An interview with Sean Reynolds of The Bike Place

In anticipation of the seventh annual Bike Place retail show, Kieran Howells talks to organiser Sean Reynolds about the history of the event, the biggest new names to appear and why you need to be there this year.

What inspired you to set up the Bike Place show?

The Bike Place was founded in 2010. The first show was at Turweston aerodrome with ten exhibitors. At the time, Core was closed to new exhibitors and there were a number of brands which decided they should just do something themselves, instead. The first year included exhibitors such as Jungle, Ultra Sport, Evolution Imports and Velobrands. 2011 saw us move to Silverstone and we have continued to grow from there: we now need three halls to accommodate all 70+ exhibitors with over 200 brands.

Why should people make the effort to come out to the Bike Place with such a packed-out event calendar?

Retailers should go to trade shows; it’s about getting your mojo back and looking forward to the new season with renewed enthusiasm. The exhibitors at the show make a big effort to build their stands, stock them with the newest and best products that they represent, staff them, and ensure that the retailers come away understanding more than what is happening in the four walls of their stores. It’s a time to cement relationships, make new ones and see the latest, newest, fastest kit in a relaxed environment – without the interruptions of shop visits. It really allows retailers and suppliers to partner and plan for the year ahead and get the season into full swing.

What have been the biggest milestones of the last seven years?

We keep surpassing them. Using Silverstone as a venue must be one. It’s small enough that we can have an easy-to-navigate layout, but big enough to accommodate some of the larger contractor-built stands like you would expect to see at Eurobike or The Cycle Show. Expanding into the third hall and producing a printed show guide this year is also pushing the show forward.

Do you think that you’ve learned important lessons from past show failures?

There will always be people who want to bring you down, but there will be more that want to help you up. Coming from a sales background, I had to learn a lot about marketing when we started the event, and each year we keep pushing forward with new ideas and building a greater understanding of what retailers and exhibitors expect, and what they respond well to. At the end of the day we want everyone to come away with valuable knowledge and stronger industry relationships. That’s what will keep the show going for the next decade. 

Will e-bikes make a greater appearance in 2017?

Love them or hate them, e-bikes make up a large section of the industry. We will have 12 electric bike brands at the show including Kalkhoff and Focus. Over 30 e-bike brands will appear in total.

What are you particularly excited to see at the 2017 show?

We have so many new brands emerging and spreading their wings, I guarantee that you will find something brand new that will help to grow your business in 2017. Environmentally friendly products from lubes to helmets, more and more we are becoming aware of the impact cycling has on the environment, and it’s important that our industry acts upon that knowledge and is sustainable. We will have a live interactive recruitment board for the first time, so if you are looking for a new position or searching for a new employee, this is the place to come.

In previous years, the Bike Place has hosted guests like Josh Bryceland and Guy Martin: who can we expect to see this year?

We have two special guests confirmed so far, Steve Peat is bringing some pork pie from Yorkshire to share with everyone on the Jungle and Santa Cruz stand, and in true café style, Colin Sturgess is baking cakes for Kuota.

What is the basis of a successful trade show for you?

It’s about more than just looking at some new products; it’s about ideas, enthusiasm, the future, vision and relationships. You’ll leave feeling energised and confident about the season ahead. We look forward to seeing our friends at Silverstone for another great year. 

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