It was an Olympic year for cycling, but it was also the year that the world’s economic problems gave the industry a few grey hairs. Jonathon Harker looks back over 2008...

2008 review – part one: January to March

JANUARY – The year kicked-off to news that biking had received £140m from the Government, to be spent on cycle safety and connecting 500 schools to the National Cycle Network. Biking’s coffers received another boost when BikeBiz-backed Sustrans Connect2 scheme won £50 million in a televised lottery contest, voted for by the general public. 42 per cent of 286,285 people backed the worthy scheme.

January also brought news of Powacycle’s new lighter-than-ever battery, while elsewhere Raleigh boss Mark Gouldthorp set the record straight after an article in The Guardian. Also in the national papers, Matthew Parris apologised for his ‘humorous’ Times column about decapitating cyclists.

BikeBiz magazine and website both got a new look for the
New Year too

Finally Core Bike also reported a bumper attendance in January.

FEBRUARY – Mobile phone-based scams were top of the news
agenda in February. The plot was based on hood-winking the trade by placing false orders supposedly on behalf of dealers. The swindle saw the fraudster order high-end bikes on company accounts and an eagle-eyed Scott Sports employee spotted the scam and alerted BikeBiz and the trade to the activity.

February also saw the £500m plans for London bicycle motorways unveiled and ex-Halford CEO Ian McLeod left the firm to head up a retailer in Australia.

Elsewhere, the first tubeless tyre came to the 29’er market, a universal standard for Poly chains was agreed by the four major players in the sector and Cannondale was snapped up by Dorel for $200m, which split into two divisions.

Finally, the month also saw the sad news that world-famous bike mechanic Sheldon Brown had passed away.

MARCH – March saw news that Dahon had shifted a record
348,000 bikes
in 2007. The month also saw the launch of Buffera’s trade website and brought reports that Taiwan’s export revenues were booming.

Meanwhile BikeBiz reported on the upbeat words of US retail guru and bike trade legend Jay Townley who spoke at iceBike. Townley insisted that the way to grow the bike trade in the UK was to influence new people to come into the cycling market, warning that ‘inwardness’ would keep the bike market flat.

Halfords revealed that it would be sponsoring Team GB, and the month also saw the launch of the fourth Specialized concept store, based in Bristol.

Elsewhere, Austrian cyclists managed to cut CO2 by 299,000
tons and soon-to-be London Mayor Boris Johnson revealed he
had strong plans to change the the city’s roads.

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