More trade participation than ever, but opportunities still missed

Bike Week is riding high

The bicycle industry got behind the nationwide Bike Week 2009 earlier this month, raising the profile of their businesses locally while also making the most of the commercial opportunity.

Many big names from the cycle trade got involved in the national programme of events, while media coverage and attention from the press has seemingly reached a high for the cycling celebration.

Manufacturer Trek partnered with a local charity during its cycling activites, Fisher Outdoor Leisure attended nearby biking events, while Halfords, Raleigh and many more firms from the trade joined in pro-cycling events.

But some voices from the industry have reported that there was plenty of potential in the week-long programme of events that is yet to be fully taken advantage of.

Part-time voluntary cycling promotion group Crank It Up, which took part in a range of pro-cycling activities, told BikeBiz that many of the events taking place attracted non-cyclists – and potential customers:

“We attended the Bradford event in Lister Park on Saturday June 13th and it appeared to us that non cyclists outnumbered cyclists by approximately 10 to one,” a spokesperson told BikeBiz.

“The sort of ratio of people at the event in Bradford was a big potential market for retailers, and an ideal opportunity for cycle shops to get their name in front of prospective customers.

“Hopefully next year more cycling shops will get involved and help improve on this year’s event.”

One Glasgow retailer, Willy Bain of took part in a CTC-organised event: “I took an hour out of the day to help out at ‘Parks and Ride’. We’ve had a lot of very good feedback from it already.”

Chris Compton of Compton Cycles believed that coverage and awareness of the event was at its highest level yet: “We had a couple of events that we supported during Bike Week. More so than ever, it’s amazing how aware the local authority and schools are of it this year.

“The first event was a presentation at the local hospital when they launched their bike to work initiative coupled with the launch of Cyclescheme during Bike Week. We were also involved in a number of Dr Bike sessions for a couple of Government departments.”

Compton added: “We were paid to attend, though didn’t make much of a profit after expenses, but it raises the profile of our business locally – collectively the organisations we are working with employ over 5,000 people in the local area – and it demonstrates that we are involved in our local cycling community and is an ideal way to soft sell the idea of trading their current bikes up.

“For about eight hours’ effort from two members of staff I’m sure that the payback in commercial terms will be ten fold.”

Compton said that Bike Week provided ample opportunities that are still being missed by the industry: “I am still amazed that the cycle trade as a whole doesn’t engage more with this commercial opportunity that is Bike Week. Sure it would be more convenient to have it in February but to make it a success it has to be in the main season.”

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