UK shows pedal power as bike exports rise

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Bike Week 2020 is underway and it’s not just across the UK that the sport is seeing a surge in interest, with exports of UK cycling goods climbing by 15% in the year to March.

The latest figures show that bike exports have a total value of £173.2 million, with Europe, Australia and the US leading the way in demand.

Brompton Bicycles is one of the iconic brands continuing to grow internationally as commuters look to avoid public transport and keep fit outdoors.

Stephen Loftus, Chief Commercial Officer for Brompton Bicycle says:

Our export sales to year-end March 2020 were up over 30% compared to 2019 as people increasingly recognise the benefits of cycling in cities across the world.

Since March, as the WHO and national governments promoted cycling as an alternative to public transport during the Coronavirus pandemic, global demand for Brompton has grown significantly. We expect that trend to continue.

As the UK’s biggest bicycle manufacturer, we’re proud to be able to continue exporting safely and provide a sustainable solution to the way people move across cities.

Another business tapping into the global market for cycling fashion is helmet manufacturer Dashel, which recently secured a new distribution agreement in South Korea worth an estimated £380,000.

Dashel, meaning thistle in the Cornish language, was launched in 2017 by former accessories designer Catherine Bedford, who had previously worked for fashion giants LVMH and Nike. The company specialises in the design and manufacture of bespoke light-weight helmets for fashionable urban use.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has worked with Dashel since it started trading and has helped the company to enter a number of markets. The business sells directly to customers via its website and is stocked in 22 overseas retailers across Europe and Asia.

Catherine Bedford, Founder of Dashel Helmets, says demand for her helmets has remained strong despite the Coronavirus outbreak:

The UK’s cycling industry is booming, and I’m proud that Dashel is playing its part in moving us towards a happier, healthier and more environmentally friendly world.

DIT has helped Dashel to grow by supporting our exports since we first launched. As a safety product, we have a lot of regulations to abide by when selling overseas, and our International Trade Advisor has helped us to navigate these.

We have been exporting over 40% of our output since launch and this looks set to increase, with interest from many new markets including Japan, USA and now France who all appreciate British design and manufacturing”.

Dashel is one of the many UK brands which will be kitting out the Team GB athletes when they go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, with their helmets named as part of the official kit for recreational use in the Olympic village.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, said:

The UK’s expertise in cycling, combined with our manufacturing heritage in this industry, is in-demand across the world. With Free Trade Agreement negotiations already underway with the US and Japan, and due to launch shortly with other key markets, our great British bike manufacturers can expect to see demand soar even further in the future.

With more people turning to two wheels for their commute and leisure, UK cycling’s success on the road and track is translating into increasing business success.

A spokesperson for British Cycling said:

British Cycling has become an international byword for sporting success, and as we work with the bicycle industry to transform the UK into a great cycling nation, it is great to see that success continue with growth in exports.

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