Mark Cavendish, Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton and other power houses of the cycling world have brought what was a relatively small and niche sport to the forefront of the leisure events industry.
Shortly after the London Olympic Games in 2012 it felt like every TV chat show sofa included a gold medal winning cyclist.
“In 2012, Bradley Wiggins’ winning gold propelled the appeal of bicycles into a whole new stratosphere,” said Chris Holman, event director of The Cycle Show, an annual event that takes place in September at the Birmingham NEC. The event showcases what’s hot in the cycling world and is intended for a broad range of visitors – from your first bike with stabilisers to carbon fibre and even electric bikes.
The ‘Wiggo’ effect has made a huge difference to the show and no doubt it’s the organiser who cheers the loudest when Team GB come out to ride. Indeed, Holman noted that there has been a real spike in attendence since 2012, with footfall up by nearly 20 percent.
Retail sales of bicycles have seen a large boost, too – one recent stat revealed that Wiggins and Team GB had inspired 28 percent of people to acquire a bike or accessory.
Like events, the retail sector often aligns itself with current trends and the bikes on show will always follow the latest thing. You may remember the BMX boom of the 1980s – it was E.T. and the flying BMX that saw the bike being used up and down the country. At the height of the boom the British Pro BMX team were earning £150K per year, which was a colossal amount of money at the time.
Something that you may not know (and we only found this out recently while working with a client) is that this industry has an annual (ahem) cycle of products, and it starts in September! Which, not by chance, is the same time as The Cycling Show. Indeed, one of the main USPs for attendance is simply to see what is going to be launched for next spring and summer.
The rise of the electric car has boosted overall interest in the electric bike, too, with the biggest growth markets for these vehicles currently in Germany and Scandinavia.
The fixed gear bike is another recent trend – particularly for the London Hipster! Also very popular in Germany, Holman is very interested to know if this trend will persist this September.
In addition to the Cycling Show, The Telegraph Events Team launched the London Bike Show in 2011 to run alongside the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show and the Triathlon Show. These three shows now collectively attract over fifty thousand visitors to ExCel, appealing to the whole family.
The sport has been around an awful lot longer than Wiggins and Team GB but as you can see they’re having a huge impact on this growing market and the industry as a whole.