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Halfords hails “astonishing levels of uptake” with 18 bikes sold every minute over Christmas

Retailer says if current growth in cycling market is sustained, the UK will overtake the Netherlands in terms of bikes per head by 2026

Halfords has said that “astonishing levels of uptake” of cycling since the coronavirus pandemic began resulted in it selling 18 bicycles a minute over Christmas – adding that if the current rate of growth in sales of bikes continues, the UK could overtake the Netherlands as Europe’s “bicycle capital” within five years.

The company, which sells more bikes than anyone else in the UK, says that since the first national lockdown came into force at the end of March last year, the value of the cycling market has grown by 4 per cent each month, on average.

There is no sign of that growth slowing down either, according to the retailer, as people get in the saddle for exercise, leisure and everyday trips such as commuting, says Halfords, which saw cycling sales rise by 54.1 per cent between May and October compared to the previous year, with particularly strong growth in sales of e-bikes.

> Cycling sales continue to boom at Halfords, with strong growth at Tredz too

It points out that prior to the COVID-19 crisis, there were 0.42 bicycles per capita in the UK, compared to 1.35 in the Netherlands – and if the current rate of growth in the market were sustained, would overtake it by 2026.

“It may seem unlikely that the UK could ever match Holland for cycling enthusiasts, but we really have seen an astonishing level of uptake in the past 12 months,” commented Halfords’ cycling director, Paul Tomlinson.

“We’re doing our best to meet demand but when stock reaches our stores it gets snapped up very quickly” he added.

“We’re working night and day with our suppliers to increase availability. We’re encouraging customers to subscribe to our ‘email me when back in stock’ service which is proving extremely popular.”

Last year, research commissioned last year by Halfords found that there were more than 7 million bikes left unused in sheds and garages, and after launching its Get Back On A Bike campaign in May it says that more than 300,000 people have brought their bikes into its branches to have a free 32-point check.

The company, which is also participating in the government’s Fix Your Bike scheme in England, says that in all it has repaired or serviced 750,000 bicycles in recent months.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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