In a press release headlined ‘Are you a Cycho, a Hedge Monkey or a Pink Peril?’, Motor World’s PR agency since mid-April has compiled a list of ‘customer types’ that may be picked up by the national media and used to poke fun at ‘wacky’ cyclists.
So far, the release has been mailed to cycle mags only but will be rolled out to national newspapers once it gets the go ahead from Motor World execs.
Cicero Public Relations of Manchester were retained by Motor World in mid-April and today’s release is the first one to be sent out concerning the cycle side to Motor World’s business.
Like the curate’s egg, the release does contain some good bits.
So, for instance, the first few paragraphs point out the positive health benefits of cycling:
"Get your leg over and save the NHS £190,000,000. That’s the potential saving if you get on your bike, or buy a new one, according to research carried out by one of Britain’s biggest bicycle retailers, Motor World," starts the release.
Motor World MD John Mousell is given the following quote:
“Almost a third of the population have a bike, most of which are gathering dust in a garage or shed. By making this bike road-worthy, or spending as little as £89.99 on a brand new one, the health service could make a saving of £190,000,000 – the cost to the country of heart disease that could be headed off by cycling less than three miles a day.”
Skipping the fact that no bike riding at all is also "cycling less than three miles a day", the release strays into more dangerous territory by dreaming up fancy names for a few stereotypes. Some are funny, some are plain wrong, all are fanciful.
The release said: "Motor World have surveyed customers to build the 12 most common cyclist profiles. Rather than the committed mountain bike maniac, most sales fall into the following categories…"
"The big city cycle delivery rider with no fear or apparent regard for anyone’s safety (including their own). Most likely to be seen weaving between stationary traffic to get the package to its destination before 12.00."
"The pinstripe suited businessman, fed up with sitting in traffic in his executive car."
"Like most of us, has no real cycling experience and it shows. Most likely to be spotted swerving and wobbling along the edge of the kerb, in the wrong gear…very slowly."
"Pedestrians are obstacles for The Sidewinder and the road is not an option."
"In a world of their own, tuned into the latest commercial dance/R&B tunes on their M.D, C.D, MP3 player."
"For whom cycling is an art, especially when carrying a Sainsbury’s bag over each handlebar."
"Head down, bum up, taking on cars at the traffic lights; the road racer takes no prisoners."
"These bikes never actually go anywhere under their own steam, they adorn the tailgates of Volvos, in traffic jams on a Bank Holiday weekend."
"Like a line of ducks, the day-glo family can be seen trundling up country lanes every Sunday, wearing as much high visibility gear as it is possible to get on."
The New Age Hedge Monkey
"Cycles because cars are the scourge of the planet. Dressed head to foot in Hessian and wearing sandals, the Hedge Monkey can ride for 100 miles on a mouthful of tofu."
The Pink Peril (glamour cyclist)
"With the looks of a super model and barely covered in Lycra, the Pink Peril has never been in an accident…but causes plenty."
The Precinct Pest
"They appear from nowhere and strike fear into the heart of shoppers, the precinct pests hunt in packs and have an average age of about 14."
The press release also promotes Motor World’s new shop-within-a-shop feature – Outdoor World. Apparently, this has "well-trained, clued-up staff at outlets nationwide."
So, how of the press release is based on fact and how much on hot air?