Traditionally at the end of each year, Google publishes an annual zeitgeist – basically a summary of what people around the world are searching for. Check it out. So this inspired us to think – what trends are happening in the cycling world? We all know that cycling has exploded in the last few years, and that the industry as a whole is doing well for itself – you can see this on the high street with many new bike shops opening, cool bike cafes opening up, the creation of the Sky pro tour team and of course who can forget the rise of the MAMIL!

So, what is fuelling this growth? Let’s have a look at what people have been searching for in the last few years, and then see if this is backed up by some sales stats. The graph below shows the volume of searches in Google UK for the keywords in the top right, click on it to enlarge it.

We can see from this that interest in road bikes has increased in 2010 over the previous two years, driven partly by the increasing popularity of sportive events – essentially non competitive road riding. Don’t forget also the mainstream interest in cycling having a knock on effect here too, encouraging more people to take up the sport. Interest in mountain bikes on the other hand looks to be down on previous years. Folding bikes and single speed bikes are relatively flat in comparison – perhaps due to all year round interest rather than seasonal peaks when the weather is nice!

So, let’s see how this stacks up against sales of bikes across Evans Cycles stores and website in the last few years.

The graph below shows the sales trend of road bikes over the last 3 years. It definitely reflects the growing interest in this discipline as a whole – anecdotally we also know that a growing trend is for mountain bikers to buy a road bike as well (rather than the other way around!).

Looking at sales of mountain bikes we can see that they have stayed relatively flat over the last few years, again backing up the growing interest in road cycling in general.

What about other bikes? Well, sales of hybrid bikes continue to increase year on year. Indicative of the growing popularity of cycling as a whole, due to economic factors and people’s desire for greener, healthier transport.

There you have it then, a very quick snapshot into what is happening out there on the roads and trails across the UK.

So, will we all become road cyclists in 2011? What are the main trends we expect? We asked our buying team to give us some predictions for next year, here is what Joel has to say:

Predicting trends is very difficult of course and often the most interesting or niche elements of cycling can shout the loudest whilst making a relatively small impact on the sales.

We expect to see continued growth of road and hybrid bike sales.  In hybrid it seems that we’re looking at an ever increasing variety of bikes, perhaps the most interesting factors being Boris bikes and whether we’ll see more upright equipped bikes and 29′er light.  Also perhaps we’ll see a bit more diversification in these categories as people start to push the envelope again. We’ve had the retro and singlespeed theme for a while, and cyclocross has been growing at a rate. Over the next few years I’d expect to see touring and audax make a resurgence also. Steel’s been very cool over the last few years so we are looking forward to seeing whether this develops further.

In the MTB world the biggest topic is definitely 29′ers. It does seem like 2011 will be their year – the product and the market has now developed. Watch this space for 29’er news. Simply put, there’ll be even more great ways to get out and cycle next year – let’s just hope we get some support from the weather!

Thank you Joel and there you go, some past and future cycling trends!