As 2014 draws to a close we've reached the point where we traditionally look back at the past year. Depending on how busy you've been, you might - like us - have forgetten worryingly large chunks of what happened over the previous 12 months. So with that in mind we thought we'd round up some of the most popular stories of the year here on BikeBiz.com.
The most read stories of 2014 were:
1. Introducing the Essax Shark Saddle
When pictures of this saddle first broke there were plenty of cheeky comments made, but the eye-catching (some would say wince-inducing) saddle comes with a great pedigree and has since been picked up for distribution in the UK.
2. £250,000 of bikes stolen from Tri UK after London Bike Show
The trade is littered with theft reports, but the haul stolen from Tri UK en route home from ExCeL totalled an eye-watering quarter of a million.
3. Wiggle faces social media backlash after accusations of plagiarism
October saw Wiggle drawn into a plagiarism argument on Twitter, to which the online retailer responded with a detailed statement (which you can read on the link above).
4. Cyclists must ride in the gutter and wear helmets, ad watchdog rules
You don't expect the Department for Transport to tell you what time to get up at the weekend and likewise you don't expect the Advertising Standards Authority to tell you how to ride your bike. But that's exactly what it did do back in January, before hastily realising it possibly shouldn't have been adjudicating on transport regulations after all.
5. Jeremy Clarkson's 'point making' cyclist responds
This time it was a celebrity making up the rules of the road on the fly. The Top Gear presenter took issue with a cyclist who dared to 'take the lane', accusing him of 'making a point' rather than following the Highway Code's recommendations on how to stay safe on the road. Clarkson managed to take a photo of the aforementioned cyclist from the wheel of his car, further compounding his creative grasp of the law.
We're used to hearing that cycling is one of the solutions to the pressing problems of the age – like obesity, pollution and congestion to name three – but November saw the Department for Transport itself state that cycling's benefit to the nation is 'off the scale', finding that its benefit to cost ratio is up to 35 to 1.
7. AA uses naked cyclist to launch #thinkbikes wing-mirror campaign
The AA ditched the lycra and just about everything else to highlight its #thinkbikes campaign. Who says cycle safety campaigning always needs to be po-faced?
8. Top 20 independent bike dealers of 2014 revealed
We're always proud to champion the independent bicycle dealers of the nation here at BikeBiz and, happily, our 2014 list of the 20 finest IBDs made your top ten most read stories of the year. We received countless testimonies (well, quite a few) putting the list together, which was this year backed by Cyclescheme. And we'll be doing it all over again in 2015.
9. Bikerumor to pony up to charity for any copyright errors
To say this story was controversial is putting it mildly: In September, Bikerumor said it would make a charitable donation following any copyright-related errors published on its site. Judging by the comments we had on the story, those affected were not entirely impressed by the move...
10. KASK launches helmet amnesty
The brand encouraged riders to give their helmet a check – in the same way they would their tyres or brakes - and offer money off a helmet for every lid handed in, whatever the brand or age.
If you haven't already, you can read the results of our 2014 retailer survey online.
In no particular order here are a few eye-catching stories from 2014 we've picked out:
Kool Stop: 'Bristly disc pads will be big in the road market' More eye-catching tech, this time from Kool Stop which introduced a brake pad with heat dissipating bristles.
Retailers should beware 'showrooming'
A guest column from our sister mag PCR showed that it's not just bike shops that have to suffer customers checking prices in-store against online box shifters.
Specialized face new social media storm after Alize/Allez take down
Another year, another social media hammering for Specialized thanks to some, shall we say, heavy handed actions.
Future sells bike titles to Immediate Media
Dwarfing all other cycle media-related news this year was Future selling its sport and craft titles to Immediate Media for £24m. Triathlon Plus was the remaining Future title which subsequently went to Kelsey Media. There's further reading on that here.
Acquistions ahoy: Trek buys Electra, Halfords buys Boardman,Evans (not quite) for sale in the New Year
Speaking of money changing hands, other bike trade acquisitions in 2014 including Trek buying Electra, Halfords acquiring Boardman and renewed rumours around Evans. In the meantime WD-40 acquired GT85, Race Face owner Chris Tutton bought Easton Cycling and Gamut USA bought Point One Racing.
UK bike sales grow 14% to £745 million
Or did they? Frankly who knows, but without going into all that, Mintel took another stab at guessing the size of the market back in April. If you're after more numbers, head over to our statistics round-up.
If you're now hooked on a mince pie-fuelled 2014 nostalgia bender then get yourself to the BikeBiz News Archive.