Not another round-up, I hear you cry! Unfortunately the whole business of producing a magazine about a sizzling hot topic, like cycling, is to promote your wares when any occasion arises, and so this is why I (or should I say, WE!) found myself (ourselves) amongst the friendly Mancunians of Event City. The three day event was expected to be busy and so it was not unexpected to see overwhelming crowds on the Saturday and Sunday. Friday was a bit of a let down but this was open just to trade and the press and was a slow day compared to other shows. The global shiny brands were as always present and dominant, having obviously secured the best strategic spots, in the hope of generating some (much needed!!) business, like its required.
The show is in conjunction with the Triathlon Expo and the Run Expo and is a gathering of the best of what the UK Cycling scene could offer, there were some high profile absentees but it still offered a good mix of independents retailers and hi-brow giants. The venue always affords a different more welcoming atmosphere, possibly due to its small compact size.
They were some high profile names lined up to speak throughout the three days, one noticeable name was Tracey Moseley, who I had previously interviewed. She was among a selection of great stars across several disciplines who provided advice and give a personal insight into their sporting lives through informal Q & A sessions. I sat and watched Tracey give a frank and honest assessment of her career and how best to approach certain challenges that may arise on your journey to stardom, it was both informative and interesting and judging by the attentive crowds very well received.
It was a rather glitzy and glam affair with several presentations dominated by shiny people in vibrant clothing or swimwear dancing frenetically around a prefab stage, obviously promoting some product or service, however I always find the exact product/service gets lost-in-translation amongst the theatrics and noisy frivolities.
A popular event was the Extreme Mountain Bike Show which is the UK and Europe’s number one Mountain Bike, Trials/BMX demonstration team lead by multiple British and European Mountain Bike Trials Champion Danny Butler. They entertained the animated crowds with some jaw-dropping trick and stunts, it’s the very best in extreme entertainment.
Amongst the many exhibitors were the usual mainstays, like Trek, Rose, Cicerone,Torq and all manner of clothing and accessory retailers. The arena was a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours mixed with the clean metallic lines of the new bikes on the market.
The highlight for me was the amount of families that were visiting, this was largely due to the fact under 16s were free if accompanied by an adult. There was so much to keep them occupied, a climbing wall, kids test track, Street Velodrome and Dry Triathlon all of which is free to have a go.
The most popular was the StreetVelodrome offering everyone the chance to take part in some track cycling. The jam packed programme provided track coaching sessions, Pro rider challenges and live commentary to keep the little ones entertained.