Thursday, 10 May 2012

Help! My chain came off vs. Evans Cycles - ROUND TWO

Hanging out by my local Evans, yeaah
Do you remember about a month ago I wrote an open letter to Evans Cycles? It’s the one where I made a dig about their RideIT! Catalogue for showing too many macho, male crazy cyclists and not enough women on bicycles. Well, to bring you up to speed, Evans Cycles were quick to respond to the letter apologising for their apparent under representation of the female cyclist in their marketing literature and swiftly invited me to visit Evans HQ (yes, that’s Evans HEADQUARTERS), home of the high-street cycling powerhouse. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

On top of that I was treated to a tipple of Evans RideIT! trivia:  I was told that members of the Evans office team are actually the models in the RideIT! Magazine.  Can you believe it? I was also going to meet the real life models of the catalogue..SWOON! Oh those macho men!
A suffragette looks better on the cover don't ya think?
So, a couple of weeks ago I ventured on the train to Gatwick, home to the airport and Evans Cycles – There seems to be a transport theme going down in that town. There I met the lovely James who introduced me to the Evans team including the department who produced the RideIT! Magazine.

Straight to business and I gave my feedback about how I feel they can improve their catalogue to appeal more to the female cyclist. Like my inability to fix my own bicycle, I am far from an expert in the field of consumer research, but I am a woman, I ride a bike and I am a customer of Evans which to me is enough to warrant a voice.

Spoke the suffragettes in the picture!
Despite being at the brunt of my criticism, the Evans team were welcoming and listened to my feedback gracefully. We discussed the points I raised in my letter and dissected the catalogue in detail. For example I suggested changing the typography and the red and black themed colours so that it screams a little less I-am-a-dangerous-hunter-on-my-bicycle to something a bit more accessible for both genders. We also discussed ways in which to feature female cyclists without being patronising, meaning NO PINK please!

After that, James gave me a tour of the Evans on-site shop which is the ULTIMATE bicycle shop. This is because it is connected to the stock warehouse for Evans's online retail website and therefore customers can have access to the entire Evans stock – a MAMIL's dream!

And then we went to the warehouse which is home to walls and walls of boxed bicycles, all waiting for their new owners. It's like going to Wickes but instead of plywood and nails and the dread of a Sunday DIY chore, it's a room full of brand new shiny bicycles waiting to be ridden with the promise of endless pedal fun.

All in all, it was a very fun and productive day. Ultimately, it is a tricky job to produce a catalogue which represents the differing perspectives of both male and female customers, let alone the many different types of cyclists there are out there – but hopefully my feedback will at least mean that more than 8% of the pictures of the cyclists in the next magazine will be women! To convey my point, I have replaced the mens heads in my copy of the catalogue with the heads of some suffragettes - that looks way better don't you think!?


Martha said...

Nice of Evans to be aware of your concerns.

I await the next issue with high expectations!

Nicola said...

This is really cool, good on you for going! I'm interested to see their next issue.

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Chris Bolt On Bicycles said...

Great work, but be careful of what you wish for... Women modelling bib shorts might have Ms Pankhurst turning in her grave; for example:

Anonymous said...

A MAMIL dream? You shameless gender stereotyper you! :-)

Carfree40dad said...

For your next trick, can you persuade them that bikes in the UK need mudguards as it rains here occasionally. Mind you, that would spoil the fun of spotting commuter with black line up her/his back.

BB said...

Gosh! I think that was pretty cool of Evans. I do hope they follow through a little. I wouldn't expect a huge about face, but, some teensy steps would be nice. After all, being as pleasant as they seem, one would hope they optimise their sales by acknowledging that the cycling demographic is continuing to change.

Me-Me ( Jemma's Grandmother said...

14th May 2012

What is a MAMIL and what does it Dream?

Jemma said...

Hi Me-Me, a MAMIL stands for 'Middle-aged Man in Lycra'. This article is quite good at describing the stereotype:

Don't worry, you are far from being one! :-)

Teo Coach del Bienestar said...

Hi Jemma,
Love riding and have some videos about it on my youtube channel teopersonaltrainer

How can I found the MAG RideIT?

Great blog... Theres very few women loving the bike as you do. Im from argentina and bought my first Raleigh in 1992 Lewes Sussex on a trip. I sold it 20 years later. This January, to buy a Raleigh 2.0

Keep writing.

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