The BA Podcast

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The BA Podcast

Welcome to the Bicycle Association Podcast! This channel will tackle industry-relevant issues and explore the Bicycle Association’s work in a bite-size and we hope entertaining format. As well as accessing the episodes via this website, you can listen on the following platforms:

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May 2023: Lithium battery fires and the e-bike market: risks and response.

In this episode of the Bicycle Association podcast, we join Peter Eland (Bicycle Association Technical Director), Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley (London Fire Brigade) and Stephen Holt (Bicycle Association Trade and Retail Manager) to learn what makes lithium batteries in e-scooters and e-bikes, particularly problematic from a fire safety perspective, how the Bicycle Association is working to avoid knee jerk responses and what we are doing to help remove end-of-life batteries from the market safely, responsibly and cost-effective manner.

Links to things discussed during the episode

April 2023: Quick wins to improve diversity and inclusion in your business.

According to new research by McKinsey, the business case for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the UK is ‘stronger than ever’.

Diverse businesses are more profitable; they recruit the best talent; make better decisions; have more motivated employees; and have a superior understanding of customers’ needs. An Accenture study found that 41% of shoppers removed at least 10% of their business from a retailer for their lack of focus on Diversity, equity and inclusion.

In this, the first episode in the third season of the Bicycle Association podcast, we join Sally Middlemiss, Isla Rowntree (Founder of Isla Bikes) and Bianca Carlin (Group Human Resources Director at WiggleCRC) as they take a deeper dive into some of the key points raised by Gemma Lloyd (co-founder and co-CEO of WORK180) in the recent Bicycle Association webinar ‘Quick Wins to Improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Your Business’.

November 2022: Smart, Connected and Changing Consumers

The last few years have seen the cycling industry not only responding to COVID lockdown and supply chain shortages, but to increasing environmental regulation, changing consumer habits, and heightened awareness.

With those challenges come opportunities for smart and connected technologies. For example, responding to changing consumer habits enables new ways of working to deliver value while also providing tangible sustainability dividends.

We are here at Brompton to speak with Julian Scriven, the managing director of Brompton Bike Hire, to find out whether Brompton was already positioned to benefit from these changes or whether a company, famously consistent, is beginning to evolve.

Links to key things discussed:

August 2022: Recycling Tyres – Schwalbe

At this year’s EurobikeSchwalbe announced their new tyre recycling scheme. In a world first, they can not only recycle bicycle tyres, but just like their inner tube recycling scheme, they will recycle any and all bicycle tyres with their partners at Pyrum Innovations AG.

Given that this development is so significant, it is no surprise that Schwalbe enjoyed considerable media and dealer interest in the scheme. Consumers, however, were surprised recycling tyres was only now an option.

In this episode, we join Felix Jahn, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Schwalbe, to learn about their new tyre recycling scheme, the hurdles they have overcome, who they worked with and when the scheme will be available in the UK.

July 2022: Reshoring, Onshoring, Bike Valley & Hope

Two years of supply chain disruption, container shortages and rising fuel prices have led many firms to examine their supply chains to look for ways to reduce their risk and increase resilience in future disruptive events.

Against this backdrop of uncertainty, we join Alan Weatherill (Hope Technology) and Scott Cain (Bicycle Association) to discover what being a UK-based manufacturer means in practice, why the BA is talking about a ‘Bike Valley’ and how reducing risk could lead to a more sustainable business too.

June 2022: Electrifying Cycling

The electric bike market continues to grow in the UK.  Once seen as an industry niche, electric bikes have moved into the mainstream, and brands have been quick to offer electric versions of a broad range of bike types. 

Yet despite good sales figures, buoyed in part by covid, the UK market still lags a long way behind countries like Germany and the Netherlands.

In this episode, we join Lee Kidger, the Managing Director at Raleigh and Peter Eland, the Technical Manager at the Bicycle Association, to talk about how the industry developed, what to expect in the coming years and why we need to stop describing them as e-bikes and call them electric bikes instead.

March 2022: Could B-Corp revolutionise the race to a sustainable cycle industry?

From impact reports, climate commitments, packaging pledges and the road to net-zero, there has been a flurry of activity and announcements from a cycle industry keen to get ahead in sustainability.

There has been wide recognition that cycling’s green credentials do not give the industry a free pass reducing its own impact and there has been a lot of work already completed to understand where the impact lies and how it can best be reduced.

For some companies, there is scope to hire consultants, create teams and even dedicate positions to sustainability, but that is not an option for everyone. Equally, in an industry awash with varying standards and proprietary solutions to shared problems, there is a danger we will all create our own versions of better and best that, at worst, might reduce our collective, positive impact or at least confuse and confound our customers as they try to make values-based decisions.

Unfortunately, reducing our impact and becoming more sustainable is not straightforward. Even if we accurately assess our impact today, we need to decide what would be better tomorrow and what steps to take to get to that happy place.

B-Corp provides an internationally recognised, tried and tested, and independently verified methodology to assess and reduce your impact across social and environmental sustainability aspects.

It means you can spend less time, energy, and resource understanding what constitutes good and more time making the changes that will have the most impact on whether your business is involved in manufacturing, distribution, or retail. The best part? You can follow the process for free.

We caught up with David George, BIKMO’s CEO, to find out what being B-Corp means to them as a service provider and what the journey to reduced impact and business for good has entailed so far.

Here are some useful links from the podcast.

December 2021: The Christmas Edition

Steve Garidis, the Bicycle Association’s Executive Director, dons his Santa outfit and fake beard to give us a BA themed 12 Days of Christmas!

Completely lacking pear trees, gold rings or swans a-swimming, Steve nonetheless takes us through his highlights for 2021 and looks forward to 2022 in this festive edition of the Bicycle Association podcast.

December 2021: The Local Bicycle Economy

In this the second of our sessions from the Bicycle Association’s Annual Members’ Meeting, we hear from Simon Irons and Kirsty Ratti as they talk about the Local Bicycle Economy with some of our partners in the first trial area; London.

With £2 billion now committed nationally to supporting cycling and walking in the Government’s Gear Change policy, the BA is focused on supporting the delivery of cycling investment at a local level by putting a value on the economic contribution the industry makes and how many “green” jobs are created.

The BA is now bringing together data, cycle industry and advocacy partners and policymakers to increase cycling investment on the ground in what we call “The local bicycle economy”.

Listen in as Simon and Kirsty talk with Dr Ashok Sihha from the London Cycling Campaign, Nick Brown of HaveBike and Mark Murphy of Fudge & Sons to explore what we mean by ‘local bicycle economy’ and what it will mean for you as a cycle business.

November 2021: Thinking outside the Box

‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a common phrase, and indeed it would seem that the cycle industry has lived by it so far as packaging is concerned.

A bike box is a bike box. Packaging goes down the supply chain from manufacturer to retailer, and eventually, a consumer tears up an enormous box and tries to cram it in their recycling bin (hopefully).

Yes, cardboard costs money, but it was about the cheapest option out there.

But with covid, rising freight and cardboard costs and a supply chain that’s in disarray, it would appear something is broken and now needs fixing.

In this episode, we talk with Sigma Sports, TREK, ZyroFisher and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to explore the problems, actions, opportunities and support available for those wishing to transition from linear to more sustainable circular models of packaging.

October 2021: Market Data Service

As we entered April 2020, nobody foresaw what the year to come would bring – indeed, most anticipated that bike businesses would close along with most other industries.

What followed was an unprecedented year of demand, and what is more incredible is that for the first time there was actual data to back up the anecdotal evidence of surging demand.

This podcast tracks the history of the Bicycle Association’s Market Data Service (MDS).  How it came into being, why the industry had to wait so long for a true Market Data Service, and what is to come.  

Join us as we talk with Simon Irons and Tom Payton, from the BA team behind MDS, Jack Dennison of Sigma Sports, who uses the service, and Nick Nettleton of Loft, to hear how MDS will evolve to provide even greater value in the future.

Resources and links mentioned in this episode of the BA Podcast:

October 2021: Theft

Cycle theft is as old as cycling itself, and for the most part, the focus has been on ensuring cyclists themselves don’t fall victim to cycle crime.

But, as the value of bikes has gone up, thieves are no longer prepared to wait for bikes to hit the streets and are targeting retailers in increasingly audacious and sophisticated attacks.

We join Stephen Holt and David Middlemiss of the Bicycle Association, Mark James of J E James Cycles, and Superintendent Mark Cleland from British Transport Police as they discuss how retailers are being affected, how the police have changed their approach to cycle crime and how an industry-wide approach might be (at least part of) the answer.

Resources and links mentioned in this episode of the BA Podcast:

September 2021: Advocacy

In this episode, we join Steve Garidis, the Bicycle Association’s Executive Director, and Phillip Darnton, the Executive Chairman, as they discuss Advocacy and what that means for our members.

Here are links to some of the things that Steve and Phillip discuss:

September 2021: Sustainability

We interview BA member company and clothing specialist Rapha’s sustainability lead to discover how they are driving sustainability in their business – and how others in the cycle industry can learn from their experience. A special edition BA podcast:

Resources mentioned in this episode: