The first London Bike Show attracted distribution heads who had sat on the fence before committing to exhibition space...

London Bike Show round-up

Mark Sutton reports on the likelihood that the show will ExCeL going into 2012…

85,000 plus visitors through a bike show’s doors really isn’t bad for what many considered pre-show to be new kids on the block, in the bike market at least. In what was perhaps a modest, or honest, breakdown of the figures, the show’s organisers placed box office figures for the Bike Show and Outdoors Show at 30,386, though a further 57,468 came along for the boat exhibition. There was, however, nothing to stop those with too much money to blow on fancy boats crossing over to the debut cycling exhibition. Besides, a couple of bikes would make a lovely addition to the baskets of those waving the plastic at a yacht complete with “free Bentley”.

The organiser, VOS Media, can’t really be considered newbies to putting on a show. Having managed The Outdoors Show, The Ski and Snowboard Show and a handful of others, sales director Frazer Clifford, himself a competitive cyclist, told BikeBiz: “There have always been cycling aspects within the Outdoors Show, including test tracks, so taking the leap to add a separate show was almost a no-brainer. Our original floorplan for the bike show was 25 per cent smaller than the final layout. Once we’d gained the support of Madison and media partnership with Future, interest snowballed.”

It is conceded then that, as many visitors mentioned post-show, Madison’s presence was the glue that held this year’s framework together. Those who had sat on the fence since the show’s announcement back in April were lurking, however, and Clifford says many have already made their introductions with a view to securing a presence at the 2012 show.

“Next year should be very special as the Olympics is coming to town. We’ll certainly make a thing of this and have already discussed adding plenty more cycling attractions to tie in with the London 2012 theme,” said Clifford. “It’ll also be special because 2012 should give us a much fairer indication of the show’s potential. We’ve outsold expectations in 2011, but next year’s event is planning itself at present. I’ve had some very exciting talks with big trade names at the show and I expect next year’s exhibitor list to dwarf 2011’s.”

The exhibitors who made the leap this year have been quick to echo Clifford’s thoughts that 2012 will be bigger and better, not just in words, but in commitments.

Clifford added: “We’re already in progress on reworking the floor plan to accommodate extra space for next year. Chocolate, Eurobike and Axel Imports have declared their plans to double their space, while Surf Sales and Bromley Bike Company are set to triple their exhibitions.”

The premier event wasn’t short of product debuts either and should retailers have taken time to look in detail at some stands, even a few new distribution surprises awaited. Madison’s first look at Pacific Outdoors’ luggage line came earlier than anticipated, with a select few items on show ahead of this month’s iceBike* show.

Madison’s Will Fripp was one of the many exhibitors to share with BikeBiz his thoughts on the future of the show. “This is an incredible year one position and as an exhibitor we feel confident that the show will continue to grow and grow,” said Fripp.
A further testimonial came from Scott Hillyard, sales director at 2×2: “The response has been nothing short of staggering. Superb feedback on the show days and the following web traffic for our site has been remarkable.

“It takes a lot to surprise me these days, but I can genuinely say, in the 25 years I have been exhibiting at bike trade events, I have never experienced a show with not only this footfall, but the refreshing attitude and general interest levels.”

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