At last Ireland has its own cycle show. But what took so long? Why now? And who’s going to be there? BikeBiz speaks to Marra Media’s managing director Hugh Bonner to find out...
Why is now the right time to launch the Irish Cycling Show?
The surge in cycling in Ireland has been amazing over the past five or six years and with the introduction of the Bike to Work scheme, sales have rocketed and participation levels have soared.
Ireland has never had a cycling show, so I felt – as a cyclist – why not do it now? And as I am experienced in exhibitions and a keen cyclist, it is a passion of mine.
How has the cycle industry responded to the launch?
[They’ve been] excellent. The feedback has been very positive, right from the moment I went out and spoke to the industry in person. That gave me the confidence to press on with my idea. Cycling Ireland and the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Dublin City Council were amongst the first to back the idea.
Have any key names been signed up?
Yes – Paligap, Madison UK and Trek are all exhibiting, among others.
What are your expectations in terms of visitor numbers?
In the first year, I expect 10,000-plus visitors.
What kind of attractions can attendees expect to see at the Irish Cycling Show?
A huge selection of exhibitor stands with every imaginable type of cycle and accessory and service. Also we will have a Stunt area, especially designed by a local company to entertain the crowds. This will be top class and is a huge investment by both us and the company to top anything done at shows before. There will also be a test cycle track, a kids learning area, a Watt Bike Challenge, seminars and much more. Also we have Keelan Phillips doing his Style bike stuff and more big names to confirm.
Which cycle disciplines will be supported by the show?
All. The show tag line is ‘eight to 80’ and we will cater for all disciplines as it is a consumer show. Ireland as an island has a population of only six million, so this show will cater to all.
How would you like to see the show develop in the next few years?
Year one will be the hardest as the project has to get off the ground and probably will have some lessons to learn.
There will be people and companies that will adopt a wait and see attitude, as is understandable. But I am confident this show will grow and grow and become an annual institution to the cycling industry.
Any final thoughts on the show?
Yes. We have confirmed that Stephen Roche will be attending the show with his Tour de France-winning bike.
The Irish Cycling Show will run over the weekend of May 19th to 20th 2012 in the main hall of the Simmonscourt Pavilion at the RDS, Dublin. The show is being run by Mara Media. Enquiries should be directed to Hugh Bonner + 353 86 8239607 or firstname.lastname@example.org