2021 BikeBiz Awards | Ridelow Runners Up | UK's Best Independant Bike Dealer - Blog
Thank you to all that voted for Ridelow.
We are happy to announce that Ridelow have finished runners up in the 2021 Bikebiz Award for UK's best independant bike dealer
Ridelow Bikes would not be so conceited as to say we are the best independent bicycle dealer in the UK. There are some great little cycle business all over the UK working hard in their communities to bring the joy of cycling to the people. We all know the benefits and fun of cycling.
Ridelow being named runner up is a victory for us all in the cycling industry and beyond. The reason we say this, is because we have always voiced our opinion and have sometimes upset people in the cycling business as we have been vocal about the changes that have to be made within our industry to bring cycling into the modern world and appeal to an audience that feels they are not represented or welcomed unless they are spending their money.
More diversity and equality has been needed for many years now.
Let me give you some blatant examples and you decide.
In our many years of selling bikes we have never had a female representative visit us from our suppliers to sell us a bike. We have white men who will sell us both men's and women’s bikes, and for me this is backward and wrong. All the big bicycle suppliers and many sellers will gladly take money off women and our black community but how many will employ them front of house?
Now I’m not saying the cycling industry is racist or discriminatory towards women, but it sure needs an overhaul. It’s not alright just to say we are an equal opportunities employer and invite all applicants from all backgrounds and gender. I believe that we need to keep evolving and this to me means a fairer playing field for all. It’s the right way, the only way, if you have compassion for all this should be natural.
I remember when I was at school there was no talk about girls playing football or rugby, now it’s the norm and we are better for it. I also remember the best footballer in the school, a black person from a loving, not well-off family. When I asked why don’t you play for the school football team his answer was "I don’t think they like me." That stayed with me as we all knew he was good as we would see him run rings around us in the playground.
There was a white guy that was not really a great player but was picked purely because his dad sponsored the team years football kit. I remember this because our PE teacher made us all stand and applaud Paul’s dad for his kindness, but in effect he bought his son's place in the school football team, I remember having to clap reluctantly as I knew it was wrong. Things hopefully have moved on over the years but I still see the same things happening today in the cycle industry and I am amazed that journalists in the cycling industry refuse to open their mouths and minds and say anything in protest, fear of rocking the boat, it must be.
The cycling industry as a whole is not a true representation of the diversity of our country and the very people they sell their bikes to. They think diversity is putting a few black models on bicycles and using them for marketing purposes. So they can say, look we are not racist. But if you walk into their head offices and look at the representatives that they send out to the retailers to sell bikes and accessories and it tells a completely different story. We are from Manchester and we stand up and say something when things are wrong.
Manchester is very proud city and is very proud of its loving diversity and mix of cultures, this is what makes any place great in my eyes.
I laugh when representatives turns up to our place and go on about being passionate cyclists and the other shops they visit they are going on a ride with them. They all seem to be members of cycling clubs and I think to myself, it’s all about you and people in boys clubs, and this is exactly what I’m not about, nor are any of our staff here at Ridelow.
We often see cycling clubs out on the roads, it’s strange even to see one black face cycling with them, what are they doing about this in their boys clubs? I should imagine that black people would have imposter syndrome joining them, just like my school friend said, perhaps they too would say, "I don't think they want me".
We don’t all have to be passionate cyclists in the industry to sell bikes anymore than ride them. Just like we don’t all have to be passionate athletes to sell training shoes or wear them.
Thank you to all that voted for Ridelow. Thank you to all that helped to make a step in the right direction. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we will not rest, and with your continued support we will make it happen.