Whether it’s the long line of cycle firms, be they retailers, distributors, manufacturers or other companies embroiled in the trade, celebrating the fact that they’ve survived the economic downturn or even, gasp, seen sales climb or rocket, or just the sheer momentum that seems to back cycling in the UK at the moment, with pro-cycling agendas and a growing list of initiatives in bikes favour, there have been more reasons for the bicycle industry to celebrate than I could squeeze into this column.
I suspect that a few of you might be slightly tired of seeing the words ‘X company bucks the credit crunch’, but if you’re jaded about reading stories that feature firms in the trade doing well in the face of the recession then you’re insane, frankly. We should be pinching ourselves.
Undeniably though, the picture isn’t entirely rosy, and the cycle trade has had to cope with the effects of difficult economic conditions. Independent cycle retailers are struggling with banks unwilling to lend, high business rates and increasing competition, while distributors (and naturally, retailers again) have had to deal with an incredibly tough currency conversion rate. But in the main, the cycle trade has coped impressively with the recession – and beyond expectations if the number of reduced imports at the start of the season is anything to go by. It’s surely a testament to the strength of the bike biz that it has avoided the big name scalpings that we’ve seen across the retail landscape (stand up Zavvi, Woolworths, MFI and many others).
And with the mouth-watering prospect of the London Olympics in 2012, various sectors forging new growth for the trade, those pro-cycling agendas and even Boris Johnson, you don’t have to look very hard for reasons to be cheerful about the cycle industry in the UK.
Which brings me to the BikeBiz Awards –the perfect opportunity for the industry to celebrate its achievements over the past 12 months. While you’re catching your breath between shows and launches this month, take a look at our guide to the finalists. And if that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, guests and Cycle Show exhibitors get chance to have a beer on BikeBiz at the Awards drinks reception at 7.30 pm on October 8th. See you there.