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Cycle Show to move to the NEC for 2011

Bigger and better for 2011 with better test tracks and more stuff, say the organisers

There's some interesting news coming out of the Cycle Show today, specifically that there will be a new venue for 2011: it will be leaving the capital and heading to Birmingham and the NEC. Event Director Andrew Brabazon said of the news, "With huge support from the worlds best brands and our features dramatically up scaled, we are really excited to be delivering a show the likes of which has never been seen in the UK"

So what's going to be new for 2011? Well, possibly the biggest plus could be that the new location will allow the organisers to run demo tracks out of doors. Earls Court has many good points but it's stymied by its location and providing space for people to actually ride bikes has always been hard. The NEC show promises a "new outdoor try out tracks where visitors can try commuter and mountain bikes in their natural habitat through forest and on tarmac for a real demo experience". Sounds good, and there is a decent sized wood out the back of the show halls as well as plenty of tarmac.

Other benefits will include the arena, which will be a 1000-seater at the new venue. There's also the intriguing prospect of an 'indoor triathlon' at the 2011 show, although we don't have any details about how that will work.

The announcement isn't an unexpected one; there's been a lot of talk about how the Cycle Show would react to the news that Madison, the UK's biggest distributor, had switched their allegiance to the new London Bike Show at Excel on 13-16 January. The new show looks like it'll be more of a consumer-based selling event; it's at a better time of year for companies like Madison who don't have much 2011 stock by the time the Cycle Show comes around in October. It also looks like it might be a better fit for big online retailers such as Wiggle and Chain Reaction who haven't generally had a presence at Earls Court

Historically the October show has grown from a trade event, but some of the brands we've talked to over the last year have been unhappy about the trade/consumer split over the last couple of years, some to the extent that they've pulled out of exhibiting altogether. We don't have any information as yet as to what the balance will be in Birmingham but we'd be surprised if the Earls Court model of one trade day and three consumer days wasn't carried over; that may not be enough for some people, especially as an NEC show will be considerably bigger. Compare that split to the Eurobike show at the same time of year, which has four trade days (including the demo day) and just one for the public.

The new venue will make the Cycle Show a lot more accessible if you don't happen to live in the South East; the Show pulls about 75% of its attendees from within the M25, as we understand it, and though there's a lot of good things happening in cycling in London right now it isn't necessarily the heartland of cycle sport, which still makes up the majority of the London show. We'd expect Londoners in the trade still to attend, but we're guessing that the average London cyclist will head down to the Excel show instead. Or maybe do both.

So what do you think, readers? Would you rather have the bigger new show in the midlands or are you happy with the way things are? Let us know what you think below!

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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