Posted: Mon, June 14th, 2021
Summer 2021 is upon us. How things change. Before the COVID crisis erupted in March 2020, we were a burbling along bike shop, making ends meet but, in common with the UK bike trade generally, hardly setting any records. Sales, particularly of e-bikes, exploded in April, May and June 2020 and kept up at a high level throughout the year, until stocks became exhausted and the global supply chain began to falter and couldn’t keep up. Since the start of 2021, this situation has continued and it’s only now in June that more stocks of bikes are beginning to come through. That said, supplies of many key components are still experiencing long delays.
Although the COVID situation remains very serious, it feels like the problem is now understood better, the vaccination programme is being rolled out successfully (here in the UK at least), the prevalence of wilder conspiracy theories has receded, and the end, although not imminent, is in sight.
In terms of bicycles and the Active Travel phenomenon, we are still waiting to see whether last year’s upsurge in bike sales, particularly e-bike sales, will translate into a meaningful change in the way we look at transport in general, and and our reliance on cars in particular. It is still the case that many short journeys ( 3 miles and under) are undertaken by car, when a bike, an e-bike, or legs could do the distance in a very similar timescale.
While electric cars are an absolute necessity in helping to reduce fossil fuel emissions, their contribution is only helpful in journeys of medium to long distance. They are not the answer to the other major problem of 4 wheeled vehicles – namely congestion caused by their proliferation, because an electric car takes up just as much space as a petrol or diesel powered one, and while it may not be belching out noxious fumes, it is still greedily grabbing a disproportionate amount of road space and marginalising other road users. It is here that walking and cycling can come into their own