Bike shops for Women
At Criterium Cycles, we try and do things differently and challenge the traditional norms. One of the trickier areas to get right is how to make sure that all cyclists are being catered for, men and women. In this blog we set out what we think needs to change. We also explain how we are going about doing just that, creating bike shops for women.
The Man Shed
One of the downsides of many bike shops is they feel, well, rather ‘blokey’ places. You know the kind of thing; lots of technical looking stuff piled floor to ceiling. Some of it looks like it may have been there a while. Some of it looks like it might have been used as an instrumental of medieval torture. The shop whilst having an undeniably homely feel does rather resemble a cross between the Old Curiosity Shop and that most sacred of male havens, the Shed.
Except that’s not acceptable in 2016. Participation in women’s cycling is at record highs and it’s growing. We’ll address the unacceptable issues of inequality that still plague women’s cycling in a future blog piece. For the purposes of this piece though, it is worth noting a recent study carried out on behalf of Strava by Fusion Media. They received over 5,000 survey responses by women Strava users with 65% of the respondents saying they had taken up cycling within the last 5 years. A remarkable 13% said they had taken up cycling within the last year.
A typical response
To be fair to many bike shops and manufacturers, they have realised this is an important trend and are taking steps to address it. However, a fairly typical response is to either take the same product you would sell a man and spray it pink, purple or variants thereof. Or, in the case of retail establishments, create a nice little corner somewhere where the women’s cycling stuff can go. Job done.
Actually, no. For a start, not all women like to be pigeonholed into choosing ‘feminine’ colourways. Some have different tastes and styles. Second, just creating a women’s section is not enough. The sales of women’s products has to be integrated into the whole retail approach. Whilst it may still be a good idea to have a dedicated area for women’s cycling, it mustn’t feel like it is stuck off to the side, out of sight, out of mind.
A customer centric response
A really important challenge is to ensure products are designed with women in mind to begin with. That’s why Criterium Cycles is delighted to sell both Trek and Bianchi bikes. Trek have long been at the forefront of Women Specific Design with bike design geometry specifically tailored to women’s needs. The Lexa, the Lush, the Silque for instance – all designed with a women’s specific geometry needs in mind. Bianchi have the Dama Bianca range which adopts a similar ethos – products designed specifically for women.
Then there is the retail experience. At Criterium Cycles, we do display women’s clothing as a separate section. But it’s not around the back or out of sight. It’s front of house and an integral part of everything we do.
A friendly website
When we set up our new website we wanted to do something different. We wanted to make it really easy for women to find exactly what they wanted without having to wade through loads of stuff they weren’t interested in. So our website has a dedicated Women’s tab on the main navigation bar. Hover over that, and a big menu appears that hopefully has pretty much everything you need. As we add more products to the website (we have lots of plans for specific women’s stuff) the menu options will grow.
We really value feedback
We are very conscious that we’ve made a start but there’s loads more we can do to improve our product and service offering for women cyclists. So if there’s anything extra you would like us to do, please let us know. And if there’s anything we are doing that you think we should change, then we’d definitely like to know that as well!
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy browsing our site or shopping in the store. We believe cycling is for absolutely everyone and at Criterium Cycles we are determined to make sure the way we go about things in ways that reflect that belief.