We’ve been here before, of course. In the late 70s every second bike shop seemed to be turning into a ‘wheels shop’, selling skateboards as well as bicycles.
The bike shop which embraces many of the non-bike wheeled offerings at the Cycle & Leisure Show would hardly be a bike shop any more.
This breadth of product is something that’s welcomed by David Hyde, the organiser of the Cycle & Leisure Show. In yesterday’s show newspaper he was quoted as saying:
"There has been a considerable increase of leisure style products within the cycle show…and this reflects the increasing range of products being sold by the cycle retail sector."
ACT president David Wilsher agreed:
"Cycle outlets need to diversify to increase turnover and compete effectively with the multiples. By increasing leisure sales we open up our shops to a wider consumer base."
What do other IBDs think?
"We’re better off doing what we know," believes Bob Mitchell of Bob Mitchell Cycles in Corby.
"A decent bike shop is a specialist, it offers a service."
But many IBDs have already broadened out into skateboards and inline skates. Why?
"It brings kids in," says Brian Roberts-Phare of Devizes in Wiltshire. "They’re into anything extreme. Whatever’s different gets their attention. We change our stock with the trends."
Go carts seem to be a perfect fit for bike shops. They have tyres (not in sizes normally seen on bikes, mind) and you pedal ’em.
Autoculture Distribution, stand E42, come from the garden machinery trade and specialise in supplying independent retailers.
They have a range of 30 go-carts, 25 for kids, five for adults.
Mark Searle, business partner of Autoculture Distribution, told BikeBiz: "We’ve found that every bike retailer says they haven’t the space for this type of product. But from experience with our trial outlets, once they1ve made space and started selling the product they wouldn1t be without them."
"The beauty of the go-cart, as far as the bike shop1s concerned, is that they don’t compete with products already stocked."
Autoculture1s go-carts start at £199 for the cheapest kids go-cart and top-out at £699 for the Tornado adult go-cart with seven gears.
City Bug, importers of the Micro Skate Scooter, are launching their product to the cycle market through B1 bikes. The Scooter is currently being sold through the Gadget shop and duty free shops.
Dan Maker, MD of B1 bikes says the reaction has been amazing. He said "It’s created a real buzz on the new products stands. Eventually we’d like to see every cycle shop with one."
The Skate Scooter (£119) is leg powered whereas the Powerboard from Green Rocket is, er, powered. There1s one model at £549 with a choice of four colours.