January saw the year kick off to glum news – that the UK had officially gone into recession. But the cycle trade wasn’t going to let that get in the way. While the car manufacturing industry suffered at the hands of the economic climate, it seemed that cycling’s future was altogether more rosy.
Bike production was predicted to outstrip car manufacture within a year, while a survey found commuter cycling was on the up and that motor traffic had declined for the first time since the 1970s.
The number of bicycles on Eurostar also rose in the month that the industry prepared for a packed calendar of launches and shows. In slightly more frivolous news, there was something of an influx of celebrities extolling the virtues of cycling, from songster Robbie Williams to entrepreneur extraordinaire Sir Alan Sugar.
February got off to a frosty start when heavy snow disrupted the cycle supply chain. Matters didn’t much improve when new life was breathed into one of cycling’s longest running debates. A court case saw a judge question whether cyclists could be branded guilty of ‘contributory negligence’ for not wearing a helmet, provoking strong reaction and disagreement in the cycling community.
February also saw the creation of the BSkyB professional British road cycling team, managed by GB Olympic performance director Dave Brailsford – who is planning to create the first British winner of the Tour de France within five years. Madison launched its B2B website at IceBike, we got a first look at Lambretta at Fisher’s Expo and fresh-faced BikeBiz Awards finalist Road.cc grew by almost 50 per cent.