The Rough Guide to Cycling in London was launched last night at a posh do at Penguin's HQ on the Strand. There were stunning views over the Thames, the London Eye and the Palace of Westminster. And Trek, co-sponsor of cycling's biggest ever guidebook, announced a stunning deal for its 64 London dealers: a voucher in the Rough Guide would allow consumers spending over £250 on Trek bikes to pick up 'commuter starter packs' worth sixty quid a pop. These packs include a free light-set, lock and helmet.

39 HMV stores in London to distribute 200 000 free Rough Guides

And before Trek stockists outside of London start spitting blood, they will benefit from a slightly modified offer ie the free helmet/lock/lightset but no Rough Guide to London.

There’s even good news for non-Trek stockists in London. They will be supplied with free Rough Guides, but will only get those not picked up the HMV dumpbins after two weeks of first going on display.

Trek stockists will receive a batch of 50 Rough Guides by the end of next week. Dealers also get a till-side display box, a poster advertising the commuter starter pack offer and other POS.

Trek was co-sponsor alongside Transport for London. However, whilst TfL took three months to agree to be the sponsor, Trek’s Brian Buckle and Nigel Roberts were back to Roger Barnes, the creator of the project, within 24 hours.

Trek was the third major bike brand to be approached. Halfords also turned the deal down.

Penguin hopes to produce cycling Rough Guides to other UK cities likely to introduce congestion charging (Edinburgh is one most likely to make the move) and there could also be a Rough Guide to Cycling in Britain, again to be a giveaway.

Barnes knew that any paid-for Rough Guide to Cycling in London would only have sold 3000 tops so Rough Guides made the decision to seek sponsorship for the title and to make it a freebie.

"The people who will pick up these Rough Guides aren’t currently going into bike shops," said Trek’s Brian Buckle.

"Dealers will be getting traffic they wouldn’t otherwise have had."

Gary Fisher, one of the founding-father’s of MTBing, is currently touring Trek/Gary Fisher stockists in the UK and was at the launch last night. He welcomed the book:

"This is 21st century marketing. It’s information and inspiration."

Trek is currently bucking industry trends (it’s making money from selling bikes) and is a firm believer in supporting grass-roots cycle initiatives. This belief goes right to the top: Trek CEO John Burke is president of the American advocacy group, Bikes Belong.


Top, Trek stockists will be getting an A0 version of this poster

Above, Nigel Roberts, left, and Brian Buckle.

Above, Gary Fisher, in full guru mode

Base, author Guy Andrews. In a suit.

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