Rebecca Morley (centre) with Baroness Barker (left) and Angellica Bell (right) at Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling 2019 event

Farewell, bike industry: Rebecca Morley leaves role as BikeBiz senior staff writer

Rebecca Morley looks back over the past four years as she prepares to leave her role as BikeBiz senior staff writer

This piece first appeared in the February edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

When I look back over the past four years I can’t always decide how quickly the time’s gone, with many changes taking place at BikeBiz, the bike trade, and the wider world during that time. But now it’s time for another change – I’ll be moving on to a new job soon, leaving my role as senior staff writer at what I’m proud to say has been a great company and industry to work in.

My proudest moment has to be being nominated for Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling 2019, an event where I was lucky enough to meet some amazing, inspirational women who were leading the way in promoting women’s cycling. Both journalism and cycling are known to be male-dominated, and while I was still within my first year as staff writer, even then I noted how few other women I really knew from the industry.

With many events featuring bars, food trucks and sometimes even entertainment, the cycling trade has always felt very social, one where you can have informal chats with fellow industry professionals after you’ve spent the day checking out each brand’s latest products. While it’s great to work in a sector like this, sometimes it can feel like an exclusive club, but during my time here I have seen the trade making efforts to become more welcoming.

There’s often a perception of what a ‘cyclist’ looks like – we’re all familiar with the term middle-aged man in lycra, but now many brands are pushing to show how accessible cycling is, breaking down stereotypes on who can use their products.

It’s encouraging to see these discussions and initiatives happening, but sometimes products do miss the mark – for example, I’m not going to be persuaded to buy a women’s bike because it’s been advertised as ‘great for going shopping’. I remember early on at BikeBiz I was invited to a ‘fancy’ women’s bike ride, but it only seemed to reinforce stereotypes on how women should dress and behave – which is unhelpful on and off the bike.

The message to encourage cycling should be that it’s open to anyone and there’s no reason brands shouldn’t be doing more to encourage this – after all, more cyclists is only beneficial to the whole industry.

This is where e-mobility comes in too. More accessible electric forms of transport will see a wider demographic using them, some of whom may then cross over to traditional bikes. E-bikes aren’t ‘cheating’, they’re helping open up cycling to all and e-scooters can do the same, and no matter how much some in the industry may resist this change there’s no denying how significant these vehicles will be in the discussions around transport looking forward.

I believe the cycling industry needs to fully embrace this. Even if businesses don’t want to shift to making/ selling e-scooters themselves it doesn’t make sense to oppose, especially as they could help bring about changes in infrastructure. Safety is often cited as a main reason people don’t take up cycling, so if the infrastructure was there for other forms of active travel, it could help those who were previously reluctant to take up riding.

One thing I’ve learnt here is that the most exciting businesses are the ones that are willing to adapt, looking at ways to make the most of what they offer as we go through yet another uncertain period. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on what the cycling industry is up to, including doing some occasional freelance work for BikeBiz, and I look forward to seeing all the exciting innovations it has to offer.

In other news...

What is PR and how can it help your business?

By Kate Allan, Compete PR This piece first appeared in the September edition of BikeBiz …