The London Bike Show 2013

By some strange coincidence our weekend visit to London happened to coincide, once again, with the London Bike Show. With many local roads covered in frozen snow a morning spent wandering round a nice warm hall looking at bikes seemed a very good option!

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Bikes and tea, what more could you want?

I haven’t looked at the figures but this year’s show seemed bigger than last with many more exhibitors. There was also the usual bike test track, various speakers, and, new for this year, indoor criterium racing. Unfortunately the races were held late in the afternoon and I couldn’t stay that long so I just wandered round looking at whatever took my fancy and keeping a keen eye out for any bargains! I really don’t need any more cycling kit but you know women and shopping! There didn’t seem to be as many freebies as last year although I did manage to acquire several free samples of chain oil and ate more than my fair share of some high tech jelly baby type energy product. That said I prefer the taste of jelly babies and they’re a fraction of the price! When I arrived there I had no thought at all that I might need a new helmet but when I saw the ‘Reduced from £59.99 to £19.99’ sign I soon decided that I did – especially as it has integral flashing gizmos and scope to add even more. Its a Bell Muni reviewed here and I’m rather pleased with it.

Every time we have a spell of bad weather I decide that I really need a bike with disc brakes and scope for wider tyres so these two from Surly caught my eye. The disc trucker looks a good sturdy machine and the fatty is just ideal for playing in the snow. Not sure what I’d do with it now the snow has melted though!

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Pinarello are famous for their classy, race winning bikes so what was their designer thinking of when he came up with this? Each to his own I suppose.

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Talking of strange designs, this one turned a few heads. It was built in Cambridge in 1900 with a 100 tooth chainring to celebrate the turn of the century. Apparently it is fairly easy to ride due to the large rear sprocket but its modern reincarnation looks a much better bet to me!

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Several stands featured Watt Bikes, some in pairs so people could race against each other, and others singly so you could just see how much power you could produce. I was definitely not interested in trying to race anyone but after I’d walked past the stand several times I started getting curious. Eventually I decided to give it a go. You sat on the bike and pedalled steadily for a few minutes to get the hang of it and then the guy in charge flicked a lever to move it up onto its maximum setting and you pedalled for all you are worth for 30 seconds. It seemed simple enough but I should have known that a 30 second sprint was never going to be my forte. Cav has nothing to fear! I thought I was pedalling at a good lick but I’m afraid I only managed to generate a paltry 465 watts. I did get a T shirt for my efforts but it was miles too big. It was an interesting experience but I don’t think I’ll try it again!

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Race each other…

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Or race yourself…

It would be easy to make a full day of this, especially as the ticket also includes the Outdoors Show, the Adventure Travel Show and even the Boat Show but with snow falling I felt that a strategic withdrawal was in order. Pity I couldn’t have borrowed that fat bike!