Rebecca Morley rounds up the impact of Covid-19 on the trade show calendar
This piece first appeared in the February edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
The pandemic stopped meetings and events in their tracks when it hit in early 2020, with some shows going virtual and others postponing in the hopes of a quick return. But two years on we’re still feeling the impacts of Covid-19, so how close are we to a return to ‘normal’?
I attended several online events during 2020 and 2021 – some were quite engaging, with live chats and networking sessions taking place, while others I dipped in and out of, observing what was going on with little interruption to the rest of my day’s work. I must admit it was nice to not have to think about getting up early and how much the train will cost, and I, like many others, wondered if these formats could become more common even after the easing of restrictions when we emerge from the pandemic.
Late 2021 did however see a welcome return of some physical events, with many people clearly keen to venture out and see the latest models in person after so long away. September’s Sea Otter Europe exceeded organisers’ best forecasts with around 45,000 visitors and the new IAA Mobility in Munich was attended by 400,000 participants and 3,500 journalists from 95 countries. Rouleur Live returned to London’s Victoria House in November, with names including Geraint Thomas and Anna van der Breggen in attendance, while the 29th edition of Eurobike in September saw a total of 630 exhibitors from 68 countries and 18,770 trade visitors attend.
But as 2022 kicked off there have already been some exercising caution, with CABDA cancelling this month’s Midwest Expo. Traditionally held in February, the 2021 edition did take place but was pushed back to September due to the pandemic, and had planned to revert back to its traditional winter dates for 2022 and beyond.
COREbike is expected to return to Whittlebury Hall this year, albeit in March instead of its usual late January dates. This decision was taken by organisers to help avoid further adding to the possible heightened pressure on the NHS following Christmas and New Year gatherings, and the potentially improved weather in late-March should also allow improved ventilation at the venue.
Taipei Cycle will take place physically next month too, while Taipei Cycle DigitalGo, its virtual show running in parallel, will begin on the same day and end on 8th April. And The Cycle Show will return this year – taking place in London from 22nd to 24th April alongside the London eBike Festival powered by Shimano Steps. The latter had been set to debut in May 2020 before Covid disrupted its plans, but is now all set for launch at Alexandra Palace with exhibitor packages selling out before Christmas.
iceBike will be online for the second year running in the form of digiBike – to find out more about what to expect, check out our full interview with Madison and Sportline CEO Dominic Langan in the February edition of BikeBiz. But what does this all mean for the trade show calendar looking forward? Are we finally in a place where we can look forward to future in-person events again without concern they’ll be postponed? While many are optimistic I wouldn’t be surprised if some caution still lingers, but how much remains to be seen.
Cycling industry 2022 events
21st February to 18th March, online
digiBike will be a whole month of content, bringing everything expected at iceBike but in a digital format. That means more time to access, view and engage with the content, and more opportunities to take advantage of any of the exclusive, show-only offers.
9th to 12th March, Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Taiwan
Taipei Cycle is set to return as a physical show and a virtual event, Taipei Cycle DigitalGo, when it takes place next month. Both will kick off on 9th March 2022, with Taipei Cycle closing on 12th March and Taipei Cycle DigitalGo concluding on 8th April.
20th to 22nd March, Whittlebury Hall
COREbike is set to return to Whittlebury Hall next month, offering cycling retailers the chance to see exciting new products and view ranges for the upcoming season from some of the biggest brands and distributors in the UK cycle market.
Sea Otter Classic
7th to 10th April, Monterey, California
Located in Monterey, California, the Life Time Sea Otter Classic presented by Continental is the largest gathering of cycling enthusiasts in North America, offering nearly every type of competitive bike racing and recreational tours for all ages and abilities.
The Cycle Show & London eBike Festival
22nd to 24th April, Alexandra Palace, London
After ten years at the NEC, The Cycle Show returns to London in April 2022. The show will run alongside the London eBike Festival powered by Shimano Steps to give visitors a unique cycling experience combining indoor exhibition, evening theatre shows and outdoor festival.
OutDoor by ISPO
12th to 14th June, Munich
The shift of the dates is a strategic decision due to the far-reaching market changes of the past years. The permanently brought forward date fits much better into the new order cycles.
13th to 17th July, Frankfurt, Germany
The 30th edition of Eurobike, taking place in Frankfurt, will run from Wednesday 13th July to Sunday 17th July from 9am to 6pm each day. The first three days, reserved for the trade, will be followed by a ‘festival weekend’ open to the general public.
Sea Otter Europe
23rd to 25th September, Girona, Spain
The sixth edition of Sea Otter Europe will be held from 23rd to 25th September 2022. It will take place in Girona and the Costa Brava, a city and a region that have reaffirmed their support for Sea Otter Europe and offer the ideal setting to host such a large and complex event.