The nominations came thick and fast, and we are happy to announce the finalists in the Cycling Retailer of the Year category brought to you by CycleMaps for the Total Women’s Cycling Awards in association with Velo Vixen.
Numbers of cyclists are on the increase, and women’s cycling is growing at a much greater rate than men’s cycling. Of course, this means an increasing need for good quality cycling kit, bikes and accessories. So which retailers out there have been satisfying the needs of our readers, giving them the kit they want, providing excellent customer service, and even holding events, classes, and led rides.
The winners of each category will be announced at the Total Women’s Cycling Awards ceremony at The London Bike Show in February 2015 – stand by for more info.
Voting is open soon, so make sure you have your say on which finalists in each of the 11 categories deserve to be crowned winner. Don’t forget to spread the word online!
Wiggle have worked hard over 2014 to increase the breadth and variety of their women’s specific product ranges, with garments for every type of cyclist at every level of performance and price. Year on year, the percentage of women’s kit they stock has increased. They are firm supporters of women’s cycling, quite literally putting their money where their mouth is by sponsoring the Wiggle Honda women’s pro-cycling team. They also sponsor big events like Mountain Mayhem and the Super Series. Oh, and don’t forget the free haribo you get in those cheerful cardboard post boxes with your new goodies!
Chain Reaction Cycles
An absolutely epic amount of kit, free shipping, and everything from brake levers to downhill MTBs on sale: these are some of things that makes Chain Reaction Cycles such a popular online retailer. They’ve always had an excellent selection of women’s MTB kit, often stocking products from brands that are hard to find elsewhere.
The team at Evan’s Cycles have been conducting focus groups, asking for feedback, and generally doing their best to ensure their female customers have the gear they want, in a great retail environment with good customer service. They’ve continued and increased the number of One For the Girls events that they run, and they’ve added women’s only Fix It maintenance courses to the mix. In answer to feedback from their customers, they also introduced women led rides at some of the ever-popular Evans Ride It events, providing a fun inclusive and supportive atmosphere for cyclists who would prefer to ride with women.
They don’t just sell two of the most popular (and accessibly priced) ranges of bikes in the UK – Boardman and Pendleton – Halfords have also increased the quality and range of products on offer. You can now get high end brands like Pinarello alongside quality childrens bikes. Halfords have firmly established their reputation as a cycle retailer, and this winter they cemented it further with the launch of Cycle Republic, their first foray into the world of dedicated bike shops, and a departure from their previous motoring, transport and cycling superstore format.
They may not be cycle-specific, but when it comes to providing incredibly accessibly priced product that performs well, Decathlon are hard to beat. Stocking reasonably priced brands like B’Twin, it’s possible to get kitted out top to toe for under £100, and there’s a huge range of bikes with everything from road bikes, mountain bikes, and folding bikes on offer.
One of the main high street and online cycling retail chains, Cycle Surgery have run a number of exclusive women’s evenings with talks, demos and product showcases. 2014 saw Cycle Surgery add Vulpine and Giro New Road collections to their clothing offer, establishing the kit on offer as some of the best on the market.
Specialized Concept Stores
If you’re going to change things, you do it properly. Specialized Concept Stores have launched a whole program of store layout alterations, staff training, and products that are being rolled out in Specialized Concept Stores across the country. The emphasis is strongly on helping female customers find the product that’s best for them, whether they’re interested in competitive time trial racing, commuting or riding purely for fun.