Bike Shows are often a good place to discover new products and meet new people. The London Bike Show was last weekend at the Excel Centre, and it provided plenty of opportunity to discover what the cycling world had on offer. Despite a lack of mountain biking companies at the show this year, it’s good to see that small, independent business isn’t put off from coming to the show and showcasing their products. For some, a business is a gap in the market and for others it’s a way of realising their dream.
One person I had the pleasure of meeting at the show was, Hannah Myers. Designer and founder of Flare Clothing. We chat to her about the company, riding and what she has planned for the future.
Who are you?
I’m Hannah. A mountain biker and product designer from Nottingham. Addicted to hot sauce and pickles.
How did Flare Clothing start?
Flare started when I started mountain biking more and more and couldn’t find any clothes that made me excited to get out and ride my bike, so I thought I would do something about it! I wanted to make clothes that were highly technical, flattering to an athletic woman’s body and in colours and graphics that would complement her personality.
What reception have you had from female riders?
The reception we’ve had from female riders since both the start of the company and the launch last weekend has been fantastic. Everyone has really understood what I’m trying to achieve and been incredibly enthusiastic to see what happens next.
What kind of materials do you use to create your products?
To make the technical clothing I use 100% polyester fabrics that are wicking, breathable and antibacterial and therefore comfortable to wear whilst exercising. The casual clothing are made from 100% organic cotton. Everything is designed and manufactured in the UK.
The most interesting part of my market research has been the reception to pink. Of course some women love it and some women hate it, as with other colours, but there is a passionate reaction either way. It seems the way to address the ‘pink issue’ is to include it, but among a selection of other colours so that there is a choice.
What products do you currently have, and what do you plan to offer in future?
We currently have a range of technical MTB jerseys and freeride-style shorts in four colourways. We also have a technical t-shirt, men’s jersey and a selection of casual t-shirts.
What do you ride? Bike (s) and Discipline (s)?
I ride a Trek Lush S trail riding, a Canyon Torque FRX Rockzone downhill, and a Trek Madone road bike to work. I also have a Brompton folding bike – when needs must!
Do you think women’s MTB gets enough coverage?
I don’t think that it gets the coverage necessary to encourage more women to get riding, but this is changing. Looking at the States and Canada women’s riding is getting a lot more attention, and the UK is moving this way too with more publications focused on all disciplines of women’s cycling and dedicated events. I’m really happy to be part of this shift – it’s going to be exciting!
How well does the kit fit with things like armour?
Since the kit is currently oriented towards trail riding there isn’t loads of room for a lot of body armour. That being said, the shorts designed to work with knee pads and some of the less-hardcore protection that people wear when they’re out shredding trails.
You sponsor, Emma Atkinson, how did that come about and do you have any plans to support other women in future?
Emma contacted me about sponsorship when we put out the first Flare edit to introduce the brand to the MTB community. A few emails back and forth and after she helped us out at the London Bike Show this weekend, it feels as though I’m not only her sponsor, but a friend who I’m hoping will introduce me to some new riding spots! After this season there are certainly plans to expand the ‘Flare team’ to include more women, and in different disciplines to just downhill, so you never know!
As a new company, how was your experience at the London Bike Show?
Never having taken part in an event like the London Bike Show I was very nervous in the days leading up to it. But once we got there everyone was incredibly supportive and the brand was so well received by the public so it was great. Having said that, I’m pleased I had been nervous – it meant that I was really well prepared and there weren’t too many surprises (we ended up being like a stationary store – so many other stands needed to use our scissors!)
When is your new kit available?
The Roost kit for Spring/Summer 2014 and all-new t-shirts will be available online from 1st March
2014… we’re sponsoring the women’s category of the British Downhill Series, and Emma of course, so will be at all of the rounds in the pits. Aside from that I’m hoping to expand the Flare presence in dealers in the UK and potentially overseas. To increase the range of clothing for the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection (a jacket maybe?) and perhaps host a women’s event in the Autumn. Wait and see!
Northen Downhill Hamsterley TT Results:
Competitor, Amelia Taylor said: “First race of the year for me and good to see a turn out of 12 girls. Carl over at NDH had thrown in a few surprises on the trail including a sharp right hander into a short muddy climb and a slippery descent at the end. Timed perfectly so you had to give it everything you had right at the end.”
Mini Downhill – February 2014
17 ladies have entered the open category, and currently three have entered Pro Am. Katy Curd and Tracy Moseley should also be racing, but as always the organiser wants to encourage more women to get involved! Tomorrow is the last day to enter online, so get your entries in quick and come and race in the Forest of Dean. For further information about the race, you can find it here. Entry fee is £30 online, and £35 on the day (space permitting).
We take a look back to last season and the release of Tracey Moseley’s Signature Deity bars. She shreds in the Forest of Dean and talks about the release.
To get involved with Women’s Wednesday, please get in touch: Lauren@wideopenmountainbike.com