Bike No Show

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At the time of writing, www.thebikeshow.com says that The Bike Show “…will be taking place from the 21st-23rd of April at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. But bike trade news site BikeBiz.com reports that sales manager Ben Gosset of show organisers Haymarket has told exhibitors that the show’s been cancelled and that all deposits will be refunded.

After several years at Birmingham’s NEC, the show moved to Stoneleigh Park last year. Stoneleigh’s mainly an agricultural showground, but the main halls are new and shiny and it seemed to work pretty well. Some of it felt a little fragmented, but for a first time in a new venue it wasn’t bad. The move did hit visitor numbers, though. Whether the dip meant that Haymarket got cold feet over the whole business or if it was just proving difficult to attract enough exhibitors we’ll probably never know. What we do know is that the show’s always struggled to attract certain big-name manufacturers – a fair chunk of the industry tends to see the show as a bit of a jumble sale and has been reluctant to get involved. It’s also at a bit of a funny time of year. The Spring date was originally chosen so that the show would act as a showcase of bike stuff just before the summer, but with new product lines appearing in the Autumn by the time April rolls round people have pretty much seen all the new stuff. The main thrust of the show, though, has always been riding. MTB, BMX, trials, all sorts. But with London’s Cycle Show staging trials competitions and criterium racing, The Bike Show’s riding demos aren’t quite such a USP any more.

This may not be the end of the Bike Show story, though. The show was started by Future Publishing, publishers of big-selling bike mags Mountain Biking UK, What Mountain Bike and Cycling Plus – the original concept was to bring Future’s magazines to life, and the original Earl’s Court Bike Shows did just that. When the show outgrew the London venue and shifted to the NEC, though, Future began to realise that it wasn’t really cut out for large-scale event organising. That and ever-rising costs led the publisher to offload the show to Haymarket Exhibitions. But part of the deal was that the show would remain as a showcase for Future’s magazines, and that Future would continue to promote the show as heavily as it did when it owned it. The death of the show would leave a bit of a promotional hole for the mag portfolio, and it’ll be interesting to see what Future fills it with. It could get more heavily behind the Cycle Show (it had a bigger presence this year than last), or start something completely new. On the other hand, we’ve got a vague memory that Future actually still owns The Bike Show name (effectively licensing it to Haymarket) – perhaps it’ll be tempted to have another crack at it…

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