London Bike Show ExCeLs under new ownership

Rebecca Morley takes a tour of this year’s London Bike Show….

The London Bike Show and Triathlon Show: London took place at London’s ExCeL from 29th to 31st March. It was the first show produced by Newtimber Media, having taken over from previous organisers Telegraph Events, with Frazer Clifford now the owner. A total of 20,201 tickets were sold for the three-day event, and having assembled an array of big name brands, innovative start-ups, talks, events and a test track, it proved to be another popular attraction for cycling enthusiasts from across the country.

Speaking after the success of this year’s event, Clifford said: “We are over the moon to have had the support of both the industry and visitors for our first shows as Newtimber Media. The team has worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to bring the show back to its best and we have made great strides in doing so this year. Yes, there is still room for improvement, and we will continue to consult with exhibitors and visitors over the coming 12 months to ensure we create an event that everyone can be proud of. Our new dateline at the end of March has proved very popular all round. Next year, which will be the tenth anniversary of the London Bike Show, we won’t be clashing with Mother’s Day, so fully expect footfall to increase substantially.”

Craig Middleton, Limar Helmets UK brand manager, agreed that despite the date change attendance was still strong, and said: “The London Bike Show has become an important date in the diary as one of the first opportunities to show consumers the new helmet collections for the upcoming year. The change in date did not seem to affect the attendance which felt like it was as strong as in previous years. We have to say as a brand we feel like we achieved our goals over the three days of the show.”

The show had 331 brands exhibiting, with London based Sigma Sports bringing an array of names to the show, with Tacx, Specialized, MAAP, VEL, Maurten and Black Sheep Clothing all featuring at its stand. A mix of urban and e-bikes was on display from Ribble, which boosted its e-bike offering with the addition of two new electric bikes – the Hybrid AL e and the CGR AL e. It also unleashed its prototype Hardcore Titanium Hardtail MTB at the London Bike Show – designed and developed in the UK. Sean Yates also spoke at the event, courtesy of the brand, after being announced earlier in the year as Ribble’s ambassador for its e-road bike, the Endurance SLe.

Andy Smallwood, Ribble CEO, said: “The London Bike Show exceeded all our expectations – we went into the show with a strong plan to drive customer engagement and brand awareness through exciting product activation and new product launch activity which generated great results both during and post the show. The show enabled us to introduce the cycling audience to all 26 bikes in our current range line-up, offering the opportunity to get up close to our bikes and engage with our team of experts. The test track offered further opportunities to test out our newly launched e-bikes alongside other models. We also used the show to launch our new MTB hardtail, and Sean Yates, our e-bikes ambassador, was interviewed on the main stage. Ribble also sponsored triathlete Adam Bowden, who made an appearance on the Saturday. We would like to thank the organisers for ensuring the London Bike Show experience was successful for all.”

Matt Lawson, CDO of Ribble Cycles, said: “This was a return to the London Bike Show for Ribble after a few years away. It provided the perfect platform for us to launch new products, showcase our entire 26 model range, allow the public to test our bikes on the test track and to personally meet our sponsored athletes. It also offered the opportunity to engage with our customers and the wider cycling public and to use the show as a vehicle to further promote the Ribble brand. All in all, it was an extremely positive and successful experience. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

Richard Thorpe, Gocycle designer and founder, also noted the prevalence of e-mobility at the show, where the brand showcased its new fast-folding Gocycle GX model. It is capable of being folded and stowed in under ten seconds, the brand has claimed, and it was also available for test rides for the first time at the show’s dedicated bike test track. The 2019 show was Gocycle’s ‘biggest-ever presence’ at a UK show with its full e-bike range on display, including the GS and G3 models.

Thorpe said: “It was great to launch our new fast-folding Gocycle GX at the London Bike Show and to offer first opportunities for test rides throughout the weekend. We received lots of great feedback from consumers on our newest model – a great boost as we enter full production. What really stood out at the show was the prevalence of electric mobility – electric bikes, e-cargo, folding e-bikes and e-scooters were on display in plentiful numbers. It was certainly apparent that more consumers were interested in e-bikes and in the market to buy one which makes me feel that a future show with an increased focus on e-mobility would be a huge success.”

Ben Spencer, research fellow at Oxford Brookes University, presented research from the award-winning cycle BOOM study, which explored how e-bikes impact cycling as people get older and how this affects their mobility, health and wellbeing. Talking about the results from the study, he said: “People talked about a whole string of health benefits in terms of improved muscle tone strength, sleep, and the joyful experience of being out and about on a bike. The manufacturers of e-bikes talk about the ‘electric smile’, and people were saying that was really true, and then there were some detailed things about feeling safer starting off at junctions, easier heading off up hills. All of those small differences that cumulatively made a big difference to their cycling experience.”

Other brands on show included See.Sense, which said the show was a ‘great platform’ and would also be returning next year. Philip McAleese from See.Sense said: “Travelling across the water from Northern Ireland to trade shows in the UK can make for an exciting but long weekend, but this year’s London Bike Show was definitely worth it for See.Sense! Meeting our customers (old and new) is absolutely our favourite part of our work and we can learn more in a weekend at the show than what we could ever do at our desks. It’s also brilliant to connect and catch up with other talented people in the industry (as well as getting to look at cycling kit throughout the day). We are passionate about the cycling community and the London Bike Show gives us a great platform to demonstrate our technology and give us some brand exposure. Our stand was pretty much constant the whole weekend and we received amazing feedback. So thank you to everyone who called to our stand to say hello! We look forward to returning in 2020.”

The show also saw the launch of many new products and ranges, including the ‘Silver’ from Welsh bike security firm Litelok. Coming in three different and wearable sizes, the firm claims it is the “world’s lightest” silver-rated bike lock range. It features a lock housing made from hardened aerospace steel alloy, which is combined with Litelok’s patented Boaflexicore material. Professor Neil Barron, founder and CEO of Litelok, said: “At the show, we launched our new ‘Silver’ lock, which seemed to capture visitors’ imaginations with its downwards locking mechanism – which avoids twisting and craning your neck when securing your bike.

“40% to 50% lighter than other silver-rated locks, the range can be joined together for use by couples and families on leisure trips – which seemed to be a very popular theme for people this time. People were also interested in our new Theft Protection Scheme – which pays for the replacement of any stolen bike anywhere in the world and has fees that compare very favourably with bike insurance policies. Overall, we were really pleased with the attendance levels, especially on Saturday. Visitors were there to buy and keen to ask questions, which obviously makes for a rewarding show in every sense of the word!”

Canyon was on hand to showcase its latest models for 2019 alongside the World Champion bikes of Mathieu Van Der Poel, Alejandro Valverde and Patrick Lange, and also offered attendees the chance to test ride a selection of Canyon bikes on the show’s official test track. OTE Sports brought its naturally flavoured nutrition range to the show, as well as Team GB athletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and Georgia Taylor-Brown. The Brownlee brothers cut the ribbon, officially opening the 2019 edition of the show. Triathlon brands such as Huub and Zone 3 provided attendees with the opportunity to test their wetsuits during the three days too. Wattbike, Hedkayse, Calibre Bikes and Oakley were in attendance as well, and Ison Distribution brought Surly, The Light Blue, BZ Optics and Miss Grape Bikepacking.

Dean Jackson, owner of Huub Design, said: “We went into the 2019 show knowing there had been a change in ownership. This always leaves us cautious and expectations were a little lower than normal – how wrong could we be?! This was by far the best expo’ event we have ever attended. We measure our success on the volume of quality visitors, not so much on bodies through the door – we are not selling head massages here. The visitor demographic was perfect in so many ways and the show, I feel, met their needs across their swim, bike and run needs. We had a record show, record engagements and cannot wait to sign up for next year. Thank you Frazer and team – a job very well done.”

Tri UK brought names including Cannondale, GT, Fabric, Cervélo, Focus, Muc-Off, 2XU, Dirty Dog, Mizuno, Dare2Tri and Foor Wetsuits to the show. Graham Johnson, marketing manager, UK Sports, Mizuno, said that the show was a ‘valuable experience’ for the brand: “The quality of the show is excellent and provides a wide range of engaging activities, seminars and retail opportunities. Triathletes are hungry for knowledge and technical information and the show provides exactly that. Mizuno prides itself on its ‘unashamedly technical’ approach to making running shoes and apparel and the show is the perfect environment to communicate that philosophy directly to end consumers.”

Polar, Gore, On and Hoka were hosted by Alton Sports, while Atherton Bikes offered the public a first look at the prototype bikes which it has been developing with Dan, Rachel and Gee, who also spoke on the main stage. Speakers spanning all disciplines of cycling, triathlon and other sports featured across three different stages – the main Performance Theatre, the 220 Triathlon Experts Stage and Casquette Live. Dan Atherton said: “We were absolutely blown away by London Bike Show and the response that people had to the bikes. It was amazing to see the support of everyone there for the Atherton brand. To hear people say how much they liked the look of the bike, the fact that they stuck around on the stand to hear more about how it was built and the huge enthusiasm for the new technology was hugely encouraging.”

Casquette Live’s women-specific programme, created and curated by Casquette media and magazine, had its own stage within the show, showcasing a range of interviews, discussions, tutorials and stories from women’s cycling. Guests included professional riders Katie Archibald and Helen Wyman, cycling journalist Rebecca Charlton as well as former professionals Molly Weaver and Iris Slappendel. It also included a track stand workshop by women-only cycling club Velociposse and a Saddle Library in association with London Bike Kitchen.

Jenni Gwiazdowski, director at London Bike Kitchen, said: “We were lucky enough to be invited to the LBS on behalf of Casquette Magazine. They wanted us to exhibit our Prologo ‘Saddle Library’, and provide free butt measuring for the masses. There was a great demand for this at the show, we were incredibly busy. (There didn’t seem to be any other physios or bike fitters at the show at all. But I didn’t get a chance to look around as we were so busy!) After measuring people’s sit bones and lower back flexibility, we would try out some saddles on our Isen Workshop and Stayer Cycles bicycles in turbo trainers. People left feeling happy that they found a saddle that wasn’t causing them pain. My personal observations – most of the show was quite MAMIL heavy. The Casquette area was great, I wish it was bigger! I would have liked to see more family and utility cycling. Cargo bikes are definitely the future.”

The London Bike Show 2019 made an effort for the 2019 edition to provide a more gender-balanced offering, with the aim to encourage more women to visit the event and be inspired to take up or continue riding.
This year female attendance soared to 29%, up from 16% in 2018. Hosting both a discussion and workshop during the weekend, Wyman, who spoke on both the Casquette Live stage and Subaru Performance Theatre at the show, commented on the outcome of a greater presence of women’s voices at the shows: “I’ve never seen this many women at any bike show I’ve ever been to.” Cycling UK was also in attendance, and launched the 2019 Women’s Festival of Cycling, with TV and radio presenters Angellica Bell and Anna Glowinski.

The charity has now opened nominations for this year’s ‘100 Women in Cycling’, with the final list due to be published when the Women’s Festival of Cycling begins on 1st July. The festival is a month-long ‘celebration of women’s cycling’ with ‘female-friendly’ rides taking place around the country. Results from a recent Cycling UK supporter survey of 1,823 women showed that 75% were encouraged to start riding by a partner, a friend or colleague and over half had successfully encouraged someone else to start cycling. Bell received her nomination at the show on 29th March, when she was nominated by Glowinski for her role in encouraging more women to cycle.

“Cycling is something that everyone should be able to enjoy. I don’t want other people to miss out on the opportunity to have fun riding a bike. That’s why I got involved with Cycling UK,” said Bell. “I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until a few years ago, so I’ve only just discovered in my adulthood so many things I now love about cycling. I’m so thrilled to have been nominated as one of the ‘100 Women in Cycling’. That’s something I never would have expected to happen! If you’re already a cyclist, encourage someone else to try it. Show people that no matter who you are, where you are or how old you are, everyone can enjoy cycling.”

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