Wednesday, April 17

The pandemic triggers the bicycle boom and now adds two years of historic sales

For the Administration,
the bicycle is the answer to your prayers for modern mobility. If it were widely adopted, it would be a way to reduce polluting emissions, solve congestion on public roads and develop healthy lifestyles.

Therefore, promoting its use is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda. “Until now, the streets were designed for the king of the jungle: the personal vehicle,” said the representative of this portfolio,
Maria Jose Rallo. “The key is in the infrastructure, and making it safe to drive around it,” he stressed. For the minister, traffic must be made to circulate more slowly – one year has just passed since the reduction to 30 km / h on one-lane roads -,
“still insufficient”, despite having generated a reduction in the accident rate. What governs, in his opinion, is the coexistence between the different users of the road so as not to have to segregate them into different lanes.

The Government is promoting the bike from three instruments: the recently approved Traffic and Road Safety Law, which toughens the penalties for dangerous overtaking or failure to use a helmet; the State Bicycle Strategy, which began to be developed in June 2021 and is expected to be ready “at the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024”; and, finally, allocating part of the NextGen EU Recovery Funds.

Specifically, of the latter, 1,000 million have been allocated in the call for City Councils, and 40% of them have gone to healthy mobility initiatives (224 million for bicycles). This will mean the creation of 500 new kilometers of bike lanes and the rehabilitation of 450 existing ones. In addition, 49 million will go to the development of bike sharing services.

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1.5 million sales

The minister’s intervention was part of the presentation of the report ‘The bicycle sector in figures 2021’. For Rallo, having this information on an annual basis is essential to be able to make the right decisions.

Prepared annually by the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE), the study provides data on an industry that, the previous year, accounted for the highest turnover of all sports. Specifically, of the 8,545 million reached in total, 33.8% was represented by the two wheels, which reached 2,888 million.

It is true that, within sports equipment, a soccer ball is much more affordable than a bicycle, and even more so when, in the modern market, the limit is where the buyer wants to put it. According to the secretary general of AMBE,
Jesus Freire, there is a correlation between the increase in price (+14.9%) in 2021, given that customers “want to have a good bike, just like a car”. The main increase occurred in mountain models, which accounted for the bulk of sales, with 607,995 units, keeping in line with 2020, and an average amount of 832 euros, 12.7% more.

The second segment whose price grew the most was that of electric bikes, which closed the year with an average of 2,861 euros (+8.1%). The prices of these models capable of achieving performance close to that of mopeds
—the maximum power legally allowed is 250 W— are higher due to the presence of the motor and battery. In total, 223,561 models of this type were sold, an increase of 5.1%.

Regarding children’s and urban bikes, these reduced their figures, by 8.6% and 12%, respectively, with 460,191
—they are the second best-selling segment in Spain— and 119,686. Its price, in the case of the former, has remained unchanged at 169 euros; while, for the latter, this has increased by 5.3%, to 306 euros.

The biggest growth of all bikes, however, has been in road models, which also include the new silhouettes of
gravel. The latter are a hybrid between asphalt and mountain frames, specially designed to ride on dirt and gravel trails at high speeds. Between the two, they added 159,935 records, 90,740 of the first and 69,159 of the newest. This represents a rise of 51.2% compared to 2020. By price, asphalt ones continue to be the most expensive that do not need electric propulsion, with 2,303 euros on average, while those of
gravel They stood at 1.1016. The difference with the previous year, on average, was 7.5% cheaper.

2021 marked the second consecutive year in which the bicycle market exceeded one and a half million units. The outbreak of the pandemic, which allowed them to be used to get out of confinement, triggered their popularity, causing a shortage of components. In Freire’s words:
“Supply problems have limited the growth of the sector”which closed the year with 1,571,368 purchases, 0.4% more.

In Spain there are 362 companies dedicated to cycling, 6.8% more than a year ago; and 180 national manufacturers, 7.1% more. In total, 23,221 people work in the sector, 9,323 in supplier companies, and 13,898 in points of sale. The purchase of bicycles continues to have a large presence in financing, and mountain models account for 72% of Cofidis operations. In second place are the electricity companies, with a 15% share. And they are followed by those on the road (8%), urban (4%) and children’s (1%), with the same proportion as a year ago.

electric boom

Electric bicycles have become the best-selling zero-emission vehicle in Spain, where there is already a park of more than one million units —of which a considerable part is in bike sharing services—. According to Freire, “70% of electric models are produced within the borders of the EU, generating great opportunities for our industry.”

The association recalled that these bikes are not covered by state aid plans, but that it would be interesting to encourage their adoption. “If so many city councils ask for funds for cycling infrastructure, it is a sign that we must invest in a new city model with more of them,” he declared.
Anthony Perezresponsible for the Bicycle Office in Mitma.

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