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London Bike Show - Notes from the Inside

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* Warning - Post not entirely relevant to our Triathlon training but hopefully interesting to those attending Cycling or Triathlon shows in the future *

We took the plunge this year and booked ourselves a stand at the London Bike and Triathlon Show at London’s Excel Centre.  It was an immense challenge for us – our first ever big exhibition and we had picked one of the biggest too. I could write an essay on the logistical challenges and stock quandaries we had to get through but I figured what would be more interesting would be the insider info that could be useful for future visitors to events like these.

1.      It is all smoke and mirrors. Literally less than 24 hours before the event opened the place looked like this.

 

London Bike Show - Before from Caroline Adamthwaite on Vimeo.

An army of vans and lorries descend on the cavernous halls and make it look like the shiniest most perfect place ever, it is amazing! The finished results all look like proper permanent showrooms, yet it’s all arriving on a lorry and being hammered together the day before.

2.      The food and drink options inside the Excel centre in the central concourse are very good, as long as you don’t mind walking potentially half a mile to get to your chosen vendor. However the food and drink options inside the halls are eye-wateringly expensive. So be prepared to walk or take some supplies with you.

3.      And definitely, definitely don’t plan to eat at any of the restaurants or bars outside the Centre, unless you want to contribute a firstborn offspring or a major internal organ.

4.      It’s worth planning ahead to see if there are any activities going on that you need to book for, we spoke to a few people who had come hoping to try out wetsuits in the event pool but it was fully booked for the whole 3 days before it had even opened.

5.      Shop around – there are loads of the big name distributors there, don’t buy the first thing you see (unless it is one of our mugs), if the first guy doesn’t have what you want at the price you want, the next guy along probably will.

Patch kit

6.      Bikes – so many shiny, beautiful bikes. Ranging from a £30k one down to baby teeny ones and even a wooden one. But not just bikes, loads of other stuff too not all obviously Bike related (shout out to Black’s Cheese (http://www.blackscheese.co.uk/) who were just down the way from us and we’re not ashamed to admit we ate entire wheels of their cheese on occasion).

7.      It’s very kid friendly, we both wished we had brought our families along for one of the days. Almost every stand has something gimmicky for them to look at or sweets to be bribed with or was actually supplying kids gear (are kids tri-suits the cutest things ever?). There was a kids test track and a street velodrome which we saw tinies on balance bikes being helped around and tweens racing their dads. And that’s even without adding all the crazy guys throwing themselves up and over ramps and during somersaults in the Air to the Throne competition.

8.      The best deals are on the final day. None of the exhibitors wants to cart everything home again. Everyone is knackered and facing breakdown and a long journey. So the less we have to pack the better. We were willing to shift as much as possible as long as we hit cost price and were surprised more people didn’t make us an offer.

See you at the next one!

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