Hybrids, MAMILS and FISH - the evolution of Cycle to Work

Cyclescheme director Daniel Gillborn analyses the changing C2W user base...
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For many people tentatively taking their first steps into cycle commuting, they do not want (or need) an all-singing all-dancing lightweight racer to cycle the few miles to work. They may well end up hooked on cycling and yearning for the latest gadgets as a result of commuting, but the initial driving force is about utility.

Somewhere between robust mountain bike and sleek road bike, the hybrid arguably offers the best overall commuting experience for riders of all ages and abilities. This is reflected in our research which showed that over 30 per cent of people opted for a hybrid, with road bikes a close second and mountain bikes trailing in third place. When you look at the age groups of people taking part in the scheme too you see the majority of Cycleschemers sit squarely in the MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) category with over 60 per cent of Cyclescheme participants aged 35 – 54 which, very broadly speaking, paints us a picture of a hundreds of thousands of MAMILs on hybrid bikes.

This, as we’re sure you’re aware, is nothing new. What’s interesting though, is when you look at the other age groups and bike types that are out there. In 2011, our audience was around 64 per cent MAMIL and 25 per cent 18-34 year olds; now our MAMILs have shrunk (by just over one per cent) but our younger members have grown to nearly 29 per cent. This just goes to show there is a whole world of customers out there that aren’t MAMILs – let’s call them FISH (Financially Independent Savings Hunters) – who are younger, web-savvy and are increasingly aware of how they can save their cash when it comes to big ticket purchases like bikes.

The change in our customers may be slight, and by no means alters the face of Cycle to Work completely, but there’s no denying that following Team GB’s success at London 2012, coupled with the excitement around Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016, cycling is more and more part of our general consciousness and we’re excited to see where the next few years takes us. Suffice to say, there’s plenty more fish in the sea.

Daniel Gillborn is director of Cyclescheme, the UK’s leading provider of tax-free bikes for work. You can reach him on Twitter @DGCyclescheme

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