Comment: Diversify beyond bike retail - BikeBiz

Comment: Diversify beyond bike retail

What's to stop the front line turning event organiser?
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Another year has gone by all too quickly and here we are, facing 2014 no more certain about the what the year ahead will bring, but hopefully a little wiser on how to ride the rollercoaster that is bike retail.

So what has the front line got going for it in 2014? One of the highlights of last year, which is still evident, particularly among club cyclists and brave beginners alike, was the success of the Ride London event. Now in its second year, substantially more places have been dished out and we can expect 80,000 to take part.

Mass participation events such as these are excellent for creating a positive buzz about cycling and we’d like to think that cycle retailers between Surrey and London will have benefitted from the influx of cyclists now familiar with the route and returning regularly.

Further north and just prior to the Tour de France, there’s the L’Eroica taking place in the Peak District. This is a ride steeped in history, originating on Italy’s Tuscan roads and ridden on only pre-1987 vintage road bikes.

Again, we’d expect the combination of this mass participation ride and the following Tour kick-off in Yorkshire to provide a boost to cycling and cycle retail in the region, even if the spike only lasts the duration of summer.

The rise of the sportive, alongside the surge in first time road bike buyers, seems to be what’s driving the cycling business at present. As we all know, once a person has the cycling bug, it’s not uncommon to develop a taste for two wheel exploration, so, more than ever, the beginner is to be nurtured by the retailer.

Stores up and down the country do a fantastic job of engaging their customers with group rides in between larger organised events. But much like the publishing business is branching out, is it time for the retailer to take the bull by the horns and turn event organiser?

For the most part, local authorities are a lot more open to cycling events than you may have found as little as five years ago. That’s what a little media spotlight, although not all positive, or correct in some cases, will do for a sport. With the backing of a few like-minded local businesses who wouldn’t mind the promotion, you could soon have your very own Milk Race on your hands. What’s the worst that could happen?

Have you done so already? Perhaps you've tried and encountered resistance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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