Monday, 12 october 2020 | Redacción CEU
2020 has been a disastrous year for many sectors, but not for the cycling industry. Who would have thought that this industry was going to weather a crisis well before the lockdown? Indeed, it has become one of the few sectors that may close this year with profits in Spain, recording even better figures than in 2019. The bike boom is not only being reflected in sales, but also in new trends and original proposals that are being fostered in Europe. Today, at the CEU IAM Business School, we get on two wheels and make a little tour over the current situation of bicycles.
In recent years, the automotive world has witnessed how the so-called new mobility has been little by little occupying a more prominent place in the daily routine of city dwellers. Electric and shared vehicles have left their corners to occupy a more visible place in these metropolises. Despite this growth and greater attention from the motor industry, no one could have expected that bikes were going to take on such a prominent role in 2020, especially if we take into account proposals as powerful as hybrid, electric or self-driving cars. The pandemic has made this a reality.
According to the data provided by the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE by its initials in Spanish), in recent months, stores and malls have experienced an increase of 400 % in demand compared to the period prior to the lockdown. This information was published by El Español. In this same newspaper there were also the statements that Carlos Nuñez, general secretary of AMBE, gave to EFEVerde. This expert pointed out that this year was expected to close above € 1.87 billion in trade volume and € 1.26 billion bicycles that were sold in 2019.
What is the relationship between bikes and the pandemic?
Such has been its rise that we could say that bicycles no longer run, but fly. If we had to choose a scene to illustrate this situation, we could pick one from the famous movie of E.T. the extra-terrestrial. In it, the boy, with the help of his alien friend, escaped by flying by bike from the obstacles that he found in a dark and lush forest. In this case, bikes have overcome an obstacle as big as the economic consequences of a pandemic and without any alien help. But what has led people to betting on this means of transport just now in Spain?
One of the reasons for this growing commitment to cycling is related to the psychological and physical consequences that we experienced in the lockdown. This vehicle enables people both to enjoy a liberating and healthy outdoor experience and to do physical exercise in an accessible and easy way. Both are examples of small routines that we were deprived of during the shelter-in-place period. Then, at the end of this time, many people have brought themselves to use bicycles as a means of transport in search of this type of experiences.
On the other hand, this vehicle is a sustainable alternative to public transport such as subways or buses. The inhabitants of the big cities can use them to make short trips and thus avoid the crowds at rush hour, and, consequently, getting infected with COVID-19.
The use of bicycles has also been supported in recent months by different proposals in Spanish cities: new bike lanes, expansion of pedestrian areas and lanes for bikes and other sustainable vehicles, reduction of speed for cars, etc. Some of these initiatives have been more successful than others, but all of them have had, in a more or less obvious way, interest in fostering the boost of bicycles.