Haymarket has got 13 months in order to win over the industry, specifically the sexy US brands, many of whom pulled out in 1999 because of the bazaar-nature of the show.
At Bike 2002 there were more bikes-on-sticks exhibitors than at Bike 2000 and 2001. Such as? Felt, Bianchi, Haro, Scott, Orange (a Bike show perennial), Curtis, BMW, Phat, Alpinestars, Tomac and Sintesi. There were also high-end bikes – from Merlin and other sexy brands – on display at Clive Gosling’s Bikelab tent.
But no stands from Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Marin, GT, Giant or similar high-profile brands.
Show manager Louise Houston of Haymarket is keen to see such brands represented in 2003:
"We’ll be working hard to get those kind of companies to the show. I guess this year they wanted to see how Haymarket handled it. [They] started dropping out in 1999 because of issues from previous years. Relations were soured. We want to fix that.
"[Haymarket] directors were walking round the show with the biggest smiles on their faces. They loved it. They are very committed to developing this show. We run consumer events very well, that’s good for the bike industry."
What are Houston’s views on Cycle 2002, the September show at London’s Business Design Centre?
"It’s not a threat. We’ll have to wait and see what it’s like. But two strong public shows has got to be good for public exposure to cycling, not just those that come but in a wider PR sense too. A show in London and a show in Birmingham seems like a good mix to me."
Future’s Bike show has evolved into a bargain hunter’s paradise, with many retailers flogging off stock at low, low prices. Haymarket intends to keep this element of the show. Yet that is a sticking point for many of the top brands that Haymarket wishes to attract.
Trek, for instance, is going to be exhibiting at the BDC’s Cycle 2002. Trek UK marketing manager Brian Buckle explained why: "It was crucial for us that the [Cycle 2002] organisers did not make the mistake of trying to incorporate a retail selling environment. Of course, we want to generate interest that leads to sales, but we base our marketing focus around steering consumers to our authorised network of independent retailers where we feel they are best served."
If Haymarket can’t convince all of the sexy niche brands to exhibit, is there any mileage in adding a trade element to the show? Haymarket’s Autosport International show has a successful preview day for the trade and the press, would Houston envisage something similar for the Bike show?
"We’re always ready to explore different opportunities but we have to prove ourselves with the consumer side first. Adding a trade element isn’t in our immediate plans. We’re going to take it one step at a time."
TOP: Louise Houston, show manager
MIDDLE: Public bike shows lead to media exposure. Here Lianne Cheuk of 4Front Ltd demonstrates one of her company’s electric scooters for the benefit of a camera crew from Central TV.
BASE: Patrick Joscelyne, show sales manager
Tel: 0208 3072396