Bicycles ‘preferred to sports cars’ by London’s upwardly mobile men

12:59 27 May 2012

Men in London are swapping sports cars for bikes, according to research . Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA

Men in London are swapping sports cars for bikes, according to research . Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Men aged 25 to 34 with style and money to burn are favouring bikes over sports cars these days, according to research.

Middle Aged Men In Lycra (MAMILs) have been replaced by a new generation of Biking Upwardly Mobile Men (BUMMs) who are ditching their usual choice of fast cars for two-wheeled travel.

Typically single and affluent, these men have been identified as the latest group joining the cycling boom.

Research carried out by analysts Mintel found that wealthier men who are yet to marry and settle down are helping boost sales along with the retired who are interested in the new generation of electric models.

Retailer Halfords has backed up these findings, reporting a surge in sales of top-end more expensive bikes such as the latest Boardman and Carerra ranges.

Halfords cycle expert Justin Stevenson said: “We have definitely seen an increase in affluent younger men investing in more expensive bikes.

“People who originally seem to have dipped a toe in the water of cycling are now coming back as fully-fledged enthusiasts and wanting to upgrade their current models.

“There is interest in the more ‘sporty’ models either from those who are joining cycling clubs or those who like looking good on the road.

“At the same time we have seen more people who used to cycle as children, coming to us for their first adult bike because it is an activity they want to do with their families.”

Mintel predicts a rise in UK bike sales of £150 million, from an estimated £650m in 2011 to £801m by 2016.

Membership of social and competitive bicycle organisations has risen dramatically, nearly doubling for British Cycling over the past six years.

The UK’s largest cycling charity, the Cyclists’ Touring Club, has increased in size by around eight per cent per year with an excess of 70,000 members.

Halfords has seen more people turn to cycling to work because of fuel price increases.

Mintel highlighted even more potential for an increase in cycling if workplaces invested in the facilities such as showers, changing rooms and cycle racks.

Michael Oliver, senior leisure analyst for the research group, said: “The cycle market is well placed to capitalise on the trend of rising fuel, rail prices and increasing road congestion.”

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