Show’s over…so, what were the highlights of another year at Earls Court? Mark Sutton looks at the product, the attractions, the people and the varied responses to the trade day...

CYCLE SHOW 2009: In-depth Review Part One

Phillip Darnton opens Cycle Show’s trade day
What better way to kick off the show than an address from Cycling England’s chairman? Cyclevox speaker Antony McCrossan introduced virtually every scheduled seminar to the main arena over the four days and to kick off his hectic schedule, McCrossan brought Phillip Darnton to the stage to speak to the trade. Darnton discussed the promotion of cycling, the fact consumer spend is as high as it’s ever been and much more.

“Every day £60 million is spent on cycling in the UK,” said Darnton. “Government funding is on the up and has helped us no end to bring cycling to a new generation. It’s terribly important that we keep pushing cycling as a means to improve the nation’s health and most importantly as something that is enormously fun.

“With petrol prices on the rise, combined with the recession, here is an opportunity to sell more bikes than ever. There are half a million trips undertaken by bikes in London every single day and with plans to introduce 6,000 hire bikes to London, that figure is set to jump by what is estimated to be an extra 40,000 daily trips.

“£14 million has been set aside for more cycle parking at London’s main stations and also to develop better cycle paths and infrastructure. All these factors will greatly help push cycling to the masses leading up to the London Olympics.”

Contador, BMX demos and seminars fill the terraces
Cycle Show offers attractions for the majority of niches within cycling, but one of the key scheduled events was Tour de France champion Alberto Contador’s invite to the main stage. He not only filled the terrace, but amassed a crowd in the aisles stretching back to the adjacent Surf Sales stand.

The BMX displays brought in young and older crowds alike over the four days. Some of the world’s best riders were making use of a ten foot quarterpipe, a jumpbox, wallrides and rails.

BikeBiz’s Carlton Reid took to the stage on the trade day, joining The Guardian’s cycling columnist Helen Pidd and the Bicycle Film Festival’s Laura Fletcher to discuss the issues facing female cyclists.

Many will have seen Jim Rees attempting to cycle 1,000 miles during the show’s duration, and trying to break the world record for 24 hours of continuous cycling. BikeBiz can confirm that Rees was successful, surpassing the previous distance of 392.9 miles with three hours to spare.

While at the show, BikeBiz also came across an impromptu unicycle display. The unicyclist took three tries to hop over barriers taken from the boundary of the Tirol test track and landed precisely on top of an aluminium can, crushing it before riding away.

Bling bikes an emerging market?
There has never been so much bike bling under one roof. There were Swarovski crystals, diamonds and gold-plated Campagnolo to be seen, if you were in the right place at the right time…

For the super rich, Ben Wilson’s 110,000 Swarovski crystal low-rider appeared near the main stage – briefly. Apparently the bike came with a security guard, but at the time of BikeBiz’s photographing of the bike he was nowhere to be seen.

Insurance firm had a 24-carat gold Brompton on display at its stand, which will shortly be going to one lucky customer. The build features several aspects you won’t find on a typical Brompton, including a snooker ball-topped gear lever. The bike is worth £12,500.

Finally, one extremely lucky lady got a slightly out-of-the-ordinary wedding anniversary gift – a £10,000 diamond studded titanium Enigma, with 18 carat gold detailing. Digi Foo-Kune was promised an Enigma by her husband when her bike was stolen. But what she hadn’t expected was to be presented with a secretly commissioned Nicholas James tailored Enigma. The bike features a gold-plated Campagnolo Centaur groupset, inset diamonds within the frame, Continental GP 4000 gold tyres and gold spokes. The Hatton Garden jeweller will be displaying the bike until the end of December in its shop window.

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