Have The Wheels Fallen Off The Cycling Industry?

Posted on Jan 23, 2024. by NTI

You may remember the boom that the cycling industry experienced during the pandemic, when everyone was at home and decided to spend their furlough money on a new bike.

Heightened anxiety over public transport, and a surge in exercise meant that more people wanted to commute by bike once they were able to travel again. Retailers saw huge backlogs in being able to obtain parts and bikes, mainly due to the pandemic, but also due to the Suez canal being blocked in March 2021, which had a knock-on effect for global shipping.

You may well have heard of the largest online retailer, Wiggle Chain Reaction entering into Administration in November 2023. Administrators at FRP are confident a sale can be achieved, however.

Children’s bike manufacturer Islabikes did not reach insolvency, but announced that they are ceasing production.

Last week, Orange, the popular British mountain bike manufacturer, entered into Administration.

Well-known manufacturer Raleigh has also set out a major restructure that will involve job cuts.

These are just a few of the companies affected.

The cost of living crisis and inflation leading to customers having less disposable income, as well as manufacturers hiking up prices, seem to have caused a perfect storm, where those in the industry are struggling. There has also been a huge influx of stock, as retailers (perhaps naively) assumed that people would keep buying, but this has been met with a softening of demand.

It’s not just the cycling retail side that is affected. The Guardian has reported that Sweetspot, the organisers of the Women’s Tour, and the previous organisers of racing events such as the Tour of Britain, has appointed IPs from KRE to act as Liquidators.

Sweetspot claim their difficulties were largely caused by a debt of £750k owed to British Cycling, the governing body, as a result of the cancellation of the Tour of Britain in 2022 due to the death of the Queen, and their licence to organise the race being withdrawn by British Cycling. They also have suppliers such as local councils and police forces.

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