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Archive for November, 2009

I found this trailer over at copenhagenize.com about a soon to be released documentary produced in the UK.  It asks the question “Why do British girls stop cycling?”

“By simply asking this basic question, the film reveals the damage that has been done by 50 years of car-centric transport policies. Whilst we fill our lives with debates about risk assessment, cycle helmets, cycle training and marketing strategies to try to persuade people to cycle more, the basic barriers to cycling remain untouched – generous urban planning towards the car, and the resultant poor motorist behaviour towards cyclists. Is it any wonder that most people find cycling unattractive in the UK, but attractive in cycling-friendly towns and cities? It’s the infrastructure, stupid!”

The documentary has great parrallels to our situation in Australia and clearly spells out the barriers to cycling that are faced by the young woman of the car-centric countries such as UK, USA and Australia.  We clearly need to change the way cycling is sold to young people, and that is at the core of Vervaart brand, and why we want to see Australian’s sitting upright on our elegant bicycles.

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It’s been a long break.

Well after a slight break of approximately 55 years, the Vervaart name is back on a bicycle.  My Dutch surname, Vervaart, seemed like a fitting name to use when I felt the need to start manufacturing my own bicycles.  After many discussions with fellow cyclists, students, mothers, and time spent stuck running a bicycle store, I realised that the Australian public really does have a skewed range of bicycles on offer to them.

When you enter a bicycle store today in Australia the bicycles are all pretty much the same.  There is basically a fair split between racing bicycles for fitness, mountain bikes for fitness and hybrids for fitness.  Notice a pattern?  If you want a bicycle that looks like the one you rode in Amsterdam during your backpacking trip last year – your out of luck.  Well, that’s not 100% true, you can buy a Gazelle now in Australia.  For over 116 years Gazelle has been making great bicycles for riding to and from what ever places life makes you visit, and the brand now is available here in Australia.  BUT!  I am not too sure that I know too many university students who feel like spending $1500 + on a Gazelle bicycle, no matter how nice it is!

I wondered why Gazelle and other “European” transport bicycles where so outrageously expensive?  The problem lies in the method they get to our shores.  Yes, the vast majority of all bicycles are now made in China, and as such they then go through a couple of hands to get back to the “Manufacturer” in Europe.  After everyone has taken their cut and the freight has been paid, the shiny bicycle now has to make its way back to Australia on yet another slow boat.  Once in Australia, its distributor has to warehouse it until the retailer orders one into his store, and then finally you end up with it sitting in his showroom for $1599.

Vervaart Bicycles was re-started because we didn’t think this was acceptable if we really want to become a cycling nation.  We feel that if we can offer a bicycle with Style, Reliability and Affordability, then we can make a valuable contribution to Australia’s cycling culture.  We went to great lengths to source products from a factory in China which provides 1.5 million bicycles to the western European market every year. This ensures that our product is first class and follows with our 2nd ethos of ‘Reliability’.  Through careful selection of our model designs and asthetics, we were able to accomplish one of our other fundamentals – Stylish.  Finally, by sourcing the bicycles directly from a factory with our own Product Manager, we are able to price our bicycles at an Affordable price.

At last a chic bicycle for the masses!  Coming soon…

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