Follow us, if you will, through the mists of time all the way back to 2004. The setting is the West Brom Moathouse, as it was then known (now the Park Inn), where a crack team of six bike trade distributors unveiled Core Bike to the unsuspecting bike industry for the very first time.
From those humble beginnings Core has grown and grown again. The show saw double the number of exhibitors by the time it was 2007 and then it left the delights of West Brom in favour of Northamptonshire’s more spacious (and, it has to be said, more swanky) Whittlebury Hall Hotel.
Now there’s 23 exhibitors (and don’t rule out any additions before the show begins in January) that are spread across two floors of the hotel to provide yet more exhibition space for the notoriously in-demand show. So in-demand that it has exceeded the expectations of the founders.
“When we started the show we never anticipated it would grow to the size it is today or become such a popular event with UK retailers,” explains Windwave (Solent) MD Peter Nisbet. “I don’t know where the last ten years have gone but I have enjoyed every show.”
Core Bike was conceived as a distributor house show on a bigger scale, explains Ison Distribution MD Lloyd Townsend: “Ten years ago, we thought that by working together we could offer forward-looking UK dealers a fantastic trade event that combined the close contact advantages of a house show with a trade event that included the cream of the UK industry in one location.”
Silverfish, under the stewardship of MD Darren Mabbott, was a Core founder too: “[It’s been] ten great years at Core Bike. It has been a good run from our first event in West Brom and really stepped it up a level when we moved to Whittlebury Hall – the show has just got bigger and better every year.”
Also in on the ground floor was Hope. Sales and marketing manager Alan Weatherill said: “It’s been a privilege being involved with the Core Bike show from the beginning and to now be involved with one of the foremost cycle trade shows in the UK.”
Despite the growth and all the changes, the show has stayed resolutely trade and press-only and has forged its status as a bike calendar fixture. Upgrade Bikes co-founder Matt Riley says: “I think that it is fair to say that Core Bike is a show that every exhibitor looks forward to and this is evident in the great atmosphere both during the day at in the evenings for those that choose to stay overnight.”
2014’s Core Bike show runs from Sunday January 26th to Wednesday 29th and is set to be bigger than ever.
Silverfish boss Mabbott adds: “We’ve got some cool stuff lined up for this 10th Anniversary Core Bike so I suspect this one is going to be the biggest yet. Silverfish will have at least a couple of new brands to reveal so I’m really looking forward to meeting our dealers and talking them through the ranges.”
We’ll leave the final words to Extra UK sales director John Phillips: “Ten years of a show everyone enjoys coming to is a great achievement! We look forward to seeing you all there.”
In ten years you can fit a lot of inner tubes (and drink a lot of Core Bike beers) and you'd be forgiven for forgetting what was going on in the industry back when the show first launched in 2004. Here’s our handy nostalgia guide:
- Halfords was floated on the London Stock Exchange
- The Tour of Britain – formerly the Milk Race – returned after a five year absence
- Distributor Saddleback, eventually to become a Core Bike exhibitor, was founded by Andy Wigmore
- Keen cyclist John Kerry failed in his challenge to President George W Bush’s presidency, who had another four years in America’s hotseat
- 88 per cent of British parents said they wanted cycling on the National Curriculum
- And, er, Lance Armstrong wrote an open letter to the global press criticising WADA’s Dick Pound, who said “all Tour de France riders are drug-cheats”…swiftly moving on.