Need Bike Clothes? Go Grocery Shopping.
Lidl, a German grocer and Pro Tour sponsor that recently opened in the U.S., is launching a line of bike apparel and equipment that could save you hundreds over the competition
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If you’ve ever complained that cycling equipment is too costly, take note: at supermarket chain Lidl, you can buy an entire kit—jersey, shorts, and cleats—for under $75.
The German grocery giant has carved out its niche across the globe by offering a tightly curated range of goods, many private labeled, at exceptionally low prices. Part of the company’s model is to supplement its perishable stocks with weekly promotions of non-food items, from power tools to kitchen appliances, which are available at outstanding costs as long as stock lasts. The cycling gear, which launched as part of the company’s third cycle of such specials, is part of Lidl’s (pronounced lee-duhl) Crivit sportswear line. “To inspire our communities to live a healthy lifestyle, we like to offer this fitness collection at affordable prices,” says Jessica Haggard, a spokeswoman for the company.
The cycling line consists of just 10 items to start, including a quick-drying jersey for men and women for just $14 and padded shorts and bibs for $20. Gloves will go for $7, socks for $4, and cycling shoes for $40. Other items in the line include a mini-pump for $7, bike lock for $5, and photochromic glasses for $40. Those prices may make you question the quality, though judging by the shoes—which appear to be a Boa-dial and Velcro strap model with mounts for three-bolt and SPD-style cleats—the gear looks credible.
Lidl is no stranger to the cycling market. The company has sponsored Pro Tour cycling team Etixx-Quickstep for the past two seasons, which includes high-profile racers including Mark Cavendish, Tony Martin, Tom Boonen, and World Champ Michael Kwiatowski. The team annulled its contract with its previous grocery supplier to bring on Lidl, which team manager Patrick Lefevre heralded as a step forward for the cycling industry, calling the German grocer, “perhaps the largest private company that is stepping into cycling.” Meanwhile, Lidl touts its experience with Etixx-Quickstep as informing its Crivit cycling gear.
Lidl, which has 10,000 stores in 28 countries, opened its first U.S. operations on June 15, with 10 stores across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The company, which has also confirmed locations in Georgia, Ohio, and Texas, is opening four more locations on July 13 and plans to have over 100 stores across the east coast by the end of Summer 2018.
While the new cycling apparel line, which went on sale on June 29, will only last until stock is out, Lidl says that consumers can expect to see more of the gear in the future. “I can't speak to exactly how many times it will be in store per year, but at least several times a year,” says Haggard. “We definitely see demand. There are local cycling groups in almost every market we are currently in.”