Which IBD doesnt have deep discounts across the board at the moment? But this isnt a problem endemic to the bike trade, the whole of retail is having a lacklustre summer and many mainstream retailers are also cutting their losses and slashing their prices. Could an over-reliance on cars be at the root of the problem?

Its sale time…for every retailer

Knowing others are suffering too doesnt make your life any easier but at least you should banish the Im in the wrong trade thought that must flash through your mind at the end of every rainy day thats washed away much of your summer custom.

Retailers of all shapes and colours are discounting at the moment which makes it tough for everybody because theres stiff competition to get the money that is out there.

When (surely its not if?) the weather picks sales will improve across the whole of retail.

However, many IBDs have all but written off the first summer of the new millennium and are starting to turn their thoughts to Christmas.

And its not as though theres anybody you can complain to.

Or perhaps there is? Unseasonal weather is unusual weather. If global warming is the culprit, too many unnecessary car journeys could be one of the causes. The UK is legally obliged to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions by 2010 yet the government is afraid to tackle motorists head on (for fairly obvious vote-losing reasons). So, if cause and effect were important to Britains retailers, they would all be demanding the government restrain car use.

Er, except that most shops including IBDs depend on car-borne shoppers. Its chicken and egg time.

At least IBDs are part of the solution. They sell CO2 emission reducers: bicycles.

Your typical cycle campaigner wears a t-shirt saying One less car. For every customer you convert to cycle commuting you not only make a sale, you make a small contribution to reducing combustion engine emissions harmful to the environment.

Or, with some reality goggles on, is the bicycle just another leisure product that needs a car to transport it somewhere safe to ride?

The debate will rage on. And so will the August storms…

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