This June’s CTC York Cycle Show has been cancelled due to bookings that are “well below expectations” and fears of a repeat of the poor weather that has often affected the event in recent years. It is hoped the event will return in 2014, when Yorkshire hosts the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, with York hosting the start of Stage 2 of the race.
This year’s edition, the 69th, was due to have been held on the weekend of 22/23 June and as in previous years would have attracted thousands of cyclists, but unsettled weather and other factors including the effects of the economic climate have led organisers to decide to cancel it.
Committee chair Paul Hepworth said: "Advance bookings by traders and visitors this year, are well below expectations. Last year’s horrendous weather depleted our attendance and income, and this year’s uncertain summer forecasts do not give cause for public optimism.
"Changes in personal leisure and retail spending, plus increasing travel costs and the squeeze on personal finances have also influenced our visitor market . Our financial reserves have been depleted by all these factors, over the last two years. It is increasingly difficult to compete with other major cycling events which, unlike us have commercial sponsorship.”
Referring to the prospect of the event returning in 2014, he said: “We have previously discussed involvement in the 2014 Tour de France and hope to bring the Cycle Show back in some form, as part of the activities associated with the Grand Départ in Yorkshire.
"Other local CTC groups in Yorkshire are planning TdF related events, during the ‘Grand Départ’ period, and to help build a ‘follow on’ cycling legacy," he added.
The York Cycle Show Committee has issued a statement, shown in full below.
It is with deep regret that cancellation is announced of the 2013 York Cycle Show which was planned for the June 22nd/23rd weekend. This is due to a number of factors which have faced the organising Committee.
The event was started on a small scale in the late 1940’s as the York Cycle Rally, by a team of riders from York and Hull. Since then it has grown into a major trade and social event, in the national Cycling Calendar. A Committee of cyclists from the Yorkshire region have continued to run it on behalf of CTC, the National Cycling Charity.
The event has traditionally been held on the Knavesmire, in the centre of York Racecourse. This open area of ground is very vulnerable to heavy rain. The site has limited facilities and the Committee have to hire water and drainage facilities from the adjoining Racecourse, plus other equipment to meet health & safety requirements for a public event. These ever increasing costs currently stand at over £50K pa.
With splendid co-operation from parent body CTC, plus York Racecourse Committee and City of York Council, the event has been successful for many years. We remain profoundly grateful for their support.
However two recent years, notably 2012 have been affected by adverse weather. This reduced attendance plus depleted income and reserves. Changes in retail patterns, leisure time use and spend, and high travel costs have also affected the market. One of the Show’s regular major trader went into liquidation last year.
Grass track racing was a central feature until a few years ago, but often requires business support for prize money and officials attendance. This was not readily forthcoming. There is also increasing competition from commercially sponsored cycle sport and trade events, elsewhere in the UK.
In recent years, the Committee have worked with local and regional Tourism organizations plus the national cycle trade, to expand awareness of York Cycle Show and attract new income. Traditional events were supplemented by a stunt team, participation activities and even a real ale bar!
The Committee was hopeful that it could attract enough interest to break even this year. However despite extensive marketing, trade and visitors confidence has not fully returned, and the number of advance bookings this year has proved insufficent for viability.
The Committee will consider whether the York Show can return in some form, during 2014. They had already liaised nationally with CTC and Welcome to Yorkshire, to play a role in the Tour de France “Grand Depart” and hope to still fulfill that role in some way.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.