We spoke to our title sponsor Saddleback and another of our partners Wheelbase, a Kendal based bike shop about the trends they have seen in cycling during lockdown. Here are five of the trends they noticed during this time.
1) Indoor training equipment is now an all year round market
We’ve put this at number one because it represents the largest change from traditional cycle equipment sales trends. After speaking to Saddleback’s marketing manager Declan Deehan it was clear that typically the indoor cycle equipment sales window runs for three months during the winter, with the pandemic raging this has now turned into a year round market. This is particularly surprising because in the UK cycling outside was only restricted to one session a day at its peak, displaying people’s appetite to continue developing their fitness whilst using online platforms like Zwift to socialise and ride with friends.
Saddleback have seen this new trend with the sale of the new Stages Indoor Smart Bikes, units sold have been through the roof and demand continue to surge.
2) An uplift in cycle equipment has been seen across the board
We didn’t need to ask anyone to tell you this is the case, trying to buy a bike in the UK new or used under £1000 was near impossible during the peak of the lockdown.
3) Event organisers rush to online platforms to recreate their events in the online world
Recreating cycling events in the online world is nothing new, Zwift has been in partnership with the UCI for years, recreating the Road World Championships route for millions to ride on every year. However, due to the postponement and cancellation of professional racing and sportives in the UK, the demand for route development has gone up dramatically, getting to the point where companies like Zwift are having the turn away reputable cycling events.
This in turn has opened up a window for a much less admin heavy method, the introduction of ‘virtual’ mass participation events. This has been more popular in running events, asking people to self-record a run and then upload it to a shared leader board to compare yourself against your fellow competitors. These types of events don’t give you the physical event experience but do offer valuable community, fundraising and merchandise opportunities.
4) It’s not just road cycling that has seen an uplift
As people spend more time working from home we expected to see a rise in road cycling, but this has not been the only type cycling that has picked up during lockdown. It has been reported that during the initial three weeks of lockdown the demand for cycle equipment went down, after this a huge demand in children bikes was seen. As families found new routines and activities to entertain children the sales of kid’s bikes rocketed. This was quickly followed by the increased demand of electric bikes and then finally adult mountain bikes.
5) Cycling has been identified by the Government as a key strategy to combat poor air quality
It’s hard to pull positives out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is one and that is the improved air quality and environmental factors that have been seen as more people stay home, stop driving cars, can’t fly or use public transport.
Cycling has been identified as a key strategy to allow the government to safely ease the lockdown, it is socially isolated mode of transport that also supports the improved air quality seen across the globe. In response to this, back in May the Government announced that a £2 billion grant will be made available to local authorities to continue to improve cycle networks and further reduce the demand on public transport.