As cycling's star has risen over recent years more and more people have taken to the sport, especially those from the corporate world who would have previously been found on the golf course.
Cycling really has become the new golf. Official Sport England figures confirm golf participation is down 180,000 in eight years, whilst cycling has gained about 270,000 in the last year alone.
Perhaps the most telling research though comes in the form of a 2013 study by Sports Marketing Surveys, which has been examining golfers' habits for 17 years. Their research shows that 20% of golfers who packed up the game in the past six to twenty-four months - whose reason was to take up a new activity or sport - did so to take up cycling.
With this increase in cycling's popularity has come a number of new businesses offering specialist services. VeloCamps, founded by Ed Maxwell and James Pybus, is one such company and Fresh Business Thinking caught up with them to find out a little bit more...
Company in a Nutshell: A tour and events company that specialises in organising bespoke cycle trips.
Company Vision: To provide fantastic quality memories and deliver personal goals on two wheels.
What was the inspiration behind the company? It was two guys with a love of cycling in the greater ranges of Europe and beyond, who having had poor experiences with other tour operators as consumers, thought we could do a better job.
How long have you been running? Five years, in which time we have become official tour operators for both the Etape du Tour and La marmotte Sportives.
Who is your target market? A typical client is a 42-year-old busy career male with a young family looking to target a specific event or trip a couple of times a year. That said we still have a wide variety of customers, from busy mums to experienced club racers and young city types heading to their first European Sportive.
What sets you apart in your own field? We pride ourselves on high staff ratios and support levels, personal guiding, quality route planning and excellent value for money. For example on a three day trip, where we would have up to 24 clients, there will be six staff and bikes will be taken to and from the UK to the European location.
How have you established your own brand? Mostly by ‘word of mouth’ and personal recommendation, both through the personal and corporate sector. Further to that we have planned and offered unique trips that other firms don't, such as London-Barcelona via Brittany, Dolomites to Como, Tour Of Catalonia and the Tour du Mont Blanc.
How have you marketed yourself? Selective advertising in the quality bike press, word of mouth, a few seminars and alliances with a few key partners, monthly newsletters and seasonally updated ride kit.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced? Conveying quality at a specific price point over other company’s non-guided trips, and reaching out to an increasing numbers of like minded riders.
How have you overcome them? By sticking to our guns and not diluting our product to meet a price point. Then, and it might sound obvious, talking to people about our company whenever we can.
What are your plans for the future? To increase the size of the business by running more trips in 2016, and creating more routes that people want to try. We also want to push more into the corporate events sector to take advantage of the fact that 'cycling is the new golf'.