When the world is made up of large, boring, inefficient, and financially motivated organisations it is a breath of fresh air to be with the like minded who value skill, shared experience, and a feeling of community. The venue for this year’s show was, in another life, the Empire Museum, showing beauty, Britishness, and eccentricity from every part of the globe, for this weekend in March it was the dawning of a new era, equally eccentric, but more kind hearted and just as much of its time. The fashion for bikes peaks here, and long may it continue.
The four Rapha machines that made up the entrance display had the dual effect of realising the importance of being a bike geek and of enticing the viewer into happily parting with the entrance fee. As with all things Rapha, pink and black was the colour motif, pink bottom bracket cups, King headsets and King hubs, the blend of the friendly, the familiar, the fashionable, the form and above all the function, bathed in the bright sunshine and enticing an examination of detail.
The main show hall is Brunnel’s Old Station, a fitting temple to engineering excellence. This was no exception, innovation and excellence manifested in man’s most efficient invention. Classic lines and craftsmanship, blended the old and retro inspiration, with the new. Nods to companies long forgotten by most, Fat City Cycles to name just one. The best of British really was on show, from Chas Roberts, the aspirational long running bike guru, to Velobici, the 100% British clothing manufacturer.
Friendly and un-judgemental, the atmosphere was fantastic, particularly in the understated quality of the exhibition stands that relied on the production, and not the marketing, department! Please enjoy the photos, which represent a small portion of what the show had to offer…