decade earlier. And yet, in the meantime, the local authorities have additional targets to achieve. “We need a sufficient and sustained budget that allows local authority roads to prevent potholes from occurring. They are not the cause of the problem; they are a symptom.” The ALARM data shows that, structurally, around 51% of the local road network is reported to be in good condition, down from 55% the previous year. But what would it take to fix the local road network to support what the future holds? Giles (who emphasises that the data is COVID-19-free) said that, according to local authorities, it’ll take 11 years and cost £11 billion to bring the network up to a position whereby it could be maintained cost-effectively. “We’ve been arguing for this additional £1.5 billion for ten years as an absolute minimum investment. We simply have to grasp this nettle, and it’s going to cost a lot of money – even more now when COVID-19 is taken into account.” A Cinderella area Martin McTague, policy and advocacy chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, later chimed in on the condition of local roads and the spending issues that surround this. “Only 20% of the public expenditure is on local roads, but they’re three-quarters of the journeys and 64% of the distance travelled,” he said. “This is a Cinderella area that is fundamentally badly served. One sure way we’ve found of linking public concern to the condition of local roads is to talk about potholes. There were 700,000 new potholes in the last year – that’s 15 times larger than the Grand Canyon. That illustrates the scale of the problem we’re dealing with in the UK. “When the Conservatives came to power they had a manifesto pledge to repair potholes. It’s important to hold them to account, even given the pressure on budgets with the COVID-19 crisis.”

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FEATURE

The case for cycling Roger Geffen, policy director, Cycling UK, highlighted the issue of congestion, which a recent report found cost the UK economy £6.9 billion in 2019. Cycling has efficiency benefits in terms of space – a typical lane of a typical road can carry 2,000 cars per hour or 14,000 bicycles, and ten bikes can park in the space of one car. People who cycle regularly take fewer sick days and are more alert, Geffen said, and the economy of the high street can benefit too – more people arrive at the shops by walking and by cycling than most traders assume. “It’s also good for tackling air quality,” continued Geffen. “If the average car commuter shifted it to cycling, they would save 7% of their average carbon footprint. Encouraging cycling is a not insignificant contributor to tackling the climate crisis, and of course it has huge health benefits.” Geffen also said that while electric vehicles can help tackle air quality and make a difference to greenhouse gases, they still contribute to congestion, physical inactivity and road danger.

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So what can local authorities do? “Historically, cycle planning in the UK has been to provide a bit of a cycle lane here and there, disconnected cycle facilities where there’s a bit of spare cash and space, and they usually give up at the junctions,” Geffen said. “This is where cyclists most need protection – 75% of cyclist injuries happen at or near junctions.” Geffen also called for greater separation in high volumes of traffic, implementing measures such as 20mph speed limits and having some routes completely free of motor traffic. “New developments need to have cycle and pedestrian friendliness built in at the outset. Look for opportunities to integrate your cycling programmes with the highway road maintenance programmes. While workers are out there, get two jobs done for the price of one.” He concluded: “Let’s shift the funding from building new trunk roads – that is exacerbating car dependence and climate change – to the local roads where we can enable those short journeys made by walking and cycling. Integrate the maintenance with redesigning our roads to be more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, for the benefit of our environment, our health and our climate.” 

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FEATURE

Why we need to invest in cycling to get out of lockdown Yellow Jersey pens an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Dear Boris, These next few weeks are critical, and one of the big challenges will be to get more people back into work safely. But how should we commute during this crisis? Staggered start times, working in shifts and raising the price of bus and train tickets during peak times are just some of the options. But I don’t think many will want to get on a bus or a train – especially in big cities.

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In London, commuter numbers on buses and tubes could fall by up to 40%, according to a recent poll, with rail use down 27%. Of course, some of this reduction will be because people have found they quite like waking up at 8.55am to start work at 9am. And still in their pyjamas. (Which isn’t for everyone. Those with small children – and here I speak from experience – are desperate to get back into the office, provided it’s safe to do so!).

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FEATURE

A month later and that started to become reality, as NHS and other key workers took to their bikes to get around safely and quickly. Cobwebs have been dusted off long-forgotten machines. Key workers are pedalling to the frontline. And families are spending time with each other on two wheels. All are fitter and enjoying the fresh air. Now is the perfect time to grab the bike by the handlebars because more people are cycling more often. This is great for the environment (carbon emissions and air pollutants fall) and our health (both physical and mental). Never has it felt safer to give cycling a go. Traffic is light to non-existent and we’ve jumped towards that vision you have of “decarbonised transport”.

But people shunning public transport is only bad news if they get into their cars instead. And this is where you come in: encouraging short trips by bicycle rather than car. This means leadership. This means action. This means investment – in everything from lanes and sharing schemes to fiscal incentives for businesses that encourage zerocarbon commuting. In the short-term, congestion is reduced on the roads, crowding is eased on the trains and buses to help social distancing and people get fitter – physically and mentally. Longer-term, the benefits could be even greater, with reductions in air pollution and emissions as well as the population’s waistline. Easy does it Indeed, this lockdown is certainly not ideal, but it has been a pretty neat experiment on what the future of transport could look like. Now, I say future, but I don’t mean 2040: I mean late 2020 (when hopefully we will all be less isolated). I see your colleagues at the Department for Transport produced your own vision in March – but forgot to tell anyone it had been published. You had told us to stay indoors for three weeks a few days earlier but this was good news to follow the bad. For example, I’d never heard a secretary of state for transport say something like: “Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities. We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.” In February, announcing £5 billion for buses and cycling, you also talked of “a new generation of cyclists who pedal safely and happily to school and work in tree-dappled sunlight on their own network of fully segregated cycle paths”.

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No need to mind the gap Consider this enthusiast who talked to the BBC. “Before the outbreak, I’d normally drive to work. I wouldn’t cycle in Glasgow because I’m worried about safety; the roads used to feel too busy and dangerous and I wasn’t confident. The bike has been fantastic,” said Kirsty Clift, a care assistant from Bishopbriggs. “The quieter roads have given me the confidence boost to ride my bike and you get a bit of exercise in the 20-minute cycle. It’s good for mental health too. I feel more energetic and more positive.” She had borrowed an electric bike. Indeed, new tech like this is key. E-bikes mean that people who thought they couldn’t cycle a few kilometres to the shops or work can. It also means those who like to cycle can go further. And so the number of trips begins to rise.

“This lockdown is certainly not ideal, but it has been a pretty neat experiment on what the future of transport could look like” The target is shorter journeys. At least 35% of the trips we tend to make are under 5km, so a 20-minute ride for the average Joe on a standard bike. Around 50% of the trips are under 10km, which takes less than 30 minutes on an e-bike. Currently, only 6% of these urban trips (globally) are completed by bike or e-bike. In London, the figure is 5%. And there are hundreds of thousands of Kirstys out there, raring to keep going. Imagine the cost savings: as people cycle more, they get fitter (and less fat); as people drive less, the air becomes cleaner. Everyone becomes healthier (physically and mentally) and the burden on the NHS and its heroes falls.

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22/05/2020 11:18


FEATURE

Here’s a theory Albert Einstein wrote to his son Eduard, in 1930: “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” The Government needs to get moving in order to keep people pedalling: this could, with a little investment, effort and action, be your legacy. I’m not talking about a gradual plan with a “we are working towards” kind of target that Governments usually favour (with an ambiguous deadline set for a time when you will be relaxing on the beach on Mustique penning your memoirs). Like this one: “As part of our aim to build a society that works for all, we want more people to have access to safe, attractive routes for cycling and walking by 2040.” That was in the 2017 Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy drawn up by the previous Government, which tended to miss targets. Speaking of targets, the aim was “to double cycling activity by 2025”. Here are the DfT’s latest cycling stats, from 2017: • Number of trips by bike are down 8% since 2002 • Staged trips by bike are down 4% since 2002 • Just 18 trips per person were made per year • We each spent on average just seven minutes a week travelling by bike • Only 20 miles of commuting is done by bike per person per year Meeting those seemed a big ask a few weeks ago. However, the COVID-19 crisis has given you an opportunity to shoot through that five years early, and for relatively little spend. Numbers of cyclists in Scotland, for example, have doubled in some areas. Let’s go Dutch Look at France, where £17 million has been offered up so everyone can have bikes repaired at registered mechanics. This is great but we can do better, think everything from cycle lanes to supporting businesses that install showers at work. In February, when you announced £5 billion of “new investment for buses and bicycles”, you talked about “cyclists enjoying hundreds of miles of brand-new separated lanes, with ‘mini-Hollands’ blooming”. But to go Dutch you need to spend a bit more money. Of that £5 billion, £350 million will be on cycling. “That’s just over £1 per person per year – about 1/20th of what you need for an actual cycling revolution,” tweeted Peter Walker (author of Bike Nation: How cycling can save the world). So, whilst it was great to hear that, in a call with UK mayors you (reportedly) told them about the opportunity to push clean, green, active travel as well as cycling infrastructure to get cars off the road – you need to put your money where your mouth is.

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This is hard to justify currently (you are paying millions of people’s salaries), but not when you consider how much you might spend bailing out more polluting industries and the savings in healthcare (and even court appearances over failure to meet air quality targets). Or indeed the £29 billion road-building plan announced by your Chancellor in March. Fork in the road We have a terrible record on air quality in this country, but you can’t just hope that people will carry on cycling after this crisis. Of 20,000 drivers polled recently, 22% reckon they will drive less post-lockdown, whilst 36% will walk, cycle or run more. Don’t believe them. They won’t. Not unless cycling remains as easy and safe as it has been in recent weeks. People have got used to clear, safe roads full of fresh air rather than furious drivers. Cities all over the world are reallocating road space from cars to walkers and cyclists. Do we want to lead this particular peloton or fall off the back before the race has even started? In 2017, nearly all (96%) of local authorities had less than 20% of their adult population cycling at least once a week. But more and more are penning climate emergency plans and many have huge issues with air quality levels. COVID-19 is the kick they – and residents – needed to get going. This is about turning people – hundreds of thousands of people – from fairweather do-it-in-lockdownwhen-there-are-no-cars-or-commuting cyclists to the cycling-everyday sort. “If we don’t seize this moment, the moment will be lost and we will return to normal,” said shadow green transport minister Kerry McCarthy. Things are not going to return to normal anytime soon. But they will, eventually. Consider this your fork in the road. 

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NUMBER CRUNCHING 31 BBMayJune20 Stats Final 2.indd 1

Here are some of the latest stats and facts from around the web‌ Commuters are willing to spend on average

29 minutes

17%

on a bike

of commuters are more likely to cycle to work following the pandemic – a potential extra bikes on the road

5.5 million

The upturn in interest in cycling is most pronounced in the south-east with

20% more likely to cycle to work more following lockdown

It is also prominent nationwide with

18%

of commuters in the north of England and Scotland more likely to get to work on two wheels, in Wales and the south-west and

15%

13%

Dedicated

in the Midlands

cycle lanes, traffic calming and workplace facilities are

crucial

in changing habits

20 30 40 ZONE

ZONE

ZONE

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FEATURE

Wahoo has seen global year-on-year growth of over 300% across its hardware

The rise of indoor Rebecca Morley looks into how COVID-19 has accelerated an already burgeoning trend

W

ith gyms closing their doors in response to COVID-19, home workout options have grown in popularity. And given that indoor cycling was becoming more prominent than ever in recent years, it is no surprise that riders are heading back inside their homes as an alternative to their usual exercise routines. “While we were already seeing significant growth prior to the pandemic, we have seen extraordinary activity since the lockdown,” says Richard Baker, CEO of Wattbike. “March saw a 110% increase of web sessions, with sales activity of 250%. April saw web sessions increasing 300% and sales activity 350%.” Sales of the Wattbike Atom in the UK during March 2020 were 113% higher than sales in February 2020. There was also a 17% increase in active users on the Wattbike Hub App from those using an Atom,

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suggesting that there are not only higher levels of sales, but also active users, using their Wattbike to maintain fitness in the comfort of their own home. Sigma Sports also released figures back in March around the uptake in sales of indoor training equipment, showing that the number of orders placed on turbo trainers as well as static bikes increased week on week by 440%. In addition, the launch of the new Wahoo Kickr Indoor Smart Bike and Trainer saw huge interest, with initial drops selling out on pre-order in just a few hours. Newly-launched research company Cycling Insight has also shared indoor and virtual riding trends during the pandemic, with the significance of the search trend spike for turbo trainers from 15th March 2020 correlating to the start of the lockdown. The term ‘Turbo Trainer’ had 12,100 March monthly UK Google searches, up from 6,100 in 2019.

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FEATURE

“While we’ve seen strong demand across the wider cycling industry, products geared towards indoor riding have performed particularly well,” says a Wahoo spokesperson. “We have seen year-on-year global growth rise by over 300% for our hardware, including a range of indoor cycle trainers. “Meanwhile, The Sufferfest training app – a comprehensive indoor training platform for time-crunched athletes – has seen its user base grow fivefold from the previous year, after introducing its free ‘All-In’ 30-day plans to help athletes during lockdown.”

“The cycling industry is in the strongest position it has been in for some time” Supporting the community Many companies responded to the crisis, encouraging people to keep active while staying inside their homes. RGT Cycling, which only launched in December last year, made its premium features available for all, having seen national governing body British Cycling suspend all sanctioned cycling activities and suggest restrictions on club riding. “RGT was created to empower all cyclists to ride inside in the same way they ride outside,” said Alex Serban, founder and CEO. “As the impact of COVID-19 is felt around the world, this mission has become more important than ever and after watching inspiring communities come together to support each other, our need to do everything we can to help became obvious.

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(Above) The Sufferfest recently released a suite of training plans designed for athletes staying indoors “At a time when focusing on profit would be easy, this removal of restrictions will provide free access for all and, we hope, offer some support to the cycling community.” The Sufferfest, part of Wahoo Fitness, released various training plans designed for athletes staying indoors due to the outbreak. The ‘All-In’ training plans are completely indoorbased and place increased emphasis on yoga, strength and mental training. Each plan offers a different focus – cycling, multisport, cross-training – while incorporating sessions from The Sufferfest yoga and strength training video library. “The pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our daily lives,” said David McQuillen, head of the Wahoo Fitness Sufferfest division. “While all of us at Wahoo Fitness know that there are far more important things than that next workout, we also know that there is comfort, solace and meaning to be found in exercise.” Wattbike has also made its new commercial bike, the Icon, temporarily available for home customers. Designed to improve the performance of athletes of all ages and abilities, and most often seen in gyms, health centres and elite sports institutions, the Wattbike Icon was introduced to complement the Wattbike Pro and Trainer in commercial settings. New challenges This doesn’t mean that companies haven’t had to deal with any challenges alongside the rising levels of demand, especially from 23rd March, when the nationwide lockdown was implemented and many businesses were forced to alter their operations.

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FEATURE

RGT Cycling’s premium features are currently available for free

“The entire Wattbike team has done an incredible job of managing themselves, and the business, through such change,” says Baker. “While many businesses were seeing revenues decrease, or even stop, within days of the lockdown we were seeing an increased demand. “The team mobilised very quickly and were working from home and fully operational in 24 hours. We do have a technical team still working in our warehouse, and again, they have been highly professional in creating and working to social distancing guidelines. It is important to note that over 30% of our business effectively closed down overnight, with health and fitness, professional sports and education facilities shutting their doors.” “As you would imagine, the sharp increase in demand for indoor trainers – outside of the conventional ‘turbo training season’ – has presented some supply challenges,” adds Wahoo’s spokesperson. “However, we have an excellent team here at Wahoo who have worked extremely hard to meet this increased demand and support the growing number of Wahooligans across the world. “We’ve also taken steps to make our training platform, The Sufferfest, more accessible. Since the lockdown took effect, we’ve expanded the free trial period to 44 days to allow new users to access the new ‘All-In’ 30-day plans.” Wider audience But now lockdown restrictions have started to ease, will this rising trend in indoor cycling continue? Cycling outdoors has also increased during COVID-19, so what will happen as life returns to ‘normal’? “As the many benefits of cycling become clearer to the public, we hope that more people will take up riding – both indoors and outdoors,” says Wahoo.

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(Above) UK sales of the Wattbike Atom during March 2020 were 113% higher than in February “However, with many people having ‘learned’ how to workout at home during the lockdown, the benefits of indoor riding will be particularly clear. As more people try structured workouts on a smart bike or turbo trainer, we expect behaviour patterns to change with riders realising it’s not only possible to exercise at home, but it can actually be more time efficient, effective and fun.” Baker also says that the awareness of training at home is growing and opening up to a wider audience. “We are doing some further research to understand if our customer base has changed since COVID-19,” he says. “It is evident that we had a wide audience considering a Wattbike and that the lockdown has been a catalyst to them making a purchase. It is interesting that this has continued to increase throughout the lockdown period as people prioritise their fitness and recreation time. “The cycling industry is in the strongest position it has been in for some time. More widely, there is an increased awareness of health and wellness – particularly around cardiorespiratory health. Commuting by bike is seeing a steep increase in demand and investment from the Government, virtual events and races are helping to drive new types of cycling, which in turn is opening up to wider markets.” Wahoo says that while there is huge opportunity, it would be naive not to recognise the serious challenges that this global crisis presents for companies across the industry. “This is a hugely testing period for brands of all sizes, but it will be the companies who take an innovative approach – adapting their business models to suit the changing marketplace – who will come out strongest on the other side.” 

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minutes with... This month, BikeBiz catches up with Christian Heule, international sales at SwissStop, to find out more about a brand celebrating its 85th anniversary

Can you give us a little background on SwissStop? The parent company of SwissStop, REX Articoli Tecnici, was founded in 1935 by the Favini family. Its 100-strong workforce is mainly known for producing rubber-based technical products. Until 1991, the factory supplied Weinmann around 20 million brake pads a year, but after Weinmann’s bankruptcy, a quarter of a century of brake experience couldn’t just be forgotten. This led to the creation of the SwissStop brand to keep producing what we believe to be the world’s best brake pads to both the OEM market and to shops all around the world. Although our history is firmly routed in rim brake pads, we’ve also been driven to create a range of disc pads and rotors for mountain bikes and the rapidly growing array of disc-equipped road, gravel and cross bikes.

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We are an OEM partner to a number of brands such as DT Swiss, SRAM and FFWD, and although this reinforces the link between our pads and top-tier products, all riders at every level can benefit from swapping their existing brake setup to SwissStop. On top of producing products for road that we are best known for, we recently added new products such as a 203mm centre lock rotor to improve compatibility across the MTB market. What do you offer that rivals perhaps do not? We try to fulfil the highest performance requirements for any customer. Braking systems have been improving rapidly, especially with the wider adoption of disc brakes in the road market, but these stock brakes are not without fault. There are still some aspects that we believed could be improved.

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We aim to keep our pads both rim- and rotor-friendly while maintaining strong braking performance and ensuring longevity for the pad and braking surface. Another large complaint of stock setups is brake noise, especially in wet or winter conditions. Our RS disc pads have silent performance (providing the recommended bedding-in procedure has been followed) which makes them ideal for the UK market where conditions are often wetter and cooler. All our brake pads are produced in our factory in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The salary costs are so high here that raw material costs are relatively low in the whole manufacturing process. This unique opportunity means we are able to use the very best raw materials available without having to sacrifice on material quality. The latest road disc pads use a closely guarded secret composition of abrasive elements, aramid fibres, copper and dehydrated natural resins. Although it doesn’t have an influence on the final product, we also try to work alongside our local community, which we believe is part of our responsibility as a business. For this reason, most of our product packaging is done in two sheltered workshops that support disabled people in employment in our local area. What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment? There is obvious potential in the growing disc market which is going to be both challenging and exciting. I feel there are a lot of misconceptions about disc brakes on road and gravel bikes and it’s going to be a challenge on trying to change these. For example, I’m running 160mm rotors front and back on my road setup as I see larger rotors offering increases in performance for negligible weight gain, and even improved wear rate on the pads.

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With more riders turning to gravel as well, the benefits of stronger and more responsive brakes far outweigh any aesthetic or weight penalties and I suspect we’ll see more and more bikes coming with larger rotors in the near future. The increase in adoption of e-bikes across MTB, road and leisure has also brought with it additional challenges that we are looking at addressing. The massive increase in total system weight puts a huge additional strain on a braking setup, which can lead to premature pad and rotor wear as well as increasing the risk of brake fade. Our Disc E pads have much higher endurance characteristics and high temperature functionality, even when compared with our previous Sintered Disc S pads which make them better suited for e-bikes. I suspect we’ll see more e-bike specific products in the marketplace which will make for some exciting developments in technology; we’ll likely see these trickle down to standard cycling products too. What are your plans for 2020 and beyond? We were lucky in the fact that our factory only had to close for a very short time due to the COVID-19, so we’re very lucky in that it had minimal impact on production. Also, with us being based in Switzerland, we’re still able to quickly ship product where it’s needed and have faced less challenges in logistics than the Far East. I think we definitely can and will grow in the disc market but still believe we can occupy some additional market share in the rim brake market. Although disc brakes become more popular on road/CX/gravel bikes, users of rim brakes still expect and need higher performance pads, and that’s something we’re keen to keep working on and improving. n

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Be safe. Be seen.

)RUWUDYHORU²WQHVVWUDYHOE\ELNH Following the latest government guidance we are now able to exercise more often and, if you’re travelling to work, are recommended to travel by foot or bicycle. With this in mind, safety on the road is essential to DYRLGURDGWUDI²FDFFLGHQWV([SRVXUH/LJKWVURDG and urban lights feature technologies that seriously increase visibility for daytime cycling, the key IDFWRULQSUHYHQWLQJDFROOLVLRQWKH'D\%ULJKWSXOVH SDWWHUQVLVGLVWLQFWLYHDQGJHWVWKHULGHUQRWLFHGLQ WUDI²FDQGDWMXQFWLRQVZKLOVW5H$.77HFKQRORJ\

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20/03/2020 10:27


IBD FOCUS

COVID-19 lockdown: How are bike shops faring? All ‘non-essential’ shops in the UK have temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but bike shops have the option of remaining open. BikeBiz reached out to cycle retailers to find out how they have adapted their businesses in response

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he struggling high street has been welldocumented for some time, with many figures painting a pessimistic picture for brick and mortar before COVID-19 forced the shutdown of all ‘non-essential’ shops. IBDs, however, have had the option to remain open, and many have experienced a rising demand for bikes, with more and more people using them for exercise and commuting when necessary. Prime Minister Boris Johnson even said this should be a ‘golden age’ for cycling, offering some encouragement

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that it could be prioritised as we look ahead to life after lockdown. This was followed by transport secretary Grant Shapps unveiling plans to boost greener, active transport and create a ‘new era’ for cycling and walking, including a £250 million emergency active travel fund. But how has business for bike shops changed during COVID-19, and how have retailers adapted to the lockdown restrictions? Some stores have decided to temporarily close, while others have put various models in place to help ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

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IBD FOCUS

“We anticipated this and put in place plans for operating by appointment only a week before the lockdown,” says Noah from Mamachari. “When the announcement came on the Monday night, we worked frantically for several hours and got everything set up, with all the information on the website and in the window, online booking for repairs and service, online payment system and web-chat.” The lockdown also came with social distancing measures, including staying two metres away from other people at all times when you go out. However, some bike shops have reported customers not following these guidelines. “Honestly, it’s frustrating right now,” says Alex from The Hackney Peddler.

Dave Mellor Cycles Dave Mellor Cycles has been trading in Shrewsbury for 36 years, so it was an easy decision to remain open, albeit behind closed doors, to continue supporting the community that has supported us all this time. We have been conscious of social distancing and the closed door has enforced that, with minimum customers coming into the store. Our mechanics’ situation was a little different. We realised that three full-timers and one part-timer could not work in close proximity. We furloughed two, but 24 hours in, one got a cough and had to self-isolate – and so Steve remains and has been a star, prioritising essential workers and then questioning why any other work was being deemed essential, be it for work travel, physical health and more importantly, mental health.

“Customers have been asked to choose online and either select click and collect or home delivery, and we’ve been amazed at the upsurge in inner tubes and sub-£600 bikes” We have streamlined our days off to work five days Monday to Friday, and are all off over the weekends, and only opening 9-5, taking lunch on the hoof. We obviously have had the massive spike in home trainer sales and thankfully our turbo trainer mountain, leftover from the emergence and popularity of the smart trainer, is now a very small pimple on the shop landscape.

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“Although we’re grateful to be able to continue trading and have put up ACT signs about free NHS repairs and social distancing measures, the majority of customers seem to ignore the guidelines and flock into the shop like nothing is wrong. “We still get idiots trying to walk into the workshop and people coming into the shop when there are already several customers in and saying ‘oh I just need to use the pump’. It’s like they don’t appreciate the gravity of the situation and think they’re special and that the rules don’t apply to them.” But is it the same story across the whole cycle industry? BikeBiz reached out to more bike shops as lockdown began to find out how they responded to the COVID-19 crisis. n

And no, sorry, we don’t have any smart trainers left! But we do have a long waiting list for when new stocks arrive. A positive has been Madison offering free care packages to our essential workers and while, because of our mechanic situation, we haven’t felt able to advertise for worry of over-promising and not delivering service work, the workers who have received them have been truly touched. We have loaned out a Gazelle delivery bike to a local volunteer who is delivering essential supplies of bread, milk and eggs to vulnerable and self-isolating people provided by a local bakery. To minimise non-essential travel, we have been delivering locally as much as possible. Customers have been asked to choose online and either select click and collect or home delivery, and we’ve been amazed at the upsurge in inner tubes and sub£600 bikes – a sure sign that bikes are coming out of sheds and new bikes are being used for that daily exercise. The furlough guidelines have been fluid and furloughing staff has been taken using 1) consideration of staff’s own health issues, diabetes and asthma 2) whether they are living with a vulnerable older person 3) whether they felt uncomfortable about coming in. The recent clarification on furloughing says that as long as the employer and employee agree, the staff member can be furloughed and the Government will pick up 80% of the tab and we are paying the 20%. Option three is causing, or could cause, friction. We have staff coming in who are providing amazing support to the business and local community, but my worry is that as this terrible situation continues, resentment will build up, seeing pictures on social media of these furloughed workers posting amazing scenery pictures, out riding on full pay, while socially responsible workers are carrying the business. Morally, should these young workers be effectively refusing to work when the shop is big enough and we have work enough for them to work safely and not be a drain on the nation’s finances? n

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IBD FOCUS

Beyond Bikes has to manage people outside test riding bikes and dropping off repairs

Nick Manning, Beyond Bikes

Beyond Bikes’ Nick Manning on ITV News

In the run up to the lockdown, we experienced quite a boom in the sales of sub-£1,000 bikes – just like loo rolls, people were panic buying bikes. One customer bought four bikes, then their friend came in for three. Even at this stage, we were trying to enforce social distancing in the shop, but people just didn’t get it or simply thought they were exempt: ‘We are all young, fit, healthy… and we are in Surrey for God’s sake...’ On the eve of Monday 23rd we all thought: ‘That is it, we have had our run’, only to wake up on the 24th with the news that bike shops were exempt, it was like a gift from heaven. From here on the team at Beyond Bikes all huddled over the shop’s WhatsApp group and worked on the best way to operate.

“Just like loo rolls, people were panic buying bikes” The solution everyone was happy with was only one employee in our two-person workshop and no customer entry into the shop. Most of our mechanics have their own workshops, so were able to take work home. Bikes are all sanitised along with tools and touch points. The shop’s location allows us to take bikes outside and offer a P&A collection point by our window. We are in a semi-rural location with residential flats above and some of our neighbours are self-isolating and were not particularly fond of cyclists at the best of times. We have to manage people outside, test-riding bikes and dropping off repairs. Most people now understand the importance, but sadly we do have to remind a few. We also decided to offer free repair labour for NHS and care workers. Some P&A we are posting to people or offering a local delivery.

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We had an ITV news crew turn up in our retail village running a doom and gloom piece on the very worrying situation for small businesses. The news crew were very surprised to hear that the bike industry was strong, but during the interview, I was conscious to point out that although we were having a good run of sales, the challenge was in keeping staff and customers safe while also educating customers about the importance of social distancing when riding – for the image of cycling. We also had the challenge of respecting our neighbours peering down from above. Looking back on March, it was a record month, very high in volume of sub-£1,000 bikes, huge P&A and a steady run of highend bikes. On the workshop side of the business, the challenge has been dealing with the phone enquiries from customers who have quite literally pulled the birds’ nests out of the spokes on their old shed bikes. One customer insisted: ‘I only need new tyres and a chain, it’s a Raleigh I bought 20 years ago second hand for £30’. Some bikes are just beyond economic repair but we always point them in the direction of the social enterprise bike projects or the one man band mobile/home mechanics. 

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IBD FOCUS

Arragon’s Cycle Centre

Sarah Graham, Arragon’s Cycle Centre We know a number of healthcare professionals, firemen and friends in the political arena so I must admit, being informed through these people, we’ve been quite frightened about everything. We’ve spent a lot of time worrying about what’s going to happen and thinking about the safety of our team, our friends and our family. One of my customers described me as ‘a glass overflowing’ type of person and that he’s never seen me any other way, but he noticed fear in my eyes when we talked about this current situation. I suppose that’s down to the fact we employ two members of staff who fall into the high-risk category and some of our family members are over 70, so despite being healthy and active, are deemed at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19. When Boris announced the lockdown, we were initially relieved and set about our plan to hibernate, keeping everyone safe until things were under control.

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We learned that our business sector was permitted to open and as such, became inundated with requests for repairs and sales because quite rightly, everyone wanted to be able to spend their daily permitted hour of fresh air on a bike. We hadn’t envisaged this demand; we thought bike shops would just be keeping key workers moving and not being particularly a commuter store, we didn’t expect to be in need. After spending a couple of days getting our heads into gear, we decided as a team that it was best to offer furlough to our staff, leaving Phil and myself working. On reflection, I am very thankful of the ACT and others who lobbied for this, as I think moving forward it gives our industry some strength and credibility that cycling is a justified form of transport so needs to be considered and supported in all infrastructure planning. It is also key to maintaining strong mental health as well as general health during times of crisis – cycling is an all round valuable commodity. In order to respect what is being asked of us by the NHS, we’ve taken strict precautions and are opening for pre-arranged slots

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IBD FOCUS

on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for limited hours, staggering our customers. I’m serving from the door – entry to the store is not permitted – and although it does feel very strange, especially when people are wanting to purchase bikes, it’s working well. We have gloves, Milton steriliser and hand wash everywhere! Despite our limited hours to customers, Phil and I are in the shop everyday repairing bikes, sorting jobs and trying to plan and prepare for our survival beyond COVID-19. We’ve been relieved by the business rate holiday, the Government protection of our team and a grant to our business. We really do hope this will be enough to ensure our survival beyond these times. We feel very lucky in our position as we’re still trading and have lots of new, unexpected customers as a result of still being able to exercise.

“We hadn’t envisaged this demand; we thought bike shops would just be keeping key workers moving” We’re welcoming these new customers and asking them to continue to support us beyond COVID-19, seeing it as an opportunity to reach those who perhaps wouldn’t have called on us previous to this. I am hopeful that due to our careful business measures, the support from the Government and the dedication of our team, we will come out of this situation strong, healthy and hopefully in time to pick up on our hire business, which we started in the summer of 2018 from the stunning grounds of Lowther Castle. We’ve been asking customers to send us their photos using the tag #TeamArragons, so it’s been great seeing so many people enjoying their bikes. Our social media is being filled as our staff have captured their exercise and shared it to our site. I’m updating our website and planning for the future in the periods when the shop is closed so there’s no distraction. All of this is out of our control, we just have to adapt and overcome as best we can and that is what we’re trying to focus on. One thing is for sure throughout all this – we’ve both had an epiphany that things are material and the health of us, our family and our friends is far more important than anything. It has also made us sit up and realise that we’ve been working far too many hours and living an overly fast-paced life. We need to sit back, evaluate, perhaps moving forward a slower, more balanced pace of life. We will be planning the future of our business to accommodate this when we get back to our new normal. n

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Adam Read, TartyBikes We are perhaps in a different situation to most, selling solely ‘weird bikes for doing stunts on’, and only operating online, but we are crazily busy and are genuinely struggling to meet demand right now! We sell a lot internationally and saw a huge uptake from overseas customers during the first part of March when the pound dropped, then the second half everyone seemed to dig old bikes out of their sheds to fix up, or buy new ones. That trend continued through April too – though we’re not sure how long it will last. Is it weather-related? Or because people are bored at home? Either way, I anticipate supply issues in the coming months as all of this unfolds, and I am unsure how reduced disposable income will affect all leisure markets in the long-term. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, that’s for sure. For the time being, we are finding that simply informing customers that we are still open is more than enough – the demand is there, just supplying it is proving hard work! n

“We are crazily busy and are genuinely struggling to meet demand right now”

Richard Balfe, Balfe’s Bikes We have been directing all our customers towards our inbox and as we are not allowing any browsing now (one customer at a time), we allocated one of our staff, who had to self-isolate, onto managing our inbox instead so we could keep him functioning as part of the team. We have also been working hard to add to our website the accessories that we feel people will need through this time, like helmets, inner tubes and turbo trainers. From early April, we started to send bikes and P&A out to customers as well through mail order, so that is a new avenue of business we are adapting to. We have seen a lot of workshop demand, so we’re trying hard to keep the calendar down and remain open for servicing, which we are now beginning to get on top of again. The whole effort from the staff has been extraordinary. n

“The whole effort from the staff has been extraordinary”

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IBD FOCUS

Sandra Corcoran, Pennine Cycles At Pennine Cycles, we were delighted that we could remain open as an essential business, although it is naturally not business as usual. As a team, we’ve worked on all different aspects of the business during this pandemic. Only Paul has been going into the shop and he has been following the Government guidelines in serving customers. We have a ‘no browsing policy’, hand sanitiser available to all and only one customer at a time. The door is kept locked. Appointments can be made. We’ve been encouraging contactless and BACS payments. The rest of the team have been working from their respective homes. We’ve also launched our online shop which, although we were planning on doing it at some point, we accelerated and have started with some essential bundles for cyclists. We will add more products as we can, and once we have a good system in place to handle more orders. It has been and continues to be a huge team effort – whether it’s in the bike shop or from a distance. We believe cycling is more important than ever, whether it’s for essential travel or for daily exercise to stay fit in both the mind and body. We are grateful we have been able to adjust to our customers. 

Paul Corcoran commuting to open Pennine Cycles

Mark Almond, Revo Bikes I’m afraid we had to mothball our shop in early March as it is based at a bike park, which made the timely and correct call of closing temporarily to the public. We have no local market as a destination rurally-based store, so all face-to-face contact has been stopped and the doors closed for the time being. We are still open for business online and through social media and have been busy sending out orders to loyal regulars, which in turn will help pay the bills until we reopen. It is an incredibly difficult time for small businesses in all sectors, but we all have to do what is right for the health of the nation. Closing when we did in our particular circumstances, i.e. not on a high street

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“We believe cycling is more important than ever, whether it’s for essential travel or for daily exercise to stay fit in both the mind and body”

with a local market, was the correct thing to do as the bike park and shop attract people to travel long distances from all over the country. Therefore, staying open in our case would have been a very unwise and socially irresponsible action in my opinion. Stay safe everyone! 

“We are still open for business online and through social media and have been busy sending out orders to loyal regulars”

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IBD FOCUS

Opening a bike shop during a pandemic

The Bike Side opened on 6th March

Former firefighter Tom Hunter recently opened a new shop – The Bike Side – in West Sussex. Rebecca Morley finds out more

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here are many people I expect to meet at trade shows. They present a great opportunity to spend time with those I usually only communicate with via email and phone, and I can walk around any given cycle industry show with a good idea of who I’ll be speaking to in the coming days.

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At this year’s COREbike, however, one person I didn’t anticipate meeting was Tom Hunter – an ex-firefighter I know from my time as a cadet in West Sussex. To say I was surprised when, seven years later, he strolled up to the BikeBiz stand at Whittlebury Hall, would be an understatement.

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IBD FOCUS

“I did ten years in the fire service,” Hunter later tells BikeBiz. “But my first Saturday job was in a bike shop in Kent where I grew up – and I’ve always had the passion.” Hunter says his life has juggled around entertainment and bikes, with a bit of fire service in between. At one stage, after he met his wife and moved down to Sussex, he was working full-time in a bike shop, as well as being an entertainer at kids’ parties and acting as a retained firefighter. “It was all getting a bit much,” he says, so he took on a full-time role in the fire service in the youth department, focusing on fire cadets, firebreak courses and fire prevention. “But when my son was 12 he picked up mountain biking and we ended up getting him a nice bike for his birthday,” Hunter continues. “Then we rekindled the relationship with the shop I used to work at – I was rebitten by the bug.”

“The whole industry welcomed me with open arms” Opening up shop Hunter now has his own store, The Bike Side, which opened on 6th March – just over two weeks before Boris Johnson announced the COVID-19 lockdown and told all non-essential businesses they must temporarily close. Thankfully for Hunter and the rest of the cycling industry, bike shops were declared essential. “We started in a little industrial unit,” Hunter explains. “The idea was that my Tomfoolery entertainment company could support us and I could do this during the week. Naturally, that died off as no one’s having a kids party now, but fortunately the bike industry is allowed to carry on.” And Hunter says it’s gone from strength to strength: “The business keeps rolling in – it’s a really positive start. There was an obvious panic that we’d opened at the beginning of a pandemic. Fortunately, we started the right sort of business.” In fact, Hunter says The Bike Side has been his “saving grace” due to the lack of income from his other job. But he isn’t resting on his laurels; a lot of money has been invested, after all. “We are getting support from the Government and we will be eligible for the grants that are available,” he continues. “What’s really positive is that I can still offer collections and deliveries. They can pay online, and I’m able to collect customer’s bikes without even seeing them.

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The shop has stools and a bench and, when lockdown restrictions allow, will be serving coffee “I’m doing lots of marketing on Facebook and Instagram in that regard – the fact we’re cleaning the bikes down with sanitising wipes before they go back to the customers. We’re protecting ourselves as much as possible and working through it, and so far it’s working well.” Welcome to the family Hunter says he’s been “really lucky” due to his preexisting links in the cycling industry dating far before the opening of his shop. “Rory Hitchens at Upgrade invited me to COREbike. I didn’t actually have a premises at that time, but Rory got my foot in the door. It’s been a really good family hug, the whole industry. Both the children’s entertainment and the fire service side have been great, too, so I’ve had really good support from many different angles. The people within the bike trade have been really keen to help out. Hunt Wheels is right next to me and Upgrade is around the corner as well.

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Bike shops have been allowed to stay open during the COVID-19 lockdown “Everyone I’ve spoken to has said I’m doing the right thing in going into an industrial unit. I’m not trying to compete with online; I’m not stocking too much. It’s that lifestyle workshop, we’ll have the coffee on when we’re allowed to. There are stools and a bench you can come and sit at. It’s a social place as well, rather than just a shop.

“There was an obvious panic that we’d opened at the beginning of a pandemic. Fortunately, we started the right sort of business”

The business has gone from strength to strength since opening, Hunter says Always look on The Bike Side of life Hunter says he plans for the business to grow organically, with no great plans for major expansion. “It’s growing faster than I ever thought it would,” he says. “I’m probably already a year ahead of where I thought I’d be. “I don’t know if that’s because of COVID-19 – there are definitely some customers I picked up because their local shop is shut, or they can’t get out and they like the fact that I can collect. In a way, it’s been helped a bit by this pandemic – I can’t honestly tell how much. “Once we get past it, I want to be going into community rides with everyone meeting up,” he concludes. “I have ideas of service seminars; people coming in and learning how to look after their bikes. I’ve got the space to do that.” 

Hunter was surprised by the lack of difficulties when first starting out: “I thought I was going to come up against some real snooty companies,” he says. “When I tried to set up a mobile mechanic – going back nearly 20 years – no one would give me a trade account because I was just working out of my garage. “Cut to now, the minute I had a premises and told them what I wanted to do, everyone was on board straight away. The whole industry welcomed me with open arms. It wants new people. I went up to COREbike and Madison’s iceBike* show and there were really good resources and really good feedback – it’s a great way to get in and learn the products and see what’s happening. I’ve been very impressed.”

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SECTOR GUIDE

Children’s Bikes 1

2

3

4

1

2

3

4

Frog Bikes

Nukeproof

Ridgeback

Squish

Road 67

Cub-Scout

Dimension

Squish 18 Hybrid

Distributor: Direct to IBDs

Distributor: Hotlines

Distributor: Sportline

Distributor: Tandem Group Cycles

Our kids and junior road bikes will help your child increase their distance, speed and confidence with a super lightweight frame, child-specific short-drop handlebars and auxiliary brake levers. Perfect for road racing, cyclocross and triathlon. As with any Frog Bike, they are made from high quality componentry which has been developed in partnership with the sports scientists of Brunel University.

The new Cub-Scout is not just another kids bike: taking inspiration from the awardwinning Scout adult hardtail range. No matter the wheel size, the Cub-Scout has been designed from the ground-up as a proper mini-hardtail bike. Whether it has 20in, 24in or 26in wheels, little people will enjoy shredding off road and learning the ropes of riding with a confidence inspiring ride that’s perfect for progression.

The Dimension series of youth bikes is super popular for good reason. Built around strong but lightweight alloy frames and ranging in size from between 14-26in wheels, there’s a bike for everyone, from learners looking for their first ‘proper’ bike right up to young teenagers waiting to graduate to an adult-sized bike for the very first time. Built to be fun, attractive and long-lasting, they will take whatever your kids throw at them.

Not every child is confident enough to jump straight from a 16in wheel bike to 20in. And feeling comfortable and confident is crucial for children to enjoy their time on two wheels. Enter our 18in Squish; not only is this sized perfectly to help make the transition through frame sizes as enjoyable as possible, but with a single speed transmission it’s also simple and easy to use. Ideal for children aged four and above. Weight just 6.96kg!

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SECTOR GUIDE

5

6

7

8

5

6

7

8

Cannondale

Kiddimoto

Mondraker

Cube

Cujo 20

Suzuki Balance bike

Leader 20” Bike 2020

Acid 200

Distributor: Cycling Sports Group UK

Distributor: Kiddimoto

Distributor: Silverfish UK

Distributor: Oneway Bike Industry BV

The Cujo is built for kids – with one of the lightest alloy frames in this sector, built with tough kid-specific high-quality parts throughout, plus its large volume tyres give maximum traction anywhere; the Cujo 20 is a total blast to ride. Kids love these bikes. Shown here is the Cujo 20in, but 24in and 26in versions are also available, and the price is from £350 RRP.

Kiddimoto is famous for its amazing range of balance bikes, helmets, gloves, bells and more. Now it brings a stunning Suzuki version of its gear. Topping the line up are two Suzuki balance bikes. The premium offering is the stylistic Superbike version, the original Kiddimoto wooden bike. The more affordable version is the award winning metal Kiddimoto balance bike. Both will be available directly from Kiddimoto in the summer.

Mondraker’s childrens bikes offer the perfect entry into the world of real mountain biking. All bikes share the DNA, attention to detail and trickle-down technology from the world’s most innovative MTB company. Brand new for 2020, the Leader 24in features a Custolite Alloy frame complete with Shimano 8-speed drivetrain and a Mondraker kids component kit which includes: stem, handlebar and saddle.

The Cube Acid 200 is every inch a junior version of its adult counterpart, from the carefully constructed frame to the 7-speed transmission and powerful, easily controllable brakes. Details like the brake levers and alloy cranks are designed for small bodies, so they fit perfectly and work easily. There’s even a power modulator on the front brake, so over-enthusiastic stopping is less likely to result in tears.

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SECTOR GUIDE

9

10

11

12

10

11

12

GT Bicycles

Bombtrack

Scott Sports

Squish 650 MTB

Stomper Ace

Beyond Junior

Scale 26 Disc

Distributor: Tandem Group Cycles

Distributor: Cycle Sports Group UK

Distributor: Lyon Equipment

Distributor: Scott Sports

With slightly more grown-up graphics, Squish also offers three sizes of MTB – most recently this 650B model. Built around their tried and tested triple butted alloy frame, this 650 MTB features lightweight and easily tuneable SR Suntour Air forks which are perfect for the lighter/ smaller rider, Shimano 9spd drivetrain, robust double wall rims and has a complete weight of just 13kg.

All GT kids bikes are built with Legit-Fit geometry and sizing throughout, ensuring the right fit from the outset. Built with lightweight aluminium frames, quality parts from Shimano, Kenda and Tektro throughout, these bikes are made to ride and built to last. Pictured here is the Stomper Ace 26in at ÂŁ369 RRP, the Stomper also comes in 24in and 20in sizes.

Perfect for getting little ones out on big adventures. Every element of the original Beyond has been scaled down around a 24in wheel. The controls even feature a reduced spring tension and shorter reach for smaller hands. The 6061 aluminium frame and fork keep the bike light and nimble and feature multiple mounting points, to fit all the bags and cages you need, no matter how far you want to explore.

The Scott Scale 26 Disc shares many features with its full sized cousins. The bike comes with a full Shimano drive train, perfect for ensuring the correct gear is always available. Up front a Suntour 100 mm travel fork optimised for the smaller person. The frame is an alloy lightweight design with performance geometry. Full hydraulic disc brakes provide superb and safe stopping in all conditions.

9 Squish

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SECTOR GUIDE

13

14

15

16

13

14

15

16

Little Rider

Cube

Continental

SDG

Send It Jersey Series

Cubie 120

Double Fighter III

Junior Pro Kit

Distributor: Little Rider

Distributor: Oneway Bike Industry BV

Distributor: Madison, Raleigh, Bob Elliot, i-ride

Distributor: Silverfish UK

The Little Rider ‘Send It’ Jersey gives your little riders the confidence to feel like a pro. High quality and comfortable, it allows your little riders to look cool and feel fast while they are out on their two wheels. Lightweight, breathable and long-sleeved.

Balance is key to learning to ride, but once there, the urge to pedal and move faster won’t be far behind. The Cubie 120 is made for kids who can’t wait to power themselves. A coaster brake at the rear and light, smooth rim brake at the front make it safe and easy to slow down and stop. The Cube Cubie 120 features a built-in rear mudguard and a Hebie Chainlooper. The saddle features a handle for easy carry.

The perfect upgrade tyre for adapting kids bikes for use predominantly on the paths and roads. The lugged shoulders offer ample grip in parks and forest paths, and the file centre tread rolls well on smoother surfaces. Available from 16in up to 29in with standard or reflective sidewall options. The use of gumwall sidewall means that the tyre will be more resistant to urban detritus and the service life of the tyre will also be improved.

The first all-in-one premium youth components upgrade kit is here – skilfully engineered and manufactured for the little shredder in the family! This Junior set includes Slater JR grips, handlebar and pedals as well as Fly JR saddle and Shim kit. Perfect to take kid’s adventures to the next level. Available in black, cyan blue, neon green and neon pink. Presented in an attractive gift box.

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TRAILBLAZER As trail riding and bikes evolve, so should the performance of your helmet. The Trailblazer is the latest evolution of our pioneering multi-piece variable elasticity shell technology, leading the way in protection performance. Now you can blaze trails thought to be unrideable. UK Distribution by: Jungle Products Ltd. Mail: info@jungleproducts.co.uk Web: jungleproducts.co.uk


SECTOR GUIDE

Cycle computers

1

3

2

1

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2

3

Cateye

Lezyne

Wahoo

Quick

Macro Plus GPS

Elemnt Roam

Distributor: ZyroFisher

Distributor: Upgrade Bikes

Distributor: Wahoo

The latest addition to the Cateye computer range has now landed. Easy to read, the sleekly designed cyclocomputer gives you the edge on your daily commute and beyond. Wireless, weatherproof and easy to read, the Quick comes with integrated out-front bracket measures and is simple and easy to set up and use. Good Design Award 2018 and iF Design Award 2019 winner.

This is the perfect device for casual to serious cyclists that just need the main essentials of a very competitively price cycling computer. New features include full navigation that is now compatible with Komoot and Relive, optional horizontal screen orientation and enhanced styling. There is a higher resolution screen and it connects to Lezyne Smart Connect LED lights and can pair with external Bluetooth sensor.

The Elemnt Roam is the first Wahoo bike computer to include a colour screen. When combined with the crystal-clear 2.7in Gorilla Glass display, it makes seeing your routes and data easier, so you can go back to focusing on your ride. It also includes an ambient light sensor, and with a longer battery life, you can explore for up to 17 hours before you need to recharge.

www.bikebiz.com

22/05/2020 11:32


SECTOR GUIDE

5

4

7

6

4

5

6

7

Topeak

Garmin

Wahoo

Stages

PanoComp X

Edge 830

Elemnt Bolt

Dash M50

Distributor: Extra UK

Distributor: Madison

Distributor: Wahoo

Distributor: Saddleback

Track and gather data from any ride. A 2.2in customisable screen allows you to see your most important metrics easily at a glance. Combined with the Topeak PanoBike+ app, this computer will track your ride and record data, which can then be uploaded to community platforms such as Strava. Available either as a standalone unit, or with a speed and cadence sensor.

The Edge 830 packs more features than ever into one of Garmin’s most power offerings yet. Dynamic Performance Monitoring provides insights on your VO2 max, recovery, training load focus, heat and altitude acclimation, nutrition, hydration and more, while the new bike alarm, group messaging and tracking, indecent detection and compatibility with the Varia rear-view radar means it has more safety features too.

Elemnt Bolt is the first, fully aerodynamic GPS bike computer. Its patent pending design creates an integrated system of computer and mount which results in a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) tested, highly aerodynamic system built to be on the front of your bicycle. Equipped with Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ dual-band technology, it pairs seamlessly with all of your cycling sensors.

– New Stages Ever Brite high-resolution colour screen with low power consumption. – Advanced course mapping, navigation and workout features with GXP, FIT and TCX files. – The only cycling computer with cycling-specific maps with colour-coded bike routes, trails, and points of interest like cafes, pubs and closest public toilets. – Setup and customise screens and data fields via the smartphone app.

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SECTOR GUIDE

Indoor trainers and power meters 1

2

3

4

4

2

3

LifeLine

Saris

Tacx

Topeak

Xplova Noza S Smart Trainer

MP1 Infinity Motion Platform

Neo 2T

RideCase

Distributor: Hotlines

Distributor: Raleigh Bike Parts

Distributor: ZyroFisher (Garmin from 01/08)

Distributor: Extra UK

The latest addition to the LifeLine home training range, the Xplova NOZA S Smart Trainer offers exceptional performance and value for money. With backing and input from tech giant Acer, it operates across both ANT+ and Bluetooth data protocols and pairs easily with the most popular online training programmes including Zwift and TrainerRoad. Test riders have been used in the development to make sure it meets and exceeds the needs for your next home workout.

The new Saris MP1 has been specially designed to enhance the virtual training experience, featuring Nfinity Technology that revolutionises traditional indoor training by bringing the movement of the bike indoors. The platform has a maximum fore-aft travel of 9.5in and a side-to-side angle of up to six degrees, which offers an improved experience by requiring the rider to balance as they would on the bike and exercise more muscle groups than traditional training, improving comfort and engagement.

The iconic, progressive and popular NEO 2 Smart is optimised into an even quieter and more powerful Smart direct drive. The motor is redesigned in order to provide a better indoor cycling experience and ride feel, especially during climbs and sprints. The NEO 2T Smart is more silent than ever thought possible and without question the most powerful, realistic and accurate bike trainer to date.

The RideCase for iPhone has a scratch resistant, dual density, non-slip, polymer/rubber exoskeleton for shock and impact protection that securely holds your phone while on the go. Its unique and full angle adjustable mount allows viewing in landscape or portrait orientation and lets you mount or remove the RideCase in seconds. The ridecase mount allows you to use your phone’s accelerometers to enable the latest steering functionality in Zwift or monitor/record your virtual workout on your phone.

1

60 | May/June 2020 

www.bikebiz.com


SECTOR GUIDE

6

5

7

8

5

6

7

8

Elite

Rotor

Look/SRM

SRAM Quarq

Suito

INspider

Exakt Power Meter

Distributor: Madison

Distributor: Velotech

Distributor: ZyroFisher

Power Meter Spider Red/ Force Axs

With power calculation to 2.5%, a maxiumum output of 2,900 watts at 60kph and incline replication of up to 15%, the Elite Suito packs an awful lot of technology into a competitivelypriced package. That’s not even mentioning the fact that it comes as standard with a Shimano 11-speed cassette attached. It also packs down into a ‘suitcase-sized’ slim package, making it very easy to store under a bed or similar.

To complete the family of Inpower cranks Rotor has developed a very lightweight spider integrated power meter, with a smart design that is compatible with Q RINGS oval or round rings and all Rotor modular cranks, both 1x and 2x, Road and MTB systems. INspider is a reliable and intelligent spider based power meter that is easy to use and install for accurate measurement of watts without complications.

The result of a close collaboration between two leaders: Look and SRM. SRM developed the first power meter in 1986, then expanded this technology by equipping the greatest champions and cyclists in search of true training precision. Look invented, in 1984, the first automatic pedal, revolutionising the world of cycling. Look pedals are a model of innovation and performance.

www.bikebiz.com 

Distributor: Raleigh Bike Parts Fully integrated into the chainring set to reduce weight, this power meter’s readings are accurate within +/-1.5% and aren’t affected by climate conditions during a ride. X-Range gearing technology gives you more range and a smoother gear progression, so you’re always in the right gear. Power balance measures left and right legs separately for more detailed riding insights and front shifting performance is improved for crisp and accurate shifts.

May/June 2020 | 61


SECTOR GUIDE

9

10

11

12

10

11

12

Easton

Stages

Minoura

Saris

Cinch Power Meter

Smart Bike

FG542 Hybrid Roller

H3 Silent Smart Trainer

Distributor: Silverfish UK

Distributor: Saddleback

Distributor: ZyroFisher

Distributor: Raleigh Bike Parts

The Cinch Power Meter utilises spindle-based power paired with highly adaptable EC90 SL Crankset giving the flexibility to evolve your setup. No need to buy a new power meter, just move the spindle. With an easily-accessible 400+ hour rechargeable battery, it only adds 65g to the EC90 SL’s lightweight crankset, providing cadence readings and pedal efficiency in a clean and protected spindle. Plus, with the Cinch App, you can check battery levels, install updates and calibrate on the fly.

Simulated riding with real bike feel and options to swap to your preferred saddle and handlebar to make it your own. Electronic shifting, braking, and steering that is programmable to handle any future app developments with shift and sprint buttons integrated into the hoods. – Four-position cranks 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm – Stages Gen 3Dual-Side Power Meter – Zwift and third-party compatible

Minoura has been creating high quality rollers for the global market for decades, so it knows a thing or two about what it takes to improve your strength and make you a better cyclist. Minoura’s range of Hybrid Roller continues that message with two models, the simple and easy to use FG220 and the FG542 with an adjustable front end and huge range of resistance. In stock and ready for the indoor trainer season.

Reliable. Durable. Quieter than ever before. The H3 is Saris’ popular direct drive smart trainer with an impressive power measurement accuracy of +/- 2%. The trainer measures power, speed and cadence without the need for external sensors and features a precision-balanced flywheel built to handle 2000 watts and replicate a 20% climbing grade. Tested to withstand heavy training, the H3’s internal cooling system will keep the electromagnetic resistance system working – and accurate – long after your legs have given out.

9

62 | May/June 2020 

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PRIME 2.0

• Italian Handmade • Multi-section Carbon rail and base • RLS interchangeable Cover System • Weight: 170g.

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LATUS M / CL

SPYD 2.0

• Italian Handmade

• Italian Handmade

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• Multi-section Carbon rail and base

ƍ7LSVXIV[MHIVTVSƼPIJSVEHHIHGSQJSVX

• RLS interchangeable Cover System

ƍ(IWMKRIHJSV1IRERH;SQIR

• Weight: 180g.

SRP £129 UPGRADEBIKES.CO.UK / 01403 711 611

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• Weight 140g.

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Pro Shop 44% Margin

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COVID-19 LATEST

“Bold action” required The BA has put forward a package of measures to senior political figures and officials

T

he BA is urging the Government to act swiftly to ensure that as many commuters as possible recognise cycling as the best, safest alternative when they are once again able to travel to work. The key element of this package must be Government funding and guidance for pop-up bike lanes and other lowcost ‘instant’ infrastructure changes to create safe, protected and extensive networks for people who are doing their bit to keep cities moving by using their bikes to get to work and for other essential journeys. Many will be first-time users of bikes for transport, and a safe, comprehensive network of cycleways is essential if they are to continue to get around by bike – freeing up road space for emergency services and other essential motor traffic. The BA has presented the Government with a package of measures which could be swiftly implemented. The key elements of the BA’s proposal are: • That the Government provide funding, guidance and leadership to local authorities so that they can make rapid, wide-scale changes to their local roads to enable people to cycle safely from home to work and to other destinations such as high street shops. This should include extensive networks of ‘pop-up’ bike lanes and the reallocation of road lanes to create space for cycling. The BA urges that a network approach be used in planning these interventions so that whole journeys can be completed safely by bike. • Provide and promote a zero VAT ‘holiday’ for all bikes, e-bikes and cycle repairs. This will send an immediate message to consumers that the Government is using all levers available to promote using bikes as we emerge from lockdown. • Although around 68% of daily trips are under five miles – and thereby usually practical by conventional bike – many more (around 83%) are under ten miles and, for these, e-bikes are perfect. An e-bike may also be helpful for a shorter, hilly journey, or simply to make the ride easier. But e-bike prices are still an obstacle for many people, so the BA proposes a short-term £250 per bike purchase grant to help overcome this. Similar schemes have been very successful internationally.

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• As more bikes are being taken out of garden sheds and put to work to keep the country moving, people may find repair bills significant. The BA urges rapid implementation of a £50 per customer voucher scheme for repairs, similar to the scheme recently introduced in France. Ensuring that cycle servicing is as affordable as possible will help keep those new riders safe. • Extending the Cycle to Work scheme, through which employees can affordably buy bikes through salary sacrifice, to the self-employed and other groups. • To boost safety, the Government should fund the provision of adult ‘refresher’ cycle training across the country – both to promote good riding and boost the confidence of people who may not be used to riding in cities. • There have been many recent reports of cycle thefts from outside hospitals, depriving NHS workers of their transport home after long shifts on the front line. To address this, and to prevent the same situation for other employees who are helping to ease gridlock concerns by cycling to work, funding and planning easements should be put in place immediately to assist employers to provide secure cycle parking for their workers. “Bold actions which would have been almost unthinkable before this pandemic are now a logical necessity,” says Steve Garidis, BA executive director. “I just can’t see any realistic alternative to putting in place effective measures to enable mass cycling, if we want to keep cities moving while public transport remains restricted. The time to act is now, ahead of traffic levels rising as lockdown eases.”

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