The team behind Manchester’s Bike & Triathlon Show is planning its very own game-changer of a show. Not only will next year’s event have a road and triathlon focus, but now – under the Bike Expo name – will incorporate all disciplines of cycling.
“We had two fantastic years as the Bike & Triathlon Show, but there was a big demand for a broader event that incorporated every type of cycling, from MTB and BMX to commuting and kids’ bikes – and everything in between,” Aaron Dombey, Bike Expo exhibition manager, tells BikeBiz. “We took the decision to expand by moving to EventCity and relaunching it as four shows in one – Bike Expo, Swim Expo, Run Expo and Tri Expo. Each show will have its own programme of workshops as well as the latest products and kit and expert advice from leaders in each field.”
So while the focus has expanded, fans of the previous shows will not have to fear a complete change in direction, Dombey assures: “There will be more than ever for triathlon retailers as Tri Expo has its own exhibition area and stage, which will host some of the sport’s biggest names.”
One of the keys to the revamped show is the new location – EventCity. The new venue is owned by Peel Group, which is getting behind the show and using its considerable marketing muscle, helping maximise Bike Expo’s exposure in the lead up to March.
It doesn’t hurt that one of Peel Group’s directors, one James Whittaker, is a keen triathlete and fan of endurance events: “In fact, he has just completed the Arch to Arc challenge and a few years ago he swam 36 miles in the Manchester Ship Canal to raise money for charity. It’s fair to say he’s a very able sportsman.”
In the cycle show market, location is everything and Manchester is integral to Bike Expo. Dombey explains: “Greater Manchester and the city itself have definitely become key as far as cycling is concerned – as you know it is the home of British Cycling – and Greater Manchester is one of the pioneers when it comes to boosting interest in cycling. It has aspirations to achieve at least a 300 per cent increase in the levels of cycling across the city region by 2025, which is a pretty impressive goal by any standard.”
Show marketing is pitched in the north with last year’s event data revealing 45 per cent of visitors travelled for under an hour to get there. 22 per cent travelled between one and two hours.
In a year of changes, 2015 marks yet another first for the show – a dedicated trade day. “It’s something we wanted to do and the feedback we received from trade visitors and exhibitors suggested there’s a real thirst for a trade day in this part of the country. Now we’re at the new venue we can run over three days instead of two, so everything has come together allowing us to have the first ever Bike Expo trade day on Friday March 20th. It will be completely free for trade visitors, who can get exclusive offers and previews of all the latest products for the upcoming season.”
The show is months away, but there’s already been support pledged from British Cycling, Wattbike, Cycle Alert, Beaconfell, Pedal Precision, Schwalbe, Wheel Spin Cycles, Gigapower UK and more. Big name guest speakers will be announced in the New Year and the team behind the show are keen to hear your suggestions: “Please get in touch to tell us what you want to see at the trade day – we’re working hard to make sure it’s a fruitful day for everyone, so let us know your suggestions.”