I popped along to The London Bike Show on Thursday (opening day) to scope out the goodies, meet up with my friends in the cycling world, and attend the Total Women’s Cycling Awards. I’ll pop something up on the TWC Awards later (suffice it to say it drew a huge crowd and was a roaring success) but I thought if you were wavering on the edge of popping along to the London Bike Show, you might wanna know what’s there, especially from a women’s cycling perspective.
I was at the show last year, but I was pretty much glued to the Total Women’s Cycling stand, and/or hella busy over the inaugural TWC Awards, so didn’t get to see that much sadly. So this year I was really looking forward to actually wandering around.
The London Bike Show is based in the ExCell centre over in East London, and from where I was staying it’s a bit of a trek across town, but from the centre the transport links are pretty good. Tickets are available online or on the door, and range from £17 for an adult, and £4 for 9 to 16 year olds – children under 9 are free.
Inside the show is actually three shows in one, including the Outdoor Show and the London Triathlon Show. I only managed a very brief wander round the Outdoor Show bit and was a bit gutted I didn’t get more time because it actually looked like there was some cool adventure stuff going on down there. Ah well, next time!
There is a lot of stuff you can have a go at, that sadly I didn’t have the chance due to really not having had enough time plus wearing deeply impractical (but very sparkly) shoes.
So you can try the pumptrack, have a go at the Street Velodrome which looked like a LOT of fun, and there’s the Bikes Etc Test Track. The first two would be great for kids, I reckon.
In terms of women’s cycling goodies, there did seem to be a lot more than last year. I certainly didn’t get around everything but here’s a selection of what’s hot.
Total Women’s Cycling Café
I obviously have to give a shout out to Total Women’s Cycling, who’ve opted for the much more practical Café over a stand this year. Sit, have a cuppa, and oogle the goodies at the VeloVixen stand opposite. You can also enter a competition to win a rather beautiful bicycle.
VeloVixen have the expected array of frankly highly covetable women’s cycling goodies. Helmets, socks, jerseys, jackets; you could outfit yourself top to toe here with brands like Primal and Morvelo. They also stock things like cute cycling mugs and jewellery. Temptation abounds! If you visit, say hello to Kirsty, former editor of Total Women’s Cycling, friend of mine, and a super-helpful person.
I may have accidentally bought a cool Primal tee-shirt. Whoops!
I first encountered this brand, set up by Scottish designer and cyclist Alex Feechan last year at Eurobike. Things seem to be going from strength to strength, for Findra, with products now available to buy online, and plans to attend plenty of events and trade shows.
The products are beautifully made, quality items in wonderfully soft touchable fabrics. Knitted tops have changes in weave patterns for ventilation and design purposes, colourful neck gaiters add flashes of colour, and some rather nice denim shorts also caught my eye.
There’s an increasing trend for cycle wear that’s styled and designed more like every-day clothing, but to be honest most of it isn’t my bag. However, Findras colours and styles are distinctive to other products on the market, and is something I’d wear. Particularly those denim shorts.
And I can’t mention Findra without mentioning the name, which comes from ‘Fin’, a gaelic word for fair, and ‘Ra’, a Scandinavian word that refers to a spirit goddess and powerful protector of mountains and forests. How cool is that?!
I do love a bit of upgrading and customisation, me. And, in case you haven’t picked it up, my favourite colours include turquoise and purple. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the matt black Intense on the Hope Tech stand caught my eye. Not for the bike per se, but for the top-to-toe (or rather handlebars-to-wheels) purple Hope accents. Brakes, stem, cranks, hubs, seatpost clamp, pedals – the works! I’m not sure I’d go quite that far myself, but I’d be tempted to include one or two (or three, maybe four) elements. Just saying.
I love my Juliana Furtado, which is a very capable machine, so I had to pop over and see the shiny new 2015 Juliana Bicycles on the Soho Bikes/Santa Cruz stand. They had a lush Juliana Roubion up, and I’m a big fan of the new colourways, including the Hella Yella Juliana. Look out for the colour-matching jerseys which are coming out later this year!
Cute and kitsh are two words that definitely describe the products available from Bike Belle. Lush cruiser bikes, wicker baskets with bright, fun fabric liners, and the sweetest bike bells decorated like cupcakes and donuts. You can even get valve caps that look like sweeties. If you like cycling and Kawaii style, this will be right up your street!
Also worth popping in to see are Primal (lush road cycling jerseys), the new Hoy Vulpine clothing range, the lush bikes at the Liv stand, and the skull cycling bag at the Cycle Origins stand.
If you spot anything else cool, let me know! It’s great to see more great products and offers for women who cycle this year at the show, and shows that the women’s cycling market is growing. There’s an ever increasing number of women who cycle, whether that’s commuting, road cycling or mountain biking. That’s a big market, and whoever manages to get their offer right is set to do well in the business stakes.