Just got back from the NEC and the cycle show held there. First time visit to the show although its been going 11 years now. I have been to the walking/camping equivalent “The Outdoor Show” and have been disappointed with the way that one has fallen away badly in terms of content and appeal. The cycle show I am happy to report does not fall into that category!
We got up oh-so-early and headed off up towards Birmingham with a slurp of coffee and a currant bun 🙂
Arriving before the opening time of 09.30 we were lucky enough to get in the queue quite early. Ned Boulting said a few words before the doors peeled open and we all rushed in.
To say the hall was massive was an understatement. Multiple trade stands, demonstration areas, restaurants and coffee pit stops abounded. We spent the first few hours wandering around in an Aladdin’s Cave of stuff! Not just bikes were on show but various bits of kit, clothing, tech and cycling tour operators were there to entice you with their wares. Some of the bikes were real top end but there were also more mainstream affordable ones in various formats: road, mtb, bmx and trick. Steel framed road bikes are definitely making a comeback and not just in retro looking guises. Titanium bikes were also very much in evidence. Possibly carbon has had its day! 🙂
Various demonstration areas included training bikes as well as larger arena type areas where trick bikers showed off their skills. Rumbly tummies told us to get some food ready for the afternoon onslaught. To be fair, lunch wasnt too bad in terms of quality and price (a surprise) and the coffee was excellent.
Suitably refreshed we searched out all the smaller stands that we had missed, caught up with friends, spotted a few celebrities (including Alan Sugar) and generally had a good mooch. I managed to get a few bargains during the day including some excellent Thule bike carriers (33% off), a bike polishing mitt from Purple Harry (!) and a rather nifty bandana for winter rides (and walking use!). Whats different about the bandana is that it has a flexible brow strip in the inside to deflect rain or sweat from dripping down into your eyes. Simple but clever. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos during the day as I was just happy trawling around the show but I will take a few of the bandana and post a review after it first use.
All too soon it was time to go home, loaded up with stuff and tired but happy. Lots of ideas, new and old traders and a thoroughly fab time was had by all.
I think we’ll go again next year 🙂