An Evening with Tom McPhail and Chrissy Fisher – Pure Electric

In March 2018, BDOVELO invited Andrew Gilligan to speak at one of our networking evenings at the ICAEW in London. Andrew, a BBC journalist, had made his name when he described a Government paper as “sexed up” ahead of the 2nd Iraq war. He caused rather a stir!

Andrew had been Boris Johnson’s cycling advisor when Boris was Mayor of London and, more recently, has again become an advisor to Boris. Alongside stories of dismantling an illegally built sheds in Boris’s back garden under the cover of darkness, my memory of that evening was of the challenge of bringing 32 London boroughs together to agree a cohesive cycling and infrastructure strategy for the capital. In short, Andrew felt it was an impossible task. 

Last night, BDOVELO guests Tom McPhail and Chrissy Fisher from Pure Electric, the new kid on the block as far as cycling retailers go, shared with us their ambition to establish Pure as the go-to cycling retailer across Europe, focusing on the E-bike and E-scooter market. Tom led us through the business’ short history, gave us an insight into its enigmatic founder, Adam Norris, and shared his views on the fast-growing micro-mobility market. For those who’ve experienced a e-scooter “near-miss”, Tom revealed the Government’s new approach to e-scooters, which is to trial fleets of hire scooters in selected towns and harvest a mass of information on journeys, safety, other road user reactions.  For the record, riding e-scooters on the road remains illegal but I think we were shown a vision of the future.

The acquisition of Cycle Republic not only brought Pure a ready-made retail estate but also an experienced team of cycling specialists who are helping the business navigate some of today’s challenges including pandemic-related supply chain issues. What shone through was the passion to create real change and disrupt the market - Pure is a business with serious ambitions.

I sense Tom and the team face similar challenges on the political front to those faced by Andrew Gilligan. Agreeing a coherent plan with a disparate group of stakeholders won’t be easy, especially when it involves e-scooters, governed motors, helmets and a raft of red-tape regulations… Good luck with that one! 

Notwithstanding significant political hurdles, I think we all recognise that the future will be “e” and those in the know are already predicting e-bikes will outsell conventional bikes, it’s just a case of when.  Personally, I still enjoy the challenge of grinding up hills, albeit slowly, and flying down the other side at 30+mph… and with a sense of self-satisfaction! 

A big thanks to Tom and Chrissy and also to Lee Williams at Academy Eyewear who donated 2 pairs of Bloc sports glasses for the draw.

WATCH THE RECORDING

Our next virtual event is on Wednesday 10 March where we will be welcoming pro cyclist, Dan Bigham. Dan will share his experiences of a frustrating 2020 as well as his ambitions for the 2021 season.

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