The London Bike Show

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Last Sunday I visited the London Bike Show at the Excel Centre. It was held in conjunction with the Outdoors Show, the Adventure Travel Show and the Boat Show. Boats make me seasick but the rest sounded right up my street.

The Docklands Light Railway stops on the doorstep and I arrived at 10.00 am just as the doors opened which meant I got to look around while it was still fairly quiet. By lunchtime it was heaving with people. The first thing to grab my attention was the shouting coming from the far side of the hall. This turned out to be a bike polo tournament. Bike polo had virtually died out but has recently been revived as part of the London fixie scene. It was certainly skilful – if you can't do a trackstand you might as well forget it – and the action was fast and furious. The goalie saved a shot then rocketed across to the opposite net, whacked the ball in, collided with the goalpost and demolished the net as bike and rider slid sideways along the ground. Fun, but definitely not my cup of tea!

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Bike Polo – too fast and furious for me!

I wandered off in search of something rather more sedate. The Brooks stand fitted the bill nicely but the display unfortunately confirmed what I suspected – my blue B17 isn't as blue as it used to be! The guy on the stand admitted that the coloured saddles do get darker the more you sit on them. They also had some very smart Brooks panniers on display but I'm afraid if you need to ask the price you can't afford them!

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A very classy touring set up

There were lots of stands selling reduced price clothing but despite my best efforts I couldn't convince myself that I needed any more jerseys or shorts. I eventually succumbed to a rather natty skull cap which comes further down over my ears than the one (ok, than the three) I've already got. Shimano's latest electronic shifting system was attracting a lot of attention but I'm afraid I'm quite happy with cables. As cycling becomes more and more high tech it loses the simplicity that is part of its appeal. That said, I can be a sucker for eye candy, and this Colnago in my favourite colour would certainly turn some heads. Shame it costs about five grand! I heard today that someone walked out with a Cinelli bike worth £5500!! A reward of £500 is being offered for its return. I suppose if you've got enough cheek you can get away with anything. I wish I'd thought of slipping this beauty under my coat!

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Italian style

I had hoped that the Outdoor Show would feature lots of lightweight camping gear but it seemed to be mostly devoted to selling clothing. Not a stove to be seen! There was however a demonstration of Trek Mates new wonder flameless cooking system which involved adding water to some sachet of chemicals in the bottom of a box to produce heat. It attracted a lot of attention but seemed to me like a solution in search of a problem. Hilleberg had their two latest models on display, both slightly lighter and designed for 3 season use instead of their bomb proof 4 season models. I enjoyed chatting to the guy on the stall, he seemed to have my dream job – I always wanted to be a tent tester!

By lunchtime it was becoming very hot and very crowded so I called it a day. It had been an enjoyable morning and I left with a pile of freebies – 3 water bottles, 2 magazines, various samples so I reckon I got my money's worth. Not as good as actually riding your bike though!

4 comments on “The London Bike Show”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    The problem with a Cinelli or Colnago bike is that you are expected never to be overtaken and there isn't much chance of that in my case! My Honey B17 is now very dark and so is my light tan watch strap, both about three years old. Leather is like wood in that respect. Ageing gracefully. Why can't hair be the same? LOL

  2. Mary wrote:

    LOL, yes indeed, on one of those 'Real Bicycles' you would be a target for others to overtake you where ever you went... not to mention the bike thieves too.

    Ive never been to one of these shows, always too expensive to get to. One day you never know... I wish that these places assumed women had a place to play in the world of cycles. When ever I have seen pictures, or read about bicycle shows, it always looks .... well so masculine.

    You'll be proud of me Hilary.... Got my first Trangia! WOOOO WOOO

  3. Chris wrote:

    These sort of shows just remind me how much I want a new bike, but can't really have one. I haven't been to a trade show since the 1980s. The was the Motor Show in Birmingham. I suppose I could probably just about afford that Granada 2.8i Ghia X now.

  4. Hilary wrote:

    Enjoy your Trangia Mary! I used mine this morning for a quick brew with 2 other Wayfarer Trangia enthusiasts.

    I know what you mean about these shows being very masculine. This one wasn't particularly (possibly because of the other outdoor shows) but when I went to the Earls Court cycle show a couple of years ago there were hardly any women there.

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