At the end of last year BikeBiz asked for your help to put together the BikeBiz Brit List 2014, in association with The London Bike Show, listing the most influential people in UK cycling.
And here are the cycle industry people picked out…
Director, Giant UK
Beasant has been in the hotseat for one of the most famous bike brands in the country since 2006. During his reign Giant UK has introduced its brand store programme, from the first in Liverpool in June 2009, to last year’s opening of the flagship St Paul’s store, which includes a huge and significant offering for female cyclists in the Liv/Giant section.
Giant has also introduced a range of services balancing customers’ online expectations with a commitment to independent bike dealers, including the click and collect and home set up services, which keep IBDs firmly in the picture. Representing Giant, Beasant also plays an active role with Bicycle Association of Great Britain. At the BAGB electric bike seminars the Giant UK boss has spoken up for the sector, including hosting seminars, giving weight to the sector.
President, Bicycle Association of Great Britain
A stalwart of the cycle trade and long standing member of the Bicycle Association of Great Britain (BAGB), Bickerton is the current president of the BAGB, figurehead of the key cycle trade organisation which liaises with the Government and acts as a mouthpiece for the industry. Aside from the BAGB, Bickerton’s father Harry founded the 1970s folding bike brand Bickerton, which not only came up with some of the technology used in modern folding bikes but, with Mark Bickerton as director and latterly MD, imported early Dahon folding bikes and even some of the first MTBs. With Cyclemotion, Bickerton has worked with a huge number of bicycle trade stalwarts, from Madison and Raleigh, to Halfords, Hotwheels and Edinburgh Bike Co-Op. The BA president is now working with Tern, Biologic and once again Bickerton Bikes, newly relaunched in the UK.
Managing Director, Brompton
A prominent figure in the UK cycling industry thanks to his role as the head of Brompton, Butler-Adams continues to grow the legacy of founder Andrew Ritchie.
The manufacturer has an extremely strong export book worldwide, which has led to recognition from the Government and Royals. In April of 2012 Prime Minister David Cameron gifted a customised Brompton to his Japanese counterpart in celebration of developing trade links.
Since taking the reins, Butler-Adams has grown staff levels from 22 to over 200, most recently appointing personnel to run the UK’s first Brompton Junction store in Covent Garden, following Japan, Hamburg and Amsterdam. Exporting brand Brompton remains key for Butler-Adams, under whom the railway-linking Brompton Dock programme has rolled out in another potential masterstoke.
Cavell started bike fitting in the 1990s and back then it was an uphill task to convince most people that such a scientific approach was necessary. You don’t need us to tell you that here in 2014 the cycle fit concept is widely accepted and ever increasing numbers of bike shops are now offering bike fitting at varying levels, thereby providing customers with something they really can’t get cheaper off the ‘net.
With Julian Wall, Cavell opened Cyclefit in 2002, Europe’s first dedicated centre for bike fitting and cycling biomechanics, which has gone on to work with everyone from commuters to pro riders like Emma Trott, among many others. Cyclefit hasn’t stopped there, starting the first European fitting school in 2009 with SICI, establishing links with Trek since 2009 and creating the International Cyclefit Symposium event.
Lewis Chalkey, Matthew Harper, Sam Humpheson
Founders, Look Mum No Hands
Like other humans, cyclists like coffee and cake too. With hindsight it seems obvious to make the most of this beautiful relationship, providing cyclists with somewhere to hang around like-minded riders and a cake-shaped incentive to use the workshop. But hindsight is a wonderful thing and it took Mssrs Chalkey, Harper and Humpheson to set up Look Mum No Hands.
It would probably be a bold claim to say that Look Mum No Hands was the first ever example of combining coffee with cycling and a retail (ish) environment. Far less bold would be to say they took the concept to new levels and inspired many of the nation’s bike shops and workshops to follow suit.
Look Mum No Hands hosts launches, screens live racing and much more. It’s a given that similar-set ups will continue to spring up in 2014.
Cotty had been a Cannondale stalwart since 2000, having worked with the brand from the tender age of 21, including a four year stint at the European HQ in Basel.
With that long-term stint under his belt, Cotty then took the brave move of quitting the security of the nine-to-five in favour of giving his own long term project Media-24 his full and undivided attention. Media-24 is an undertaking that Cotty has been working on for around a decade. The company helps brands to get exposure as well as making educational videos to help riders and producing articles for cycle magazines throughout the world.
Cotty still enjoys close ties with Cannondale, continuing to work closely with the brand, as well as the likes of Mavic with Media-24. This rising star also got his name out there with a mind boggling 666km trans-Alpine epic challenge last year.
Commercial Director, Farrelly Atkinson
The commercial director of Farrelly Atkinson (F-At) is a long-established player in the bicycle industry. Back in the mists of time she had commercial roles at Ride magazine and at Future, where she helped the staging of Future’s first two ‘Bike’ shows. Sticking with events, Curtin has gone on to play a pivotal role in the continuing success of Core Bike, one of the longest running and dare we say essential trade shows in the UK cycle industry. At Core, Curtin worked behind the scenes as well as manning the front desk and handed over organisation and promotion duties to Max Bikes PR Ltd for the first time this year. Since 2008 Curtin has worked at Farrelly Atkinson, promoted to commercial director in 2009. In her role her duties include working on both road.cc and Singletrack, as well as providing support to cycle to work provider Cyclescheme.
Executive Director, Bicycle Association of Great Britain
As the executive director of the Bicycle Association of Great Britain, as well as chairman at the Cycle-Rail Working Group, Darnton hasn’t rested on his laurels since the Government closed Cycling England (which he chaired).
Doing plenty for the cycle trade and for advocacy behind the scenes, Darnton has helped facilitate The Big Pedal, among other projects, to boost cycling levels, as well as providing a helping hand for the industry levy Bike Hub.
At last year’s BA AGM Darnton welcomed the merging of the British Electric Bike Association with the Bicycle Association, stating that a unified approach was essential for a productive and united bicycle industry, especially when campaigning for national investment in two wheel travel. In short, Darnton remains one of the bicycle industry’s best ambassadors.
Owner, Seventies Distribution
Despite the BMX market being something of a rollercoaster at times, Seventies managing director Stuart Dawkins has been unwavering in support for grassroots and professional riders for many decades.
Commercially, Seventies has very recently launched the 88 label in a move that was described as a way to “ensure that kids get a solid start and aren’t dissuaded from pursuing the sport by a shoddy supermarket bike”.
Seventies has long channelled its profits into supporting its sponsored athletes, having put aside warehouse space for riding facilities several times in recent years, despite a devastating fire some years ago. The distributor also regularly supports grassroots events with donations.
This well known advocate for BMX continues to exert significant influence over this industry segment.
Julie and Simon Ellison
Another of the UK trade’s notable directors with a relentless pursuit of growth for their business are Julie and Simon Ellison, founders of Yorkshire-based Zyro.
Careful expansion over the years has seen Zyro become what it says is the largest privately owned P&A distributor in the UK. Little wonder, then, that it is the globe’s largest distributor for many of the brands in its growing portfolio.
Beside leading the business to its current heights, the hands-on Ellisons are regulars at Zyro house shows, talking retail customers through brands and product. Having worked tirelessly to build the profiles of brands like Altura, Camelbak and most recently the Easton Bell Sports portfolio, they are succeeding in turning Zyro into a one stop shop for bike retailers’ clothing, accessory, nutrition and component needs.
Glowinski is the brain behind AnaNichoola, one of the burgeoning brands designed by women, for women.
Established in 2009, the firm swiftly turned out the kind of product that was entirely alien to the cycle world – high heel SPD shoes, anyone? – the kind of product that didn’t only fill a niche but actually spoke to a wide range of female cyclists fed up to the proverbial back teeth with ‘shrinking and pinking’. As one of the firms that played a key role in moving the women’s cycle market away from those cliches, AnaNichoola has also kept a closer eye on following high street trends than perhaps cycle clothing had been known for. Aside from the pioneering brand and steering it into plenty of media coverage, Glowinski is a presenter for ITV4’s Cycle Show and can be found hosting women’s cycling seminars, including at this year’s London Bike Show.
Founder, Vulpine Cycling Apparel
Launched in 2012 to offer an alternative to ‘tight, bright, smelly lycra, for all cyclists’, Vulpine is the brainchild of Nick Hussey, who jacked in a career as film executive to found the brand. Influenced by British tailoring, Vulpine’s stylish casual cycling gear has, in a short space of time, made its mark not just though quality garments but also in fresh new initiatives, like the Vulpine Cycling Fetes – free cycle events to raise money for charities like Save Herne Hill Velodrome.
Perhaps as a sign of intent, the brand recruited a designer from Chanel and has surprisingly jumped into cycle team sponsorship (despite not making race apparel), providing cash and training kit to the newly formed Matrix Vulpine cycling team. The support for this new women’s team, launching this year, is due not least to Vulpine’s stated culture of inclusivity.
CEO, Madison and Sportline
Madison and Sportline’s CEO is well thought of by those in cycle retail, largely thanks to being one of the more approachable head honchos in the business – whether in the flesh, or online via social media and forums. Furthermore, Langan is an advocate of the specialist retailer.
With plenty to oversee, Langan has been responsible for acquisitions and numerous brand additions, which has seen the distributor lay claim to being the largest in the cycle market (not to mention the outdoor sector). In the past few years Madison has expanded its premises, rebuilt its B2B websites and created a retail services strategy, among other things.
Beyond business, the CEO is also very much behind promoting and developing grass roots talent, with the introduction of several successful racing squads in the past few years.
Creative Director, Charge Bikes
From rockstars to rappers, Charge had a long list of hip customers last year, with many household names declaring their love for Charge Bikes and London artist Mikel Pane even plugging… yes, the Charge Plug in one of his songs. Creative director Larsen has been behind the brand from the start and recently spearheaded the brand’s marketing plans, also launching a business to consumer website in 2013 that now sees non-domestic customers able to order complete bikes to be delivered direct to their door. Larsen has typically been keen to go to unusual lengths for Charge, including linking with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company to produce ‘printed’ titanium dropouts, making the firm one of the very first bike companies to wax lyrical about the possiblities of 3D printing.
Chairman, British Electric Bicycle Association
Much has been written about converting the dormant demand for electric bikes in the UK (compared with Northern Europe) and one of the market’s keenest advocates is one Mark Loveridge, BEBA chairman and BAGB council member. With spells at Velectrix, Urban Mover, Urban Mover and Hero Eco, Loveridge was one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the British Electric Bicycle Association (BEBA) as well as its eventual merging with the Bicycle Association (BAGB) in 2013. BEBA was set up to give electric bikes a higher profile and much needed greater consistency in the trade. BEBA members had to adhere to a code of practice protecting consumers and dealers to inject confidence into the e-bike market. 2013’s BEBA and BAGB merger saw Loveridge join BAGB’s council where he’ll no doubt continue to bang the e-bike drum.
Managing Director, Silverfish UK
Silverfish started life in a garage next to MD Darren Mabbott’s house at the end of the Millennium. Since then it has moved three times, helped found the longest running trade-only bike show in the UK and won a few awards along the way. And it has seen the Raceface brand stay in its portfolio for the full duration. Key recent acheivements including the distributor experiencing its biggest turnover month of all time in October last year.
Last year the trade voted Silverfish’s P&A sales team a BikeBiz Award winner and in the same year the firm got behind the launch of a Cornish trail centre. Also under Mabbott’s stewardship, Silverfish has played a key role in the foundation and continued promotion of Core Bike, this year celebrating its tenth year which ‘ain’t bad for any show, never mind a trade- focused one.
Scottish clothing brand Endura made waves when it stepped up to the global plate last year, becoming clothing sponsor for Spanish UCI pro road team Movistar. What’s more, most of the clothing for the team will be produced in Endura’s 42,000 square feet facility in Livingstone, Scotland.
Team and race sponsorship has long been a part of Endura’s strategy (albeit not on the scale of Movistar until now). Jim McFarlane founded Endura Sport in 1992 and that marketing is now paying off with the brand making in-roads in increasing numbers of international territories, including North America. Needless to say the Movistar deal will likely see that global reach extend still further. Combining UK manufacture with overseas production, Endura is praised for producing great all round kit for all disciplines of cycling.
Chief Executive, Rapha
Rapha is one of those brands that has made an indelible mark upon the cycle industry, spawning, or at the very least heavily influencing, the world of cycling apparel as we know it and the brands that have come after it. It has even spawned a parody website, truly a sign that it has arrived.
The brand prides itself on producing the ‘finest cycling clothing and accessories in the world’ and it has caught the attention for dressing Team Sky, launching a branded coffee machine, creating the Rapha Women’s 100, its own skin care line, the Rapha Cycle Club launch, team ups with Paul Smith… the list goes on and on. Rapha was also one of the cornerstones of the highly-influential Rouleur mag, helping it get off the ground.
While no company is just one man or woman, Rapha is the brainchild of Mottram, who remains chief of the highly influential brand.
Managing Director, Evans Cycles
Mike Rice is an Evans Cycles stalwart, having worked with the firm since the ‘80s when he was Croydon store franchise owner. He played a key role in bringing the other franchised stores under the control of FW Evans Cycles and when he became managing director in 1993 the company was undergoing a period of rapid change, from the creation of the mail order catalogue to moving distribution centrally in its pre-Gatwick home of Leatherhead and of course the launch of an online retail portal. Since being acquired in 2008, Evans has more than doubled in size into a retail powerhouse in the cycle world, the second largest cycle retailer in the country with a store count of 51. Handling the company’s buying, merchandising and logsitics – including own brands – Rice’s time has also seen the firm bag exclusive rights to Hoy Bikes.
General Manager, Trek UK
You don’t have to go far to find an independent bike dealer that has a high opinion of the Trek Bicycles brand. With Roberts heading up the UK operation of the brand, the firm has gone from strength-to-strength over recent years.
Trek’s policy of selling exclusively through independent shops has simultaneously kept IBDs happy while preserving service levels for those buying Trek. But that’s not all, Trek made waves by thinking outside the box and sponsoring a ‘professional commuter team’ with satire blog Cyclismas. It opened its first store in Scotland last year (Glasgow, in April), signed a deal with the leading BikePark Wales project and developed its Ladies’ Night programme to a Ladies’ Day in ‘13. Added to the fact the firm’s product output has been well received over recent years, Roberts’ Trek UK is among those setting the standard.
Founder, Isla Bikes
Isla Rowntree is widely known as a pioneer of properly built kids bikes for both casual and performance use.
The big news for the Brimfield, UK-based brand in recent times has been the expansion into America, with the opening of a Portland, Oregon headquarters in April 2013. The USA operation is run by Tim Goodall, who has worked with Isla Rowntree since the company’s inception.
Back in the UK, Isla Bikes have continued to test well in the consumer press with The Independent singling the Cnoc 14 bike out as one of the best Christmas presents for a child.
In many ways it is a surprise it has taken so long, but a number of brands have recently moved into the same ‘niche’ of quality children’s bikes. Whether they’d be in existence had Isla Rowntree’s brand not forged the way in the first place is a point that’s up for debate.
Founder and CEO, Shift Active Media
Wear has undeniably had a sizeable impact on the cycle media landscape. After joining Future in 1992 to help launch Cycling Plus, he worked his way up to become chief operating officer of the heavy-hitting media company, during which time he led the international business – including licensing for BikeRadar.com – generating business and licences in a mere 46 countries.
After leaving Future in 2010 in search of a more creative role, Wear set up Shift Active Media providing advertising, marketing and digital expertise with a ‘laser focus on cycling’. Boasting an enviable client list right from the start, testament to Wear’s standing in the international bike biz, Shift is helping brands reach cycle consumers in the always-online world. Staffed with enthusiastic cycle fans, the Bath-based firm is set to continue to make waves.
Co-founder of the well respected Hope brand alongside Simon Sharp, Weatherill was himself nominated for a place in the ‘Mountain Biking Hall of Fame’ last year.
Weatherill continues to tout British business in his role. In April last year, Weatherill welcomed the Prime Minister David Cameron to see the Barnoldswick manufacturer’s efforts first hand. Weatherill didn’t give the Prime Minister an easy ride, however, taking the opportunity to quiz Cameron on his level of support for the Get Britain Cycling Report.
Weatherill has also seemingly looked to boost the already popular business locally by talking up plans to build a public velodrome, which will also be used as a research and development centre. The British manufacturer exports to 40 countries and is regularly singled out for praise.
The BikeBiz Brit List supplement, in association with The London Bike Show, will be included in the March edition of BikeBiz.