It's that time of year, isn't it? Yes, people are still wearing down jackets and anyone in their right mind on a bike is still layering up. But there's the scent of summer promised in the air. Buds are surreptitiously appearing on trees. The daffodils are strutting their stuff more confidently than those cheeky ones that popped up in January. You can even catch an occasional waft of cut grass as you ride.

We're feeling especially perky at VeloVixen.

Why's that, you ask? We have plans... and big news. And they're likely to have repercussions for women's cycling beyond VeloVixen itself. Here's what lies ahead for the months to come (it's worth reading to the end with this one...):

 

Contrary to the grumblings you might read or hear, there's actually constant flow of exciting new brands for female cyclists coming to the market. Every week now, we are contacted by budding new brands hoping to be added to our range. It's a hard task picking the cream of the crop and there are inevitably near misses. Here are the real highlights from recent weeks:

  • As Bold As: Joyce Brereton's labour of love is a stunning selection for urban cycling. Joyce is the embodiment of a new wave of female cycling designers. Richly qualified and experienced in various fields (including mechanical engineering and visual effects artist) and coming from a family of creative jewellers, she's escaped from the rat race to pursue her passion. The result? - clothes that combine immaculate fit, truly original designs... and those materials. Oh, those materials... You can read more about As Bold As here.

  • Portland Design Works: PDW have made a name for themselves in the US cycling mecca of Portland Oregon, but now they're coming to Europe. Their bike accessories are beautifully engineered with old fashioned precision and attention. What we especially love is the cute twists they mix into their designs. Like a handlebar coffee holder, or an alloy owl shaped water bottle cage?

  • And watch out for these new additions, coming soon:

-  Queen of the Mountains - Alicia Bamford's much anticipated new brand - ideal for roadie connoisseurs

-  Fierlan - Lucy Gardner's striking blend of distinctive graphics with great fit and finish

-  Bon Courage - a stylishly British 'lifestyle' collection of cycling-themed t-shirts, sweatshirts and mugs

-  Anna's Legs - our exclusive venture with Anna Glowinski, she of the massively popular Ana Nichoola:

-  Showers Pass - a crucial reason why we enjoyed our formative 2010 year long ride even when it rained!

-  Hoy Vulpine - designed in close conjunction with Sir Chris himself, this is Vulpine's latest technical range. And it won't have any direct effect on your thighs!

 

We've been positively deluged in new product ranges in the last few weeks. The women's cycling world is aligning itself more and more with the fashion calendar, so 'Spring/Summer 2016' has been arriving in droves. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • Vulpine: fresh from their £1m fund raising, it's clear that Vulpine mean business with their constantly expanding range. As ever, they hit the perfect balance between understated style and top notch technical quality, with some especially strong colours this time (we LOVE the Breton stripes and the Ultramarine collection!).

  • Primal's 2016 Summer collection is a brilliant spectrum, ranging from top end road gear for the experienced cyclist through to entry level jerseys and shorts with graphics to make you really stand out. Their shrewdest move is into 'athleisure' (yes, we hate the word too!) - a recognition that women's lives are busy and active even when we're not on a bike! Watch out for the new leggings...

  • Cafe du Cycliste: true to form, our friends in the South of France have added some stunning new pieces of kit for this summer. They are treats, but you love them. Their top of the range silk/merino Claudette jersey was so popular it's coming back for summer!

  • Morvélo: that we now have more Morvelo products than any other brand tells you all you need to know...  We - and you! - love how they combine genuinely innovative designs with second-to-none finish and fit that really works.

 

We haven't yet confirmed all our 2016 event appearances, but if you come along to this year's Eroica Britannia, Spin London or Women v Cancer's Ride the Night there's every chance you'll find us there. There may be others along the way too... watch this space.

What we can tell you is that we'll be back at the NEC Cycle Show - the UK's biggest bike show. We enjoyed last year so much that this year we're taking one of the biggest stands at the show. In fact, at almost 1200 sq.ft, it's four times the size of any stand we've hosted before.

Importantly, there's more to our big stand than just selling our beautiful wares. Stick close and you'll hear a significant announcement for women's cycling at the show soon...!

 

We're expanding our team. We're lucky enough to have a top quality bunch of people working together to make VeloVixen the thriving family company that it is. We want to keep that family, personal ethos - because we like it and you seem to like it.

But we also want to grow and make a real contribution to women's cycling.

So let us know if you think you'd fit any of these roles...

*    *    *

OK, let's cut to the chase. How are we funding all these ambitious plans?

We're delighted to announce that, for the first time since we launched in August 2012, we have attracted external investment. On March 21st, Bath-based Chelverton Asset Management, through a syndicate of private investors, agreed to invest £500,000 of growth capital into VeloVixen.

You can read about the effect of this for us and the repercussions for women's cycling more broadly here...

A tiny team celebration for having secured the chance to start VeloVixen's next chapter