A visit to the national Cycle Show

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For cycle retailers it’s an ideal time to try and see as many of next year’s bikes as possible, and then hopefully make some intelligent choices on what to buy.

It’s true that much of what’s on show will have already been seen at various one-make shows held around the country, and several dealers will have already placed orders, but seeing different makes almost back to back really helps to pick out the winners.

At this time of the year we are in the transition stage between 2009 and 2010 models. This is interesting in several ways.

Firstly we have to hope that we have a sufficient stock of bikes to last until the new ones come in, often our suppliers will keep sending out old models until their stocks are drained.

Secondly, there are no hard and fast rules on delivery times, it’s quite possible to receive 2010 models in September 2009 and by the same token we could still be waiting in March next year for stock to arrive.

So what was the show like? I thought it was very good, though I’m told that last year’s was better. The expression ‘kid in a sweet shop’, probably sums it up very well.

There were lots of large, well laid out stands, usually taken by major bike importers and these were offset by smaller, rather less artistically arranged stalls, despite this they were still earnestly keen to promote their products. From complete bikes, frames, clothing, accessories to nutrition and massage, it was a wonderland for the cyclist.

What can we expect to see next year? Well I did mention the fixed wheel sub culture a few months ago, and this has really become main stream now. Virtually every bicycle builder or importer had at least one fixed wheel bike in their line, some even had two or three different models, whilst other stands only had fixed wheel bikes on them.

There was a huge move towards retro looking bikes: leather saddles, leather grips and fifties paint jobs. I even saw some cane rims on a bike on the Condor stand. This tied in well with the fixed wheel track bike look that a lot of exhibitors were aiming for.

At the other end of the scale, one could see carbon fibre works of art that had been created in the wind tunnel and that were equipped with electronic gears. There was also a big electric bike presence.

These are now developing into machines that have been developed from the ground up, rather than simply bicycles with an electric motor and a battery attached. I believe that, at last, this very important sector of the market is getting the serious attention that it has needed for some time.

What did I like best? Well being an unashamed traditionalist, I was very pleased to see some terrific bikes made out of steel rather than the ubiquitous alloy, and also a prevalence of leather saddles, which is another thing that I’m keen on.

When can you see some of this? There are probably the first consignments of 2010 products in your local bike shop now, take a look, it’s better than ever.

Braking News

Sustainable Paris

Paris has recently become another one of those cities that has chosen to subsidise its sustainable transport. From 13th October, Parisians will be able to buy either an electric scooter or an electric bike with a subsidy of up to 25% of the purchase price, with a ceiling of 400 Euros.

This initiative falls into line with the city’s plans on public health, pollution and noise. In addition to these measures, Paris has created more than 200 kilometres of cycle paths since 2001, and they hope to have another 200 kilometres in place by 2014.

This comes days after Italy’s second bike buying incentive scheme. Called Eco Incentive, the scheme saw a massive 2,000 bikes sold during the first two hours of the scheme starting. At the end of five days, 57,000 bikeshad been sold and the total budget of 7.6 million Euros had been spent.

Have Spanners- will Travel

You may remember me mentioning the Tour D’Afrique a few blogs ago. This annual 7,400 mile endurance race goes from Cairo to Cape Town, and pushes man and machine to the limit. The organisers are currently recruiting staff, including a good cycle mechanic. Their advertisement advises ‘compatibility with parts and tools will require improvisation and resourcefulness’.

So if you’re free between 16 January and 15 May log onto www.tourdafrique.com/company/jobs.

A Date for your Diary

Keen followers of cycle racing, especially the Tour de France, will be waiting anxiously today, 14 October, for the release by race director Christian Prudhomme of the route of the 2010 Tour de France.

While the starting point and date -Rotterdam on 3 July- has been common knowledge for some time, the rest of the route is open to speculation. Several pundits have suggested that the Pyrenees are bound to be included, as 2010 sees the 100th anniversary of the first trans-Pyrenean tour stages.

If you fancy taking a look at ‘The greatest race on Earth’, it’s wise to book your hotel as soon as possible, before the hoteliers get wind of what’s coming their way!

And Finally

For the person who has everything. Seen and ogled at, at the Bike Shoe at Earl’s Court was this hand-made low rider. The creation of UK designer Ben Wilson, it has 110,000 Swarovski crystals set into the frame.

Price is on application, it’s obviously quite a lot of money, as it was guarded by at least one security guard during the duration of the show.

• Arthur Lamy is the manager of Boudins for Bikes, in Sand Street, and author of Jersey Cycles. He has spent 15 years as a tourist guide and writer, and is also a keen photographer. More information can be found on his website: www.arthurlamy.com

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