Coming up to 2 years in the shop on the High Street and the time seems to have flown by so now is as good a time as any to take stock. There is no doubt that life on the High Street is hard. The bike industry is notorious for low wages and even the big internet outfits struggle to make a reasonable living. There is also the seasonal nature of the industry to contend with which can catch out the unaware or ill prepared.
We have learned over that past two years that there is a constant need to adapt and reinvent ourselves in terms of brands, services and look. More than half of our business comes from the shop window which can always do with a change. If the same bikes stay in the window then the interest goes down. The stock and brands have fluctuated as we acquired different suppliers and learned more about the product ranges. Different brands ‘fit’ different demographics, Raleigh bikes are popular with women, men prefer the GT and Charge bikes. It is guaranteed that next year that the demand profile will be different. If I was to guess one specific trend then I think that there will be more women wanting a bike that is specifically designed for women. They will come with a better understanding of ‘fit’ and asking for women specific geometry and components. There are already signs of this from the manufacturers who are producing lady specific models within their bike ranges.
The number of bikes being imported into this country declined this year by a million which is primarily due to reduced demand. However there has been a rise in demand for electric bikes primarily due to an ageing population and commuters seeking alternatives to cars. This is part of the industry that will steadily grow. The cost is prohibitive but conversions provide a compromise that may be suitable for majority of needs. We expect this trend to continue as parking and congestion become increasingly worse.
This last year has seen Cargo bikes regularly used in Corsham to take kids to school one of which was renovated by Spindles. We have also sold a FollowMe tandem coupling that provides the best way of attaching a child’s bike to an adult bike. Is this the start of a real change in Corsham. I can see that some of the new housing developments in Corsham are just too far for kids to walk into school however the bicycle would be the perfect way to beat the morning traffic however for some people the prospect of venturing on the A4 in the morning is intimidating. We do need meaningful cycle infrastructure in Corsham.
We plan to embark on a revamp of the shop after Christmas not only to provide a better experience but also to allow us more storage. But its Christmas next.