GCN Show: What do we want cycling to look like in five years' time?

Si Richardson and Dan Lloyd ponder the future of the cycling industry, cast an eye over the week's cycling shorts and look ahead to the week coming up on GCN

Clock20:00, Tuesday 21st November 2023

Over the past few weeks on the GCN Show, the rising prices of bikes and the financial struggles within the industry have left us with plenty to ponder in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers priced out of the market whilst the market itself contracts, questions are unsurprisingly raised over where the cycling industry goes from here.

In this week's GCN Show, Si Richardson and Dan Lloyd reflect on the generous messages that have flooded in following the recent news about closing, which leads them to ponder what we want cycling to look like in five years' time.

Of course, many things will likely remain the same. GCN will still provide our plethora of free-to-air content through the GCN Website and YouTube channels, but further afield, the sport of cycling will still bring happiness, good health and a community to millions of people around the world.

Given the unaffordable trajectory that the bike industry is trending towards, however, it is fair to wish for a better offering of less expensive bikes. That is not to say that electronic group sets and disc brakes should be offered on all sub-£1,000 bikes, but the expectations for entry-level bikes must be adjusted.

As things stand, cyclists can get far better bang for their buck with cheap mountain bikes than they can with road bikes. Perhaps road cycling should take a page or two out of mountain biking's book, or even that of triathlon. For a while, deep-section aero carbon wheels for under-18s were banned in triathlon so as not to gatekeep the sport from less privileged children, and although this rule was scrapped, Dan thinks it is a great idea.

Innovation will always be part of a sport in a capitalist world, but it will be important to see the sport remain accessible and welcoming over the years to come. As we know, cycling is not only a fantastic sport and pastime but also a vital form of transport for millions.

Countries like Denmark and the Netherlands have long been examples of active transport policies, but more progress will be hoped for over the next five years. For example, 2.8 million of the 4.2 million daily car trips in Perth, Australia, are for journeys of less than 2km. This is astounding for a journey that would take perhaps 20-30 minutes by walking, or even less by bike.

In terms of the future of the racing side of cycling, UCI President David Lappartient has caused a storm over the past couple of weeks by making a beeline for the cyclo-cross racing calendar, which has hinted at reform to come in the sport.

Read more:

But Si and Dan are unconvinced by Lappartient's complaints and with 'cross growing in popularity at unprecedented rates over the past decade, they question whether a new approach is needed at all.

Elsewhere in this week's GCN Show, Si and Dan turn their attention to the remarkable entrepreneurial spirit of London gardener, Tim Leigh, who has used a local scheme to buy a cargo bike, which he has now converted into a specialist trailer for carting garden waste to the recycling centre.

Leigh is aided in his business by a small electric motor that powers his cargo bike, which is topical as a recent report revealed that electric bikes and mopeds are displacing four times as much demand for oil as electric cars. Although, it remains to be seen whether or not he is making use of Strava's new Flyover feature, which sees activities recreated from a bird's eye view.

Read more: Strava launches new 'Flyover' feature for 3D post-ride video recap

Hack/bodge

Tune in to this week's GCN Show to see what Si and Dan made of this week's hack/bodge submissions from a handlebar toilet roll holder to an eye-opening approach to helmet lights. We'll be bringing you a new way to upload your entries very soon, here on our website.

Global Cycling Network
Global Cycling Network
Global Cycling Network
Global Cycling Network
Global Cycling Network

On the channels this week:

  • Wednesday: An insight into which winter training mistakes to avoid
  • Thursday: Here are some Christmas presents we would genuinely like to receive, rather than the questionable gifts that the in-laws usually give you...
  • Friday: Manon Lloyd meets marathon-running legend, Paula Radcliffe
  • Saturday: BMX vs Track vs MTD vs Road: Which is better?
  • Sunday: Can GCN survive EL Tour de Tuscon?

Coming up this week on GCN+

Despite the upcoming closure of GCN+ there are still some fantastic new film releases and some top cyclo-cross action to bring you.

  • OUT NOW: 'Trial by Giro': Canyon-SRAM racing takes on one of the biggest races on the women’s calendar, the Giro d'Italia Donne, and the GCN+ film crew was there to capture all the behind the scenes.
  • The cyclo-cross season continues with the X2O Badkamers round in Kortrijk on Saturday, before the CX World Cup makes a trip to the Republic of Ireland on Sunday for the second edition of the Dublin round.

Note: Territory restrictions apply on all our race coverage.

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