Britain’s cycling boom – fact or fiction?

Tandem Group, the maker of Dawes and Claud Butler bicycles, has dismissed Britain’s supposed cycling boom as a myth after demand for its bikes fell in recent trading, according to The Guardian.

The company said sales of top-end bikes ridden by well-off ageing men were booming but the market for cheaper leisure bikes was extremely tough. Tandem also blamed the scorching summer for the drop-off in demand.

Sales of bikes and accessories fell 6.7% to £3.7m in the first 11 weeks of the company’s second half of the year as group sales fell 13% to £7.3m.

Jim Shears, Tandem’s finance director, said: “In recent years you’ve seen the London Olympics effect and the Tour de France and there are a lot more high-end cyclists about.

“People are interested in cycling but it’s not correct to say cycling is booming in the UK. In our part of the market, which is mainly mums and dads going out for a ride with the family, we haven’t seen the same effect. There’s not a massive uplift in cycling across the country.”

Shears said there were many more professional “mamils” (middle-aged men in Lycra) buying bikes costing £2,000 or far more, but that Tandem’s priciest cycle cost just over £1,000 and its customers were still constrained by reduced spending power.

Tandem’s cycle brands also include Falcon, Boss, Townsend and British Eagle.

Michael Bennett, managing director of leisure PR and outdoor specialist Pelican Communications said: “These comments reveal the appeal of cycling may not have spread throughout the whole market, however, there can be little doubt about the growing popularity of cycling both as a participant and spectator sport.

“There is clearly a marketing job to be done attracting more families to cycling and getting more people outside of London to commute by bike.”

He added: “This isn’t an impossible task, Halfords has shown how you can attract cyclists of all abilities by creating a range of brands that offer something for all markets. Their new 13 Bikes brand is a further evolution of the offer.”

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