First look at Bike venue

Waving goodbye to the NEC, saying hello to a venue fit for royals, Haymarket's MTB-to-road show will be staged at Stoneleigh Park, a twenty minute folding bike ride from Coventry station. BikeBiz.com has a nosey in the expo halls, rides the roads that will be part of the richest circuit race in Britain, and has a go on the 4x4 course (it's hard: "you'll need a First Aid station," said one pro rider to the show organiser).
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The Bike Show will be staged 1st-3rd April.

The 250-acre Stoneleigh Park is owned and operated by the Royal Agricultural Society of England and is home to the annual Royal Show.

The Bike Show will use two of the Park's exhibition halls and some of the outbuildings. The road system will be used for the Elite Circuit Cup and a very tough permanent 4x4 course will be used for MTB testing.

Consumers will need to book via the Bike Show website for each bike they want to test. It's unlikely there will be test slots available at the show. Spectating at the 4x4 course will be discouraged.

Bike companies providing test bikes will accompany a small group of riders to the 4x4 course for half hour test rides. There are likely to be about 600 test slots available and these will go quickly once an online registration form is uploaded to the Bike Show's website at the end of this week. 10-15 riders will be taken to the course at a time, with each bike brand having exclusivity of the track for each half hour session.

In the expo halls, suppliers are split from retailers. Hall 1, 4536sq m, is the 'manufacturers' and distributors' hall. This is closest to the catering and to the entrance foyer. A trials arena will be part of hall 1.

Hall 2, the smaller of the two at 3100sq m, will be the BMX and retail hall, home also to the Red Bull Ramp.

The 4X track, dirt jumping, flatland and streetcourse will be located in outbuildings outside of hall 1.

The MTB testing track is a five minute walk (two minute ride) from the halls. Right now it's muddy so it's extra tough to negotiate and even pro riders have to walk up some of the short, steep slopes. Once dried out, the longer-than-you-think and tougher-than-it-looks 4x4 course will prove a challenge to all but experts.

Bike companies providing demo bikes include Scott, Gary Fisher, Merlin, Saracen, Vario and Raleigh. Testers choosing Scott will be led around the 4x4 course by pro riders Oli Beckinsale and Nick Craig.

The Elite Circuit Cup will take place on a 1.2km circuit of the Stoneleigh Park roads. There's a total purse of £3000.

For those exhibitors wishing to book hotel accomodation, don't try the on-site hotel. It's fully booked already (shame, because it really is just a short stroll from the halls, a far cry from the hotel situation at the NEC).

Other hotels are listed below. Stoneleigh Park is set in some glorious Warwickshire countryside and there's a wealth of ye olde style B&Bs close by.


http://www.thebikeshow.com


HOTELS

Chesford Grange Hotel

Kenilworth

Warks

CV8 2LD

Tel: 01926 859 331

180 Rooms, 4 Star, 2 miles from site

Quality Hotel

Chesford Bridge

Kenilworth

CV8 2LN

Tel: 01926 858 331

48 Rooms, 3 Star, 2 miles from site

The Holiday Inn Express

Kenpass Highway

Coventry

CV3 6PB

Tel: 02476 417 555

37 Rooms, 3 miles from site

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