Ask the trade: What’s the key to unlocking the next generation of bicycle users?

In yesterday’s discussion with our retail panel we asked retailers whether there are simply too many brands in the market, or whether it’s growing the pie that’s crucial to the industry’s future. Today we focus on unlocking new cyclists and ask, what takes priority when it comes to creating conditions for new cyclists to thrive?

Ruth Hargreaves, JD Tandems

As an industry we need to make cycling safer. We need more traffic free cycle routes and we need the law changing to make motorists more responsible for their actions.

Peter Kimberly, MD at Cycle Republic

We actively look to engage local authorities and indeed have been approached to deliver advice in certain scenarios.

I’m a big supporter of hire bikes, which I feel for many are the starter bikes. I don’t see the segment as a threat in the slightest and like other bikes wheeled in with punctures, we’ll fix hire bikes for free, charging just the cost of the tube. For me the industry needs to simply focus on keeping people on saddles and doing its bit to drive fresh uptake by looking at the bigger picture.

The bottom line is, pay attention to your customer and keep them equipped to cycle. In our University towns we offer a starter package for students as part of a seminar series we offer educational facilities. Within we’ll offer a pump, tools, all the basics to keep customers rolling despite the setbacks.

Ben Jaconelli, Owner at Fully Charged

For electric bikes, I think the key is awareness. Research we have seen suggests as much as 70% of Londoners have no idea what electric bikes can offer. Only 1% actually use them.

As a small independent, we are budget limited in raising this awareness, but are shouting from the rooftops all the same. Our Fully Charged Barge, set for rollout in 2018, we hope will generate between 50 to 100 test rides per day. Generally, once people have ridden an e-Bike, they become a walking PR machine.

Catch our Fully Charged article detailing this shop’s work to create new cyclists here.

Jonathan Cole, Director at Velorution

There’s no such thing as a non-cyclist, just lapsed riders, very often through their early adulthood.

The trick is to make cycling seem as accessible as possible and that’s something bike retailers haven’t always achieved by prioritising drop bars and lycra over everyday cycling in store. Our mission in entering Selfridges all those years ago was to bring normalised cycling to the mainstream.

Mick Murphy, Mickey Cranks

We direct consumers in store with marketing so that we can allay fears about exposure to danger. The biggest barrier to cycling is the fear of not being safe on the roads. Brands should partner with local authorities in developing more bike parks, protected cycle ways and off road circuits.