Condor and Evans note increased sales. Brompton spokesperson takes reserved view.

Cycle Hire boosts London bike retail

The cycle industry has welcomed the raft of cycle initiatives seen in London this summer, telling BikeBiz that they have boosted sales, as well as the profile, of bicycles in the capital.

The schemes – including Skyride, Barclays Cycle Hire and the first Cycle Superhighways – form part of Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London’s ‘Cycle Revolution’, with over half a million journeys taking place on the new hire scheme by the start of September.

Condor Cycles’ Greg Needham reveals that hopes for increased sales are bearing fruit: “We are already seeing a positive impact on sales as more people are getting involved in the sport. Consumers are realising that cycling is accessible, saves them money, and is enjoyable.”

Evans Cycles’ Neil Fitton adds: “I think that first and foremost the more people that are out riding the better and this will obviously have a positive impact on sales.”

While the reaction from the trade has been largely positive, industry voices have added that London still has some way to go before it can be regarded as truly bicycle-friendly.

“Anything that gets cycling up the agenda and more people on bikes is obviously a good thing,” Brompton marketing manager Emerson Roberts told BikeBiz.

“But I don’t think any of these initiatives is a magic bullet; some sales will result from these initiatives, but the most important factor in raising cycling on our streets is critical mass – the more cyclists are out there, the more others will see it as a viable, safe option.
“The Superhighways are not fundamentally different from the countless bike lanes and advance stop lines that are routinely ignored and infringed upon; let’s see how willing the authorities are to enforce compliance with these demarked zones.

"Skyride and similar initiatives are positive in sending out the message that cyclists are an important user group, but the real challenge comes not with sealing off Central London on a Sunday [for Skyride] but integrating cycle use into daily commuting.

“The hire scheme will likely get some people back onto bikes but the whole scheme has been handled in a rather British, half-hearted way; there are not nearly enough bikes or cycle stations to really have an impact like Vélib in Paris, and it’s a phenomenally expensive route they’ve gone down; I am reserving judgment until we see how they deal with damaged bikes and whether users are put off by the heaviness of the bikes.”

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