With the upcoming Cycle Show 2017 due to the biggest yet, Cadence detail their experiences of last year’s event
What a glorious four days encompassing all that is good and great about cycling in the UK. The arena was a buzz of anticipation and furore. The place initially appeared dominated by the Hi-Brow – Global Brands, all shining and gleaming (and that was just the staff) obviously strategically placed to create maximum impact.
However, as we delved further we were hugely relieved to discover the wider more approachable cycling family. The enthusiasm and total commitment from many of the independent retailers was amazing, how they explained, in loving detail, their products and described each intricate part was commendable and does display the passion that cycling can evoke in many. A wonderful mutual cycling culture was definitely being promoted to encourage people of all shapes and sizes to get up and out on a bike, especially the glut of obvious MAMILs who purred over the top bikes about their need to gain the smallest improvement in their performance, which may in-fact be simply solved by the loss of a few pounds, and not the ones in their pockets.
This was completely proven by certain areas of the halls where in fact the displays were so small, (about the size of a normal shed) that they had obviously not got the budget of the big boys to spend on marketing and advertising. Although it was obvious they had spent time to create the best possible showcase to reflect their products.
Nestled down one of these labyrinthine aisles was Cicerone who are publishers of guidebooks for a mix of outdoor activities. The stand was brimming with books which we can personally certify provide inspiration and excellent advice for any traveller. They are frequently praised by those in the know; we especially like their compact pocket size which is always essential when you have to travel with a rucksack.
Nearby was Trillion Cycles who are my kind of bike building company, small and passionate. The display was sparse but the bikes were a gleaming metallic vision and after speaking to the owner, Loz Bryan it was obvious quality has not been compromised, each component lovingly sourced. He explained he only wants to sell quality cycles fitted with top end components. His commitment and passion are commendable and immediately obvious. He has always been a huge fan of simplicity and the efficiency of riding single speed, and it shows.
Before heading into the maze of the main arena, something caught my eye. We had recently wrote a piece on the CSDST – Combined Service Disabled Ski Team and how they used adapted bikes to train and it was great to see Quest 88 hosting the inclusive cycling hub where they were introducing two new paediatric ranges. We were once again astonished by the commitment of all involved, and the lavish funky designs prove that we no longer have to give up style over functionality.
As we explored further we stumbled on Halo Headband which was established in 2001 by two competitive athletes. During their years of training they began to experience one common problem – stinging and burning caused by sweat dripping into their eyes. Their solution was the Halo Headband which is a great product, demonstrated by the quantity of people milling around the stand. Lusso Sportwear, drew me in with their display of vibrant colours and are another great example of the grass roots mentality, they were started by John Harrison and his wife in 1982, after John found it difficult to find a comfortable pair of cycling shorts. Over 30 years later and they are still manufacturing in the UK.
The hub of the crowds throughout of the day was concentrated around the bike stunt area; my kids were especially taken with the crazy exploits of the array of bike legends as they flew through the air with consummate ease. The fearless approach and amazing riding definitely caught their imagination and more importantly distracted them long enough to allow me to chat to Magic Shine. This family owned and run business offers a range of clothing but predominately focuses on quality lights and torches. The sparkling welcome we were afforded by the manic (in a good way) Bonita was wonderfully warm and we would especially like to that mention the inventor of the MyTinySun Folkslight who diligently and lovingly explained every aspect of his creation. Opposite Magic Shine was a tiny stand but feel it requires a mention. OSO Cyclomount is a funky red and black device which attaches to the handlebar. Michal on the stand explained the company also provide mounts for dashboards.
Also we have to mention Lucas Bike Lights who offer a great range of powerful LED lights for the cycling community, Upgrade bikes who are a UK based distributer of quality bikes, including Lezyne and Kinesis, Bikelox, who provide a unique way to reinforce your bikes security, Keela, an award winning outdoor clothing manufacturer and finally EDZ who are a family run business who also provide a range of outdoor clothing. All of these are what the cycling arena needs, it actually craves it. Their enthusiasm at providing quality products at a fraction of the cost of the globals is refreshing and will not only improve the culture of cycling but more importantly enhance the lives of us pedallers and those around us.
The cycling phenomenon will continue and the NEC will no doubt be bigger and better next year. However we hope the global monsters are ready to sit happy with the ever increasing independent grass roots side of the cycling community because they are definitely here to stay.