IT IS about 40 years since my father registered a patent for the Bickerton Portable Bicycle. It took a while but once he had found a partner who was prepared to finance large scale production, the folding bike story really got going. A lot of (folding bike) water is under the bridge since then. What the Bickerton did was to make a reasonably rideable bike, that was truly portable – that means lightweight, compact and carryable. By 1991 we had really reached the end of the line with original Bickerton, but we had seen the start of something and the introduction of some new, worthy competitors which are largely responsible for the folding bike market as it is today. So that brings me to my point. For 40 years some of
us have been advocating the use of bicycles in conjunction with other forms of transport – what we now call “multi-modal travel”. Congestion has got worse, pollution no better, health and fitness are appalling. So whilst we in the trade understand that the answer to the world’s problems is the bicycle, the question is how to get the population actually riding their bikes more. The answer of course is a combination of things, which include Bike Share (Boris Bikes), Cycling Infrastructure (bike lanes/parking etc), advocacy (changing perception and laws to promote cycling), education and training (get people on their bikes riding safely) and convenience (portability, storage, ride quality). I believe that good folding bikes have an
increasingly important part to play in the new cycle friendly world that we are building. Folding bike sales are growing year on year, something I have personally been involved with through Bickerton, Dahon and now Tern Bicycles, not to mention jealously watching my favourite competitor Brompton. Bearing in mind the readership of BikeBiz, I would
encourage every cycle retailer to consider making more space for folding bikes in the showroom. The age of Urban Mobility is upon us, and the folding bike is the answer.
I spend most of my time trying to develop folding bike sales, but much of the rest of my time is spent
BA president Mark Bickerton
“It’s not enough to get our customers to buy bikes; we have to encourage them to ride them too.”
advocating cycle usage. It is not enough to get our customers to buy our bikes; we also have to encourage them to actually get out and ride them, not just for the joy of it, but also because it is the answer to all these issues of congestion, pollution, and health.
Cyclemotion Ltd, Bicycle Association President – Bike Hub committee member –All Party Parliamentary
Cycling Group (attendee) – Signatory to the Times Cities Fit for Cycling Campaign