Dear Evans Cycles,
I don’t tend to take much notice of the junk mail which comes through my door, however the other day I noticed that you had kindly sent me your summer magazine/catalogue called RideIT! ‘What juicy reading!' I thought and sat down with a cup of tea, in the sunshine with your catalogue.
I planned this be an enjoyable event as anything to do with shopping and cycling is ace-of-spades to me, however, being a cycling enthusiast with a penchant for womens cycling, I was terribly disappointed by what I discovered on your pages. Now you may assume that most women would be happy to be thrusted images of heroic, masculine, 'lyrca-ed up' male cyclist, but let me tell you this is not the case! In fact, it has the opposite effect.
|Lycra man bums|
|The token woman cyclist!|
After my shock and inability to identify with your rogue male cyclist images, I took to the internet to find out some hard facts. Let’s look the last census. In 2011, 650,000 people commuted to work each day by bicycle in England and Wales, 27% of which are women (bikes.org.uk) (and that census didn't even include me!). So if 27% of cycle commuters are women, then why is your magazine so male-centric? I know that a large amount of your consumers are men who cycle for sport, but this does not excuse you for ignoring the growing female cyclist consumer market.
Mr Evans, it makes me wonder who is advising you about the bicycle industry? I am always at hand to offer my services if need be, for example, I would like to point you to the direction of some companies who are business smart and savvy to the increasing female market for bicycles and accessories. Just to name a few: Beg Bicycles, Bobbin Bicycles, Cycle Chic. These are companies which offer a female-friendly brand and sell products which I could easily spend my monthly salary on. Please feel free to peruse the photos on their websites and take note that they present a contemporary, carefree image of cycling, with plenty of women on bicycles!!
Furthermore, I would like to highlight a couple more misdeeds in your RideIt! catalogue. On page 50, you talk about the RideIt! organised bicycle rides, mentioning the 'Family Fun' rides you offer for all abilities. You state:
'All our rides have different route lengths to choose from so you can set the distance you feel comfortable with. Our 'Family Fun' routes are designed so the whole clan can ride, and kids cycle for free!' (Pg 50)
‘Hurrah!’ I thought, you’re finally writing for real, everyday people and not superhero cyclists. But to my aghast, the picture accompanying this family bicycle invitation is........
.....more lycra men! AND going uphill! Memories of my family bicycle rides were certainly a lot more pleasant than this family image you are promoting.
And whilst we’re on the family theme, let’s skip to the kids page where you feature bicycles for children. Please see picture below.
I think you can agree that one of the crucial ways to get people on two wheels is to introduce cycling at a young age. Unfortunately, you seem to have prioritised boys bikes over girls by showing 6 bicycles of which just 1 is for girls (and in a very sickly pink colour at that!)
So Mr Evans, I think I have made my point clearly. I do accept that your brand caters for a large sports market which men seem to rule, however I hope you can agree that you could put a bit more effort in to representing women in your catalogue, after all, we are your customers too!
I look forward to your reply.
AKA Help My Chain Came Off