The cycle industry is one of few to profit from the coronavirus pandemic.
UK bike sales boomed under lockdown as Britons avoided public transport and sought socially distanced leisure activities.
Employment within the cycle industry has increased as a result of the demand.
“Cycle workshops, technicians and business owners have found themselves busier than they have been in years, even decades,” says Tabitha Walker, head of marketing at trade organisation the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT).
“They are working hard to keep the flow of bicycles – new builds and repairs – going and delivering new and returning cyclists to the roads.”
As more people take to two wheels, demand for bike repairs is on the rise. Many bike workshops have introduced appointment-only systems and technicians have been in short supply.
Cytech, the internationally recognised training scheme for bicycle technicians, has seen certified candidate numbers increase 10% on last year. Many training courses are full up well into 2021.
In addition to training up new employees, the cycle industry is recruiting from the growing pool of available, skilled workers.
“The bike industry is picking up engineering skills that have been lost elsewhere,” says Mark Sutton, founder of Cycling Industry News.
“Some companies are recruiting very heavily at the moment. The demand is there and they can recruit the right people to satisfy that demand.”
Benefits of the bike boom
Other sectors’ loss is the cycle industry’s gain. The creation of jobs is welcome at a time when UK unemployment rates are at their highest for three years.
The employment boost is not limited to workshop staff, technicians and retailers. Those across the whole cycling ecosystem are profiting from the boom.
“We’re very aware of how fortunate we are to benefit from working in an industry that’s seen growth despite this year’s global events,” says Flora McFarlane of bike navigation company Beeline. “We have increased the team by 25% and experienced our most profitable year to date in terms of sales.
“We’re hoping the ‘bike boom’ will continue for the good of society and our planet.”