Andrew Brabazon talks to BikeBiz about interactive features, a wider audience and exhibitors...

Cycle Show’s event director talks reasons to attend NEC event

First and foremost, if you’ve yet to sign up for a free of charge trade pass to the cycle Show, held at the Birmingham NEC from September 29th through October 2nd, you can do so here. Now over to event director Andrew Brabazon for a bit more on what to expect later this month…

How has the trade responded to the switch away from London and to the midlands?
There seems to be a popular groundswell of opinion within the trade that Birmingham, with its central UK location, is the perfect place for the show.
We know a significant percentage of the trade reside in the Midlands and the North, and so making it easier for them to attend appears to be having a positive effect, particularly on trade registrations.

Do you anticipate greater crowds from the North attending?
Yes, absolutely. It is so much easier for visitors from the North. We had a stand at the recent Gadget Show, which re-enforced just how much interest there was in the Cycle Show. We spoke to many people who knew of the show, and had never been, but are now definitely coming this year.

How many exhibitors and what volume of floor space is filled in the NEC?
So far we have 150 exhibitors, but the time this goes to print, we would expect this to be around 175. This represents about 85 per cent of our possible total exhibitor footprint.

Has the switch allowed you up-size the exhibition and attraction space?
Yes. We now have outside space to run both a proper road demo track on tarmac, and build a new one kilometre off-road demo course, which looks fantastic fun to ride.
The upshot of this is that we have freed up significant additional exhibition and feature space.

What ambitions do you have for the Cycle Show going forwards?
Our ambition is to be the one big show that showcases the very best bikes, accessories, clothing and services that not only the UK, but the world has to offer.
We want to be a catalyst to encourage and inspire more people to cycle more often. With the support of our exhibitors we want to hold up cycling as a viable, healthy and highly sustainable lifestyle choice, that brings immense enjoyment. We want to open this opportunity to enjoy cycling to as large an audience from every genre of cycling and to people of every level of ability, as we possibly can.

Any thoughts on further trade days?
We represent the UK cycle industry. Although there has never been total consensus from the trade that a second trade day is required, we will take a democratic approach and if the demand is there, then yes, there could be scope for further time.

What promotion is in place ahead of kickoff?
We have increased our total marketing by 50 per cent as our marketing reach needs to be so much larger given the much expanded reach of the Midlands show.
We are maintaining our presence in our ‘traditional’ London and South East market, and extending this with a significant campaign into the Midlands, the West, East Anglia and the North. Our marketing and PR teams have been extremely busy, and have been delighted with the level of interest that has been generated to date. We are hugely encouraged not only by the number of consumer tickets sold, but also by the fact our postcode analysis shows they are being bought by people all over the country.

Have you secured any major new exhibitors that until now have been elusive?
Yes we have. If you look at the exhibitor’s list, you will see that we have around 40 new exhibitors.

Rumour had it that rates for exhibition space were cheaper – has this affected exhibitor sign up?
It is no rumour. One of the reasons we made the move to the NEC was to guarantee a quicker return on investment to exhibitors. We have been delighted to be able to offer on average, stand rates 20 per cent lower than last year.
Not only has this attracted much interest from new exhibitors, with Saddleback taking 200 m2 and sponsoring the Castelli Café, existing exhibitors have increased their space such as Windwave with 230 m2 and Fisher Outdoor Leisure with 242 m2.

What sort of attendance figure are you anticipating?
Upwards of 30,000 people are set to make the journey if the current sign up rate is anything to go by.

Any special events or celebrations in place for the ten-year anniversary?
I’m sure the exhibitor party in the Castelli Café will be brilliant. I’m certainly planning to celebrate. When my credit card’s behind the bar it’s amazing how many people shout me a beer.

Who will open the show this year? How important have your ambassadors been in promotion?
Geraint Thomas is opening the show for us on the first day. The ambassadors have been great. Ed Clancy has been in brilliant form this year with Rapha Condor and Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift with Sky did brilliantly at the Tour de France, and still found time to blog and tweet for us.
On the BMX side of things we’ve got Ben Hennon representing us and connecting with the 20-inch crowd.

What facilities does the NEC offer for meetings, the media and food and drink?
There seems to be a great amount of choice. We are augmenting this by building the Castelli Café, which will offer great coffee, a panini, a Peroni, or even a Chianti, if you fancy.
The NEC is also great if you need something bespoke for clients. We can arrange this in advance if exhibitors wish to have a private viewing, or product launch to shout about. These aside, there’s plenty of on site, food and drink wise.

What demos and main stage events are scheduled this year?
The BMX park/street competition will feature top UK and US riders. There is a whole schedule of events over four days on the main stage. For full details of what’s on and when, take a look at the website

Are there any last minute spots available? How should those interested enquire about these?
Yes, there are still some spaces left, but you’ll need to be quick to secure the last spots in the best positions. If you would like to take space, please contact Damian Watson on 020 7288 6645.

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