Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Our industry Laid Bare

As part of our aim to set up a new Cycling website we carried out some research into the state of the cycling industry along with the trends

We found the following interesting bits:

UK Market Description:

  • The retail sector is now worth an estimated £2.6billion
  • There are currently over 2000 cycle stores in the UK (Evans being the largest independent store)
  • 3.7 million Bikes were sold in 2010.  Cycle retail sales were valued at £1.6billion.  There has been 28% increase in the volume of cycle sales in 2012
  • Cycle accessory sales were around £853 million
  • 23,000 people are employed directly in the sector
  • £500m in wages are over £100m in tax are generated annually from the 23,000 employed in the industry
  • The number of events increased by 15% in 2010 with figures hitting upwards of 5000 participants
  • It is believed there are 13 million active cyclists in the UK (27% of the population). Regular Cyclists account for £5.4 million of these
  • 40% of households own a bike
  • The number of latent cyclists (potential’s) was seen as 2,25million – economic value of £700million
  • Market potential £141 million over the next 2 years
  • Cycling in London has increased 52% since 2007 and the introduction of a cohesive transport policy
  • Currently only 2% of journeys are taken by bicycle.  In many Northern European countries this is over 25% and in the Netherlands it is 50%
  • In the early 1950’s cycling accounted for 15 Billion miles, in 2010 this was only 3 billion but growing annually.  15% more miles were covered in 2010 versus 2007. 208million Journeys were taken by bike in 2010
  • Net addition of 1.3m new cyclists in 2010 of whom 500,000 are
  • Men make up 70% of all cycle journeys in the UK
  • There is a prediction of a 20% increase in current cycling levels by 2015
  • The greatest users are aged 40-49, with 30-39 being the second highest
  • Men  completed 3 times as many miles as women
  • 54,000 more women took up cycling in the first 6 months of 2012
  • 2/5ths of all journeys were for commuting purposes
  • The average distance travelled per person has increase 6% since 1998
  • The LSE study found 3 key potential markets:
  • Women between 35-44
  • The busy dad
  • The young active lifestyler
  • The recession and the squeeze on household incomes and expenditure.  The average grocery shop has gone up 15% since 2008
  • Fuel prices continue to increase. They have gone up by a staggering £0.29 per litre since 2008 and 52% in the past 5 years.  The estimate to be at a rate of £1.45 per litre by 2014
  • A Mori poll commissioned for integrated transports carried out in 2000 amidst the backdrop of the fuel crisis found 80% of the public wanted improvements for cycling provision
  • Focus in the press and mind set as regards healthy living and lifestyle.  Health and fitness sectors continue to grow despite the recession with health club number up 2% from 2010. 
  • Team GB and Team Sky Success – what is known as the Chris Hoy affect after the Beijing Olympics (Bradley Wiggins success in the Tour de France and the huge success of not only the cycling team but the whole Team GB and Paralympics  teams in London will compound the impact)
  • Success of events such as the SKY Rides and Evans sportive. Sky estimated and additional 400,000 cyclists tried the sport off the back of their events alone
  • Increase in car free zones especially in major city areas.
  • Lower speed limits with safety groups now calling for a 20mp limit in built up area’s
  • Higher emissions taxes on vehicles
  • Tax incentives to take up cycling (cycling to work schemes). 
  • By 2011 400,000 employees had taken advantage of the scheme and is the UK’s second most popular salary sacrifice scheme. Some statistics of the scheme
  • 133,442 tonnes of CO2 are saved annual by the scheme
  • 84% of those taking part showed an increase in fitness
  • 61% of those cycling did not cycle before taking part
  • 76% said they would not have bought a bike without the scheme
  • 70% of users classified themselves as novices
  • 73% are men
  • 64% had reduced their car travel by 50miles a week
  • 98% say they would encourage others to take part
  • 901,000 miles were ridden by cycle to work scheme users.  An average of 29 miles/week
  • Bike rental schemes such as the Barclays London scheme.  The success of London is helping the set up of many other such initiatives around the country

  • Improved safety and accessibility with there now being over 12,000 miles of cycle specific networks.

  • Increase in women taking part in cycling.  Women’s only races (cycletta’s) becoming more popular.  In Europe women lead the way in participation with 55% of al trips being undertaken by women.
  • The cost of treating obesity to the UK business and NHS being in the region of £4billion per year and is forecast to double by 2050, giving rise to healthy lifestyle debates and initiatives.
  • The huge cost savings available to businesses as a result of reduced absenteeism could equate to as much as £1.6 billion to the British economy over the next 10 years
  • Emissions reduction targets will increase the focus.  This could save the economy £71 million in lower pollution levels
  • A public desire to see a change in transport policy and willingness since the mid 1990s for government to listen and invest.  Most recently a fund of £560 million has been put aside by the government for investment in transport systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Many local authorities are looking at cycling as a way of achieving their goals.
  • Specific schemes the government set out in their coalition white paper were
  • Cycling demonstration towns, Bikeability, the links to school programme, Bike Club, Bike it and walk it to school and the cycle journey planner.
  • The government announce d in February 2012 £8million for Sutrans to develop cycle routes and £7 million to the cycle rail working group to improve cycle/train integration
  • Tax incentives for business miles up to 20p a mile is also now in place
  • Bikeability training is helping to encourage higher proficiency and thus safer riding and the bike hub scheme continues to encourage the development of clubs.
  • The return on investment for cycling schemes has been calculated at 20:1 versus other transport models of 3:1
  • The London Cycle Hire scheme and the pledge by successive London mayors to make London Cycle friendly
  • European wide schemes have shown to be tremendously successful giving confidence that investment will lead to greater participation in the UK.  In Holland the rates have increased to almost ¼ of all journeys now being completed by bike
  • Scenes watching the recent Tour of Britain where thousands have turned up each day to watch the race show the vast increase in the sports popularity.  Scenes mirrored those seen in the Tour de France.

Trends in the current market:

Frequent or Regular Cyclists
What will further increase the trend towards cycling?

LSE – The British Cycling Economy, Mintel, Sport England
Internet articles including those from the BBC, Guardian, Director.co.uk. The Times, Sustrans, British Cycling, The fredcast, (European cyclist federation)
Sport England
Road cycling: statistics, house of commons library
Cycling policy in the UKUniversity of East Anglia
Cycle to Work Alliance – behavioural impact analysis

New Website - Cycletribe.co.uk


We are looking to create a new website for commuter cyclists.  It is partly the reason for the lack of recent action on this blog.  However we are now at the point where you come in

As we would like the content to be based around you the reader we are asking for your thoughts and feedback as to what you would like to see

As we don't want to guide anyone creative spirits we would like your feedback without our interference

If you have any suggestions please either click on the comments link below or feel free to e-mail them direct to me at ryan.charlesworth76@gmail.com

The website will try and bring together the best bits of cycling in a fun and funky way.  However what information we decide to include is down to you

We are also looking for future contributors and investors so if you are interested in getting involved let us know.  It’s an exciting project with some great ideas.  Why would you no want to be part of an exciting new project??

Thanks and get in touch



Saturday, 25 August 2012

Lance Armstrong Admits defeat

Whilst Lance Armstrong has not admitted anything wrong.  His failure to fight the allegations against him has condemned him to history as a drugs cheat.  The UCI is yet to confirm whether they will follow suit with the ban imposed on him in the US as well as them stripping him of his 7 Tour de France Tour victories.

This has been a long running campaign to catch Armstrong and it finally seems to have caught its man.  What I cannot help feeling is what good it will now do?  An interesting point was made on Channel 4 news, that out of 7 years he won the Tour de France only 8 other riders appeared on the podium with Armstrong and of those only one has not be subsequently caught up in a doping scandal.

The question needs to be asked, rightly or wrongly is.  If the sport was never clean is it wrong to condemn history.  Yes we need a clean sport now, but that was then, Team Sky have proven that hard work, planning an team work can win out so going forward we are in good shape.  Do we really need to drag it all up and ruin the reputation of a sport in full flight? 

You also get a sense of witch hunt?  When most riders seem to have been taking drugs at the time why has Lance been singled out in such a way?  The answer is it makes news! High profile enough to make the Anti drugs campaign feel important.

I have never been a lover of Lance Armstrong as regards to the way he went about his business of riding.  He has however, despite the incredible pressures on him managed to amass a huge charity now worth over $450million.  Now in risk of losing substantial support unless his name drops to the background for a while.

The UCI may yet decide that the USADA has no right to strip Armstrong of any titles so the story may yet rumble on and what seems to be a calculated risk by Armstrong may well pay off.  It will however end his recent attempts to take over the Iron man world.  But hey maybe that’s a small price to pay for him to have the matter put to bed? For now anyway.

Can we now get back to the real cycling? Drugs will never really disappear in cycling especially as the potential rewards are likely to become even greater. 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bradley Wiggins - What will the winning impact be

Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky may still be celebrating his ground breaking victory in the Tour de France but once this and the Olympic victories that are to come are over what will be the impact of this historic year for Britain.

We need to put into context what Wiggo has achieved.  The Tour is the single biggest annual sporting event in the world.  Only the football World cup and the Olympics beat it for spectator numbers and they take place every 4 years.  A British cyclist has never won; in fact a British cyclist has never been on the podium!  What is even more important is that we had 2 Brits in the winner’s enclosure and all done drug free.  The only drugs Team Sky seems to be on are enthusiasm, grit and the Brailsford effect.

This victory has been coming for some time but no-one in this country had believed it would happen.  We have had over the years many track cycling successes but never the sustained success we have had since the National Lottery and then Sky put their money behind the sport.  Add the money to the intensity, the planning and the sheer brilliance of Brailsford and his coaching team and you have the formidable cycling outfits you see today.  Not only in the professional sporting arena but on the track as well.  You look forward to the next 3 weeks at the Olympics and you cannot see a single cycling event that we don't have a chance of medalling in.  From Cav and Wiggo on the road to Kenny, Pendleton & Hoy (the list is too long to name them all) on the track. 

The impact of the success will be far reaching and we need to take advantage while the excitement is where it is.  Last year it was reported that cycling number grew by 7%. With success like this there is no reason why it will not grow by double figures. I myself only took the sport up 2 years ago and since then have seen the number commuting to work explode.

As a country we need to embrace the sport.  Football for years has hogged the limelight and why? Cycling offers so much more.  It provides discipline through the required training, it improves fitness and lifestyle, provides and intense spirit of competition and achievement.  Not only this and as the Tour in 2012 has proven it is a spectacle full of intrigue, passion and skill.  The fact ITV showed the last 2 days on ITV shows the desire for it to be on TV.  Sponsorship and advertisers want to be a part of cycling.  If Team sky have done anything this year they have proven that drugs are not a pre-requisite for success and maybe now other teams will follow and start to clean up professional cycling.

At this point I believe it is only right and proper to praise the Sponsors, Sky.  Without whom none of this success would be possible.  Yes the British track team receive huge funding and quite rightly from UK sport and thus the National lottery.  Sky however has backed not only the track team but also the professional road team.  Whilst they are not the most heavily funded team on the tour, from recent reports this would be the BMC team and Cadel Evans et al, they are now the most feared. Sky have allowed David Brailsford almost free reign on the spending and what Brailsford has done best is to assemble not only a brilliant riding outfit but also the best back up team in the sport.  "MARGINAL GAINS" is Brailsford's buzz phrase.  By taking small steps in every area give big gains overall. They are the only team to have individual coaches for every rider; they have technical advisors not only from their bike supplier but from experts such as Chris Boardman who in the 90's took cycling to a new level with his bike design innovations (as well as his world record breaking skills).

There are few rare occasions in a generation when your fellow countrymen achieve something spectacular.  The Football world cup in 1966, the Rugby world cup in 2003 and now Bradley Wiggins Tour de France.  It is that big and mainly because this was not one man's victory, it is team victory and a cultural changing success.  Cycling can only get bigger off the back of this, My 7 year son will not be the only youngster who is buzzing off the back of it and who cannot wait for the "Manx Missile" and "Wiggo" to win again.  He has already asked for a road bike for Christmas in exchange for his mountain bike and who am I to get in the way.

This is defiantly no isolated victory for team Sky and British cycling.  Next stop Olympic gold’s, followed by Spain and then who knows where.  If you don't already commute to work by bike, get out there and start.  If you already ride but don't compete then get out there and have a go.  The number of Sportiv's available has doubled in 5 years; the number of "friendly" riding events has increased with many national cycling events taking place.  To start look at the Sky rides http://www.goskyride.com/, these are by no means the only ones.  If you have really caught the buzz why not pop down to your local track.

Well done Wiggins and Co, the Country solutes you.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Buying a New bike

My company offers the cycle to work scheme so I am very lucky that I can chose a new bike every year and take advantage of the great tax savings that come with it.  So this year was no different.  I received my voucher and went along to my local Halfords.  This year due to previous experiences I chose a new branch to see whether the service would be any better.

I picked up my bike last week and have nothing but issues with it.  I must add, Halfords staff was excellent as regards customer service, their bike building skills are almost nonexistent however.  That's my moan over, but the experience did get me thinking about the quality of service delivery within the cycle industry and my experience over the past few years.

As a manager in the hotel hospitality industry I spend much of my time working on service improvements.  We look at ways of improving the product as well as the staff training to deliver that product effectively.  We have to create our product as our service is our product.  From an outsider the cycle industry seems to see it differently.  I will point out at this point that I have not visited every cycle shop and that my experiences vary significantly.

However, what seems to be very much an overriding feeling is that cycling expects the products to sell and that the technology and the standards in equipment to dazzle their clients.  Customer service seems to be distinctly lacking or not geared the large majority of those shopping.

Many independent shops whose owners are very passionate cyclists tend to expect the clients entering their shops to be of the same ilk with the same understanding of bikes and equipment.  Often simply walking into these shops can give a very real intimidating feeling.  Not really a conducive environment to buy.  In the large chains you often have the opposite where young ill trained staff provide no or poor advice.  My first bike was bought with an answer to the question of what size bike should I buy being "whatever one you feel most comfortable on".  The fact I had already told him I had no idea how to choose the bike did not stop this ridiculous response?

There are some fantastic independent as well as chains of shops.  Evans for instance has always given me reason to return, despite their relatively high costs their service levels and customer focus is excellent.

I do feel though as an industry cycling needs to look at the way its sells bikes and equipment.  Not everyone is a techi and people need to be encouraged to enter cycle shops.  Independent shops want to steal clients from the bigger stores. To do so they need to attract the average Joe, the families and the commuter.  To do that they need to make the experience softer and the service stronger.  They have the product, they have the expertise, add the customer service skills from industries like hospitality and restaurants and not only will more people be attracted to the sport but the industry will increase sales.

Cycling is a technical sport and this leads many shops scare and intimidate.  It’s not done on purpose but shop owners need to take this on board.  Those that do will find their profits increase and their reputations get a much wider scope.