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COVID-19 Caused a Third Cycling Boom, Rapha’s CEO Claims

By Monica Buck

The cycling clothing company based in North London is set to return a profit due to the worldwide pandemic.

Simon Mottram sold a majority stake in 2017 to an investment group run by the heirs to the Walmart company. However, he is still the boss of Rapha and talked to the Telegraph about its current financial situation. Mottram claimed the global economic crash in 2008 helped the company as did the London Olympics four years later. And so did COVID-19 now.

“This is the third boom, I think, that I’ve seen in my time at Rapha, the third cycling boom. It’s interesting how they tend to go hand in hand with economic problems and the rest of the economy that cycling has these wonderful moments.”

According to The Telegraph, Rapha was close to breaking even in 2019 following a £5 million loss in 2018. Mottram claims the company saw a 38% rise in sales in 2020 earning (before tax, etc.) a staggering £13.8 million.

“When we look at the new customers we’ve been pulling in – we’ve pulled in 155,000 customers last year, in 2020 – but by and large, those people around the world are existing cyclists. They’re not people who’ve just decided to buy a dayglow jacket and a hybrid to ride to work because there’s a lockdown. It’s people who had already ridden a bit and possibly been in one of those booms before but have gone through a year or two of riding and then lost interest for some reason. The prompt to revisit cycling that COVID-19 gave was really powerful.


“It doesn’t take more than two or three rides to think: ‘I love this. I’ve forgotten how much I love it.’ After that, they start to think, ‘Well, I’m not going on holiday, and I’m not buying a new car. So maybe I can afford a new pair of shorts?’”

Did you notice the cycling boom in your social circles as well? Let us know!