The founder of the Copenhagen Bicycle Company Jesper Studsgaard has told CI.N that he is now open to offers on his leisure and transportation cycling business having moved back to his native Denmark.
Citing a combination of factors, including the result of the EU referendum, as well as an “unfortunate political ignorance to cycling in the UK”, Studsgaard has relocated just north of Copenhagen in a bid to offer his children a better quality of life.
“Yesterday my 9 and 11 year olds were able to complete a 5 kilometre round trip by bicycle by themselves to school and back. It is sad, but we cannot offer them the same in Tunbridge Wells and they want to know why. We lived in the UK for 17 years and when we would return from trips to Denmark they’d expect to be able to cycle in much the same manner they did in Denmark. It’s not safe to do that.”
Alongside running his bicycle business, launched into the UK four years ago at the London Bike Show, Studsgaard practiced what he preached while in the UK, pressing locally for improvements to conditions for cycling.
“This is a key reason why we founded the Tunbridge Wells Bicycle User Group during our time in the UK,” says Studsgaard. “We got things done, primarily by making a business case for cycling as opposed to the climate case. We found that flagging congestion struck the largest chord with people and that proved a catalyst for some progress.”
On entering the market with his leisure and transport bicycles, Studsgaard was hopeful that the UK market was ready for transport bikes, but added that the company was perhaps a touch ahead of its time.
“I started CBC as we could only really find sports bikes in shops many years ago. My son, given the choice of what kind of bicycle he would like for runs to school, wisely chose a gents three-speed to carry his luggage. There are of course many like him that stand to benefit from these bikes.”
The company is still trading, with bikes bought online shipping to customers. Bike retailers too have been welcome to stock the bikes, but Studsgaard suggests that current market difficulties have seen retailers reluctant to commit to stock in depth.
“Despite this they’ve often said they’d gladly ride the bikes themselves, but I think some have also been stung on lower quality bikes of this style and so prefer safe bets,” says Studsgaard. “At the present time we are evaluating how to proceed and could be open to the right buyer taking the business forwards.”
A key discussion topic for the bike industry at present, many believe that it is bringing new cyclists in as transport users that may be the “gateway” to unlocking the next generation of enthusiasts.
“It was a mixture of things that made us decide to move back to Denmark, with Brexit proving an accelerating factor, but primarily it was a quality of life decision,” concludes Studsgaard.