Cycle club grows in tandem with burgeoning market

By He Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-05 07:58
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Members ride in the peloton as they take part in an RNCC cycling event in the city. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Changes, future plans

The rise of the RNCC reflects and accompanies the growth of the local cycling market. Goh said that he rarely saw cycle lanes a decade ago, but the introduction of shared bicycles has boosted their construction, leading to a noticeable rise in the number of cyclists.

The improved road conditions have also expanded the route options. The current routes in Shanghai range from 10 to 100 kilometers, according to Goh. "The long-distance ones are about 60 to 100 km, such as a journey from Thames Town in Songjiang district to the Huangpu River," he said.

"There are also daily city rides of 10 to 50 km, such as cycling around downtown Huangpu district, where riders will be pleasantly surprised by the changes in the seasons, the sunlight and the passersby."

With more cycling events being held, related insurance has also been optimized. Also, manufacturers of cycling clothing and related products have launched more styles and choices.

"We used to buy cycle clothing that was good enough to wear for about 100 yuan ($14). Now, cyclists have a higher sense of aesthetics and requirements, so it's common to spend 2,000 to 3,000 yuan on riding clothing," Goh said.

Moreover, the abilities of local cycling enthusiasts are rising, while the performance of their bikes has improved significantly. In addition, more girls and women participate than ever before.

"We used to only have one or two females ride with us, but now the proportion has reached 30 to 40 percent. It's not just limited to leisure cycling but also to participating in training and team competitions," Goh said.

The growing market trend seems set to continue. China has an increasingly affluent middle-income group and the government is encouraging healthy lifestyles, resulting in a continuously growing interest in fitness, said Feng Baozhong, vice-president of the Chinese Cycling Association.

Feng added that the value of the national bicycle market reached 194 billion yuan in 2021, and it is expected to hit 266 billion yuan in 2027.

Goh has devised a plan to help maintain this trend. "We started to design cycling clothes because many members wanted to compete in events," he said.

"With the rising demand, I hope to reach 100 SKUs (stock-keeping units, the method used by retailers to monitor merchandise) of our products — including cycling supplies, accessories and clothing — and distribute them to members around the world as agents."

This year, the club launched an online store on Taobao, a popular e-commerce platform.

"I want to make our club members more recognizable, and I also hope to set up more rendezvous around the world," Goh said.

He added that while after-sales service is an important part of the RNCC, the club has collaborated with groups in countries such as South Korea and Malaysia to establish in-store services.

"We hope that all cycling enthusiasts around the world will make connections through the RNCC," he said.




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