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European bicycle industry anticipating ‘back to business’

DOETINCHEM, the Netherlands - Across Europe, countries are taking small steps forwards in reopening their industries. Time to evaluate what impact closures have had on the bicycle supply chain and supported businesses. What steps are European companies now taking and what impact has so far been felt?

Accell Group – “We are on it!” On March 26, Accell Group announced that bicycle production would be reduced by 70% due to the Corona crisis. Yesterday, Accell Group spokeswomen Debbie de Wagenaar confirmed, “our employees at our production locations in Heerenveen, the Netherlands and Hunland, Hungary have worked very hard recently, so that the locations could remain open, taking all safety measures into account, to be able to supply sold bicycles to dealers and customers. Including bicycles intended for employees in the vital sectors. We are adapting our production capacity flexibly depending on the current situation and the increasing opening of the market. We are on it!” 

Pon Bike Group – “Hopeful that we’ve reached turning point” Pon Bike Group’s second factory in Europe, Derby Cycle in Cloppenburg, Germany halted its production. However, the opening of the bicycle shops in Germany on 20 April was no reason for Derby Cycle to restart its production instantly. “We have decided to extend the restricted operation with production stop and short-time work by two weeks until 30 April,” explained Derby Cycle spokesman Arne Sudhoff. “However, the declaration by the German government to allow the opening of bicycle shops gives us all a lot of hope that we have reached the turning point and that the industry can start up slowly again.” Riese & Muller – “No problems in supply chain” “We never had to shut-down our production and had no delivery delays caused by the Corona pandemic,” said Riese & Muller spokeswomen Julia Werling, speaking after the reopening of bicycle retailers in Germany this week. “We are really lucky that the shops are open again and will work hard to deliver everything on short notice. Due to a slightly lower demand in Southern European countries like Italy, Spain and France where the lockdown measures are much stricter we reduced our output slightly. At no point have we had problems in the supply chain as we were able to plan properly, cooperate with our suppliers accordingly and anticipated quickly. We have taken up full production again and are able to produce at full capacity.” Flyer – “100% production will resume soon” Swiss ebike producer, FLYER AG, cut back its production over the past few weeks with two teams operating at alternate times. Production and delivery have continued throughout the lockdown. “Many retailers have continued to accept deliveries and are very creative in contactless selling. With specialists in Austria and Germany now largely open again for sales and wih the prospect of Switzerland loosening restrictions in the next few weeks, FLYER will start 100% production again from this Monday,” company spokesperson, Anja Knaus confirmed.

World Health Organization (WHO) – “Consider riding bicycles” The World health Organisation has been advocating riding bicycles during the COVID-19 outbreak. In a recently released technical guidance it stated ‘’Whenever feasible, consider riding bicycles or walking’’.  World cities are now turning their streets over to walkers and cyclists: new temporary bike lanes are popping up. For example, in Berlin several streets have new, wide bike lanes that are created from space generally intended for motorised vehicles, Bogotá has turned 100 km of traffic streets into emergency bike lanes using temporary cones, and Budapest city officials just planned a cycling network on main roads. In the Brussels, the entire historical city centre will be a 20 km/h zone with priority for pedestrians and cyclists: the prioritisation concept in the urban commuting framework is therefore gaining traction. Paris and Madrid are preparing a long-term strategy and they are currently analysing how to support bicycles as the first means of transportation after the removal of lockdown measures.

CONEBI – Advocating a ‘green revolution’ COVID-19 is having considerable economic repercussions on the bicycle industry and thus CONEBI is in regular contact with the European Institutions to discuss prompt support. Across Europe, CONEBI notes that bike shops re-opened in Austria on April 14th and in Germany on April 20th, while in other countries bike repair shops kept on being available, like in Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. “Several EU programmes have been presented in the last weeks by the European Commission, but they have to be easily accessible for companies, avoiding red tape and empowering the bicycle eco-system to be at the forefront of the much-needed Green Revolution,’’ CONEBI said in a statement.

Taipei Cycle Show – Taking an online approach TAITRA, organiser of the cancelled Taipei Cycle show and Taipei International Sporting Goods show has announced a series of integrated online services instead, starting in May. Four online activities have been planned for both trade shows. An online 2D/VR Exhibition on May 15th with a pre-show online sourcing meeting on May 14th. Taiwan Trade show webinars will start on May 22nd featuring key executives from international bicycle associations, discussing the impact and opportunities after the COVID 19 outbreak. On June 30th there will be an online new product launch.

Published by Rosie Burgin on 23 Apr 2020

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