Many of the larger Halfords stores are now being fitted out with gondolas promoting Sustrans and the National Cycle Network. These stores have been designated as National Cycle Network Information Centres.
The gondolas contain a large range of Sustrans merchandise, including maps and the new National Cycle Network guide by Nick Cotton. They also contain information on how consumers can join Sustrans.
Such a major new initiative by Halfords isnt surprising. The work of Sustrans is likely to create hundreds of thousands of new cyclists and Halfords want to impress their brand values on them early.
By and large, IBDs are almost wholly ignoring the launch of the National Cycle Network, relying instead on the efforts of the ACT and CoBR.
There are notable exceptions to this rule but the number of IBDs getting their hands dirty with Sustrans is very few and far between. Displaying a few Sustrans leaflets is nowhere enough in the run-up to the biggest cycle infrastructure launch Britain has ever seen.
How many consumers have you signed up as Sustrans members? Dont know? Halfords does.
Every IBD and every supplier too should be actively seeking to help and promote Sustrans and their 5000-mile network due to be launched on June 21st. The bike trade through the levy scheme has helped the Network financially yet IBDs will get little credit if they dont shout their involvement from the rooftops.
Halfords coughed up for the levy too via their Merida-built own-brand bikes as well as through the branded bikes they sell and the Boots-owned company is sensibly capitalising on its involvement.
Press releases on local network links should be flying out from every IBD. Local Ride the Net coordinators should be contacted at once. Offer to help.
The Ride the Net website should be read and digested. A publicity action plan should be drawn up. Book your large vinyl banners for draping across your shop. Work out which local newspaper journalists youll be getting on a comfort bike and out on your nearest NCN route. How far are you riding on the Longest Ride? What involvement do you have with the Cyclethon?
Its not too late to get active. In fact, youre flexible, passionate about cycling and hungry for the trade so, with a little bit of effort, you can be MORE proactive than Halfords and, just like them, can drag new cyclists through your doors. What are you waiting for?
The National Cycle Network will be officially opened on Wednesday 21st June in Birmingham. The Longest Ride, when the whole Network is ridden in one day, will take place on the same day. From Thursday 22nd until Sunday 25th June Cyclethon events will take place across the UK.
Information on the celebrations for the opening of the National Cycle Network, Ride the Net and Cyclethon, is available by calling the Sustrans Public Information line on 0117 929 0888 or by visiting www.ridethenet.co.uk. However, to get the true local flavour of events happening in your area you should get in touch with one of the regional Ride the Net organisers listed below.
Ride the Net and The Cyclethon also link in to the Millennium Festival of Cycling, co-ordinated by the CTC - Cyclists Touring Club June 17th 25th 2000. This is National Bike Week 2000. For details on how you can get your business involved locally contact Conrad Haigh on tel: 01483 417 217 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACT have pledged support for the Dr. Bike Day this year and CoBR members will be helping cyclists in the run up to the Millennium Festival of Cycling.
Check out www.cyclesource.co.uk and www.cobr.co.uk.
RIDE THE NET CO-ORDINATORS
Tel/Fax 01505 614 302
Tel/Fax 028 71 289623
Tel: 029 20 756 895
Lancs, Cumbria, and the NE
Tel/Fax 017684 84632
Mary Crowder, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire,
Tel 0114 255 3395
Northants, Rutland, Leices, Lincs, Notts, Bedford,
Mid Beds, Milton Keynes
Tel 0115 9480829
West Mids, Warks, Worcs, Herefordshire, Shropshire,
Tel: 0121447 700, Fax 0121 447 7701
Tel 020 7928 6112
Sussex, Kents, Hants, Isle of Wight, Oxon, Berks, Surrey, Bucks, Bristol and Bath
Tel 0117 915 0107
Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambs, Herts, Lincs
Tel: 01502 714 661
Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Glos, Wilts
Tel: 01249 653992, Fax 01249 462 386