Now in its second year at the Birmingham’s NEC, The Cycle Show is making waves this year, with big name exhibitor sign ups, record trade registration and test tracks galore. BikeBiz catches up with the Upper Street Events team to discover what’s in store

Event preview: The Cycle Show

It’s just a matter of weeks now until The Cycle Show opens its doors, once more to be held in the Midland’s main exhibition centre. Though largely a consumer-facing event, the opening day remains exclusive to a trade audience, and if early registration is anything to go by, an enthused bunch they are.

Feedback from prior years has almost unanimously centred around getting the ‘A Team’ on board – the likes of Trek, Specialized and other manufacturers large enough to support interest in a show almost by themselves. The aforementioned labels are part of the mix this time around, with the latter of the two exhibiting on behalf of the ever-growing list of concept stores carrying the brand’s moniker exclusively. There’s plenty more to sustain both trade and consumer interest too, however. Distribution powerhouse Madison returns to the show, alongside the likes of Chicken Cyclekit, Accell, Raleigh, Upgrade and many more.

To engage the trade and make the journey worthwhile, the team behind the show have been hard at work to secure a timetable of seminars in partnership with the Association of Cycle Traders, Future Publishing and many more detailed later in this show preview. Perhaps set to get the biggest round of applause, this year’s exhibition will be attended by a celebrated Scot and Olympic champion fresh from pounding the boards of London’s new velodrome, Sir Chris Hoy. Make sure you’re on the doors as they open at 9.30 to be sure of catching a glimpse of Britain’s most decorated Olympic athlete.

The cycling celebrity hall of fame is set to be further boosted over the duration of the show with appearances from downhill legend Steve Peat and also Ed Clancy who is due to appear on Condor’s stand. On the Saturday and Sunday, golden girl of the track Jo Rowsell will be present and touring the show.

Having run for over ten years now under the guidance of Upper Street Events, head of marketing Lucinda Hyde McCready told BikeBiz: “We’ve come a long way since our first show at the Business Design Centre in 2001. This year is particularly significant for us and our trade registration at this point in the timeline has never looked so strong. There seems to be plenty of excitement about the brands on board, the seminars and events – such as the BMX shop battle on the trade day, which has already got 24 retailers signed up to compete. It’s well worth retailers taking time out to come and see our biggest show to date. Our target is to see 24,000 visitors this year.”

On the BMX front, McCready talked of an ‘Interbike style’ BMX zone, which fills the entire stretch by the ramp course. With a £5,000 prize purse on offer to riders entertaining the crowds on the consumer days, the 20-inch business benefits from a much-expanded focus this year.

Bigger wheels will get plenty more dedicated space this year too, with arenas set out for testing the latest electric bikes, a space for disability cycling, a DMR-sponsored wooden pump track with master classes alongside sponsored talent Olly Wilkins run daily, a kids area, a road test track and the Dare 2b sponsored mountain bike singletrack course that proved so popular last year.

On the power assisted front, the test track for electric bikes is significantly larger, with a built-in incline to allow consumers and the trade should they wish, to really give the bikes a thorough thrashing. Riders will have to be over 18 to test the estimated 40 bikes set to feature on the track.

This time around there will be opportunities for brands to have booths in the pits alongside their test bikes, enabling consumers to follow up with the labels they click with post-test ride.

McCready said of the pit area: “We can fit plenty of brands into the pits and space here comes free-of-charge to those with main arena floor space booked.”

Specialist independent mobility label Quest 88 is on board as the main host to the disability test track, where attendees can try out specially modified bikes. Operating throughout the UK and Ireland, Quest88 provides a full assessment and demonstration service; to assist therapists in delivering the most appropriate solution for the individual.

The cost to feature in the retail zone has been reduced this year, prompting a variety of firms to sign up to sell everything aside from complete bikes. Exhibitors are, of course, allowed to take orders on their stands.

For the handmade bike aficionados among us, Cycle Show is for the first time to feature a block of stalls dedicated to the growing custom-build market – there’s still space here too, so if you’re a framebuilder Upper Street would like to here from you.

Consumers with a desire to get some riding in are in for a treat this year, with race-organisers Sweetspot partnering with the show to organise a criterium on the Saturday night. Running post show alongside an exhibitor party in the nearby Wetherspoons – the race will start and finish at not too far from the pub. A youth category for boys and girls sets off at 5.30 and runs until 8.45. Winners here will take home prizes supplied by exhibitors. The men’s and women’s evening races kick off immediately afterwards and prize money is up for grabs. The following morning a sportive sets off from the show, led out by pro teams, such as Team Raleigh and Rapha Condor Sharp.

Discussing the build up to the show just a month before doors open, McCready adds: “We’ve carefully listened to feedback from our debut show at the NEC last year and responded well to a number of suggestions. The return of some big name brands being one such request that we’ve ensured is pinned down. Trade visitors should really take a look at our seminar timetable in between visiting their business partners.

“The seminar with Future Publishing will provide great insight into how to boost your firm’s Google rankings, while the ACT’s seminars will give some great tips on how to boost cycle sales with retail finance platforms. They are exhibiting at the show too, so members new and prospective can pop by at their stand for a chat. We look forward to welcoming audiences through our Raleigh 125th anniversary themed doors come late September.”

For those looking to secure last minute exhibition space at the show, there are still booth slots available. Contact Cheryl at Upper Street on 0207 288 6733 for more information.

Trade registration for an e-ticket to the show is free of charge when done in advance, though on the door tickets will cost £13.
Visit in order to register you and your colleagues (plus ones are registered in one hit, so there’s no need to fill out multiple forms). ID checks will be performed on the door on the trade day to ensure business authenticity.

Plan your day around the seminars

10.30 – 11.00 Future Publishing – The shopping habits of cycling enthusiasts
Dave Clutterbuck, Sports Publisher at Future Publishing, outlines key findings from Future’s proprietary BikeTrack research into the shopping habits of cycling enthusiasts. What are they looking for from bike retailers and cycling brands, and how does their behaviour change across product categories, rider types and retail channels?

11.15 – 11.45 Cytech – Suspension servicing
Learn how to service a set of suspension fork lowers with Cytech’s pro-mechanics

12.00 – 12.30 ACT – Retail Finance
How to use finance to increase cycle sales.

12.45 – 13.15 Raleigh e-bikes
Presented by Lloyd Clarkson of Raleigh.

13.30 – 14.00 Future Publishing – Using SEO to shift your traffic up a gear
James Morell, head of search and social media at Future Publishing, shows you a few simple techniques to maximise the visibility of your website in search results.

14.15 – 14.45 Cytech – Frame Facing and Taping
One of the scariest jobs in the workshop made simple.

15.00 – 15.30 Fashion Show

15.45 – 16.15 Raleigh e-bikes
Presented by Lloyd Clarkson of Raleigh.

17.00 – 17.30 Cytech – Di2 setup and adjustment
Come and see how to set up Shimano’s latest electronic gear system.

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