As a new year dawns and the world returns to routines of life we thought we’d pause and offer a brief look forward to our 17 most anticipated developments within 2017. So here goes.
1: The Mad March Hare
The Mad March Hare is a mini sportive which is fast gaining a worthy reputation for it’s brilliance. Clear signage, quality organisation, a great route and a really positive vibe come as standard. Whether you’re looking to shake off those winter blues or kick start the Sportive season the March Hare has everything you’re looking for. We're anticipating a great day.
2: Workplace Partnership Program
April 2017 sees the launch of our new workplace partnership program an initiative which aims to help facilities and estates in providing exceptional levels of service to their cycling people. It’s all about premium services in premium locations. If your workplace isn’t yet signed up feel free to put us in touch with your facilities management.
3: Mass Bike Manufacturing returns to the UK
Regular blog readers might recall that over a year ago we featured a review of Trillion Cycles Tera Custom. At the time of writing Trillion was pretty much a one man band producing great single speed bikes from little more than a shed just outside of Solihull. Then came 2016 when Trillion Cycles founder Loz Bryan had a chance meeting with Indian steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta. This encounter was swiftly followed by a buy out of the company and a commitment to bring mass bicycle manufacturing back to the UK. Gupta fiercely rejects this is a vanity project harping back to his childhood days selling bikes during a gap year in Turkey and insists mass high quality UK cycle manufacturing is his sole focus.
We loved the Terra Custom and are hoping that Loz is maintaining strict control of quality and design. These are challenging times for any UK manufacturer in a increasingly competitive market. Trillion deserve every ounce of our attention.
4: Tour of The Black Country
It’s hard to believe that Tour Of The Black Country is only in it’s 4th year as this ride has everything you’d expect from a ride which has developed over a much longer period of time. This year riders will have an opportunity to ride either 100 miles or 100k (65 miles). TOTBC has become synonymous with legendary route planning which aims to mirror the Paris Roubaix with it’s grueling cobbles and velodrome finish. A truly brilliant ride and a must for your diary.
Not sure your legs are up to it?
Check out Cycle Classics new partnership with former JLT-Condor Pro Team rider Dean Downing.
5: Big Changes For Parks
With Birmingham City Council looking to shave millions from it’s budget the second city’s parks are clearly in the firing line. Watch the local press and you’ll observe a plethora of campaign groups arguing that any cuts to parks would be false economy. That may be true but it’s also worth remembering that BCC (including the parks department) have been woefully poor at forming partnerships with the private and third sector. If budget cuts lead to innovation and an increased focus on collaboration this might not be such bad news for the cycling community and others. Time will tell.
We love cycling and we love tech, note therefore our excitement when those two things converge in a moment of utter brilliance. The week before Christmas we received a Lumos Helmet. There will be a full review to come but note for now that we reckon this innovation will take the world of urban cycling commuters by storm. It really is that good.
7: Cycle Super Highway
In December 16 Birmingham City Council announced that it was withdrawing it’s initial approach to the cycle revolution; aka ‘small improvements over a wide area’. It would instead focus on developing world class cycle superhighways along two of the city’s major arterial routes. That’s a dramatic sea change and one we and others have been crying out for for years. Note that the old mindset wasn’t uniquely problematic to Birmingham and thus the hint of a change in approach here could have ramifications across the country.
8: Company Pool Bikes
Later this year we’ll be delivering the first of our company pool bikes in partnership with one of Birmingham’s most iconic estates (we’re not allowed to say where just yet).
Our unique partnership with Elephant Bikes means that these beauties not only bring both value and brand awareness to any company but also offer a real and demonstrable social return on investment. If your work place doesn’t offer pool bikes for occasional use they should! Put us in touch we’d love to help make a very big difference.
9: Birmingham Velo
While the entry fee led to a sharp intake of breath and the route looks less than exciting the promise of 15,000 riders on closed roads is enough to make sure this one goes in your diary. Pitched as an alternative to the now ridiculously overcrowded Prudential Ride London the Birmingham Velo offers much to get excited about. Watch this space for announcements on guest riders (pro’s).
10: Chris Boardman Stands For Public Office
Ok ;so this probably won’t happen but we deeply wish it would. He’s a force to be reckoned with speaking sense upon sense upon sense for the whole cycling community. He demands respect and most importantly he gets stuff done.
Please Chris, we beg of you!
11: Failed Resolutions
Of course you won’t stay off chocolate, or beer, or cake and good look with the new sleep regime! But do you know what? Breaking your cycling resolutions just makes you human. What matters is not that you keep every piece of self imposed regulation but that you keep heading in the right direction and remain part of the winning side.
12: The Implosion Of The Sportive Market
So here’s our big prediction for 2017. The Sportive market will implode. The Sportive market is currently flooded and such saturation can’t last forever. Last year we had grown adults paying £25 to meet in a car park, ride on open roads with no real signage and end in some insignificant blemish on an ordinance survey map all in the name of creating yet another article in yet another weekly cycling magazine. This year we’re seeing massive cycling related brads throw ‘free’ events as long as you’re prepared to suck up every last ounce of their marketing drivel.
Please God let this end!!!
So here’s the news; you’re allowed to ride with friends without it being called a Sportive; you’re allowed to make up routes with no real idea where you’re heading, you’re allowed to enjoy cycling again.
And here’s why the Sportive market madness needs to end. Because the best will survive, they always have and always will.
13: Public Evidence Prosecutions
In 2016 West Midlands Police rolled out their close pass initiative which was swiftly replicated by a number of Police forces across the country. Plain clothes cops note a close pass while their colleagues pull over the offending driver and issue an on the spot fine. But here’s the exciting bit. In 2017 you can submit your evidence and they will pursue through to conviction. Suddenly your Go Pro has an actual use!
14: Direct To Customer Will Grow
When you’re in the bike industry you see that there’s one group of people with the jitters and they’re not retailers they’re distributors. Why? Because direct to customer seems to be an increasing trend amongst cycle manufacturers. Canyon and Planet X have iconically led the way on this approach delivering some incredible value for money. While the latter has had a rough ride of late there’s still significant momentum behind the direct to customer model.
Our sense is that 2017 will see some real developments in this area. That’s good news for consumers because it means your next bike choice is less likely to be determined by what the retailer needs to shift and is more likely to be based on your needs and aspirations. This will force collaboration and diversification across the cycle industry and that can only be a good thing.
15: We Will All Seek A New Hero
Only time will tell whether Bradley Wiggins will be remembered for incredible athleticism orthe receipt of a mystery jiffy envelope; what’s for sure is that following his retirement we are in need of a new cycling hero. Hero’s require personality so that’s Froome out of the race. Wouldn’t it be great if it wasn’t a white male!?
16: Ebikes Will Increase In Popularity
With an aging population, increasingly positive cycling infrastructure and baby boomers still retiring on decent pensions there appears to be a near perfect e bike storm. Expect to see many more of these beasts on the streets and much more of the subsequent conversation about necessary revisions in the highways law (YAAAAAAWN!!).
17: Simplicity Will Win
For several years the cycling industry seems to have been spinning a new genre of cycling on an almost monthly basis; gravel bikes, dust bikes, light weight hill climbers. . . and on and on and on. The problem with such fethishes is that they’re a big ask when an increasing number of people are feeling the need to be a little more careful with their resources. Thus my hunch is that we’ll see a real increase in cyclists resisting n+1 and instead making very specific modifications towards the elusive ‘does everything’ bike. I also think that fixie's are not behind us. In fact my hunch is that the low maintnance advantages of riding fixed mean their popularity will rise.
So that's our list of anticipations now tell us yours!