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Grass Roots Heroes - BikeBiz

Grass Roots Heroes

Grass roots workers make a valuable contribution to expanding the market for cycles yet their efforts – paid or unpaid – are rarely praised. This article redresses the balance and gives credit where credit is due. Yet those interviewed below are just the tip of the ice-berg: cycling is awash with selfless acts of grass roots toil. But it’s not all selfless, for bicycle businesses there are clearly good, profit-centred reasons for getting your hands dirty at the grass roots level. This article explores the different motivations behind a wide variety of grass roots initiatives. A key factor shines out from all the interviews: pure, unadulterated enthusiasm. And it’s infectious.
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BRYN DOWSON

Regional Director for Sustrans in the North

Grass roots activity: “We do practical projects to encourage cycling, mainly by creating traffic free paths. We have been developing the national cycle route since 1996, which is a 10,000 mile network of routes, many of which are traffic free. It is the largest green transport initiative in the country, and attracts non-cyclists, or inexperienced and new cyclists who currently own a bike but don’t use it. On a more local and community based level, we do lots of smaller scale projects as part of a national programme. One example is at Wingate, in Durham, which is a very deprived area with a low car ownership. We’ve encouraged local people, particularly school children, to get involved in a new project to encourage access by walking and cycling. We get local people involved in the design and care of the routes, which instills a sense of community ownership, and it has proven to be very successful.”

Tangible success stories so far: “Out of the total regional target of 500km, we’ve built the best part of 400km of the cycle routes in the region. Many of the routes are traffic free, and all are popular, because we build routes which are safe, attractive and which people do want to use. Our work is all about encouraging people to walk and cycle more often, and the practical projects we do achieve that every time. We have generated greater levels of cycle use on our paths.”

Why do you do what you do? “In the new millennium, we’ve got to find new ways of moving around, and the bicycle is a realistic alternative for some of those journeys, particularly short urban journeys. We want to create a healthier nation, with people more aware of green issues by using our paths and understanding our projects.”

Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Of course, if we encourage more people to cycle, then more people will want to either use their existing bikes and have them maintained and repaired, or buy new bikes.”

What could others in the trade do to help? “It would be nice if more of the cycling trade got involved in promoting cycling at a community level, and got involved in a few more events locally with organisations like ourselves or local authorities to promote cycling. A lot of cycle shops are small-scale, and there may be significant resource constraints on what they can and can’t do, but those shops that do get involved benefit from it for sure.”

Tel: 0191 2616160

Email: mail@sustrans-ne.org.uk

http://www.sustrans.org.uk


DAMIAN 'FOSS' FOSTER

Off-beat Bikes, Fort William

Grass roots activity: “We pushed for a downhill track at the Nevis Range in Scotland, and after ten years of hard work we’ve established one - the ‘Off-beat’ downhill track.”

Tangible success stories so far: “Attracting the Tissot World Cup to Fort William. One of the main things that I said to people was that if we built this track we would get a World Cup. Now it's a fantastic event, and everything looks good for next year.”


REST OF TEXT WILL BE CLEANED UP LATER - NOW OFF FOR a 6 hour ride!

Why do you do what you do? “It’s an extension to the business, and it has obvious benefits for the whole area as well. When you actually add up the man-hours you put into it, it doesn’t really become profitable, it’s more of an obsession. When people said it would never happen, and we’d never get it, then it gave me an added incentive.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “The events themselves are more of a showcase. At the end of the day we’re a shop with a local population of twelve thousand, but we also get a huge influx of tourists.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “They’ve just got to get off their backsides and do it. A lot of shops sit back and let the business come to them. They’ve got to actively promote themselves through any and every means, and an obvious way to do that is setting up an active participation or some sort of event, depending on what their market is. Making sure you do something for your market is important, and it also benefits the whole industry. You’ve got to be positive and go and actively promote our sport. If they want to just make money, they should go and sell pies instead.” Tel: 01397 704008 info@offbeatbikes www.offbeatbikes.co.uk Susan Knight British Schools Cycling Association Grass roots activity “Promotion of cycling for school children of all ages by running a varied programme of events up and down the country. Our basic aim is participation. With our multi-discipline approach, a child could normally ride the same bike for cyclo cross, circuits, time trial and hill-climb, up until they are about 12.” Tangible success stories so far “Nicole Cooke and Chris Boardman are good examples of our success. They did their ground work with us before they went on to become top cyclists.” Why do you do what you do? “Because I love cycling and am no longer able to ride competitively. The organisation is there as a stepping stone for cycling to increase its status as a sport, and as an opening for people to ride bikes. We don’t just concentrate on the competition side, we also focus on the leisure side. We go abroad on trips, and we train adults to learn how to take children cycling safely on and off road.” Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “It has a knock-on effect because as the children get more interested and they want to compete, they then go to the bike trade to buy the better bicycles. As they get older they also buy track bikes and the proper off-roaders. The more kids that come in, the more effect there will be. And kids grow so quickly that a frame that fits this year might not fit next year.” What could others in the trade do to either help you? “Quite simply, to promote and publicise our organisation, and get involved and sponsor the events that the kids do.” Tel: 023 9264 2226 susanknight@bsca.fsnet.co.uk www.bsca.org.uk Karl Bartlett Seven Stanes Project Co-ordinator (Forest Enterprise) Grass roots activity “Developing seven centres of cycling excellence across South Scotland.” Tangible success stories so far “Mabie Forest, which is one of the top ten singletrack routes in the UK. Glentress, red and black routes, and the hub cafe.” Why do you do what you do? “It gives me a buzz from dawn till dusk, and the general enthusiasm for what we are trying to achieve is immense.” Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Local enterprises such as B&Bs, bunk house accommodation, cafes, are springing up around the area to capitalise on the success of the product, so the bike trade must benefit from extra sales too. What could others in the trade do to either help you? “We need help from the industry to really promote this product. We will also have miles of sweet singletrack that will need loving care after they have been built. At present the trail building crew are looking for sponsorship for good, durable waterproofs.”.. Tel: 01387 272443 Karl.bartlett@forestry.gsi.gov.uk www.forestry.gov.uk/sevenstanes Barnaby Stutter Brixton Cycles Co-operative Grass roots activity “We are sponsors of the Beastway MTB races. We work alongside youth offending teams, we aid local cycle youth clubs, and advise and lend tools to local kids.” Tangible success stories so far “You reap what you sow, nineteen years in the cycle trade is one tangible success story. Also, an MTB race series that for 10 years has attracted happy smiling racers.” Why do you do what you do? “For the knowledge that our inclusive attitude to youths has averted theft and, in the long-term, created many advocates of Brixton Cycles, and cycling in general. Who wants to work in a short-sighted, short-term profit company when you can work in a social enterprise and have long term profit?” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “As any overpaid West Coast retail guru will tell you, getting involved with your local and wider communities isn’t altruism, it’s a necessity in this crowded trade. Lend a tool to the snotty kid with a word of encouragement and the couple waiting behind him will trust your sales presentation on two £800 bikes. Of course, you profit from grassroots activities, word of mouth can make or break you.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “Other stores can try our style but many will not even let you bring your bike in the store, let alone treat kids as customers. Too few lend out tools yet it’s the cheapest advertising going at a couple of hundred pounds worth of tools lost annually!” Tel: 020 7733 6055 sales@brixtoncycles.co.uk Nigel Wiggett Bridge Bike Hire, The Camel Trail Grass roots activity “We have one hire shop with a very high profile on the Camel Trail in North Cornwall, which is very much a holiday area. The trail is an ex-railway line along a very scenic valley and then out onto an estuary leading to Padstow. We appeal to both holiday makers and locals. We have marketed strongly as a family cycling facility, so we’re re-introducing a lot of people back to bikes, who, for one reason or another haven’t been on a bike for a number of years, and introducing people to the potential of cycling altogether as a family in a safe environment.” Tangible success stories so far “It has been an amazing success story which has caught people on the hop. We started out with just half a dozen bikes in the early 80s. It has been a self-financing business right the way through. We now run 400 bikes, one full-time mechanic, one part-time, and 20 seasonal staff.” Why do you do what you do? “Good profit and I enjoy it. I’m not a born again cyclist at all, and I wasn’t a cycling purist. All I did was to look at an opportunity, a gap in the market, and then fill it.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Yes, we're not a charity! It is also very apparent that others in the trade will profit. A high percentage of people who hire a bike from us haven’t been on bikes for donkey's years and will then and go home and visit a bike shop.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “I run a scheme called Leisurehire, which is a nation-wide advisory service in setting other people up in the hire business. People who have a hotel, a campsite or a shop near a trail, and who want to set up in bike hire contact us and we tailor the advice accordingly.” Tel: 01208 813050 enquiries@buggy-bits.com www.buggy-bits.com Ian Maxwell SPOKE, Lothian Cycle Campaign Grass roots activity “We encourage cycling and publicise its benefits for the community and individ-uals. We lobby councils and central government to make full provision for cycling as part of overall transport strategy.” Tangible success stories so far “Lots in our 25 years: many routes in and around Edinburgh, including a few we built ourselves; cycle maps for Edinburgh, Mid and West Lothian, with East Lothian to come soon; a cycle workshop, pathway volunteers.” Why do you do what you do? “Cycling is my favourite way of getting from A to B, and the more I can encourage other people to cycle, the better the conditions will get. Also, I want the streets to be as safe for my children as they were when I grew up, or even safer.”. Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Definitely. Our maps show the safer, offroad routes that customers need when they start cycling, and our campaigning leads to better facilities and higher awareness of cycling. We have sold over 60 000 maps in the last 15 years, about half through bike shops, so there's £50,000 worth of margin!” What could others in the trade do to either help you? “Support our events and publications, give unwanted parts to our workshop, provide mechanics for maintenance stalls at local school events. The Edinburgh bike trade is already very supportive, mind you, and long may this continue!” Tel: 0131 313 2114 imaxwell@gn.apc.org www.spokes.org.uk www.castlecliff.org.uk Hetty Bennett Weldtite Products Ltd Grass roots activity “Getting involved in biking events. Our first event was Coed-y-brenin earlier this year. We went to provide a service: every competitor could have his or her bike washed and then lubed free of charge. At the Red Bull Mountain Mayhem 24-hour endurance event we did similar and also gave away Weldtite/Red Bull puncture repair kits to all competitors.” Tangible success stories so far “At Coed-y-Brenin we ended up jet washing and lubing more than a thousand bikes over the weekend. It cost us very little to do something like that, but the benefits were huge, because every person who attended that event used our products and I was able to speak to every person, and getting to ground level is very valuable. Competitors collect their puncture repair kits when they come to our marquee, so it means I can actually speak to people and show them our range of products.” Why do you do what you do? “We supply wholesalers and not direct to the retailer and we have little contact with consumers. So, when I took over the PR I wanted to get more involved in events and activities where we talked to the end consumer. The type of people that attend MTB endurance events are the market that I particularly wanted to aim at, so I was keen to go along, get involved and see what it was like.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Not immediately. You’re not going to see a massive rise in sales the following month. It’s a slow process, but you’ve got to make a start somewhere, and get out there and be seen. Eventually we hope to make gains in the market by being able to talk to people and being present at events. There is nothing like providing a free service for people – if you’ve lubed and washed their bikes, they’ll remember that.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “We persuaded Fibrax to exhibit with us at some of these events, which obviously reduces the cost when you have an advertising budget that has to stretch a long way.” Tel: 01652 660000 www.weldtite.co.uk Paul Osborne Safe Routes to School, Sustrans Grass roots activity “Working with schools, parents and local authorities to promote walking and cycling to school.” Tangible success stories so far “Convincing headteachers that cycling to school should be encouraged. Over 1000 schools are currently working on travel plans. Kesgrave High School in Ipswich has a 61 percent cycle-to-school rate. Watchfield Primary School in Oxfordshire has a level of 45 percent. The national average is 1 percent!” Why do you do what you do? “At a typical school one third of pupils wish to cycle but are denied the chance due to school rules, lack of secure bike storage or unsafe roads. We aim to change this. If people haven’t cycled as kids, they won’t cycle as adults, and cycling will die.” Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “An increase in regular cyclists will mean an increase in bike sales.” What could others in the trade do to either help you? “Make contact with local schools to promote sales of effective bike locks, simple and robust school bag carriers, and simple maintenance workshops. Ask that schools develop a school travel plan to cut traffic congestion and promote healthy activity.” Tel: 0117 915 0100 schools@sustrans.org.uk www.sustrans.org.uk Giles Wolfe M.A.D. (Mountainbike Aerial Display) MTB Stunt Team Grass roots activity “Taking mountain biking to the public. We act as role models and encourage kids to get on their bikes by performing demonstrations. We promote the development of young trials riders, and encourage all types of cycling at our events. Trick riding appeals to the kids, it gets them on the bikes and it gets them interested.” Tangible success stories so far “Running an interactive bike test track at the bike show at the NEC, which we’ve done two years in a row, and having 600 kids come and use that test track. What we’ve actually done is encourage 600 extra kids to get on bikes. We’re trying to encourage kids to ride bikes, and ride them safely. On another level, the riders within our team are all success stories in their own right, as they are being given the opportunity to ride their bikes and make a living out of it.” Why do you do what you do? “I do it because I love the lifestyle, and because I want to encourage all types of cycling. I would also like to try and make money out of my business in the long term! I know there is a potential future in making good revenue from what I’m doing now. What we’re doing is laying down the foundations for a successful company in the future.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “We’ve been sponsored by Saracen cycles for four years, and we’re the most successful marketing tool that they’ve ever used. We’ve generated £118 000 worth of retail business just from the MAD brand, but obviously we’re not generating that for ourselves. The grass roots work we’re putting in has taken five years to get to a position where we can use the MAD brand as a marketing tool.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “I’d like to encourage more bike parks and trail parks, places for kids to ride and do what we’re doing.” Giles@m-a-d.co.uk www.m-a-d.co.uk Richard Peace Excellent Books Grass roots activity “Working with organisations like Sustrans to produce cycling guides that provide information on things that people need to know like where the routes go, bed and breakfasts, places off the main trails. They are available for all levels of cyclists.” Success stories so far “The C2C guide is probably our biggest success. It was the third guidebook we did. Since 1997 it has been reprinted four times.” Why do you do what you do? “I used to work in an office as a lawyer, so this is more exciting. I started the business off from a hobby because I was keen on cycling. I got two small books published, and it went from there. It's a business first, but the nice thing about it is it gets people out and about cycling.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Yes, it is a company, so we have to survive. I’m sure the bike trade benefits too. A lot of IBDs stock our books, so it helps their customers know where to cycle, and it makes profits for retailers. It's also useful for them to have sources of information for customers ask where they can ride the bikes they're buying.” What could others in the trade do to either help you? “Other than stock our books, you mean? Talk to us. IBDs could pass on any information or ideas they have as to what their customers want, because we can tailor our information to suit the customer.” Tel: 01924 315147 richard@excellentbooks.com www.excellentbooks.co.uk Dafydd Davis Forestry Commission, Coed y Brenin Grass roots activity “The development of MTB routes in Wales and the development and implementation of MTB Wales strategy.” Tangible success stories so far “An 800 percent increase in visitor numbers in five years and £5 million into the local economy as a result of the development of Coed y Brenin. And directly influencing Forestry Commission policy on mountain biking from seeing it as a problem to seeing it as an opportunity. The development of unique trail design and construction techniques.” Why do you do what you do? “Because I believe that Wales has some of the best mountain biking in the world and I want to see Wales established as a world class destination for mountain bikers. I also want to see local communities benefit from their environment and in particular see young people become positive about where they live.” Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Of course. The more trails there are to ride, the more people will go mountain biking, particularly if the riding is really accessible, lots of fun and rideable in all weathers. The more people that ride, the more bikes will get sold.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “The industry should be putting more effort into supporting the development of riding opportunities. It should try and support the development of trails and organisations which work to secure access for mountain bikers. Support for trail building programs, the maintenance of trails and support for the establishment of International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) in the UK are all needed.” dafydd.davis@forestry.gsi.gov.uk Oliver Hatch Cyclists Public Affairs Group (CPAG) Grass roots activity “CPAG is a working group that brings together the major players working at the national level on cycling in order that we can give a single clear voice to both the politicians in Westminster and the civil servants in Whitehall. We’re both representing and giving cyclists a voice at the national level.” Tangible success stories so far “Giving a clear, unambiguous message about cycling to politicians and civil servants at the national level, which has raised the profile of cycling. Before CPAG came along, most of the groups had some kind of contact among civil servants and with politicians, and it got very confusing for people in Westminster and Whitehall as they were getting mixed messages about what the priorities were.” Why do you do what you do? “To provide a clear unambiguous message about the benefits of cycling. Also because it is vital to feed not just into the transport ministry, but into the other ministries whose work is also very important for cycling, such as education and health.” Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “I think so, in time. The higher the profile we can make of bicycling in general, the more that we can persuade the ministries and various others to take cycling seriously and to build it into policies and programmes, and make it more attractive to cycle on the road. In turn this will help to make more people to take up cycling. The fact is that most people are keen to, and can cycle, it's just that they don’t find the road environment very friendly towards cycling. Hopefully as moves go on to make the road environment more safe, friendly and accessible, more people will be encouraged to take up something that they want to do anyway.” What could others in the trade do to either help you? “I think the trade, through the BA and ACT, are already doing a great deal. I think the one area where we need to do more is really getting to the wider business community outside the cycling sector, such as big employers, shops, banks and chemists to try and make them more bike friendly. The bicycle shop in the high street is going to have links with other businesses in their community, and I think there is a lot that they could do to show that cycling is not something marginal, but that it is something that has an impact on them and could help their businesses to be more sustainable and give them a good image as well.” oh@velo-city.org Tel: 0208 6717561 Ron Spencer Ron Spencer Cycles, Warrington Grass roots activity “We sponsor Warrington Road Club.” Tangible success stories so far “As a result of us having the shop, we have got a lot of young people and people who are new to the area to join the club. With this increased membership the club teams are now getting some good race positions.” Why do you do what you do? “I want to put something back into the club which I have been a member of since I was old enough to join. I’ve had the support of the club in the past for the things I’ve done, and I want to contribute to the future of club cycling, and cycling in general.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Yes. Our name is seen as supporting the club. We give member discounts, and I’m also available whenever they come into the shop to give advice and discuss equipment and riding. A lot of club members ride our own-brand bikes so it's working for the benefit of both parties.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “Seventy five percent of UK bike shop owners don’t know the first thing about cycling, and they’ve never ridden bikes themselves. The trade has to, and is, becoming more knowledgeable. The bike shop of ten years ago can’t compete with the Asdas etc. who are just selling the stuff. The kind of customers who are going into bike shops now are the enthusiasts and semi-enthusiasts, and so traders need to be more knowledgeable about cycling.” Tel: 01925 632668 www.warringtonroadclub.com Jerry Arron Mud Dock Cycleworks and Café Grass roots activity “Creating Ashton Court, Bristol, the first purpose-built urban mountain bike trail in the UK. Creating a Cycle Resource Centre for the provision of commuter cyclists in Bristol city centre.” Tangible success stories so far “The Avon Timberland Trail is currently being constructed under the supervision of Phil Lee, one of the UK’s most experienced trail builders and pioneer of the Afan Argoed trail in Wales. Mud Dock initiated a strategic partnership with the Forest of Avon and then lobbied the landowners for permission to build the trail. Timberland was identified as a possible source of funding and, after a lengthy consultative period, involving interested parties as diverse as local parish councils, the Countryside Agency and local bikers, the various strands came together and a grant of £20 000 was received. The anticipated opening of at least part of the final trail is scheduled for the end of the summer with further loops into other areas of Bristol’s hinterland planned for the future.” Why do you do what you do? “On a pan-European level, our provision for commuter cyclists is deplorable, conversely our provision for recreational cyclists is one of the best (Sustrans, Welsh forests, etc.). I would like to think that by attracting and nurturing new bike riders into the recreational playground, we might, gradually, get more of them using their bikes as transport. Ultimately, force of numbers will be the most powerful lobby.” Do you expect to profit from your grassroots work? “My short-term gain is in the association of the brand Mud Dock with innovative and successful grass root schemes, and whatever business that generates I want, and deserve, a slice of the pie. It is, however, a pretty big pie.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “Keep talking.” Tel: 07973 465556 jerry@mud-dock.co.uk www.mud-dock.com Steve Grimwood Elmy cycles, Ipswich Grassroots activity “We promote cyclo-cross racing in the town. We’re working on a lottery bid for a £4 million multi-purpose cycling centre. We produce cycling instructions for Scouts, schools and youth clubs. We do bike maintenance courses through our local council, and we do public shows and come-and-try cycling events as part of the borough council leisure activities programme.” Tangible success stories so far “Our turnover and our profile within town have increased. We’ve become a very recognised and respected brand name in our area, without having to do any advertising. Activity-wise the biggest success is the cyclo-cross. It’s the best form of sports cycling from the perspective of the spectator in that it puts cycle racing in front of the general public. We also encouraged our local council along from doing small local events to doing two-day national championships. It's a big event now in the town, and the media coverage is absolutely huge. It's given us the vehicle to promote cycling, and to promote the shop.” Why do you do what you do? “We do it because we want to increase sales, but also because we want to get people on bikes. It is about bringing bike racing to the public and convincing them that it's glamourous and exciting, and it just might get some people to get their bikes out of storage and give it a go. We’re really just trying to promote the idea that cycling is a good way to get fit. By getting involved in all these events, we are also saying that we know what we are doing. People know what we’re about, we’re not Asda or Tesco.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? Yes, at the end of the day the only reason to do it is to get people on bikes. We don’t do overt sales pitches at the events we organise, but we do hope that people go away from these events and think ‘I might get my bike out tomorrow’. We sow the seeds and sell the idea.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “The trade needs to get its act together and realise that if IBDs are to survive, they’ve got to start looking at working and getting behind people like ‘Bikeweek’ and the local council. They really need to promote their expertise because if they don’t the big chains are going to walk all over us. Also suppliers need to stop thinking so literally and see the bigger picture. Too many think that if they want to sell mountain bikes, they have to sponsor a mountain bike race. There needs to be much more cross marketing, and less single mindedness. You don’t have to be selling the product that is being used in the event in order to sponsor it.” Tel: 01473 255247 enquiries@elmycycles.co.uk www.elmycycles.co.uk Andy Hyndes sShokwave Ltd/ Mountain Beach Holidays, Nottingham Grassroots activity “We’ve just done some promotion with the local authority for the Great Notts bike ride aimed at beginners getting into the sport. We offer beginners weekend biking trips to encourage participation. We do that sort of thing two or three times a year. As well as our shop, we also do top-notch mountain bike holidays. Each of our centres has dedicated staff for beginners.” Tangible success stories so far “We sponsor local events and put things through the local authority. At the events we try and promote ourselves, and let people know what we’re about, that we’re a professional mountain biking outfit, we’re not a faceless chainstore. We’re also probably the best at mountain bike holidays in the business, judging by the equipment we have and the repeat business.” Why do you do what you do? “Lifestyle. I’m not money motivated, I do what I do because I enjoy it. It’s fun to be in, a great sport. When you see people who are just getting into the sport enjoy themselves after a weekend bike ride, you just know you’re on a winner, it's a fabulous feeling. I’m not naive enough to think that they’ll all buy a bike from me, but a few will, and they might go on holiday with us.” Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Yes, long-term. But it's not just about money. I don’t expect anything tomorrow, but the more we put in the more we’re going to get out of it. I’ve hardly sold anything as a direct result of sponsoring the last event, but we will be registered in people’s minds.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “The trade needs to be more positive. I’ve written to three hundred bike shops offering them a very cheap holiday with us, saying that if they liked it they could sell a holiday through their shop and we’ll cut them in for a deal. I’m still waiting for the first shop to ring me back and say ‘what a good idea’.” Tel: 0115 9215065 andy@mountain-beach.co.uk www.mountain-beach.co.uk Jim McGurn The Company of Cyclists Grass roots activity “We run cycle promotion support systems for local authorities, health trusts and businesses. This encompasses PR work, a bike try-out road show once a year, and going to public places to promote cycling. We produce seventeen cycling factsheets, a cycling website for local authorities and clients, as well as a guide to cycling called ‘Get cycling’, which is a 60-page colour guide for cycling beginners.” Success stories so far “We’ve been going nearly two years, we have forty clients and we’re growing very fast.” Why do you do what you do? “Because we thought the government wasn’t doing enough.” Do you expect the bike trade will get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Bike dealers don’t seem to be very interested in what we do, but then again, they are not our clients.” What could others in the trade do to either help you? “Come to our roadshows, show their wares, encourage their local authorities to book us and become one of our clients.” Tel: 01904 778080 jm@compofcyclists.demon.co.uk www.companyofcyclists.com Ian Hughes Scott Sports Ltd Grass roots activity “The Scott Scholarship. We set it up four years ago because I wanted to help young and up-and-coming cross country and downhill riders by giving them an opportunity to compete on equal terms. They all have the same bike and kit, they get schooling in how to ride and how to mechanic the bike, how to do the PR, the publicity and the press. They score points over the series and whoever scores the most gets a minimum one-year contract on the national team. This is on-going year on year, so youngsters know they have the opportunity of being given a lot of help and advice to set them on the way to becoming a professional rider.” Tangible success stories so far “Oli Beckingsale, the current cross country national champion, although he came through before we’d started the scholarship as a grass roots development. We started with him and stayed with him, and this lead to us starting the scholarship.” Why do you do what you do? “It's really to give us another angle of our marketing campaign, to show that we do things slightly differently. We’re looking to help grow the market at the low end, with not just full on professional riders, but to influence and help youngsters. Do you expect to get a sales paypack from your grassroots work? “Yes, in the long term that is part of the package, but you can’t say whether there is an immediate benefit.” What could others in the trade do to either help you, or set up similar schemes? “In a nutshell, get off their arses! And you can quote me on that.” Tel: 01670 712129 info@scott-sports.uk.com www.scottusa.com

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Chain Reaction Cycles I Belfast I Competitive Salary & Benefits Package I Date Published Monday 2nd July 2018