Andre Birleanu is no bimbo. He speaks five languages, his parents were top-flight lawyers and diplomats and, before his break into the world of modelling, he was studying criminal law as well as forensic psychology.
He rode his bike to the John Jay Criminal Justice Academy in New York City. No doubt cycling is how he developed his amazing six-pack (hmm, well maybe not). On one fateful day he was outside school fixing his bike when Calvin French, then artistic director of Boss Models NY, walked past and spotted Birleanu’s potential, as brawns not brains.
The biking super-model is becoming a famous face in America and Brits get a chance to see him starting Sunday 20th Jan, 9pm, on MTV ONE. He’s one of the brainiest contestants on America’s Most Smartest Model, a competitive reality TV series.
MTV puts beautiful models to the test! Throwing them into a house to carry out experiments and IQ tests to decide who will win the dubious title of ‘America’s Most Smartest Model.’ If cruel tests on gorgeous models offend you, then don’t watch it.
If you’re a subscriber to the Quickrelease.tv video podcasts you won’t have had any fresh vids since November. Sorry about that, I’ve been busy on a whole load of other projects.
To make up for it, I’ve today posted two videos. They were both done on lo-res video cameras but look really good on an iPod screen. The first video is a better quality version of the Nicole-Cooke-at-the-Team-Halfords-Bikehut launch which I published to YouTube yesterday. Watch until the end for the arrival of bike cops, preventing BBC TV news reporter James Munroe from filming in the Royal Parks.
The other video is a sub-30 second short called SMIDSY (sorry, mate, I didn’t see you). I published a lower quality version of this to YouTube a few days ago. For the iPod version (ie not available on the Quickrelease.tv YouTube channel) I’ve now added a little bit of extra footage of the LED-clad cyclist and also changed the music. It’s now set to Tchaikovsky’s Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite.
There’s also an audio-only podcast from the press conference, available as an MP3 here or via iTunes. Audio features interviews with Chris Boardman (talking about new elite, time trial frame etc) and Paul McClenaghan on Halfords, plus the press conference speeches of Nicole Cooke and Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling.
Could you clad a boiler with reclaimed fleece, while boosting a youth club’s roof-top wind-turbine with a bit of your own pedal power? If so, apply for some of the £1m being put up by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
The organisation has today opened entries for its Big Green Challenge. Businesses need not apply, unless you’re a not-for-profit scheme.
“Our latest survey shows that eight of ten people think they’ve had an idea that would have a positive impact on people’s lives, but few people follow up on their idea beyond that initial moment of inspired thinking.
“The Big Green Challenge is all about unleashing new ideas for reducing carbon emissions in communities. If you’ve already got an idea at the back of your mind, sharing it with other people in your group or community could be the first step to making it a reality.
“The Big Green Challenge from NESTA is an active competition. It’s not just about ideas, although good ideas will obviously help. It’s about putting ideas into practice. The Challenge will take place over two years – from October 2007 to October 2009 - and will require you to engage and involve your community.”
The deadline for entries is 29th February. OK, I admit it, I altered the logo a little. The bikes should be on top, not falling off the bottom.
Controversy-seeking columnist writes wind-up article aimed at social tribe known to kick out when prodded. Columnist sits back, pleased, as furore erupts. Readers of column multiply as URL spreads virally. Watchdog slaps columnist on wrist. Columnist, now more ‘popular’, gets fatter freelance fee from newspaper client.
“The Commission is considering whether there are any prima facie issues under the terms of the Code of Practice it enforces. It will be aware of the apology, but will consider all aspects of the complaints that are relevant,” Mr Abell told Quickrelease.tv, adding that a view will be published next week.
Did Parris breach the PCC’s code of practice? If he did, the breach would be clause 4i:
Harassment i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.
Read the rest of "Matthew Parris: soon the most complained about writer ever?"...
Last Friday he sentenced Harry Mataka to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing a brand new bicycle.
In passing judgment, First Grade Magistrate Soka Banda said he had given Mataka a custodial sentence because the bicycle was not recovered and that the convict, apart from robbing the woman, wanted to rape her as well. Malawi Daily Times
Would-be London mayor Boris Johnson would no doubt welcome long jail terms for British bike thieves, although he’d go futher…Those that are caught should have their hands cut off, believes the bicycling MP. In March, he was received warmly at a meeting of Islington Cyclists’ Action Group when he said:
“I think these people deserve punishment and I’m calling for Sharia law for bicycle thieves.
“If I had my way I would plant decoys in a whole lot of bicycles across the borough and in the evening I would send Navy Seals in through the thieves’ windows and show them what it’s all about.”
The Quickrelease.tv calendar isn’t a static list of events, it’s a live feed which is available on iCal and Google Calendar. Sync your PC or Mac to this calendar and get daily agenda emails, dates on your cellphone and other fancy stuff. I’ve just got a reminder to enter the Fred Whitton Challenge - the entry form gets posted online tomorrow.
Bicycle Dates 2008 include all the obvious candidates such as the Tour de France as well as new or unique events such as the unicycling world championships, Iowa’s Big Wheel Ballyhoo and Italy’s restoration ride for heroes, L’Eroica.
Sync to the dates and they load to your calendar program. Any changes or additions are automagically updated on your machine seconds after I make the changes on my machine. Once you’ve sync’ed to Bicycle Dates 2008 you choose which of them you want to highlight with alarms and auto-emails. For example, the aforementioned Fred Whitton Challenge is a killer Lake District sportive that takes place in May but is always over-subscribed the day after entries go online. The online entry date was loaded to Bicycle Dates 2008 some time ago so all you have to do is set the alert on your machine. Google Calendar and iCal both have intuitive alerts settings.
You can also set up Google Calendar so it emails you an agenda each morning so you don’t have to look at your PC/Mac calendar to know what bicycle events are coming up that day.
iCal meshes beautifully with the iPhone and now Google Calendar does too. Both cal programs also mesh with standard cellphones.
A selection of the listed bike events are given below. There are many, many more.
“Someone once said that journalists should write about what they know. In that spirit, may I invite you out on a gentle afternoon ride (town or country) so you can find out what all the fuss is about. I’ll even lend you my spare machine. How about that for turning the other cheek?”
Andrea Casalotti of London bike shop Velorution isn’t in the mood to forgive. He writes: “Forget about inviting him to ride a bike; Parris should spend time in jail.”
Casalotti cites the guilty verdict in the case of two Muslim youths chanting “Bomb Denmark” at a London demonstration.
“How can anyone argue that what Umran Javed shouted was worse than what Parris has written? One claims it was a slogan, the other says it was humour. If anything, it is the latter who can have more nefarious consequences.”
The Crown Prosecution Service’s Sue Hemming said she was mindful of the rights to free speech when considering cases such as this.
“However, when we examined the content of Mr Javed’s speech it was explicit that there was direct encouragement to those present and those watching via the media to commit acts of murder against the Danish and Americans.” BBC.co.uk, January 5th 2007
I’ve never thought Matthew Parris meant what he wrote. His satire was weak but it was clearly satire.
His apology is welcome, now to show him that cyclists did not cause the litter that kicked off his tirade. Let’s get him on a bike. If Jack Thurston’s letter bears fruit maybe Parris will appear on The Bike Show? Riding through London as a first timer is almost suicidal so, if he survives, that ride should be punishment enough for the columnist.
I’ve also sent an invitation via The Times but I’ve also sent a personal letter to the former MP’s country home. The internet is weird - thanks to Google Earth I can actually zoom in to the hedgerows that Parris said were full of “empty cans of hi-energy drinks” thrown by cyclists. Didn’t see any mind, Matthew Parris must have been out with his bin-bags again.
We all know that cyclists use bidons via water bottle cages, they do not carry cans of fizzy pop.
“Forgive me, but pedestrians were not the culprits here,” said Parris. Yep, it was most likely passing motorists. On the way to the gym perhaps? But, stop me, I mustn’t malign a whole group on zero evidence.
Here’s my letter. I wonder if Matthew Parris will take one of us up on the offer.
Dear Mr Parris
Thank you for the piano wire apology in your latest column.
I made the following suggestion to James Harding, editor of The Times:
In the spirit of reconciliation and to show Mr Parris what a bottle cage is for, I’d like to invite him on a bike ride. He’s a fit guy. I believe he runs marathons. If he agrees, I’ll arrange a ride along a country lane using a top-of-the-range bike and as much or as little of the Lycra he seems to so deplore. Would you please pass on this invitation? I can arrange a bike and kit anywhere in the UK. I promise not to booby trap the route.
If this invitation didn’t get to you, please let me make it again, and personally. I’m the editor of BikeBiz magazine.
We’re not all litterbugs. In fact, it’s rare for a cyclist to litter, unlike, say, youth motorists or fly-tippers (pretty difficult to do that on a bike). We’re not all smug, but we have to be tough, it’s dangerous out there, city motorists kill hundreds of cyclists each year.
Countryside cyclists - the kind who wear Lycra, not maids freewheeling to church - tend to go out singly or in pairs. On an evening or two per week and on Saturday and Sunday mornings, bigger groups will go out for long-distance training, and perhaps a swift half or a cup of tea and a cake in a rural cafe. If they are ‘real’ cyclists, they’ll carry carb drinks in ‘bidons’ (water bottles) attached to the bike. I’ve never known anyone ride with a can of Lucozade or Gatorade. From your column’s description of the detritus, your local litterbugs aren’t cyclists.
So, back to the invitation. I’d gladly line up a really smart bike for you to ride (Tour de France sleek, or country gent style) and, if willing, get you in some sporty bike gear not made in China.
This collection of statistics on cycling has been compiled from a wide variety of different sources, including costly marketing reports. It contains ‘cost of doing business ratios” of interest to those thinking of starting a bike-related business, through to how many bikes are stolen in the UK each year. There are tons of other meaty stats, too.
Much of the worldwide data is bang-on reliable (in many European countries, all industries are required by law to compile accurate annual statistics) but much of the domestic data is on its last legs because the UK bicycle trade does not have a sole, authoritative source for certified facts and figures. Bummer. Quite a few of the stats below contradict each other. That’s life. Bear in mind that some of the industry aggregates look impressive but actually miss out quite a few big players (and many small ones) and include ALL bikes, including ”pavement cycles” ie sub-20in tots bikes, some without chains, which rather dilutes their usefulness.
Despite these caveats, the data contained herein is pretty much the best you’re likely to get (and, hey, they’re free) but do check back regularly for the latest updates as they happen. The latest update was added on 4th February 2009. Sorry about the wonky formatting, this will be fixed in due course.
WHAT’S THE BIKE TRADE WORTH? The global bicycle industry, including bicycles, parts and accessories, is estimated to have total retail sales in excess of $20 billion. The bicycle manufacturing segment of the industry produces approximately 100 million units per annum. (Source: Derby Cycle Corporation annual accounts, April 2001). In 2000, world production of bicycles exceeded 101 million units. 41 million cars were produced worldwide. (Source: http://www.earth-policy.org )
The British bicycle industry is estimated to be worth £500m per annum. (Source: CTC/Bicycle Association/Association of Cycle Traders press release, April 2001). However, household expenditure figures from the Office of National Statistics say that sales were £974m in 2002. And in 2005, the ACT revealed that just 322 IBDs (independent bicycle dealers) are turning over £82m a year on credit/debit cards alone. The total annual turnover ñ Oct 04 to Oct 05 - generated by ACT members using the Association’’s card processing deal with HSBC was £82.2m, a £15m increase on the previous year. 322 of the ACT’’s 800 members take advantage of the ACT/HSBC card processing scheme. The 322 members represent 402 outlets. These 402 had credit card turnover of £43.7m and debit card turnover of £38.5m.
The US bicycle market in 2000, bikes and accessories, was worth $5.7 billion, with the speciality retail channel (ie IBDs - independent bike dealers) accounting for $1.47 billion of bike sales, selling 3.93 million units. The US is the worldís largest open market for bicycles with sales of 20.9 million units in 2002. (Source: Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, 2002).
China is the world’s biggest producer of bicycles, 79 million units in 2004, of which 51 million were exported. Imports of Chinese bicycles into the EU attract dumping duties. The average unit price was only US$34.5. By contrast, the average unit price of Taiwan-made and Japanese-made bicycles last year was US$164.41 and US$150, respectively. (Source: China Bicycle Association, May 2005).
The Peopleís Republic of China produces 55-60percent of the worldís bicycles. India produces 11 percent. 86 percent of the bicycles sold in the US are imports from China.
The Chinese domestic market for bicycles is about 22-25 million per year, down from a peak of 40 million just a few years ago. Thanks to government policies of promoting cars, and discouraging cycling, cycle use in China is plummeting, down to 20 percernt of all trips, compared to 33 percent in 1995. The Chinese bicycle industry employs 150 000 people and geneates $1bn a year in foreign exchange earnings. Most of the domestic Chinese bikes are produced by state-owned companies, who wouldnít dare criticise the official policy to discourage urban cycle use. The Chinese Bicycle Association (CBA) is a branch of China Light Industrial, a government minstry, and its leaders toe the party line, viewing the removal of bikes lanes as a necessary measure for accommodating increasing car use. However, thereís one glimmer of hope: the Olympic village being built for the 2008 Beijing Games is to be criss-crossed by cyclepaths (Source: BikeEurope, February 2003)
Customs statistics indicate that China exported a total of 45.57 million bicycles in 2002, which represented growth of 31% from the 34.94 million export figure of 2001. While Chinaís reported bicycle production for 2001 was 51.95 million units, actual production for the year probably exceeded 60 million units. This suggests that actual production exceeded 70 million units in 2002, and means that China has captured more than 60% of the 110 million-unit global bicycle market. (Source: WheelGiant, May 2003). However, domestic use of bicycles is on the wane. According to the Cycling Association of China, bicycle ownership was an average of 142.7 bikes per 100 households in 2002 compared to 182.1 in 1998. In Beijing, only 20 percent of commuters rode bikes in 2002, compared to 60 percent in 1998.
According to statistical data on 206 bicycle firms collected by the Tianjin Bicycle Association, a total of 20.28 million bicycles were produced in the Tianjin area of China in 2002, accounting for over one-third of Chinaís total output. Of the total of 821 companies composing the Tianjin bicycle industry, 403 are whole bicycle companies (including 61 makers of electric bicycles) and 418 are parts manufacturers. The sole whole bicycle manufacturer to exceed the million unit mark last year was Tianjin Fushida (1.23 million bikes). Seven manufacturers produced 500,000~ 800,000 bikes last year: Tianjin Flying Pigeon (800,000), Jie Ma (650,000), Kai Te (600,000), Tai Mei (600,000), Ko Lin (560,000), Golden Wheel (530,000), and Boma Bike (500,000). In addition, three manufacturers produced 300,000~500,000 bikes: Ganda (400,000), Ta Ming (300,000), and Zheng Yi (300,000). Most exported bikes were sold to Japan and Korea. The number of exporting firms in Tianjin has been growing steadily, rising from 18 in 2001 to 32 in 2002. The top three exporters are currently Tianjin Fushida (exported 611,000 units; up 160.34% from 2001), Kelin (282,000 units; up 106.04%), and the Tianjin Machinery Import/Export Group (247,000; down 4.6%). (Source: Wheel Giant, May 2003)
There are estimated to be 260 bicycle manufacturing companies in China making electric bikes and electric bike components. (Source: Promotion Association of Electric Bicycles (PAEB), Taiwan, 2005).
According to the Seventh Edition of Frank Jamersonís Electric Bikes Worlwide Reports, in 2004, 10 Million Light Electric Vehicles, including bicycles, will be sold. (Source: Electric Bicycle Battery Company, Naples, Florida, June 2004.)
The global market for bikes is dominated by just a few big players. Few global bike companies are worth over $200m.
Trek turned over $375m in 2001. Giant turned over $425 million in 2000. (Source: BicycleBusiness 2001).
Here are some ëfor saleí figures from the past few years: Brunswick bought Mongoose from Bell Sports for $24m in March 1997. Questor bought Schwinn for $55m, August 1997. Derby bought Diamondback for $41m, February 1999. Questor bought GT/Riteway for $183m, September 1998. Pacific Cycle bought Mongoose for $60m, January 2001. Gilde bought Gazelle for $125m, July 2001. Tandem bought Dawes Cycles for £232k, June 2001. A bunch of cowboys bought Sturmey Archer for thirty pounds in 2000 (itís a long story…) Cycle Bid Co. bought the assets of Derby for $23m ($75m if you include the debts and liabilities) and the company was renamed as Raleigh Cycle Ltd., October 2001 (Source: BikeBiz.com, 2001). Dorel Industries paid $310m for Pacific Cycle in 2004 (Source: BikeBiz.com)
In Europe there are 144 bicycle brands. In the US there are 66. (Source: The B.O.S.S. Report, June 2004)
In Q1 of 2005, Taiwan’’s bicycle and parts production grew by 23.6 percent, with bicycle output up 24.2 percent to $286m and parts production gaining 22.6 percent to $184m. (Source: Taiwanís Ministry of Trade)
AVERAGE SALE PRICES In the US 11.58m bikes 20in and above were sold in 1999 (6.95m via multiples, 3.59m via IBDs and 1.04m via other outlets). The average unit price via multiples was $75, via IBDs was $360, and via other outlets was $160. (Source: The Bicycle Council, USA).
The average price for an adult bicycle in the UK in 2001 was £107 (Source: Mintel, Bicycles 2001). It’’s likely to be much lower now, perhaps as low as £80. Sales of bicycles in the UK in 2002 using Office for National Statistics figures for household expenditure on the purchase of all bicycles were £974 million. In 2004, 4.5m bikes were sold in the UK (Source: Bicycle Association of GB, ).
CARBON FIBRE Worldwide production of carbon-fibre frames: 240 000
The three largest manufacturers are Martec, China; Giant, Taiwan; and Trek, USA with roughly 25 per cent market-share each.
Three Airbus A380 jets consume the same amount of carbon-fibre as the entire global sporting goods industry - bike frames and forks, tennis raquets, kayak paddle shafts, golf club shafts ñ consumes in a year. Source: Bicycle Retailer.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BIKE MARKET, 2001-to date
2001 2001 will not go down as a banner year for the bike trade. A rainy start was made worse by access restrictions caused by foot-and-mouth disease and then the terrorist acts of September 11th deflated consumer confidence in general.
For some companies 2001 was definitely an ëannus horriblisí, on top of a soft 2000. Major companies such as Schwinn/GT and Derby Cycle Corporation went to the wall. However, other companies benefited from the weakening of others. Overall, the European market for bicycles was supposed to be 15-20 percent down (Source: BikeEurope, November 2001).
In the UK, the market was supposed to be 30 percent down in 2000 (source: BikeEurope, November 2001) although as there are precious few accurate statistics available this figure is hard to either prove or disprove.
The main UK retailer of bicycles, Halfords saw a 14.2 percent drop in cycle sales in its half year results to 30th September. This was attributed to a ìdepressed marketî although sales growth for at the Halfords Bikehut stores was 20.8 percent. Bikehut is the IBD-apeing ëarcadeí format.
Raleigh had a very tough first six months of 2001. In Derby Cycle Corporationís final filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on 17th October it was revealed that Raleigh sold 151 000 bikes from January to July 2001, down from 166 000 in the same period the previous year.
ìManagement believes that particularly bad weather in the first quarter of 2001, weakening economies in several of its markets and the effect of this on consumer confidence led to lower unit sales [for Derby],î said the SEC filing.
ìUnits sold decreased by 219 thousand units (30%) and 306 thousand units (22%) for the quarter and six months ended July 1, 2001, [for Derby as a whole] as compared with the quarter and six months ended July 2, 2000.î
Many of Raleigh UKís bikes were sold at a loss:
ìSales in the U.K. in the first quarter of 2001 included 25 thousand units of obsolete models with low promotional prices to generate cash, compared with 12 thousand such units sold in the first quarter of 2000,î said the SEC filing.
The disposal of excess inventories was done at price levels ìsubstantially below cost.î
Derby also had a tough time in America.
According to the SEC filing, in the US sales fell by 25 percent for both the quarter and the six month period, as the market fell, with the key segments for Raleigh (MTB) and Diamond Back (BMX.) down 19 percent and 9 percent respectively, for the quarter, and down 22 percent and 11 percent respectively, for the six months ended July 1, 2001.
Tandem, the parent company of Falcon, Two Wheel Trading and Dawes, reported improved figures for the first six months of 2001 over the same period last year. Operating profit was reported to be up by 125 percent. Turnover increased by 43 percent. Operating profit before goodwill amortisation for the six months was £475 000 up from £211 000 on turnover of £15.6m up from £10.9m. (Source: Tandem interim statement, October 2001).
Trek USA had a record sales year in 2000 and another in 2001, with £375m in sales, Trekís CEO told Bikebiz.com.
And Specialized revenues in October 2001 finished 10 percent better than any previous month in the companyís nearly 30-year history. Specialized in the UK performed well too, also recording a record month in sales. (Source: BicycleBusiness, November 2001).
According to the BPSA, in 2001 the US bicycle industry posted a 6.2 percent decrease in unit sales with the average unit selling price remaining almost flat. (Source: BicycleRetailer, February 2002).
The situation in Europe was not too bright. Consumption of bicycles in 2001 (also referred to as domestic shipments) totalled 15 million+ units in the EU fifteen member states, down about 1.9 million units, or 11 percent, compared to 2000. (Source: BikeEurope, September 2002)
And the EUís production of bikes saw an ever bigger drop. Production totalled 10.5 million units in 2001; down 1.9 million units on 2000 or 15.3 percent. The fifteen EU member states imported 3.2 million bikes from other EU countries during 2001 and 4.9 million from countries outside the EU. With regard to prices for bicycles imported from countries outside the EU; the average import price amounted Ä107.83; 2.9 percent down on the average price of 2000. Exports from the 15 EU member states to countries outside the European Union totalled 404,981 bicycles; down about 8 percent compared to the total for 2000. Prices however for the ëMade in Europeí exported bikes were up by 30 percent to an average of Ä172.34. (Source: BikeEurope, September 2002)
2002 2002 started much better for most UK IBDs. This was mostly down to good weather. Raleigh reported that it had its best April sales figures for five years.
Halfords reported a four percent increase in sales (£528.7m) and a 29 percent increase in profits to year end 3st March 2002.
However, sales slowed during the summer thanks to a combination of poor weather, the World Cup and the Queenís Golden Jubilee. Itís estimated that the UK market, over the summer, was down 11 percent in value, and 17 percent in volume (source: BicycleBusiness Oct. 2002).
2003 The global bike trade had a very poor start to 2003, and the UK trade was no exception. Some large-and-important IBDs report sales down as much as 40 percent on last yearís Q1. However, improved Spring weather in the run-up to the all-important Easter weekend saw fortunes in the UK improve massively.
On the other side of the Atlantic, poor Q1 and Q2 weather conditions in the US meant trade was ìsluggishî (source: Bicycle Retailer, USA)
According to the National Bicycle Dealersí Association of America, over 200 US IBDs have shut-up shop in the first 120 days of 2003 due to poor weather and economic uncertainties. Source: http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/downloads/RDC-Analysisv02-April-03.pdf
In London, the Feb 17th introduction of the congestion charge was a welcome boost for IBDs and extra sales linked to the ken-gestion charging scheme were also reported by SE England IBDs. Dahon UK, a folding-bike distributor, reported year-on-year growth of 40 percent because of the congestion charge and the possibility that more cities would follow Londonís example.
On 10th May, London mayor Ken Livingstone said cycle usage in London in February increased by 16 percent year on year. (Source: Transport for London, May 2003).
Whilst most European countries had a slow start to the year, good weather in the UK for pretty much most quarters one, two and three, led to booming sales. Key markets such as Germany and Holland, which have been depressed for the last two years or so, picked up in quarters two and three. The market for bicycles in the US continued to be sluggish.
With benign weather continuing into Q4, UK bike sales were possibly at their most bouyant for 8 or more years.
However, with no indigenous bicycle manufacturing industry, except for craft builders and small brands such as Pashley and Brompton, all of the extra sales are sales of imported bicycles.
According to Eurostat figures, in 2003, the UK imported almost 3.29 million bikes from outside the EU, an increase of 41.2 percent compared with 2002. As a result, the country had a share of 41.2% in the total extra-EU import. In 2003, the European import from Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri-Lanka was almost all sold to the UK. The UK was also the biggest EU importer of bikes from the Philippines and Tunisia. The sales of bicycles from Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bulgaria and India in the UK exceeded one third of the total European import. The UK imports 43 percent of Vietnamís bicycle exports to the EU. The UK also imports much cheaper bicycles than other EU states. In 2003 the average value amounted to only Ä45.74 (8.1 percent lower than in 2002 ) whereas the average value in the rest of the EU was Ä94.97. In 2003, 934,499 more bicycles were imported into the UK compared to 2002 with which the total import increased by no less than 37 percent. The UK imported 41.2 percent more bikes from outside the EU in 2003, a total of about 3.3 million units. The UK sourced only 150,000 bikes from other EU states in 2003. (Source: Eurostat)
2004 In the UK, the weather stank in 2004. Yet in a strange sort of way it was welcomed by some in the trade. By the end of Q1, there were fears the raw materials and Shimano shortage crisis would lead to a severe lack of bikes by the end of Q2.
Another hot summer and the bike trade wouldnít be able to cope with 2003-style demand.
There are four major themes to how the UK bike market fared in 2004: the success of a self-help market-promoting scheme, the big getting bigger, fatties being told they were fat, and joke bikes.
Chopper flopper? Letís take the last of these first. Raleigh may be proud of its Chopper, and Pacific Cycle may be in love with its Stingray (imported into the UK by Moore Large) but these are not bikes to commute to work on. They are daft, fun, pig-heavy, and wholly impractical.
But, hey, they set tills ringing in a year when the cobwebs may have otherwise taken over so itís still possible to be nice about these joke bikes. Raleigh was first on the scene. Rumours of a re-launch started in January. Product shipped at the end of February.
Raleigh launched the first Chopper in 1970. In its ten-year production, about 1.5m were sold in the UK alone. The relaunched Chopper never reached those giddy heights. Naturally, Raleigh is coy about sales figures but itís safe to assume UK sales were less than 60 000.
Bike Hub Youíve always got to have one eye on the future and thatís what the Bike Hub scheme is all about. Itís a bicycle-promoting, market-expanding levy fund. In September, new transport minister Charlotte Atkins MP praised the UK bike industry for launching the scheme: ìThat took guts. It has taken considerable vision to reinvest profits in the future of cycling and I hope that the whole industry will support the industry levy.î
Not all companies have played ball, though. The biggest refusenik was the Tandem Group, owner of the Dawes and Falcon brands. In the year ended 31st January 2004, the Tandem Group had a turnover of £56.26m, up from £37.32m a year earlier (£18.8m contributed by 2003 acquisition MV Sports) and saw profit before taxation rise to £609 000 compared to £234 000 in 2003. But the company had to make a third of its staff redundant in 2004 and most of its production is now outsourced. In May, Tandem also withdrew membership from the Bicycle Association.
The Bike Hub scheme has paid for a new web portal for cycling, http://www.bikeforall.net - and the wages for four cycle evangelists on the Sustrans-run Bike IT!, a pilot scheme running in 40 schools across the UK. Early indications show that the scheme is paying dividends. At one school, 40 children are now cycling to and from school where before there had only been four pupils doing so.
Deep fried Mars bars The mass media was full of obesity scare stories in 2004. Hardly a day went by without one medical report or another confirming what is patently obvious: a sedentary lifestyle is bad for health (and for wealth: obesity is a £7.4bn annual burden for the National Health Service and society as a whole). Three-quarters of the adult population are now overweight or obese. England has witnessed the fastest growth in obesity in Europe and childhood obesity has tripled in twenty years.
Paraphrasing only a little, one of the media messages was this: fatties, forget jogging, youíll bugger your knees, haul your lard-arses on to bicycle saddles instead.
In May 2004, a report from the House of Commons select committee singled out cycling as a key fat-fighter: ìIf the Government were to achieve its target of trebling cycling in the period 2000-2010 (and there are very few signs that it will) that might achieve more in the fight against obesity than any individual measure we recommend within this report.î
Big getting bigger Continuing the trend that has been widening the gulf between the big and the small in UK cycle retailing for some years, the nationally-strong Halfords and the regionally-strong Evans Cycles did well in 2004.
Halfords was floated in June. Its maiden interim results for the 26 weeks to 1st October 2004 showed a turnover growth of 12.7 percent to £322.7m; like-for-like sales increased 10.6 percent; and pre-tax profit rose 170 percent. Halfords sells 25-30 percent of the UKís bikes. Halfords now had 393 stores. Ten new stores were opened, four were closed. The company has 9000 employees. Halfords has 39 ësupermezzanineí format stores, compared with 11 in 2003. There will be 35 supermezzanine conversions in 2005.
Evans Cycles, a South East England powerhouse IBD chain with 16 stores, can now be considered a national force. In September, it opened its first branch in the north of England. The 300 sq m store in Castleford, near Leeds, is the chainís biggest.
Evans chairman Gary Smith said that smaller dealers need not feel threatened by the aggressive expansion of the big, independent chains:
ìItís important for the smaller IBDs to succeed. Thereís plenty of room for us all but, in time, those IBDs that havenít moved with the times will be squeezed out of existence.î
US Market: 2004 According to the US Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), in the first six months of 2004, US suppliers shipped 3.6 percent more bikes to retailers than last year and those bikes carried a wholesale dollar value that was 4.9 percent higher. Through June, road bike shipments remained the strongest and most valuable category for suppliers, generating 30.2 percent of the total wholesale market value during the period. Year-to-date road bike unit sales were up 23.1 percent year on year. 19,076 units shipped in May; 15,543 in June.
Cruisers had year-to-end of Q3 shipments up 43.5 percent compared to last year. For the month of June, unit sales rose 54.2 percent compared to June 2003. Cruisers, a low price product in the main, represented only 2.2 percent of the total market value. ìThe kids and juvenile categories showed the biggest growth over last year as retailers apparently started seeing more kids and families in the store ready to buy,î said Bicycle Retailer magazine.
ìThe year started slowly as retailers took 3 percent fewer bikes in January and 15 percent fewer in February than in 2003. But unit sales have steadily improved since March, peaking in May with an increase of 12 percent. In dollars, no month has seen a year to year decline of more than 4.1 percent (February).
ìIn units, June was the third best month of the year, following May when suppliers shipped 223,042 bikes and April when they shipped 282,792 bikes.
ìBikes with wheels measuring 19-inches or smaller a category written off by many specialty retail suppliers and retailers years ago–have traditionally been a mainstay of mass merchants. But with year-to-date shipments up 55.1 percent in dollars and 45.9 percent in units, the category seems to be rebounding in the specialty channel. Still, while 19-inch and below hikes represent 10.9 percent of all bikes shipped, they remain poor money makers, bringing in just 1.1 percent of the total value.
In 2003, road bikes represented 8 percent of all units shipped by suppliers to retailers and in 2002, the road bike share was 6 percent.
The number of hybrid bikes shipped rose 8.2 percent in June and 12.2 percent through the first half of the year. The value of those bikes increased 10.3 percent lot the month and 11.6 for the year through June 30.
Recent cycling participation data collected by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) indicates that both of these categories may continue to grow. According to the OIA report, participation in paved road cycling has seen a surge in popularity with casual cyclist numbers up 8.3 percent since last year and enthusiast numbers climbing 31 percent since 2002.
Categories that continue to show signs of weakness include 26-inch comfort bikes, all mountain bike categories, 20 and 24-inch BMX and freestyle, and tandems, all of which saw declines in total value during the six-month period. (Source: Bicycle Retailer, Sept 2004).
2005 MARKET REPORT
From carbon fibre shortages to the creation of Cycling England, 2005 was a busy, busy year. It wasnít a stonking year for bike sales (the apparent rise in sales can be put down to an accountancy update) but nor was it an anus horriblus.
In 2003, the UK bike trade was boosted by months and months of gloriously fine weather. In 2004, the heavens opened and tills failed to ring. Non-traditional bikes like Raleighís Chopper and Pacificís Sting-Ray were almost the only silver linings among a lot of dark clouds. In 2005, the weather was a mixed bag, not brilliant, but not so bad that bike retailers felt like shutting up shop en masse.
Independent bicycle retailers - IBDs - continued to feel the pressure from Halfords and supermarkets in 2005 but many were insulated somewhat because of sales of bikes £250 and above.
The UK bike trade operates largely in the dark when it comes to consumption statistics but, anecdotally, the demand for mid- to high-end bikes continued to keep IBDs in business throughout 2005. High-end town bikes - street machines, hybrids, flat-bar road bikes, call them what you will - sold in high numbers, well on the way to one day outperforming MTBs at the till.
Major corporate players such as Universal and Professional Cycle Marketing continued to dominate the market in 2005 (both also have their own retail outlets, albeit not trading under the parent company names) but the second-tier corporates such as Tandem and Concept had a rocky year. It proved so rocky for Concept that the company folded, although its main shareholder soon resurrected parts of the company under a new name.
While parts of the bike trade continue to lurch from one financial crisis to another, thereís seems to be little slowing to the amount of cash being ploughed into route provision. Cycle commuting had a boom year in 2005, partly because it was rising from such a low base, but also because the UK is slowly waking up to the potential of the bicycle as a mid-market urban transport device.
London is adding cycle-friendly infrastructure at a rate of knots (the £20m carrot) and prising motorists out of their cars with the addition of £3 to the £5 congestion charge (the £8 stick). And forests in Scotland and Wales ñ and to a lesser extent England ñ are spending millions of pounds creating off-road playgrounds for MTBers.
With the British media obsessing about obesity, climate change, carbon neutrality, and the rising price of petrol ñ major themes in 2005 and major themes to continue this year too ñ the demand for bicycles should hold steady at least, and rise substantially if thereís a spell of good spring weather.
2005: BIG GETTING BIGGER Bike sales at the volume end of the market seemed to be well down in 2005 yet chain retailer Halfords had a better-than-predicted year, bucking the UK retail trend that saw most High Street retailers report poor figures throughout the year. Halfords saw pretax profit rise to £40.4m in the 26 weeks to the end of September, an improvement over the £33.5m reported at the same time last year. But Halfords didnít make its money just from bikes: instead it was helped by sales of in-car sat-nav GPS systems and iPod car connection kits. The 402-store retailer ñ called a “shameful bully” by the Daily Mail in December, following a story broken by BikeBiz.com ñ appears to be shifting towards its own-brand bicycles and accessories rather than putting any in-store muscle behind branded bikes and products. So, there are many in-store and print advertising promotions for Apollo bicycles and Bike Hut P&A but precious little effort is being put into promoting Raleigh, GT, Kona or the mainstream P&A brands. Why promote Met helmets or Topeak multi-tools when you can undercut them with look-a-like Bike Hut products?
RALLYING TO THE CAUSE 2005 was good to Raleigh. The year started with the news that Raleigh UK was the most improved of all Raleigh Cycle Ltd.ís international divisions, and ended with the sponsorship of a world champion and the roll-out of a retail franchise operation that could transform the company into the UKís biggest force in bikes. Just like the good old days: when Raleigh sneezed everybody else caught a cold. Raleigh UK made a profit of over £500 000 on a gross revenue of £35m in the year October 2003 to September 2004, showed figures released in January 2005. In 2001/2, Raleigh had made a loss of £9.7m on revenue of £39.3m.
With the heronís recovery, money could again be pumped into team sponsorship. Before pulling the plug on its MTB race team in 2001, Raleigh had a 110 year pedigree of sponsoring bike whippets. Sponsorship of the Diamondback team fizzled out in 2002. In March 2005, the company returned to its roots and started sponsoring an 11-strong team, the Raleigh-ERV womenís professional cycling team.
At the end of the year, Raleigh announced another female sponsorship coup. Through a partnership with Univega, the company started sponsoring track, road and MTB champion Nicole Cooke.
Raleigh MD Mark Gouldthorp said: ëIt is great to have Nicole on board, she is a perfect example of home-grown talent, something which Raleigh feel is incredibly important to the future success of cycling.î
Whippets canít ride cheap bikes so Raleigh spent much of 2005 broadening its product range. Five years ago Raleigh stopped producing flagship, high-end bikes to concentrate on its ëbread and butterí line of mass-market bikes.
Historically, the company had always produced flagship bikes that may have sold in low numbers but which were ridden to success by pro cyclists like 1950s track star Reg Harris. ëReg rides a Raleighí was one of the best-known advertising slogans of the 1950s. ?Raleigh is to re-start supply of top-class high-end bikes in 2006, including carbon MTB frames and track bikes.
But the biggest Raleigh news in 2005 was the dusting down of the Cyclelife IBD programme. Cyclelife first saw the light of day in March 2000. At the time, Cyclelife was a retail makeover. Now it’s a franchise. Raleigh has 30 IBDs signed up, another 30 could be in a second wave. The company has a target of 200 Cyclelife stores within five years.
2005: CORPORATE WOES With supermarkets not ramping up their efforts to sell bikes in 2005, many corporate players had a bad 2005. The volume end of the UK bike market performed badly the whole year long.
In April, the warning signs that Concept Cycling Group was in trouble came with the resignation of MD Robert Pollard. Citing ìrecent trading difficultiesî, Steven Walsh bought back the majority shareholding in Concept he sold to management in 2003. He became Conceptís chairman and MD but he was unable to stop the rot: Concept filed for administration in September.
Concept Cycling Ltd. employed 150 people and had an annual turnover of £22m. It was joined at the hip with Acorn Sports & Leisure (UK) Ltd (25 employees, annual turnover of £6m) and three-store retail chain Wheelbase (UK) Ltd (30 employees, annual turnover of £2.5m).
Acorn could not be rescued but Walsh spent much of September and October hammering out a deal to acquire some of the assets of Concept Cycling Ltd. Out of the ashes of Concept, came Avocet Sports Ltd. Walsh had pumped £1.7m of his own money into the Concept Group. ?Tandem also had a poor year. The companyís annual turnover to the end of January 2005 was £52.68m. It was £56.90m in the previous year. ?In May, Tandemís Paul Vicary resigned from the plcís board. By May, it was revealed the companyís turnover was decreasing and its profits shrinking. By the end of the year, Tandem said it expects to post sales of about £42m for the year to end January 2006 and would post an operating loss of around £150 000.
2005: STATISTICALLY SPEAKING Phillip Darnton, president of the Bicycle Association of Great Britain, said the organisationís failure to generate some basic data about the UK cycle market was a ìshocking inability.î
ìItís a source of embarrassment to admit to anyone that we do not know anything reliable about the size and evolution of the UK cycle market. Such is our measure of anxiety about ëcompetitive advantageí that we would rather share nothing to ensure that we know next to nothing. Itís high time that we stopped being so precious.î
Late last year, Bike Europe reported that the BAGB had recently revised upwards its estimate of the number of bikes consumed per year in the UK. The BAGB canít put its fingers on exact stats but Darnton said he was ìamazedî at the UK figures quoted by Bike Europe.
ìThis seemed to be based on European import statistics but there is clearly something adrift with them.î
To combat such inexactness, Darnton wants the BA to knock heads together to create a stats collation service.
ìThe BA has always found it difficult to gather reliable data on volume bike sales but we are currently trying to construct, with the help of our members, an accurate picture of sales for 2004. Our initial view would be that the market for all bikes (that is everything powered with a chain) is no more than 3.7 million.î Customs import data for bicycles is collated by the Department of Trade and Industry but the DfTís published totals also appear to be wide of the mark. So, as in previous years, there is still no reliable source for UK bicycle sales figures.
2005: CANíT SEE THE WOOD FOR THE BIKES If you go down to the woods today youíre sure of a big surprise. Forget picnicing bears, youíre far more likely to see North Shore style elevated bikeways and berms and sweet singletrack. Britainís forests are swarming with MTBers. The Forestry Commission and regional partners are splashing cash on recreational MTB parks because it brings in tourism.
In March 2005, it was announced Innerleithen was to become latest DH Mecca in the booming, bike-mad Scottish Borders. In June, it was announced Dalby forest in North Yorkshire was to get a £400,000 trail upgrade. Backing for the project came from the European Unionís Objective 2 funding programme, which is providing more than £140,000. The Forestry Commission contributed £200,000. In September, Forestry Commission Scotland said the existing facilities at Glentress would be expanded. A new visitor centre was proposed, along with a bigger hire shop and cafe. Glentress attracts 250,000 visitors a year, most of them heading on to the MTB routes and North Shore areas.
In November, a £200,000 MTB skills trail was opened in Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
All this investment paid off in December when Scotland earned top marks in a MTB report. The 2005 International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Report Card gave Scotland an ëAí for ìoutstanding mountain biking and successful bicycle advocacy,î beating British Columbia in the Global Superstar category. In 2004, Scotland was awarded an A-minus.
2005: BOMB BOOST FOR BIKES In June, Transport for London said the number of cycle journeys made in London had increased by 67 percent during the past five years. From May 2000 to May 2005 the number of weekly cycle journeys on TfLís roads rose from 60 000 to more than 101 000. Part of the growth can be attributed to Londonís £5 congestion charge, which by year end had risen to £8. ?The numbers of cyclists on the capitalís streets increased in July because of the 7th July terrorist bombings that crippled Londonís transport.
Buses were cancelled, the Tube didnít operate for much of the day and cars were gridlocked. The media reported that bicycles got through the jams. IBDs and cycle hire shops reported brisk trade as Londoners attempted to get across a city all but closed to cars. ìWeíve sold a hell of a lot of bikes today,î said the manager of one of the Evans Cycles stores in central London.
Evans Cyclesí nine London stores sold 400+ bikes on the day of the bombings, four times as many as usual. ?In October 2005, Londonís ëbike boomí was confirmed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, but it wasnít just due to the bombs. There are now 650 000 Londoners who regularly cycle as part of a daily routine, said Livingstone.
The mayor said: ìCycling is the fastest, cheapest, most healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around London, which is why we are investing almost £20m this year to improve cycle facilities in the capital. The number of cyclists on our roads has doubled since 2000 and weíve already exceeded our cycling targets five years ahead of schedule, on top of achieving a shift from car use to public transport. I will now be looking at setting tougher targets so we can continue to build on this success and encourage many more cyclists in London.î ??Pullquote: Cycling is the fastest, cheapest, most healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around London
2005: ADVOCACY GETS CASH Cambridge is one of the UKís most bicycle-friendly towns, with 28 percent of commuters using bicycles, yet 77 percent of the Cambridge transport budget is spent on motorist-friendly schemes. Just 0.6 percent of the transport budget is spent on measures friendly to cyclists and pedestrians, it was revealed in Cambridgeís Provisional Local Transport Plan 2006-2011.
Yet 0.6 percent is pretty good compared to other parts of the UK.
Despite a lack of joined-up thinking when it comes to really integrating cycling into local transport plans, Sustrans managed to grow its National Cycle Network to 10 000 miles by September 2005, double the original estimate.
In February 2005, residents of Edinburgh voted ëNoí to congestion charging. In London, the congestion charging scheme had been brought in without a vote.
Lindsay McDermid, promotions manager for Edinburgh Bicycle, Scotlandís biggest bike shop, said the workersí cooperative did not have an official view on the congestion charge issue: ?îWe body swerve anything of a political nature but, unofficially, we were in favour of the charge. It would have brought many environmental benefits.
?îAsking people to vote for such a charge was like asking do people want to pay for their dinner break or get it free? Thereís a British thing with cars. Motoring is associated with wealth and freedom of transport. People have more cars per head in Germany but they also cycle, nobody turns their nose up against cyclists.î ? In March, the Department for Transport announced it was to fund Cycling England, the body taking the place of the National Cycling Strategy Board. Cycling England would get £5m per year over the next three years.
According to the DfT, in 2005/06, local authorities (outside London) expect to spend £46m on cycling facilities - up by 50% from 2000/01, while Transport for London is projecting a record spend of £17m on cycling in London in 2005/06.
By July, the up-and-running Cycling England - chaired by Phillip Darnton, president of the Bicycle Association - had made it first major announcement. Five UK towns were to get cycle-friendly makeovers in 2006. The five towns will receive extra funds to provide cycling facilities and other measures to enable people to use their bikes. ?Nine towns made it to the Cycling England shortlist. There had been applications from 30 towns. Pull quote: Sustrans grew its National Cycle Network to 10 000 miles by September 2005, double the original estimate.
2005: DUMPERS STUMPED In June,îinjurious importsî from China were slapped with 48.5 per cent duties, an increase and an extension of the existing European Union anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese bikes. The European Commission also nodded through 34.5 percent duties on bikes produced in Vietnam. The UK is the EUís biggest importer of Vietnamese bikes. The duties are good through until 2010.
A statement from the European Commission said the re-imposition of anti-dumping duties ìwill allow the Community industry to grow and fully recover from the injury caused by the dumped imports. If, however, measures are not imposed, it is likely that the Community production will continue to decline and more operators will go out of business. Furthermore, the importers and the retailers will not be substantially affected since fairly priced bicycles will still be available in the market.î
The EUís dumping investigation was launched in April 2004 at the behest of the Paris-based European Bicycle Manufacturersí Association. ?The European Commissionís anti-dumping committee is made up of members from each of the EU25 nations. 19 voted for the duties, four voted against and there were two absentions. ?In July, bikes and bike P&A were deleted from the EUís ëgeneralised system of preferencesí. This GSP softened the blow of tariffs.
The GSP allowed certain developing countries to, in effect, reduce anti-dumping tariffs imposed by the EU. ?Section L169 of the Journal of the European Union removes China and Thailand from the generalised system of preferences. This is valid through to 2015.
MARKET PROSPECTS The mountain bike boom is over (in Europe the segment dropped by 30 percent in 2001. (Source: BikeEurope, November 2001), and the worldwide cycling industry is waiting for the ënext big thingí.
Some say massive growth could come from what Americans call ëcomfort bikesí. In the US ëcomfort bikesí in Q1 of 2001 accounted for nearly 20 percent of all new bike sales, up from 10 percent in the same period the previous year. And in the UK, the so-called city bike (or trekking bike or hybrid) is also the fastest growing category, although this is largely anecdotal as there are no official figures to back this up.
The demand for bikes will likely increase over the next ten years in the UK, especially as the National Cycle Network and government-sponsored cycle friendly initiatives kick in. However, the multiplicity of brands, and the relatively high number of independent cycle retailers and multiples, will mean the cake has to be cut many ways.
Cycling is likely to benefit from the ageing population and the increase in leisure time. For a general overview of the likely affects of these two trends hereís an extract from The European Sports Goods Market, January 2001, Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association:
ìWith the ageing population and consequent increase in leisure time and travel, the emphasis in sports participation will be less on the competitive team sports and more on leisure and individual sports. This development will stimulate the market for outdoor activities (footwear, clothing, rucksacks), golf equipment, fitness goods (in-home trainers, fitness clothing), water sports and snow sports equipment. On the other hand, young people will favour adventurous, alternative, beach, fun and extreme sports.î
Cycling has many aspects and fits into all of the above categories (even ‘beach’, because of ‘cruiser’ style bicycles).
MARKET REPORT 2008
The British bike trade had a rollercoaster 2008. There were highs, there were lows. In the middle of the year there were screams of joy as British Olympic cyclists raised the sport’s media profile like never before, but by the end of the year there were screams of shock as the recession kicked in.
The bike trade is probably more resilient than most at surviving a downturn. This is because sales in winter always take a turn for the worst. But some British bike shops reported alarmingly low footfall in December. Hibernation couldn’t come too soon.
Yet 2008 had promised to be a bumper year. Escalating fuel prices and growing concerns about climate change created a perfect storm, blowing people on to bikes for at least half of the year. But the US sub-prime mortgage fiasco which escalated into a global financial meltdown made people forget about saving the planet, and they stopped driving, too, but, by year end, they weren’t getting on bikes, either. Some of this was due to the cold winter. When it’s perishing, Brits mothball their bikes.
Ever optimistic, the British bike trade is banking on the commuter market being a saviour and for the resurrection to happen at Easter. Good Easter weather is usually a sign that good sales will result for the summer. 2008’s summer weather was just as freaky as that of 2007 but, bizarrely, despite the rain, cycle usage rose, especially in the big cities. Britain, it appeared, had woken up to the potential of the bike as a transport device.
Much of this was down to rising petrol prices. When, at the end of 2008, petrol prices dropped right back, the bike trade suffered a drop off in sales. However, this was also when the credit crunch started to bite, when discretionary expenditure of all sorts was being plugged.
Thankfully, the year ended on two bright notes. On January 1st, The Independent newspaper splashed bikes on its front cover, saying 2009 would be the Year of the Bike.
At the end of December, triple gold medal cyclist Chris Hoy was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year - a big deal in the sports mad UK - and just days later the Queen made him a knight of the realm, turning the Edinburgh sprinter into one of the most recognised celebs in Britain.
With fame has come lucrative endorsement deals, and this benefits cycling as a whole. When Sir Chris is used in TV adverts - he’s now never off the screen - he’s always shown on his bike. There was no bike sales spike in September after the Olympic games - the wished for Beijing Bounce - but cycling’s regular appearances on mainstream TV and in the mass market press is sure to have a positive effect throughout 2009.
Ad hoc stats from the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) show that independent bicycle dealers had a good year overall, but a very challenging fourth quarter. In November, sales nosedived. ACT reported that during this month 54% of its members reported a drop in turnover.
In October 2008 63% struggled with decreasing revenues. September was different and showed that 65% of the dealers were able to increase their turnover while also in August, July and May the number of dealers that reported revenue growth outnumbers the ones that said to experience a declining turnover.
The independent chains continued to take market share from single store IBDs but true independent chains are now rare. Cycle Surgery, for instance, expanded in 2008 but is no longer independently owned. It’s part of the Snow+Rock group. Formerly London only, the Cycle Surgery store brand was carried over to stores in Romford, Wirral, Birmingham, Didsbury, Port Solent, Bristol and Chertsey. It now has 15 stores nationwide.
The biggest of the powerhouse IBD chains - Evans Cycles - spent much of 2007 and early 2008 fending off claims it was about to be sold. It was seeking a bigger shareholder, said Evans, with cash to fund expansion. In April, a deal was finally inked. Active Private Equity acquired a majority stake in the business via a combination of acquisition and growth capital. In the past five years Evans Cycles has added 20 stores and expanded outside of its South East England base. It now has 31 outlets.
Government Support for cycling
Cycling gets a lot less money from central Government than it would like, but a lot more than it used to get. In January 2008, the Department for Transport pumped in a record GBP 140 million (€ 156.5mn) investment.
Cycling England had asked for GBP 250 million (€ 279.4mn). Cycling England’s previous budget was GBP 10 million (€ 11.2mn) per annum. The GBP 140 million (€ 156.5mn) is split over three years.
Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England, said: “Cycling England produced compelling evidence to show that increased and sustained levels of investment in cycling can make a substantial impact. The bicycle really does have a role in helping meet England’s transport challenges. It is now taking its place as a proper mode of transport.”
London Steals the Show
Bristol may be Cycling England’s official Cycling Demonstration City but it’s London that is doing most to promote the use of bikes. At a cycling conference in October, speaker Peter Lensink of Ned Railways said cycling in London was at a tipping point.
“There’s been a change in perception, not just people in Lycra. Biking is becoming part of mobility. I pedal on a Dutch roadster and cycle everywhere in my suit. There are now lots like me. Who would ever have imagined the junction between Tavistock Square and Tavistock Place would have cycle congestion in the mornings?”
Before he was ousted by cyclist Boris Johnson, the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone announced a GBP 500 million (€ 559.2mn) 10-year plan to transform cycling in London. There’s to be a Vélib-style bike hire scheme with 6,000 bikes available every 300 metres. There will also be radial ‘Cycling Corridors’ - bicycle superhighways - for commuters to provide high-profile, easy to follow cycling streams into central London.
Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, said: “These plans for promoting cycling and walking are more ambitious than anything which has been tried before in this country, but they are exactly what we need to persuade large numbers of Londoners out of their cars.”
Raleigh Rolls On
2008 was the breakthrough year for Raleigh UK’s three year old retail franchise package, Cyclelife. This has the potential to rebuild the Raleigh brand via a growing network of dealers. In February, Raleigh became a member of the British Franchise Association. By April Raleigh had signed up its 100th member.
Cyclelife dealers get preferential trading terms from Raleigh, stock finance, store development consultancy and finance, and operational and finance support for marketing activity. Raleigh’s aim is to develop a network of 200+ Cyclelife dealers.
Sales of satnavs and bikes enabled Halfords to have a relatively good 2008. Relative, that is, to much of the rest of retail. The High Street had a rough year on the whole and Halfords managed to grow - albeit only slightly - in tough operating conditions.
The year started with the high-profile sponsorship of Team Halfords Bikehut, built around Olympic hopeful Nicole Cooke. She later won gold in the women’s road race but by year end she had to found her own team when Team Halfords Bikehut switched its emphasis to male cyclists only.
In March Halfords reported 7% year on year growth. By the middle of the year, sales were still increasing but only by a paltry 1.7%, year on year. By September the growth had slowed to 1.6% year on year. Revenue for the 26 weeks to 26 September was GBP 407.1 million (€ 455.3mn) up from GBP 400.7 million (€ 448.2mn) in 2007.
CEO David Wild said: “Halfords has seen a solid trading performance. Against challenging comparatives and a tightening consumer environment, revenue grew by 1.6% with performance weighted into more defensive, needs driven product categories.”
A company statement said growth was: “Provided by a cycling market benefiting from increased use of cycles for leisure, health and commuting. These core categories represent almost half of revenue.”
As well as standalone Bikehut stores, Halfords has recently rolled out a test store format for standalone stores in York and Norwich. Designed to look and feel more like independent bike shops than corporate stores, the Cycle Republic test format has ‘researched positively with customers’. Halfords believe that there is the potential for at least 50 stand-alone cycle stores across the UK.
Fuel Price Hikes Sell Bikes
The summer of 2008 was wet but the escalating cost of fuel - a major media story - meant cycle usage grew, especially in big cities and most definitely especially in London. The mainstream media banged on and on about the ‘bike boom’ caused by higher petrol prices.
Many media pieces focussed on new converts to cycling. And, with the zeal common among converts, they recounted how they may have started cycling because of the spiralling price of fuel but they discovered how much faster cycling is in towns and how much weight they’ve lost and - the knock-out punch - how much fun it was. All good stuff for the image of cycling.
Bike sales didn’t seem to rise, although sales of get-your-bike-back-on-the-road accessories went through the roof. Halfords commissioned a survey which showed that 42% of Brits might switch from cars to bikes.
The survey, to promote the Halfords Cycle2Work scheme, found that saving money on fuel was deemed to be the greatest benefit for switching to two wheels, with 89% of respondents citing this would be the main reason to change. 69% said environmental concerns could make them switch.
Paul Bullett from Halfords said: “Whilst we accept that bikes aren’t feasible for every journey, if people living within as little as a five mile radius from work switched to pedal power not only would they see immediate savings on their fuel bills but they would also benefit from improved fitness too.”
MARKET REPORT 2007
2007 ended with a murder threat to all cyclists from a prominent newspaper columnist. It started with the death of a well-known British bike shop owner.
In January, Mel Vasey, owner of Quinns Bike Centre, was killed while on a Sunday morning training ride with Birkenhead North End Cycling Club. A man was arrested, accused of causing death by dangerous driving, a particularly British social ill.
In December, ex Tory MP Matthew Parris alarmed Britain’s cyclists when his weekly column in The Times started “A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists.”
Both stories are linked by an almost pathological hatred of cyclists from some sections of British society yet despite the fear and loathing cycle use continues to rise in the UK.
If the fringes of the year were all bad news, the middle of the year was wall-to-wall positivity. London’s staging of the Tour de France send-off went like a dream. The sun shone on the righteous: millions of Londoners and visitors enjoyed the freakish, suddenly gorgeous weather as the Tour carnival hit town. There were no drugs scandals while the Tour was in London, allowing the normally abusive-to-cycling British press to wax lyrical about pro-cycling, a sport rarely featured, British newspapers usually only feature football, cricket, rugby, horse-racing and…darts.
The great weather, brilliant racing and ultra-positive reporting didn’t last. Just as the Tour started to descend into what the newspapers predictably called the Tour de Farce, the wet weather returned to the UK.
In fact, this was the norm for 2007. Aside from the few days when the French ruled in London, most of the rest of the year was a wash-out. The sun was a mystery object. 2007 was wet, soaked, drenched, water-logged and sopping. It was a rain-blasted year that should have seen bike sales plummet to record lows but, miraculously, sales seemed to be steady, an indication that the burgeoning British bicycle culture is no flash in the pan. Much of the steadiness was due to the rapid acceleration of city cycling in the UK. Even during the wettest, coldest, foulest part of the year - in 2007, this was the Summer – the ‘new’ cyclists attracted to urban cycling in the last couple of years did not drop away.
In urban centres - and especially in London – cycling continued on its surprising, where-did-that-come-from growth curve throughout 2007, prompting commentators to now fear that any long stretch of fine weather in 2008 could create a bike drought in the UK.
Cycle use rose throughout 2007 but not because of any shiny new infrastructure, not because of any huge financial commitment from central Government and not because of any sudden advertising campaign telling people to get on their bikes, and most definitely not because of fair weather, usually said to be the key factor for cycle use in the UK. Cycle use is up because the time is right. London is still a downright unfriendly place for a cyclist but that’s not stopping new cyclists from joining the fray. And as each new cyclist joins the bunch of bikers on the green advanced stop line boxes at the front of traffic lights, it’s easier for cyclists to pull away and harder for drivers to overtake. Bit by bit, cyclists are taking over. London’s bike shops have never had it so good. For a start, there are a lot of London bike shops and the biggest - such as Evans Cycles – is now so big, the independently-owned chain has come up on the radar of retail analysts and, throughout 2007, there was constant mainstream media chatter about the sale of the group.
The British press may run hateful articles about “Lycra louts” but this isn’t stopping the growth. Market research company BMRB claims that since 2001 there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number who regularly cycle. Today, 3.2 million British adults cycle regularly compared to 2001 when the figure was 2.3 million. In fact, more people are now cycling regularly than participating regularly in football, golf, jogging or athletics. For 1.2 million people cycling represents their only sporting activity, 30 per cent more than in 2001.
James Smythe, head of BMRB Sport, said: “It seems adults are getting the message about cycling’s health and transport benefits outweighing the risks.”
As well as more people taking part in cycling for exercise and leisure purposes, BMRB believes there is also evidence that more people are commuting by bicycle. Of the 3.2 million regular cyclists, 1.5 million also use their bicycles as a method of transport, almost 20 per cent more than in 2001, and the number of people in full time employment that cycle regularly has increased by 35 per cent in the last six years.
So, cycle use was up throughout 2007, despite the poor weather, and bike retailers of all sizes benefitted from the surprising resilience in the market. But fears of an impending recession - think sub-prime mortgage write-downs in the US, the near collapse of Northern Rock and the softening housing market - meant that most retail businesses in the UK had a poor final quarter of the year. Bike shops benefitted from a slight extension of the season as Autumn weather was largely warm and settled, but Christmas sales were poor, anecdotally well down on Christmas 2006.
And whereas 2006 was notable for the overwhelmingly positive coverage from newspapers such as The Independent (it famously devoted a front cover to cycling’s ‘revolution’), the last few days of 2007 showed how quickly such positivity could be punctured. The Matthew Parris death threat to all cyclists was never pulled from Times Online but the famous columnist later apologised, blaming cyclists for taking his “joke” seriously. However, Britain’s cyclists had been up in arms over his comments, writing to the Press Complaints Commission in record numbers. And Britain’s bicycle businesses didn’t see the funny side either.
Rod Turner, owner of Freewheel in Nottingham said: “It is odd how much cyclists are hated, and by a surprisingly large number of people. Personally I think it’s because we make cars slow down occasionally.”
Andrea Casalotti of über-cool London bike shop Velorution said: “Two Muslim youths were found guilty of soliciting murder for chanting “Bomb Denmark” at a demonstration. How can anyone argue that what [one of them] shouted was worse than what Parris has written? One claims it was a slogan, the other says it was humour. If anything, it is the latter which can have more nefarious consequences.”
Touring and campaigning organisation CTC waded in: “Should another article like this appear in the Times, or any other newspaper, we will seek legal advice about bringing a private prosecution against the author. Journalists must recognise that it is not acceptable to incite violence against cyclists, even if they have nothing interesting to write about and a deadline to meet.”
Some British cycle campaigners believe the hate campaigns against cyclists are indicitive that cycling is becoming mainstream. As cycling becomes more and more visible, and as cars continue to inch along during rush hours, motorists are beginning to realise there’s a new game in town, and they don’t like the competition, hence the hate.
In the second half of 2007, London’s new love affair with the bicycle - Ken Livingstone is cupid - was ramped up a notch with the revelation that Transport for London wants to have a Paris-style hire bike scheme, modelled on Velib. It’s believed London could soon roll out a scheme twice the size of Velib in Paris, with 20,000 hire-by-the-hour bikes. If Matthew Parris and his ilk fear the rise of cycling in the UK, they’re going to hate 2008.
LEISURE CYCLING MAG FOLDS
Although cycle use is up, there appears to be little room in the UK for a leisure cycling magazine. All of the available consumer titles are aimed at died-in-the-Lycra enthusiasts. Early in 2007 the plug was pulled on Enjoy Your Bike, a leisure cycling magazine from Kelsey Publishing. The publisher was unable to gain a foothold in the cycle market despite spending tens of thousands of pounds with magazine and newspaper retailer WH Smith’s to gain news-stand space.
Enjoy Your Bike’s freelance editor Ian Cushway said:
“It’s a shame we couldn’t get past our first year. The closure of the mag came as a complete shock. Lots of advertisers really liked the magazine.
“Readers loved the mag too but there weren’t enough copy sales to keep the magazine going through the winter months.”
CYCLE SHOW SUCCEEDS IN MOVE TO EARLS COURT
The London Cycle Show, owned by the Islington-based Upper Street Events, started at the Business Design Centre, but then moved to ExCel in 2005. This is a large expo venue in London’s Docklands, far from the central area and hence hard to get to. In 2007 the show upped sticks again but this time with the full and vocal support of the British bicycle industry.
Matt Ward, the then marketing manager for Fisher Outdoor, said: “Although modern and airy I felt that ExCel lacked in atmosphere, and some of the associated costs were prohibitive. Earls Court has heritage.”
Many bicycle trade and consumer shows have previously been held at Earls Court.
EVANS CYCLES: “NOT FOR SALE”
In February 2007, Retail Week reported that Evans Cycles was up for sale, a story that made many appearances in the mainstream media throughout 2007. Retail Week guessed that Halfords would be interested in acquiring the 25-store IBD chain. However, the story turned out to be about acquiring a minority partner not an outright sale of Evans Cycles.
Evans MD Mike Rice said this search is in order to “accelerate expansion”.
Gary Smith – who, along with his son, owns the majority of shares in Evans Cycles – said:
“We’re always being approached by people who want to buy us. We’re definitely not for sale. We are, however, interested in taking on an equity partner to fund expansion.”
For the year to October 2005, Evans Cycles had sales of £25.2m with an operating profit of £973,555. The company projected sales of £45m for 2007.
“We are looking at investors outside cycling and with a proven track-record in developing retail businesses,” said Rice.
The mainstream media reported that one such outside investor sniffing around the chain was retail billionare Mike Ashley, owner of chainstore Sports World, outdoor brand Karrimor and Lillywhites, the sports shop. Ashley also owns a 29.4 per cent stake in Blacks, the outdoor shops. Evans Cycles has a store-in-store concession in the Blacks store on the outskirts of York.
The media reported a done deal, worth £35m. A statement from the board of Evans Cycles poo-poohed the speculation:
“[A] story circulating in the press, which claims Evans Cycles is being sold to Sport World…has no basis and is inaccurate and has presumably come about due to Sports World’s recent clashes with Blacks and our tie-in with Blacks (by way of the trial concession at York).
“We have been considering our options for future funding over the past few months and are continuing to look at various options, including both debt and equity funding.
“We have no need to make a quick decision and so are taking our time over it but discussions are on-going with a number of different people. Whichever route we go down the business will continue as it currently is, with our expansion plans unchanged.”
RICHER, BAGB LEAVES HISTORICAL HOME
In March 2007, the Bicycle Association of Great Britain pocketed £850,000 and moved away from Starley House in Coventry city centre. The HQ of the Bicycle Association and the Motor Cycle Association was sold to make way for a shopping development. Starley House - named for John Kemp Starley, creator of the 1885 Rover Safety bicycle - had been the BA HQ since 1959.
Starley House was owned by the Cycle and Motor Cycle Association as a 50:50 partnership. The CMCA has two members: the BAGB and the Motor Cycle Industry Association.
The sale ensured that BAGB could “look forward to a new phase of financial stability, enabling it to promote the Association to potential new members and support new initiatives in the furtherance of the industry as a whole,” said the then BA president Phillip Darnton.
LONDON BIKE BOOM
The number of cyclists on the capital’s major roads increased by six per cent between March 2006 and March 2007. The number of cyclists in London has soared by 83 per cent since 2000. The bike spike means there were an estimated 480,000 cycle journeys every day across London, around 30,000 more than 2006.
The Mayor of London and Transport for London have increased investment in cycling by 50 per cent this year from £24 million in 2006/07 to £36 million in 2007/08. In 2000 investment in cycling stood at just £5.5 million.
500kms of the London Cycle Network Plus - a network of signed routes for cyclists across the capital - has already been completed and the full 900km network will be completed by the end of 2010. Transport for London has installed 10,000 cycling parking spaces across the capital in the past two years.
“London is experiencing a cycling renaissance. We can now justifiably call ourselves a cycling city, a proposal that would have seemed ridiculous just six years ago. Record investment in cycling through Transport for London, an expanding network of cycle and bus lanes, and the confidence given to cyclists through tackling congestion in central London, has transformed levels of cycling in the capital.
Jenny Jones, the Mayor’s green transport adviser, said: “This is the year of the bike in London. Cyclists are going to transform the look and feel of our city. More cyclists means less congested roads and public transport. Investing in cycling means less pollution and noise, but faster and cheaper transport. More cycling means a healthier, more pleasant London for everyone.”
HALFORDS HAS A CHAMPION YEAR
Halfords can’t always get the bike brands it wants. It often struggles at the top-end, with brand heroes such as Specialized preferring to stick with IBDs. The chain therefore attempts to create brand heroes of its own, especially in terms of price. But 2007 saw the launch of a bike brand that hit the ground running because of the name on the downtube: cboardman. In actual fact, Halfords doesn’t own the Chris Boardman bike brand but it had an exclusive on the brand’s first products.
Britain’s Olympic gold-medal winning Chris Boardman is well known in the UK. Covering road, mountain and commuter cycles, the first Boardman range was available exclusively in Halfords although a high-end range will be available in IBDs in 2008 and the brand has signed riders such as Nicole Cooke, the Welsh wonderwoman.
Halfords also got an exclusive on a Boardman-branded accessories and clothing range, including a carbon fibre bottle cage, jerseys, helmets and computers.
Boardman said: “I’ve always been involved with every element of my professional cycling career right through to the bikes and equipment I used. I had the idea and desire to create a range of bikes to cover all disciplines and be available to a wide spectrum of cyclists. The partnership with Halfords is the perfect fit.”
Boardman is also the director of research and development for the highly successful Great Britain cycling team.
The Boardman Bikes brand is headed by Alan Ingerfield, a former UK Ironman champion. The brand’s retail and marketing advisor is Terry Bowles, former MD of Madison. Also on board is designer Dimitris Katsanis, creator of the UK Sport Institute bike, British Cycling’s official bicycle.
Halfords has the UK licence for the ‘good, better, best’ cboardman bikes but the ‘elite’ level bikes will be made available to IBDs in the UK and around the world.
Overall, the first half of 2007 saw an 8.5 percent sales uplift for the chain. For the 26 weeks to September 28th revenue increased to £400.7m. Like-for-like sales increased by 5.5 percent. Profit before tax was £47.6m, a jump of 16.4 percent.
Gross profit percentage remained in line with expectation, reflecting balanced sales growth across all core categories and ongoing sourcing benefits, said CEO Ian McLeod.
“Our sales and service strategy, particularly in cycling and camping, has delivered an improvement in like-for-like sales growth against strong comparatives last year. This result continues to demonstrate both Halfords’ resilience and its defensive qualities.
“Halfords continues to grow sales in all of its key categories, maintaining the long-term momentum in the business. Our market-leading positions in leisure, in-car technology and car maintenance, together with our high levels of service and store opening programme continue to differentiate Halfords within the retail sector. Trading in the seven weeks since the half-year end is in line with our expectations and, whilst acknowledging a challenging retail environment, we remain confident in our second half performance.”
During the first half of 2007, Halfords opened ten new stores, resulting in 433 stores trading at the half-year end. Of these new stores nine were superstores, seven were in supermezzanine format and one was in a smaller, ‘neighbourhood’ format, taking the total of these stores to sixteen.
McLeod said: “The cycle market is enjoying a period of encouraging growth, through a combination of leisure, environmental, fitness and commuting needs. During the first six months, we introduced over 100 new models under the Apollo or Carrera branding. Apollo is now the UK’s leading cycle brand.
“Our exclusive premium range of Boardman cycles and cycle accessories, developed in partnership with Chris Boardman OBE, is exceeding our expectations. Initial sales are very encouraging and the range has benefited from positive reviews by the specialist press.”
LE TOUR FEVER GRIPS BRITAIN
More than three million spectators watched the Tour de France as it raced through London and southern England.
Transport Commissioner for London, Peter Hendy said:
“With estimates of over two million spectators in London over the weekend, and initial estimates thought to number a further through million through Kent, this has been a phenomenal success for all involved.
“This has also been a superb advertisement for cycling, not just at the elite sporting level but for the profile of cycling in general. I believe that the Tour has helped in our push to see many more Londoners helping to accelerate and deepen the cycling renaissance that the capital is already experiencing.”
According to Transport for London, the Tour de France’s legacy to London was a 10.5 per cent increase in the number of people cycling on the Capital’s major roads in the six months from April to September compared with the same period in 2006, with an estimated 48,000 more cycle journeys everyday.
In a survey conducted by TfL, 50 per cent of spectators said they would cycle more as a result of the Tour’s visit to London.
BIKE WEEK SHIFTS UP A GEAR
Long-time Bike Week organiser Nick Harvey organised his final pro-cycling campaign in 2007. The 2008 event will be co-organised by Limelight Sports and Forster. Limelight Sports will be handling event coordination, while Forster will lead on brand development, marketing and communications.
Limelight Sports has managed sports events such as Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile, Palace to Palace Cycle ride and Move it at the Manor walking and cycling festival. Limelight is the behind-the-scenes organiser of London’s mass bike ride, the Hovis London Freewheel, a massive success and held at the end of September.
Forster is a communications consultancy focused on social and environmental issues with expertise in behaviour change campaigns.
In November, a fire thought to have been started by a young ex-employee, destroyed the Bisley Works of RJ Chicken & Sons, UK importer of Time and other top European brands.
The Bedfordshire company was back on its feet quickly, partly because a move to a new location was already underway.
CYCLE SURGERY BOUGHT BY OUTDOOR CHAIN
London independent bike shop Cycle Surgery was taken over in November by Snow+Rock for an undisclosed sum. Dion Taylor, MD of Snow+Rock, said:
“The combination of these two brands will give us the opportunity to introduce cycling to our core customer base UK wide and helps us to fulfill our ambition to be the best independent specialist sports and outdoor retailer in the UK year round.
“The team at Cycle Surgery offer outstanding knowledge, customer service and a real passion for cycling; all attributes which we value highly.”
Ben Cater, co-founder of Cycle Surgery with Stephen Swinton, said:
“After owning and managing Cycle Surgery for fifteen years we have decided that the time is right to bow out of the cycle business. Through discussions with the owners of Snow+Rock, we felt enormous synergy and confidence that they would stay true to our core values, whilst taking Cycle Surgery to the next level. They have a first rate infrastructure that can only benefit Cycle Surgery in the coming years making our brand a household name UK-wide, while maintaining our core value ‘that customers should leave our stores more enthusiastic about cycling than when they entered.’”
RALEIGH MD LIKENS IBDs TO ‘STEPTOE AND SON’
Raleigh’s latest financials show the company with a profit of £1.2m on turnover of £31m. In 2002 the business lost nearly £6m. All good news. But the bubble was burst in November 2007 when a business profile of Raleigh MD Mark Gouldthorp in the Guardian newspaper likened IBDs to ‘Steptoe and Son’, a 1970s sitcom about a rag-and-bone father-and-son team. Gouldthorp also said Halfords, and other big-box retail customers of Raleigh, were “vipers”.
“I have spent my whole career working for classic British industries that couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery - 15 years at ICI, eight years at ICL. The management spent 90 percent of their time rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
“It is soul destroying. So to come to Raleigh at the point where it has got the chance of a new life is a tremendous opportunity.”
But Gouldthorp was soon forced on the defensive after criticisms of his own customers.
Gouldthorp called Argos, Halfords and JJB “a bunch of vipers.” Independents were “a shambles.”
Gouldthorp admitted saying: “It is real Steptoe and Son stuff. Most of them will turn the lights off on a sunny day to save a bit of lecky [electricity]. If you want to imagine the typical independent bike dealer, he is 50-60, highly cynical, miserable, moaning, scruffy. That’s my customer. It is great.”
Gouldthorp later claimed the interview with the Guardian reporter had been partially “tongue in cheek” but had also been “taken out of context”.
When asked whether seeking the business profile in the Guardian was anything to do with chairman Alan Finden-Crofts seeking a buyer for the company, Gouldthorp said it wasn’t.
“We’re not for sale. The company is growing and is successful. I am keen to get that message across to the public. PR is a cheap way of doing that.”
26 November 2007
Businesses most prepared for climate change will thrive
Met Office Chairman Robert Napier will address the influential CBI annual conference on Tuesday 27 November on how businesses can thrive in a changing climate.
Met Office Consulting has worked with the CBI Task Force on Climate Change identifying how businesses will need to adapt to our changing climate, recognising both the risks and opportunities this brings. Mr Napier will present findings from the Met Office report “Climate change adaptation for UK businesses”, released today on the Met Office website.
Robert Napier said “Adaptation can reduce the impacts of a changing climate. Given that for the coming two or three decades, we are already committed to many of these impacts, it is crucial that UK businesses prepare for these inevitable changes. There are opportunities in many market sectors afforded by the changing climate, which means that those most resilient to global warming will thrive.”
30 May 2007
Latest update to Met Office summer forecast
The latest seasonal forecast from the Met Office, updated today, still indicates that this summer is likely to be warmer than average.
Following the trend set throughout 2006 and the first part of 2007, seasonal forecasters say there is a high probability that summer temperature will exceed the 1971-2000 long-term average of 14.1 °C.
Current rainfall indications suggest that over the summer as a whole southern parts of the UK are more likely to experience average or below-average rainfall, while the north is more likely to see average or above-average rainfall.
Trevor Bishop, Head of Water Resources Management at the Environment Agency said: “Although water resources are generally in a healthy position, there’s still no room for complacency. As summer approaches we shouldn’t forget about saving water. An extended period of hot dry weather could start to put water supplies and the environment under pressure.”
This summer looks set to have been the wettest since UK rainfall records began in 1914, Met Office figures revealed today.
Provisional rainfall figures (up to 28 August) show that the UK as a whole had 358.5 mm of rain, just beating the previous record of 358.4 mm in 1956. However, since it is such a narrow margin between the figures and further rainfall data has to be gathered, this summer could end up being the second wettest since the UK rainfall series began in 1914.
Keith Groves, Head of Forecasting, said “These figures confirm what most people have already been thinking - this summer has been very wet and very disappointing for most.”
The wet summer has been largely caused by the position of the jet stream, a ribbon of very strong winds which brings weather systems across the UK. For much of this summer the jet stream was further south and stronger than in a typical summer -bringing depressions across many parts of the country.
Although very wet, the UK this summer has actually had average temperatures of 14.1 °C.
As autumn draws to a close, provisional figures from the Met Office show that the season is on course to be one of the driest on record across the UK.
One of the main themes of the weather this autumn was the higher frequency of dry and settled conditions, often with fog and frost. These types of weather were brought out in the Met Office seasonal autumn forecast, which also predicted a distinct absence of wet and stormy weather.
EUROPEAN BICYCLE CONSUMPTION
Germany 4.71m France 2.6m UK 2.3m Italy 1.5m Netherlands 1.4m Spain 630 000 Austria 440 000 Benelux 420 000 Sweden 420 000 Denmark 405 000 Portugal 360 000 Finland 220 000 Greece 200 000 Ireland 85 000 (Source: European Bicycle Manufacturersí Association, 2000)
EUROPEAN BICYCLE IMPORTS (for the year 2000)
UNITED KINGDOM 1.85m (1999 = 1.940) Taiwan 752 000; Philippines 366 000; India 209 000; Bangladesh 75 000; Vietnam 62 000; Indonesia 56 000; Poland 29 000; South Korea 28 000; Thailand 23 000; USA 11 000.
ITALY Taiwan 49 000; Tunisia 40 000; China 19 000; Vietnam 4000; Hungary 3400; USA 3300, Turkey 2800; Thailand 1300.
IRELAND Taiwan 21 000; Philippines 20 000; Czech Republic 2700; China 2400; USA 2300; Sri Lanka 1500.
(Source: European Bicycle Manufacturersí Association)
In 2001 Taiwan exported 708 000 units to the US (a drop of 56 percent over 2000); 1 006 725 to Europe (a drop of 32 percent over 2000); and 725 341 to Japan (a drop of 28 percent over 2000). (Source: Taiwan Bicycle Exportersí Association).
In 2002, there was a 30 percent growth in bikes imported into Europe from Asia. From Jan-August 2003, 3.5 million bikes were imported into the EU from Asia, 26 percent more compared to the same period in 2002. Vietnam was the biggest gainer, increasing its exports by 61 percent with 810 000 bikes exported into the EU in the first eight months of the year. India reported a 60 percent gain. And despite the 30.6 percent anti-dumping duty, EU imports of Chinese bikes increased by 43 percent. (Source: Eurostat).
ANTI-DUMPING - EUROPE, NOT U.S. Anti-dumping duty on Taiwanese bikes ended on February 26th 2004. It continues on Chinese bicycles until July 2005.
In 2000, the European Union prolonged the anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese bicycles.
The original Regulation no. 2474/93 applied only to bicycles but was extended to the following bicycle parts by Regulation no. 71/97: painted or anodized or polished and/or lacquered bicycle frames (CN 87149110) - painted or anodized or polished and/or lacquered bicycle front forks (CN 87149130) - derailleur gears (CN 87149950) - crank-gear (CN 87149630) - free-wheel sprocket-wheels (CN 87149390) - brakes other than coaster brakes and hub brakes (CN 87149430) - brake levers (CN 87149490) - complete wheels with or without tubes, tyres and sprockets (CN 87149990) - handlebars (CN87149910) whether or not presented with a stem, brake and/or gear levers attached.
As a result of the 2000 review, an anti-dumping duty of 30.6% applies on Chinese bikes until July 2005. However, if importers or exporters can provide sufficient evidence that measures are no longer necessary to offset dumping, they are entitled to request an interim review during that period. On the other hand, if the Commission or the Community producers believe that the expiry of the anti-dumping measures will lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping, another review may be initiated by the time the current anti-dumping measures come to an end. (Source: ETRA)
EU countries imported 2.1 million bikes from Taiwan in 2002. Vietnam exported 726,000 bikes to the EU; Poland 616,000; China 535,000; and the Philippinesm533,000. (Source: COLIBI )
OWNERSHIP AND USE According to Key Noteís 1995 Bicycle Report, bicycle ownership levels have doubled over the past decade to over 20 million cycles in the UK.
In 1998, the CTC and the National Byway estimated that there are now 23 million bikes in ownership.
One in three adults owns a bicycle. (Source: Mintel, 1995).
3.6 million people use their bicycles on a weekly basis (Source: Countryside Commission, 1995).
1.1 million people are daily commuters (Source: Department of Transport, 1991).
40 percent of people use their bikes for leisure. More people would use their bicycles more if the environment for cycling was better (Source: Cycling Motorists, How to encourage them, Automobile Association).
According to the Lifestyle Pocket Book, 8.5 percent of adults had participated in cycling during the preceding 4 week period in 1999, compared with only 3 percent in 1986 and 2 percent in 1980. (Sources: BMRB and NTC).
Men cycle more than women, making 24 journeys per person per year overall compared with ten journeys for women. Women are more likely to use cycling to go to the shops than men, while men are more likely to use cycles for work. Men cycle for leisure more than women. (Source: National Travel Survey 1997/99)
Figures released in July 2005 by Sustrans show that more people than ever are cycling and walking, despite government statistics to the contrary. The results of the charity’’s route user monitoring survey for 2004 reveals that 201 million cycling and walking trips were made on the National Cycle Network, a growth of 11.6 percent on the previous year. Cycling trips increased by 11.1 percent and walking by 12 percent. This directly contradicts the government’’s Transport Statistics Bulletin, released at the begining of July, which estimates a 14.4 percent drop in ”pedal cycle traffic” between 2003 and 2004. Sustrans” survey also shows how an increase in cycling and walking is contributing to a reduction in climate-changing CO2 emissions. In 2004 just over 50 million trips on the National Cycle Network replaced a car trip and many of those were commuter journeys to work. 58 percent of all car journeys made in the UK are under 5 miles. The average cycle trip length using traffic-free paths is nearly 5 miles. The DfT’’s stats bulletin does not include information from traffic-free routes, a fact highlighted by John Grimshaw, CEO of Sustrans: “We urge the Department for Transport to include these in future to give a much fairer assessment of the true position of cycling and walking in Britain..” Source: Sustrans
In 2004, 4.5m bikes were sold in the UK (Source: Bicycle Association of GB, ).
CYCLE OWNERSHIP & SOCIAL CLASS People from the wealthiest A, B and C1 social categories are most likely to own bicycles and to use them for local trips. (Source: Mintel, 1995)
A survey of bicycle ownership in Scotland, based on a sample of 3,219 respondents, found that respondents in the younger age groups were more likely than those over 65 years old to live in a household in which a household member owned a bicycle. Respondents in the lower socio-economic groups were less likely to have a bicycle owner in their household than those in the other groups. This is an indication that those in the higher income groups are more likely to cycle. Children in households with cars cycle further (over twice the distance) as children in no car households. (Source: Scottish Gov, 2001, Sharing Road Space: BICYCLE OWNERSHIP)
CYCLING VERSUS DRIVING (stats from the Department for transport) Road traffic has grown by 73 per cent since 1980. The majority of the growth has been in car traffic. Motorways account for less than one per cent of road length, but carry 20 per cent of total traffic.
Over the last 20 years, the overall cost of motoring has remained at or below its 1980 level (in real terms), and petrol prices have increased by 12 per cent, while bus fares have risen by 31 per cent and rail fares by 37 per cent. Over the same period, average disposable income has gone up by more than 80 per cent. Transport generally has therefore become more affordable, car use more so than public transport.
The proportion of households with access to a car continues to increase. There are now more households with access to two or more cars than there are households without a car. Adults in households with two cars travel on average nearly four times further than those in households without a car. 62 per cent of households in the lowest income quintile do not have a car.
69 per cent of people go to work by car (up from 59 per cent in 1985/86), 7 per cent by bus and 11 per cent on foot. Since 1985/6, the proportion of primary school children going to school by car has increased from 22 to 39 per cent, though 54 per cent walk. Among secondary school children, 18 per cent go by car, 43 per cent walk and 32 per cent go by bus. There have been signs that the proportions of children taken to school by car have stabilised since the mid 1990s.
In terms of fatalities per passenger kilometre, air continues to be the safest mode of transport. Travel by two-wheeled motor vehicle, pedal cycle, or on foot, has continued to be significantly less safe than travel by other modes. However, while pedestrian and pedal cyclist safety has improved in recent years, the fatality rate for two-wheeled vehicles has worsened and is now about three a half times the rate for pedal cyclists, and two and a half times the rate for pedestrians.
Walking and cycling have both declined significantly over the past twenty years. The distance people walk on average has fallen by about one third, and distance cycled by about 14 per cent. The accompanying growth in motorised transport has resulted in a 39 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transport, which now accounts for 26 per cent of UK emissions. Two thirds of people now understand that transport emissions are a major factor contributing to climate change.
Improvements in fuel efficiency for individual vehicles have been balanced out by the growth in the volume of traffic. Most of transportís increase in energy consumption during the 1990s was accounted for by aviation, up from 7 to 12 million tonnes of oil equivalent.
Walking and cycling can contribute to personal well being through exercise. However, walking and cycling on public highways, parks and cycle-ways have both been in long-term decline as car ownership and use have increased and, particularly so far as walking is concerned, there is no sign of this trend being reversed. It should however be noted that these figures exclude walking or cycling on paths and bridle-ways in the countryside. Average trip length has been fairly stable over the years, at around 0.6 miles. The number of cycle stages declined steadily between 1985/86 and 1999/2001, from 25 to 16 per person per year in Great Britain ñ down 36 per cent. There has been a smaller decrease in the average distance cycled of 14 per cent, from 44 to 38 miles a year. Average trip length has increased over the years, from 1.8 to 2.5 miles. The Government has a target to triple the number of cycling trips in England by 2010, compared with a 2000 base.
The recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes a day, which could be achieved by walking or cycling for some short journeys. However, estimates based on National Travel Survey data suggest that only 15 per cent (fewer than one in six) of the population averaged at least 30 minutes walk a day over the course of a week in 1999/2001. This is down slightly compared with 1985/86, but even then only 20 per cent (one in five) of the population averaged at least 30 minutes walk a day over the course of a week. And only 2 per cent made even one cycle journey of 30 minutes or more in a week in 1999/2001 ñ unchanged since 1985/86.
In a household survey in 2001 nearly a half (47 per cent) of people mentioned at least one improvement that would be needed for them to consider cycling more. Most frequently mentioned were better/safer cycling routes (32 per cent), more cycling routes (31 per cent) and cycle parking facilities (28 per cent). Driversí attitudes towards cyclists were also important - mentioned by 26 per cent.
Per mile an average motorway costs £23m (Source: CPRE, July 2005). The National Cycle Network costs £45 000 per mile to build. (Source: Sustrans, 2005)
CYCLING PARTICIPANTS As of November 2005, British Cycling had 18 400 members in 1200 clubs, a 40-year high. 10 000 of these members hold full racing licences and of these 1200 are MTB racers, 1900 are cyclo-cross racers, 600 are BMXers and 600 are cycle speedway racers.
The Cyclistsí Touring Club (CTC) has 55 000 members (including associate members) and Sustrans has 38 000 ësupportersí.
Cycling is the second most popular sport for 6-16 year olds, beating football and just pipped by swimming. 51 percent are swimmers. 49 percent are cyclists. 37 percent are footballers. However, 18 percent particupate in no sport whatsoever, up from 15 percent in 1994. (Source: Sport England survey of 3000 children, 2003)
Cycle sport participation
Road racing: 2101 events with 126,060 participants
Time trials: 1932 events with 85,000 participants
MTB: 138 events with 20,700 participants
Cycle speedway: 373 events with 6500 participants
Track: 383 events with 10,250 participants
BMX: 79 events with 8000 participants
Cyclo cross: 210 events with 11 000 participants
(Source: British Cycling, 2002)
Levels of cycle commuting in UK towns and cities Cambridge 28.2 percent York 19.0 percent Gosport 15.1 percent Crewe 11.9 percent Cheltenham 9.3 percent … Merthyr 0.5 percent Motherwell 0.4 percent Rhondda 0.2 percent Inverclyde 0.1 percent
Data from Transport for London shows that cycling in the Central London area grew by 74 percent from 1993 - 2002. Thereís been a further increase of 16 percent in cycling into the congestion charge zone, which lies within the central area, since the charge was introduced.
Figures from Sustrans reveal that usage of the UK National Cycle Network grew by 18 percent in 2002. The sustainable transport charity claims that 35 percent of route users could have used a car, but chose to walk or cycle instead. In 2002, 35 million trips that could have been made by car were instead made by walking and cycling on sections of the National Cycle Network. 48 percent of journeys on the Network were on foot. 43 percent of the cycle trips on the Network were made for utility purposes, (i.e. getting to work, shops or other services. 77 percent of cyclists said the NCN has helped them to increase their level of physical activity. Among those new to cycling 61 percent claimed that they had increased their physical activity by a large amount. (Source: Sustrans)
Accidents deter use Casualties per 100 million kilometres travelled UK 8 Denmark 1 Netherlands 0.8
Percent of journeys by bicycle UK 2.3 percent Denmark 18 percent Netherlands 27 percent (Source: Sustrans)
Road Casualty figures In 2000, the number of casualties among users of two-wheeled motor vehicles rose by eight per cent and the number of deaths increased by 11 per cent to 605. However, cyclist casualties in 2000 fell by ten per cent from the 1999 level. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fell by 13 per cent. Serious and fatal accidents involving cyclists have steadily fallen from 3732 (average per year) between 1994 and 1998 to 2700 in 2000. (Source: ëRoad Accidents Great Britain 2000: The Casualty Report, DTLR). Sustrans claims this is ìalmost certainly down in part to a massive increase in cycle lanes in urban areas over recent years.î (Source: Sustrans press release, 26th November 2001).
In 2001, the number of pedal cyclist casualties fell by 7 per cent to 19 094. There were 2541 seriously injured casualties, 4 per cent less than in 2000. The number killed rose by 9 per cent to 138. However, the number of fatalities among pedal cyclists was particularly low in 2000 and the number of deaths in 2001 was below that in 1999. There was a slight fall in cycle traffic in 2001. (Source: Road Casualties Great Britain: 2001) www.transtat.dft.gov.uk/tables/2002/rcas/rcas01.htm.
According to table 1f of ìRoad Accidents Great Britain 2000î (RAGB), there were 20,612 reported accidents involving pedal cyclists in 2000, mainly with other vehicles, of these 127 were killed and 2643 seriously injured.
Table 23 of RAGB shows there were 246 reported accidents involving pedal cyclists and pedestrians. These accidents resulted in 250 pedestrian casualties, of whom 1 was killed and 60 were seriously injured, and 55 cyclist casualties, of whom 5 were seriously injured.
BICYCLE THIEVES The Home Office bicycle theft figures for the 12 months to March 2000 showed an increase to 131 240 and a detection rate of 5 percent.
In Scotland 8912 cycles were taken in year 2000(8406) and in Northern Ireland 1223 bikes were stolen (1220). On average, 150 000 bicycles are stolen per year.
POLICE ON BIKES 43 percent of Americaís local police departments use bicycle patrols, compared with 28 percent in 1997 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics).
A 2004 survey by the Chartered Management Institute found that the most reliable way of getting to work is by bicycle. The CMI believes travel disruptions are delaying managers at a cost of more than 2 million working-hours per week. The CMI survey examined the levels of disruption experienced by managers travelling to work by car, bus, motorbike, train, the underground and bicycle and found that those travelling by cycle experienced the least amount of delay.
On February 17th 2003 London motorists had to start paying a £5 charge when entering the congestion charge zone. The number of people cycling in central London has soared following the introduction of the congestion charge and the promotion of cycling as a convenient and healthy mode of travel. Official figures from 2003 show that, at peak times, there were 73 percent more people entering the congestion charge zone on bikes than in the year before the congestion charge was introduced. During May and June 2003, an average of 18,131 cyclists entered the congestion zone each day between 7am and 6.30pm. This represents a 31 percent increase on the previous year - with one cyclist entering the congestion charge zone for every seven private cars. During the same period, an average of 8,686 cyclists entered the congestion zone during the morning rush hour from 7.30am to 9.30am. This represents a 73 percent increase on 2002. (Source: Transport for London). In fact, the number of cyclists is higher than official counts because the cyclists entering the congestion zone are only counted on shared routes with other traffic. It’’s estimated more than 3000 cyclists a day are not included in the official figures.
A 2003 study from the Bolton Institute showed that the London borough of Hackney is increasing the number of cycle commuters faster than anywhere else in the UK. Six other Inner London boroughs make it into the UK top 14. And this study didn”t take into account the growth in cycle commuting thanks to the congestion charge introduced in February 2003. In 2001 the proportionof journeys to work by bike in Hackney was 6.83 percent - an increase of almost 70 percent from the proportion in 1991 (4.03 percent) and more than 150 percent from 1981 (2.56 percent). Cambridge remains the UK district with the greatest amount of cycling (28.34 percent of journeys to work), but in terms of growth it loses out to Hackney.
CYCLE USE GROWTH 1991 - 2001: Hackney 2.81% Cambridge 2.28% Bristol: City of UA 1.64% Islington 1.63% Reading UA 1.61% Hamm & Fulham 1.41% Lambeth 1.41% Exeter 1.40% Camden 1.32% Oswestry 1.19% Brighton UA 1.15% Wandsworth 1.14% Southwark 1.10% Nottingham 1.00%
(Source: John Parkin, Bolton Institute Comparisons of cycle use for the journey to work from the ”81, ”91 and 2001 censuses. Traffic Engineering and Control, September 2003).
NATIONAL CYCLING STRATEGY The Conservative government launched a National Cycling Strategy in 1996 and this was ratified by the New Labour Government in 1997. The NCS aimed to double bicycle use by 2002, and double it again to 10 percent of all journeys by 2012. Between 1998 and 1999 there was a 5 percent increase in bicycle use, according to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. This contrasted sharply with an average fall in pedal power of 4 percent between 1995 and 1998. However, in 2004 the targets were scrapped.
NATIONAL BIKE WEEK National Bike Week, organised by the Cyclistsí Touring Club since 1992, attracts a quarter-of-a-million participants each June, and generates £4 million worth of positive press coverage. In 2000 National Bike Week was called The Millennium Festival of Cycling and was part funded by the Millennium Commission. In 2001 the week was called the Festival of Cycling. The 2002 event was government-sponsored and was called Bike Week. The 2003 Bike Week was also grant-aided by the Department of Transport but this cash was withdrawn from 2004. £25k has been provided for Bike Week 2004 from the Bike Hub levy fund, and because of this, the DfT re-started funding Bike Week, to the tune of £50 000 for the 2004 event.
NATIONAL CYCLE NETWORK Sustrans the rail-to-trails building charity ëbuiltí 5000 miles of continuous cycle route (the National Cycle Network) by June 21st in the year 2000, 75 percent of which are signed routes on minor roads. The charity planned to complete another 5000 miles by 2005 but by September 2005 had completed 10 000 miles. About half are on traffic-free paths and half on traffic-calmed minor roads. It will be within a 10-minute cycle ride of 23 million people, and will carry nearly 100 million journeys a year. Sustrans was awarded £42.5m from the Millennium Commission in 1995 although the total cost of the National Cycle Network is estimated at £400m.
There are around 2000 bridges, 10 000 seats, 30 000 flush curbs, 40 000 painted bicycle symbols, and 50 000 signs on the National Cycle Network. The Network hosts the largest collection of outdoor art and sculpture in the UK ñ over 2000 pieces in total. (Source: Sustrans, 2005)
FIGHTING FUND Almost all new bicycles sold in the UK from 1st January 1997 to November 2000 attracted a levy of 0.25 percent (50p on a £200 bike) and the cash from this went straight to the National Cycle Network. The cycle industry had to raise £1m for Sustrans in order for the lottery cash to be paid. The levy scheme was allowed to lapse but, from Oct 1st 2003, was resurrected to pay for cycle advocacy schemes. The ëCycle Industry fundí, a Bicycle Association and ACT initiative, was due to start in January 2003 but lapsed until new BAGB president Phillip Darnton knocked heads together. The scheme is now called Bike Hub. Unlike with the ëSustrans levyí, Halfords is not contributing to Bike Hub. However, just about every other company, and cycle magazine, is part of the scheme.
NATIONAL BYWAY The National Byway, originally sponsored to the tune of £500 000 by Hovis (now no longer a sponsor), is a 3000 mile heritage sign-posting project. It visits 1000 ëtourist sitesí along the way.
FLEET OF FOOT The largest fleet of bicycles in the UK - 37 000 strong! - is operated by the Royal Mail, which spends £1.5m pounds a year on cycle spares. The Royal Mailís fleet is currently being updated with Mail Star bikes, specially designed for the Royal Mail by Pashley Cycles of Stratford upon Avon. The old bikes are given to Re~Cycle, a charity which re-furbs them and ships them out to people in the Developing World.
CYCLE TRADE There are about 20 000 people involved in the UK cycle industry, mostly involved in distribution and retail.
There are about 400 bicycle and bicycle accessory suppliers, although these are declining or being absorbed into larger groups. For instance, the Tandem Group (main brands: Falcon, Claud Butler) acquired Two Wheel Trading in 2000, and Dawes (founded 1926) in June 2001. Later MV Sports was also added to the group.
The Bicycle Association of Great Britain is a supplierís only organisation and has 42 members, 35 of which are ëfullí members. Halfords is a member (it has own-label bikes as well as being a retailer).
Depending who you believe there are up to 4000 bicycle shops (Independent Bicycle Dealers - IBDs) although many of these will also sell other items such as prams and auto accessories and cannot be considered ëtrueí bike shops.
The Association of Cycle Traders has about 800 shop members.
At the Cycle & Leisure Show held at the NEC in March 2001, 1233 individual IBDs attended, which is perhaps a measure of how many ëactiveí shops there are in the UK. Commercial mailing lists typically have c. 2100 IBDs. The Yellow Pages Business Database lists about 2000 cycle shops, although not all could be considered ëtrueí bike shops.
BicycleBusiness magazine goes out to c. 2200 trade addresses per month, including c. 1500 IBDs.
Anecdotally, for every three IBDs that close (and which BicycleBusiness scrubs from its mailing list) at least another one opens. The number of IBDs is declining but at a much slower rate than might be expected considering the relative buying power and marketing muscle of chains such as JJB and Halfords. This is because of the enthusiast-led nature of the trade.
Strong, regional IBDs (and mini-chains of independents) are becoming stronger over time and are sucking in trade from outlying areas. There are about 40 superpower IBDs in the UK, plus about 300 strong IBDs.
Over 45 percent of all VAT-registered cycle (and pram!) shops turned over less than £100 000 in 1995 (following re-organisation of the VAT trade codes in 1996, cycle shops are no longer classified separately) while 78 percent turned over less than £250 000. (Source: Office of National Statistics, PA1003)
Multiples and supermarkets which retail bicycles include: Halfords, 387 branches, including 80 Bikehuts JJB Toys R Us (ëTruí sells 300k+ bikes a year in the UK. Much of Truís total bike sales is made up of toy bikes and trikes, ie the kind of ëbikesí not recorded in other stats). MotorWorld (MBO 2001, 195 high street stores) Decathlon (this French-based cross-Europe sports chain is one of the biggest retailers of bikes in France, with a 25 percent market share with its own brand of Decathlon bikes. The Decathlon cycle division accounts for 12 percent of Decathlonís total group turnover. Decathlon sold 900 000 bikes in 2001, 750 000 of them in France. 30 percent were childrenís bikes. Decathlon now has six stores in the UK: Surrey Quays, Romford, Merry Hill, Nottingham, Stockport and Sheffield. To date, Decathlon - which only retails own-brand bikes, albeit ones now seen in the pro-peleton - has not been a major mover and shaker in the UK bike trade. But this could be about to change. Decathlon France is talking about ramping up investment in the UK, especially on the bike side. Decathlon has 320 stores, 210 of them in France. Before the opening of the London Surrey Quays store there were fears that Decathlon would be a dominant force (the chain certainly dominates the French retail scene) but the store design and product offerings were strangely out-of-context in the UK.
Tescos and other supermarkets periodically retail bicycles - especially at Christmas - and may become more major players in the future. Tescos reportedly sold 8000 low-end bikes from 80 stores in August 2002. Asda/Wal-Mart is seeking to increase its non-food offering and has recently got into bikes in a big way.
Asda sells 25 000 bikes a year, all of them budget.
Halfords is Britainís biggest retailer of bicycles with 25-30 percent of Britainís bicycles and bike-related P&A. It was floated in 2004. Its like-for-like sales rose 11 percent in the half-year to September 24th. Sales increased 13 percent. The company is valued at £688m.
COST OF DOING BUSINESS
RETAIL MARGINS The typical IBD gross profit margin on bicycles is 34 percent. On clothing it is 43 percent and on P&A (parts and accessories) it is 48 percent (Source: BicycleBusiness)
RETAIL RATIOS Rate of stock turnover - four turns a year (hardware) Return on capital - 5.1 percent Return on assets - 2.0 percent Quick ratio - 0.2 Working capital ratio - 1.2 (Source: Dun and Bradstreet International Key Business Ratios for sporting goods and bicycle retailers)
AVERAGE EXPENSES FOR IBDs (Expressed as a percentage of gross annual sales)
Payroll Expenses ó 20.5% Occupancy Expenses ó 7.7% Advertising/Promotion ó 3.% Auto and Delivery ó 0.5% Depreciation ó 0.9% Insurance ó 0.8% Licenses/Other Taxes ó 0.5% Professional Services ó 0.5% Office Supplies/Postage ó 1.2% Telephone ó 0.6% Travel/Entertainment ó 0.4% Other operating expensesó 1.3% TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES ó 37.7%
NET INCOME BEFORE TAX ó 4.2%
GROSS MARGIN ON BICYCLE SALES ó 36% GROSS MARGIN ON CLOTHING SALES ó 43% GROSS MARGIN OTHER EQUPT. ó 48.1% Source: NBDA, USA
The big are getting bigger: Stores with revenues of less than $300k increased year-on-year sales by 1.8 percent (2003 versus 2002). Stores with revenues between $300k and $500k saw sales fall 2.3 percent Stores with revenues between $500k and $1m increased their sales by 3.4 percent. Stores with revenues of $1m+ increased their sales by 18.7 percent. (Source: NBDA, 2004)
WANT TO START A BIKE SHOP? Here’’s some advice from the US National Bicycle Dealers” Association:
“THE BAD NEWS: Weíd be remiss if we didnít try to scare you off from the difficult task of starting a retail bicycle business. So here goes: Retailing is difficult, and itís getting tougher. If we told you that youíd go broke within the first three years, weíd be right 70% of the time…Todayís consumer wants high quality, great personal service, and a super-low price. There isnít much room for error, and the small storeís costs are usually higher than the big guy’’s. The competitive battle is won through excellence, and excellence is not always easy to achieve.
“Many people have lost their livesí savings in the retail bicycle business because they loved bikes, but didnít have a similar zest for the art of retailing. Bike shops run by people who are only bicycle hobbyists, and not business people, typically find the going tough in todayís competitive market.
“Add all that to the overall slim profitability in the bicycle industry, and you can really get depressed. NBDA studies show the typical bicycle dealer needs about a 36% profit margin to cover the costs of doing business and break even financially. Studies also show the average realized profit margin on bicycles to be around 36%, which is a break-even proposition devoid of profit. Fortunately accessories products generally carry a higher profit margin than bicycles. Still, the average bike dealerís profit is less than 5% at yearís end.”
“THE GOOD NEWS: The level of innovation and diversity has never been higher in “dealer-quality” bicycle products. The number of entrepreneurial companies designing and manufacturing appealing products for the public is high, both in bicycles and accessories items. There isnít any part on a bicycle which hasnít been improved in the last five or so years. The bicycle is tied to health, vitality, fun and exercise. The bicycle is one of the least-expensive transportation choices available, as well as a wonderful tool for fitness and fun. The bicycle affects peoplesí lives in very positive ways, and its use contributes to the betterment of the environment.
“Look closely at yourself before taking on the difficult task of starting a bicycle business. Enthusiasm is important, but itís not enough. Make sure you can muster excitement and creativity for merchandising, buying strategies, accounting, inventory control, advertising, employee relations, and sweeping the floors. You must want to serve people of all ages, types, colors and creeds. Youíll need some mechanical inclination and a strong constitution ó not flinching from long hours, hard work and setbacks.
The most successful dealers…stress personal service, and developing personal relationships with customers based on caring and service. Quality and personal attention are powerful ways to differentiate yourself from the various discounters and mail order outfits competing for the cycling dollar. The owner and key managers must truly want to help customers and the community, and be truly concerned about and involved with them.
This model of service affects almost every decision made by a retailer. Each time a customer steps into your store, he or she is judging the experience. You and your store are performing, and the showroom is your stage for showing product in interesting ways, where you interact with customers, and try to find out what they need and want that you can provide. The successful dealer pays very close attention to the quality of the customerís “retail experience.” Customers donít like to be ignored, or taken for granted, or manipulated, or bored. Attention to detail, good selection, knowledge, a caring attitude, good product presentation ó these are all keys to giving the customer that good experience. The store must be identified as “the brand” in the community — not just the products they carry. Relying on the specific products you sell for your identity is extremely risky because others can also sell those specific products.
“High quality retailing is not possible without being profitable, having the resources to meet customer expectations and wants. A common scenario of a struggling dealer is one who fails to maintain appropriate profit margins that allow financial viability, but instead uses unrealistic low prices across the board to attract customers. This can lead to what some refer to as the “death spiral.” The retailer may appear busy and successful at first, but if revenue doesn”t cover operating costs, failure is inevitable. Itís simple arithmetic ó if your sales donít cover your cost of goods plus your expenses, youíre losing money. Know what YOUR break-even point is. Be in control.”
ACT MEMBER SURVEY In summer 2002, the Association of Cycle Traders carried out an HSBC-sponsored member survey. Here are a selection of the results:
There is a 60:40 split in partnership/shared ownership businesses versus sole proprietors.
ACT members have, on average, 1.26 store locations, with 15% of each store given over to workshop/repairs
46% of ACT member stores are in city/town centre locations. 40% are in suburban locations and 14% are in rural locations.
ACT members cater to: 30.8% enthusiast customers; 34.5% junior/family customers and 34.7% commuting/utility customers. The enthusiast customers are made up of road (35%), MTB (42%) and BMX (23%).
30.5% of ACT members provide a cycle hire service.
ACT members employ an average of 4 staff per outlet of which 15% are female.
40% of ACT members are sole traders; 37% are in partnerships; 23% are limited companies.
ACT members buy from an average of 5.5 suppliers (bikes) and 12.1 suppliers (P&A).
16.4% of ACT members says they buy to a ìfixed stocking plan.î 83.6% say they buy stock ìas and when needed.î
The average ACT members has a turnover of £338 500, made up of 43% cycle sales, 36% accessory sales, 17% workshop income and 4% hire income.
Only 25% of ACT members have an EPoS system.
72.5% of ACT members said they had a shop website, but only 22% of ACT members sell from websites.
55.5% of ACT members said they had in-store internet access. 81.5 percent of members said they had internet access at home.
70% percent of ACT members do not send direct mail to their customers.
RETAIL VALUES The total retail value of cycles sold in the UK:
It is thought that sales figures in the UK have been under-reported for some time. For 2001 the sales total was thought to be at least 3m units.
According to official UK government figures, the UK imported 3.615m bicycles in 2002. See this Hansard written answer from March 2004 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/cm040325/text/40325w01.htm#40325w01.html_sbhd2
*In 2005, the Bicycle Association revised the 2004 bicycle consumption figure from 2.5m to 4.5m. The Eurostat figure is 3.5m.
The market is split 60/40 between childrenís and adultís bikes. (Source: Key Note, 1995). However, according to trade magazine BikeEurope 40 percent of the UK market is made up of bicycles 20in and below.
There are no ëofficialí UK breakdowns of sales by categories through IBDs but the UK market is similar in nature to the US market where figures are available:
Mountain bikes 32.4 percent Repair and servicing 18.4 percent Accessories 17.3 percent BMX bikes 11.1 percent Hybrid/town bikes 8.8 percent Road bikes 8.4 percent Clothing 4 percent (Source: Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, USA)
Official, trade-organisation figures are not available but if the UK is anything like the US market (which in many ways it is) BMX bikes account for probably 10 percent of the total UK bike market. c. 60 000 of the c.200 000 BMX bikes sold per year are from ëqualityí brands.
The estimated sales figures (2000) for quality BMX bikes are:
ELECTRIC BIKES 60,000 electric bikes (eBikes) were sold in Germany in 2007. According to Hannes Neupert, manager of ExtraEnergy, a nonprofit organization promoting light electric vehicles, eBike sales in Germany will be 120,000 in 2008.
More than 10,000 electric bikes were sold in France last year, up from 6,000 in 2006, according to the Conseil National des Professions du Cycle.
In the Netherlands, sales of eBikes increased from 45,000 in 2006 to 89,000 last year, according BOVAG, a motorised vehicles industry association, which projects 121,000 for 2008.
According to the Electric Bikes Worldwide Report, 2008 Update, sales of electric bikes are growing rapidly in the United States and Europe. For example, U.S. eBike sales projected to hit 220,000 units in 2009, a two-year sales increase of 83 percent from U.S. eBike sales of 120,000 units in 2007. In Europe, 750,000 eBike sales forecast for 2009 up from sales of 250,000 units in 2007 - a three-fold increase.
However, the US figures are disputed: the National Bicycle Dealers Association estimates 10,000 electric bikes were sold in the US in 2007, up from 6,000 in 2006.
There are no figures for the UK but Powabyke, the UK brand leader in electric bikes, sold 15 000 bikes from 1999 to mid-2003. (Source: Powabyke press release, May 2003).
China has more than 1,400 electric bicycle manufacturers, producing around 5.5 million units a year, according to the China Bicycle Association. The country is said to have 70 million electric bikes on the road. According to a 2001 questionnaire compiled for an MSc in transport planning, a Leeds University student found that of 606 Powabyke owners, 90 percent were over 40 years old. 64 percent of ”all distance travelled” by the Powabyke owners was for commuting or shopping trips, with only 14 percent of journeys for leisure use. (Source: Powabyke)
In China, 7.5 million electric bicycles were sold in 2004. In 2002, the Beijing municipal government passed a bill to ban electric bikes - legislation that will come into force on January 1st, 2006. The cities of Guangzhou, Taiyuan, Haikou, Nanning and Fuzhou have since followed suit. Reasons? A supposed high level of accidents caused by electric bikes and the disposal of lead-acid batteries. However, in Shanghai there was an accident rate among electric bicycle riders of 0.17 percent in the first six months of 2002 compared with 1.6 percent for cars. And lead-acid batteries can be disposed of by all municipalities: cars are the biggest users of lead-acid batteries.
A 2002 report called ”How to Manage the Development of Electric Bicycles in Beijing”, released by the Beijing Traffic Development Research Center concluded that electric bicycles were “not in keeping with Beijing’’s image as a major world capital.”” Instead, bicycles of all sorts are to be “phased out” in preference to the motor car.
The ban on electric bikes may never be carried out. The law that comes into force in January 2006 discontinues electric bicycle licences yet in October 2004, a separate road safety bill for Beijing granted electric bicycles the same legal status as non-motorized vehicles. This may allow electric bikes to stay on the road, at least for the time being.
FOLDING BIKES Brompton, Britain’’s second biggest cycle manufacturer (Pashley is the biggest, all other brand import their wares), sells 25 000 of its folding bikes a year (2008). The Brompton design was patented in 1975. Brompton Bicycle has a turnover of c. £7m- £8m, and the company expects to grow 25% a year. Exports to markets such as the Netherlands, America, Germany, Japan and Scandinavia account for about 60% of its sales.
Dahon of California, founded in 1982, is the world’’s biggest manufacturer of folding bikes. The company sold 230 000 folding bikes in 2004, 44 percent more than in 2003.
BIKE SALES, MONTH-BY-MONTH In July 1999, BicycleBusiness carried a month-by-month breakdown of bike production in the years ë98 and ë99 based on data compiled for private consumption by Bicycle Association members. However, this data omitted certain bike brands such as Concept, ATB Sales, Scott and others.
The figures for 1999 are ëactualsí for Jan to Sept and projections for the final quarter.
MONTHLY BREAKDOWN: 1998 Jan 80 000 Feb 116 000 Mar 164 000 Apr 173 000 May 166 600 June 227 500 July 235 000 Aug 208 400 Sept 210 000 Oct 274 000 Nov 265 000 Dec 198 200
TOTAL FOR 1998: 2.3 million
MONTHLY BREAKDOWN: 1999 Jan 72 500 Feb 105 000 Mar 177 000 Apr 187 000 May 174 700 June 219 000 July 254 000 Aug 220 000 Sept 224 000 Oct 280 000 Nov 273 000 Dec 201 000
TOTAL FOR 1999: 2.387 million
The approximate unit ësalesí figures of bike brands in 2005:
Universal ………………… 600,000 (including Muddy Fox and Silver Fox) Raleigh ………………… 400,000 Concept ………………… 385,000 Halfords” own labels …..355,000 Moore Large ……………228,000 Vega ………………… 200,000 Professional …………….. 180,000 Falcon (Tandem) ………….125,000 Giant ………………… 117,000 MV Sport (Tandem)………. 88,000+ Trek ………………… 75,000 Claud Butler/Shogun (Tandem) …….. 75,000 Specialized ……………. 72,000 Saracen ……………… 60,000 (inc. Pulse) Cycle Citi ………………… 60,000 Boss/Townsend/Coventry Eagle (Tandem) ………………… 55,000 Optima (Tandem)………………… 55,000 Reece ………………… 50,000 Avocet ………………… 46,000 (from 14th Oct to 31st Dec) Dawes (Tandem) ………………… 32,000 GT ………………… 30,000 (20k via IBDs, 10k via Halfords) Mongoose ………………… 32,000 Ridgeback ………………… 25,000 Scott ………………… 24,000 Marin ………………… 21,000 Kona ………………… 18,000 Brompton ………………… 19,000 Pashley ………………… 10,000 Cannondale ………………… 10,000 Dahon ………………… 9000 Powabyke ………………… 5000 DDG ………………… 4000 Orange ………………… 2800, plus 800 frames Norco ………………… 1200 Whyte ………………… 950 Others ………………… 100,000+
Source: BikeBiz, 2006
NOTE: The true sales figure for 2005 was likely to be 3.5m bikes. Most of the figures above were provided by the brand owners. So where has the flab come from? Some companies will have inflated their sales figures a touch. Some of the totals may even include scooters and other wheeled toys. In collating the figures we stressed the figures had to be for bicycles propelled by chains and with wheels 12″ and above. Bear in mind that some companies have sold bikes to each other and so these may have been counted twice.
RETAIL SALES: 2005
IBDs 1m Halfords 900,000 Toys R Us 400,000 JJB 120,000 Argos 100,000 Supermarkets 100,000+ Other: 1.1m? Really?
Source: BikeBiz, 2006
For a PDF of the government statistics on the UK cycle trade click on this URL:
1992 IBD 53 percent Multiple 25 percent Mail order 18 percent Other 4 percent
1993 IBD 45 percent Multiple 32 percent Mail order 17 percent Other 6 percent
1994 IBD 38 percent Multiple 41 percent Mail order 17 percent Other 6 percent
1995 IBD 35 percent Multiple 48 percent Mail order 13 percent Other 4 percent (Source: Bicycle Association)
2000 IBD 33 percent Halfords 23 percent Toy/sports 16 percent Mail order 13 percent Supermarket 10 percent Other 5 percent (Source: Mintel, 2001)
According to the ACT, the IBD sector is closer to 48 percent of the total market.
In 1994 the accessories market had a retail value of £102m (Source: Key Note, 1995).
IBD CLOSURES Since 1996 there has been a steady decline in of IBDs in Europe, and this is estimated to continue at a rate of 2.5 percent closing down every year. In the Netherlands the number of pukka IBDs is forecast to drop below 2000 outlets in 2006, compared to 2800 in 1996, a reduction of 10+ percent in 10 years. This is due to ìageing retailers; the developments arising from the single European market; the introduction of the euro; the growing internet society; legislation on the transfer of business and the situation regarding inheritance, gift and tax registration; European cities losing their attractiveness, with a diminishing number of small retail outlets in the inner city and the growth of mass retailing that drives citizens out of town.î (Source: ëBike Retailing in Europe”, Shimano Europe Planning and Strategy, 2003)
READING MATTERS There are a great number of consumer cycling magazines. Mountain Biking UK (Future Publishing) is the top-selling monthly title. Other titles include: Cycling Plus (Future Publishing); Cycling Weekly, Cycle Sport, Mountain Bike Rider (all IPC), and Peter Eland’’s Velo Vision.
BMX and downhill mountain biking have niche titles such as Ride BMX and Dirt (both 4130 Publishing Ltd.). Highbury/Cabal publishes Procycling (a road racing monthly) and, for the Societe de la Tour de France, the official Tour de France guide (in association with Eurosport). Singletrack (ëthe mountain bike magazine for grown-upsí) is published by the operators of the singletrackworld.co.uk website. It has a print run of 20 000.
The only mainstream magazine for the general family and leisure market was On Your Bike, a glossy lifestyle title available four times a year from the launch publishers, Kindlife Ltd. This went monthly after the title was bought by EMAP Active in December 1999 but, once it was changed to a mountain bike magazine, it soon ceased publication.
IPCís Bicycle magazine, produced for a few issues in 2003, was leisure cyclist oriented but is now ìon hold.î
Member magazines include Cycle (Touring and Campaigning) from the CTC (circulation 40 000), London Cyclist, the magazine of the London Cycling Campaign (circulation 8000) and British Cycling from the British Cycle Federation (circulation 22 000).
The advertising market (all titles) was estimated at £2.2m in 1997 with cover sales of c. £6m. (Source: Cycle Industry, 1997).
There are two trade papers: Bicycle Trade & Industry, and BicycleBusiness.
Official sales figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation. The ABC results below are for the period 1st January to 31st December with the circulation figures averaged out over the year.
The other cycle titles provide publisher statements rather than an ABC audits.
The biggest news/views/features websites in the UK are Bikemagic.com, Singletrackworld.com, MBUK.com, and Cyclingplus.co.uk. The first is internet only, the final three have real world mags, too.
Other websites include RoadCyclingUK.com and SheCycles.com (both from Magicalia, owner of Bikemagic.com); VeloVision.com is from the UK ”alternatives in cycling” magazine with the same name; CyclingWeekly.co.uk from the weekly print news mag; and Whatmtb.com from Future’’s What Mountain Bike magazine. Magicalia’’s cycling division has an annual turnover of £500 000+.
Worldwide, the biggest cycle sites are Cyclingnews.com and VeloNews.com. The first is internet-only, the second is the web offshoot of a long existing US road bike magazine.
In July 2005, VeloNews.com recorded 1.1 million unique visitors, its highest ever. And thanks to its daily Tour de France coverage, its advertising revenues that month bettered the print edition of VeloNews. (Source: Bicycle Retailer).
The website of German trade magazine Saz Bike had 20 257 unique visitors in July 2005.
The ”unique visitors” in July 2005 for UK news/features websites were:
On 14th May 2006, BikeBiz.com recorded its highest-ever one day unique visitor total: 18,000 visitors.
Bear in mind that web stats measuring is a minefield, with different analytic packages generating different results. The web stats provided here by the website owners do not by any means tell the whole picture.
SHOWING OFF The UK has two annual bike exhibitions, open to the public: The Bike Show (Haymarket), held at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, in April Cycle 2005 (Business Design Centre), held in Islington, September or October
On the trade side there used to be the Cycle and Leisure Show but this is currently on hold. Eight suppliers organised Core, a trade only show in West Brom in February 2005.
Most worldwide bicycle trade shows are held in the autumn to coincide with the majority of new product launches. The main ones are in Koln, Friedrichshafen, Taipei, Shanghai, Milan and Las Vegas.
TRAINING SCHEMES The Association of Cycle Traders operates CyTech, the Cycle Technicians Accreditation Scheme, founded in 1995. This is an accreditation scheme for cycle mechanics that involves tests, but no training.
The Aylesbury Training Group offers the CyTech NVQ qualification for which training is required.
Alf and Tereas Webb of The Bike Inn, also offer City & Guilds cycle mechanicís training.
LEGISLATION Pedal Cycle Safety Regulations 1992: All new cycles supplied in the UK must conform to certain standards, and in particular those defined by British Standard BS6102/1. There are well-defined exceptions to this regulation, including tandems, delivery bikes, fixed-wheel track bikes. Mountain bikes, even if they are used for off-road use only, still have to adhere to the Pedal Cycle Safety Regulations 1984.
Cyclists are free to make modifications after purchase, for example the removal of reflectors, provided that the vehicle still complies with Construction and Use Regulations - plus Lighting Regulations if used at night. See below for details.
The full text of Pedal Cycle Safety Regulations 1992 can be purchased - cough £74 and itís yours - from http://bsonline.techindex.co.uk
Thereís some interesting tech stuff at the German Engineering for Bicycles site, http://www.efbe.de/ehomepag.htm
At http://www.bmd.nl/ youíll find info on testing machines from a Dutch manufacturer of testing rigs.
The US consumer safey org CPSC has produced this PDF summary of US bike safety regs: http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/regsumbicycles.pdf
Other relevant legislation includes the Brakes on Pedal Cycle Regulations, and Section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which covers general product safety and liability. European ISO standards affect childrenís cycles, which must carry a CE mark. Cycles used on the road must adhere to the Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1994.
And, of course, thereís the Sale of Goods Act 1979. This explicitly states the rights of consumers and retailers. See http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/cgi-bin/calitem.cgi?file=ADV0043-1011.txt
Some time in 2005 the current ISO and DIN standards for bicycles sold in the EU will be replaced by a new, all-encompassing CEN standard. CEN stands for European Committee for Standardization. The CEN standard for bicycles is CEN/TC 333.
In the UK, the BS6102 stays in force but will eventually be superceded by the CEN standards. There could be a clash of standards, something that could be used against bicycle retailers and suppliers by consumers and Trading Standards officers. The CEN standards will divide bikes into four categories: ìbicycles for common useî, ìmountain bicyclesî, ìracing bicyclesî and ìbicycles for young childrenî. A category for electric bicycles will be added at a later date. While the CEN standards may be broadly similar to BS6102, they will be more detailed. Alan Cater, the head of the BAís technical committee said: ìOur concern is both for the establishment of sound and workable technical standards as well as the avoidance of legal confusion for the industry and the general public. The draft regulations are far-reaching in their potential impact on UK suppliers, whether of bikes purchased outside the UK or of parts and accessories. There is a likelihood that the two Standards will differ in important details, which could result in costly litigation for suppliers in the event of accidents or challenge by Trading Standards officers.î
ELECTRICALLY ASSISTED PEDAL CYCLES (EAPCs)
The following information outlines the current situation regarding the use and construction of Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles in the United Kingdom.
An Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) which conforms to the technical requirements given in these Regulations is not considered to be a motor vehicle within the meaning of The Road Traffic Act 1988 and does not require to be registered, have vehicle excise duty paid (taxed) or be insured as a motor vehicle. It can be ridden by anyone from the age of 14 years and above and the rider does not need a driving licence or to wear a motorcycle safety helmet.
The Regulations apply to bicycles, tandem bicycles and tricycles and to emphasise that the prime source of power for propulsion of the machine is through human effort, the machine is required to be fitted with pedals by means of which it is capable of being propelled. The motor assistance must be provided by an electric motor. Propulsion by an internal combustion engine is not permitted. The motor must not be able to propel the machine when it is travelling at more than 15mph.
The Regulations state the following limits:
Maximum kerbside weight (not including rider) - bicycle - 40kg - tandem bicycle ñ 60kg - tricycle ñ 60kg
Maximum continuous rated power output of the motor - bicycle - 0,2kW - tandem bicycle ñ 0,25kW - tricycle ñ 0,25kW
There are not any plans to amend these Regulations in the immediate future.
2 The effect of Community Directive 2002/24/EC ñ the amending framework Directive for European Whole Vehicle Type Approval of powered two and three-wheeled vehicles
The effect of Community Directive 2002/24/EC is to remove certain forms of EAPC from the Scope of European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA), which lays down harmonised technical construction standards for powered two and three-wheeled vehicles, including quadricycles (small four wheeled vehicles of limited mass and power). The Directive does not have any effect upon the construction requirements in the UK that allow an EAPC to be classed as not being a motor vehicle and therefore being allowed to be used as an EAPC under the UK Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983.
a) A machine that is fitted with an electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power output of not more than 0,25kW and where the motor output is gradually reduced and finally cut off altogether when the machine reaches a speed of 25km/h, or sooner if the cyclist stops pedalling, will be exempt from ECWVTA. Note that this means that power assistance can only be obtained when the cyclist is pedalling. The exemption applies to two, three and four wheeled machines.
Any machines of this form that also comply with the UK Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983 will be allowed to be used as an EAPC as stated in the first paragraph of item 1 above. Note that the UK Regulations do not permit four-wheeled machines.
The amending Directive, which has repealed and replaced Directive 92/61/EEC, has to be applied from 9 November 2003 and Member States have to accept any machines complying with this Directive from 9 May 2003.
b) A machine that is fitted with pedals and a motor that can provide power assistance at any time without the rider having to pedal, is not exempt from ECWVTA and would be required to be type approved as if it were an electrically propelled moped.
However, any machines of this form that also comply with the UK Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983 will be allowed to be used as an EAPC as stated in the first paragraph of item 1 above.
The system of ECWVTA normally applies to machines produced in reasonably large numbers but, as an alternative, the UK is planning to introduce during 2003, a system of Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) that will allow the approval of this form of machine on the basis of an inspection of each individual machine.
3 Machines outside the limits given in The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983
Any machines that are outside the limits given in The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983 in respect of motor power output, speed up to which power can be provided, weight, or that do not have pedals by means of which the machine can be propelled, are considered to be motor vehicles and will need to be appropriately registered, taxed and insured and the rider will need an appropriate driving licence and wear a motorcycle safety helmet.
Four wheeled machines and machines propelled by an internal combustion engine are also considered as being motor vehicles.
With regard to those machines that resemble a childís scooter but which are fitted with either an electric motor or an internal combustion engine, there have been two High Court judgements that have determined that these are also to be considered as being motor vehicles within the meaning of The Road Traffic Act.
4 Access to the Regulations and Directives
(a) The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983 ñ (Statutory Instrument [SI] 1983 No.1168) Is available from The Stationery Office.
(b) Directive 2002/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 March 2002 relating to the type-approval of two or three-wheel motor vehicles is also available from The Stationery Office and is published on the EUR-Lex European Legislation website: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/search/search_lif.html (Source: Department of Transport, May 2003)
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT Following a Euro Directive about consumer rights, the Department of Trade and Industry went into a consultation period that ended in May 2002. The Consumer Protection Act was subsequently amended on March 31, 2003.
There was a great deal of misunderstanding and misinterpretation when the original Euro Directive was issued, hence the general belief all round that all product would carry an automatic two year guarantee, for instance.
The UK already has one of the highest levels of consumer protection legislation in Europe and this Euro Directive was aimed mainly at those countries where protection was poor. The UK has made some amendments to existing legislation, the main one being the reverse burden of proof, but in the main, our Consumer legislation was already well up to scratch (despite what awful TV programmes such as the lamentable ëWatchdogí would have you believe).
Anyway, here are some main pointers, as provided to bike shops by the Association of Cycle Traders:
All goods sold must ëconform to contractí They must be as described, fit for the purpose sold and of ësatisfactory qualityí with no ëinherentí faults. If goods do not conform in any way, the consumer can demand their money back within a ìreasonable timeî. This is deliberately not defined as all goods will have different properties and ëreasonableí will also depend on circumstances. Consumers can demand ëdamagesí for up to 6 years in England (5 in Scotland) and this would be equal to the cost of a repair or replacement (no change from current law). If the consumer requests a repair/replacement for faulty goods, then for the FIRST SIX MONTHS after purchase, it will be up to the retailer to prove that the goods were NOT faulty when they were sold. (reverse burden of proof) ï From 6 months to 6 years, it will be for the consumer to prove that the goods were faulty. If repair or replacement is not possible or too costly, the consumer can seek a refund. If they have had some benefit from the use of the goods ñ a partial refund or if no benefit at all, then a full refund will be due.
Inherent fault & reverse burden of proof An íinherent faultí is defined as a fault which was present at the time of purchase. Could be through faulty manufacture of total product or just a single component of it. The fault may not be apparent immediately, but if it develops within 6 months of purchase, then it will be deemed to have been there when sold, unless proved otherwise. The retailer must now bear the onus of proving that the fault was not present at the time of purchase. The retailer either accepts that the flaw was present (e.g. a faulty weld, missing component) or dispute it. If disputed, the goods should be examined by the retailer and the signs of abuse, neglect or other mistreatment consistent with bringing about the ëfaultí should be documented. The retailer cannot pass the onus back to the manufacturer/importer, the contract is between the consumer and the retailer.
6 months ñ 6 years The onus of proof reverses to the consumer after six months and it is up to them to prove that the goods were faulty at the time they were purchased. They then have up to six years (five in Scotland) in which to bring the case to court (no change from current law)
Disproportionate cost If the consumer demands a repair and this is disproportionately costly, then the retailer can insist on a replacement or vice versa. However, the remedy must be carried out without ësignificant inconvenienceí and within a ëreasonable timeí for the consumer. If neither repair nor replacement is possible, the consumer can seek ëdamagesí through the small claims court for a full or partial refund, depending on how much actual use had been obtained from the goods.
Proof of Purchase Consumers do not have to produce a receipt in the case of a dispute as not all retailers issue them. They must, however, be prepared to produce proof of purchase in some form or other, credit card slip or bank statement, etc.
Sales Goods If ësecondsí are sold and any faults pointed out before purchase, or should have been obvious to the buyer, then no refund is applicable. Perfect goods sold at sale prices are subject to the full provisions of the act.
FACILITIES LEAD TO USE Nigel Wiggettís hire centre on the Camel Trail - a 12-mile traffic-free cycle route - has 300 bikes and employs 26 people in summer.
20 000 people rode the Sustransí C2C route over the Pennines in 1995-6, the year of its opening. A report for Sustrans estimates that the demand for cycle tourism trips could increase by up to 10 percent a year for the next ten years.
Share of journeys by bicycle: UK 2.3 percent Sweden 10 percent Germany 11 percent Denmark 18 percent Netherlands 27 percent
In Holland, 39 percent of all the 1.35m bicycles sold there (1998 figure, 3 percent up on 1997) are ëDutch style roadstersí. Mountain bikes account for only 5 percent of the market. 70 000 bikes are bought per year in Holland by businesses for use as ëcompany bikesí. 87 percent of all Dutch bicycles sales go through IBDs, an increase of 3 percent. over 1997 figures (Source: NSS Market Research).
Because of perceived road danger the number of children allowed by their parents to ride their bikes on local roads has fallen dramatically in a generation, from 75 percent in 1971 to 25 percent in 1990. (Source: One False Move, Hillman, M., Adams, J, Whitelegg, J, Policy Studies Institute, 1990).
72 percent of leisure cyclists consider that traffic-free cycle routes are the most important facility in encouraging utility cycling. (Source: Transport Implications of Leisure Cycling, G. Gardner, Transport Research Laboratory, 1998).
THE BENEFITS OF CYCLE TOURISM A survey in the UKís Peak District National Park found that those cycling while on holiday in the Park spent an average of £25 per person per day. The average spend of a car-borne (or other) day visitor was just £7.30 a day. This is because cyclists have to shop locally, whereas drivers can buy in a lot of their provisions etc and store them in the car. (Source: Cycling Opportunities, Making the Most of the National Cycle Network, Simon Holt Marketing Services, 1996).
THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF RACING AND TOURING
The 2003 world road cycling championships in Hamilton, Canada, generated turnover of $31.1m for the city. (Source: Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance)
Officials with the Dodge Tour de Georgia in the US projected a $20-$30m boost to the Georgia economy from the second annual running of the event in 2004. From just the impact of media, officials, teams, and support personnel, local communities saw an impact from 3000 room nights. Janice Cannon, Deputy Commissioner of Tourism for the state of Georgia, said: “If just 10 percent of the estimated one million fans visit from out of state, and they stay just two nights, we know the immediate impact to the Georgia economy will be $20m. This is based on research done by the Travel Industry Association of America that quantifies an average visitor to Georgia spends $109 per overnight visit.
An independent study found that the 2006 Tour de Georgia generated $26.2m of direct impact to the Georgia economy and host cities.
A survey in the UKís Peak District National Park found that those cycling while on holiday in the Park spent an average of £25 per person per day. The average spend of a car-borne (or other) day visitor was just £7.30 a day. This is because cyclists have to shop locally, whereas drivers can buy in a lot of their provisions etc and store them in the car. (Source: Cycling Opportunities, Making the Most of the National Cycle Network, Simon Holt Marketing Services, 1996).
”UK Sport: Supporting elite athletes” said that of four sports - athletics, swimming, rowing and cycling - that receive the bulk of sports funding, cycling, with the return of one medal for every £2 million, was the most cost-effective. (Source: National Audit Office)
CYCLE HELMET WEARING RATES An observational study was undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in the autumn of 1994 to investigate the cycle helmet wearing rate on major built-up roads in Great Britain. This was commissioned by the Department for Transport.
During the survey, 27,000 cyclists were observed at 79 busy sites, 16% of whom were wearing a cycle helmet.
The study was repeated in 1996, 1999 and 2002. Over time, the cycle helmet wearing rate has increased. In 1996 the wearing was 17.6%, in 1999 it was 21.8% and it rose to 25.1% in 2002. This trend appeared to be due to an increase in the number of adults wearing cycle helmets, with no statistically significant increase amongst children.
In 1999 and 2002, an additional survey was carried out on minor built-up roads. The objective was to increase the sample of child cyclists and obtain more representative data of the type of cycling that children and adults do on minor built-up roads. In 1999 8.2% of cyclists were observed wearing helmets, which increased to 9.5% in 2002. This increase was again due to the number of adults wearing cycle helmets. The wearing rate for children actually decreased.
”Cycle helmet wearing in 2004” presents the results of further nationwide observation surveys of cyclists conducted in the autumn of 2004 by TRL on behalf of the DfT. The analyses of the two surveys have been carried out independently, and the results cannot be combined to give overall rates. However, they show that wearing rates on major built up roads are significantly higher for both adults (29.0%) and children (14.1%) than those on the minor built up roads (11.3% and 6.4% for adults and children respectively). The adult wearing rate had increased since the 2002 survey on both types of road, (significant increase on major built-up roads), whereas there was a slight decrease in the wearing rate for children on major built-up roads and for 7-16 year old children on minor built-up roads. However, the wearing rate for children under the age of 7 on minor built-up roads increased significantly.
Regular cyclists enjoy a fitness level equal to that of a person ten years younger. (Source: National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation, Sharp)
Want to burn calories? Donít tuck in behind another rider: that reduces energy expenditure by 30 percent. How many calories can you burn when cycling? Lance Armstrong burns about 1000 calories an hour in the Tour de France, going about 80 miles a day at an average of 24 mph. A reasonably fit female cyclist, riding on a flat road at 18 miles per hour for an hour, and weighing 125-pounds, would burn 555 calories. Running for an hour, at 8 minutes a mile, the woman would burn a little over 600 calories but runners cannot usually sustain sessions of more than an hour in duration whereas cyclists, supported by their machines, can easily ride for three hours plus with little risk of injury. (Source: Dr. James Hagberg, exercise physiologist at the University of Maryland, USA).
Cycling at least twenty miles a week reduces the risk of heart disease to less than half that for non-cyclists who take no other exercise. (Source: British Heart Foundation, Morris)
If one third of all short car journeys were made by bike, national heart disease rates would fall by between 5 and 10 percent. (Source: Bikes not Fumes, CTC, 1992).
The average UK resident spends about 9 days a year in a car. (Source: National Travel Survey).
The UK has the worst traffic congestion in Europe. (Source: Commission for Integrated Transport, November 2001).
The Confederation of British Industry estimates that congestion costs the UK economy up to £20 billion per year. The European Commissionís report - The Hour of Choice (2001) says congestion costs Europe up to £85 billion a year. Road traffic in the EU is forecast to increase by 50 per cent by 2010. ìEurope is being asphyxiated by congestion,î the study said.
A typical train commuter spends £12 a day (£5 on the train journey, £2 on coffee and snack, and £5 on lunch) and a typical road commuter £14 per day (average 17 miles @ 40p per mile, £2 coffee and snack and £5 lunch) or £30 per day in London if the £8 congestion charge and £8 parking fee are included. Potential savings [of cycling to work, and bypassing the cappucinno bar) could be between £1,152 and £2,880 per year. Source: Cost of car and train travel, Europ Assistance press release, May 2006
46% of motorists admit they exceeded the speed limit most days. (Source: Counting the Cost, Cutting Congestion, RAC Foundation, 2004)
Regular cyclists have a similar annual risk of road death to regular motorists. In the UK, there is roughly one death per 20 000 years regular driving or cycling. In the rest of Europe, the annual death risk is lower for cyclists. ëAnnual death riskí is believed to be a more accurate reflection of risk, compared to deaths per kilometre, as regular cyclists donít travel as far as regular motorists. (Source: Malcolm Wardlaw)
Gardening is more risky than cycling! An Australian survey found 5 percent of gardeners but only 4 percent of cyclists requiring medical care for an activity related injury in the survey period. (Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 17th January 2003)
ìObesity is costing the [UK] economy £2 billion. Cases of type 2 diabetes are increasing among our young people, and the projection is that if something is not done about obesity, the economy will have to bear £3.5 billion in related costs by 2010.î Richard Caborn MP, Minister of sport, replying to a parliamentary question, 10th November 2003
The Copenhagen Study (2000) concluded that those who did not cycle to work experienced a 39 percent higher mortality rate than those who didnít.
Kids are getting fatter, partly through inactivity. Childrenís waistlines have expanded by two clothing sizes over the past 20 years, says research published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. The report also says that girls are getting fatter quicker than boys. Dr Mary Rudolf of East Leeds primary care trust said in the British Medical Journal: ìThis figure is all the more disturbing when one reflects on how many notches on a belt this represents.î Waist size is seen as an important indicator because of the link between abnormal girth in adulthood and increased risk of heart disease. Waist circumferences were also ìsignificantly largerî than in 1996 and had increased by an average 4cm over 20 years.
ìThe single most important tool to increase the number of people who [are] physically active [is improved conditions for walking and cycling.î (Source: A Physically Active Life Through Everyday Transport, ed Dr Adrian Davis, World Health Organisation) http://www.who.int/transport
In 2004, there were 134 cyclists killed in the UK, as recorded by the police on STATS19.
The more people who cycle, the safer it becomes for each cyclists. According to the Jacobsenís Growth Rule, if the amount of cycling doubles, the risk per cyclist falls by 34 percent. If cycling halves, the risk per cyclist increases by 52 percent. Source: Safety in numbers, more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling, PL Jacobsen, Injury Prevention, Sept 2003.