Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bikes Belong to Launch new tradeshow?

The fine folks at Bikes Belong, the cycling industry advocacy group and trade organization, has announced that they are in the planning stages of developing a new tradeshow to rival and compete with the hallowed Interbike. Sound familiar? We've covered this kind of news a few times here already.

Eurobike tried to launch what was dubbed Eurobike-Portland back in October of '06. That ended up getting shelved and then Eurobike teamed up with Sea Otter to create what was being billed as the greatest outdoor cycling event and consumer expo ever known to mankind... but it wasn't so much...

The thing that is most intriguing about this, is that Bikes Belong actually knows the US marketplace pretty darned well, seeing as to how they are the main trade organization in the US. As such, they have a pretty good idea of what the industry wants and needs, as well as an inside line to the major thought leaders in the industry. Bikes Belong has also been a major partner of Interbike over the years and their banner ad on the Interbike website was still visible at the time this post was being written.

According to news I've gotten, "yeah, it’s pretty exciting stuff! And at this point, the sky’s the limit.... right now it’s just a lot of ideas (really, really good ideas :) And either way, the industry will win." If anybody has the clout and credibility to pull off creating a show to rival Interbike, Bikes Belong is the one group I can think of who can. Thing is, as has proven so far to be the case, Interbike is the established incumbent with a long history of great tradeshows. As we have learned in politics, even an unpopular incumbent has an advantage over a new challenger. If this new show is to come into existence, it'll have its work cut out... just to survive the first few editions, let alone grow to a large enough critical mass to really make a significant impact on Interbike.

As was mentioned in previous discussions about Eurobike-Portland, the idea of a competing tradeshow is pretty great, but reality is gonna be hard. Show exhibitors are stretched thin to attend the shows that already exist on the calendar and adding overlapping or identical dates will hurt both shows. If you add a totally new date on the calendar, when is it? Before Eurobike? In between Eurobike and Expo Cycle in Canada, which is just before Interbike? After Expo Cycle? After Interbike? Is it a Springtime show like Taipei? Where does it fit on the calendar? I'm sure I don't know. It poses a very big task and not one I'm sure I could figure out.

This news, just like with Eurobike's attempted invasion, is big news that merits lots of discussion and contemplation from within the industry. Do we want or need a new show? Maybe, if it's a better show. But what is a "better show"? Less expensive? Better location? No Teamsters to deal with? All things to consider.

I honestly wish Bikes Belong the best with this and I hope to be talking to them more about this, so stay tuned for more (hopefully). I love Interbike, as I've said before, so Bikes Belong (or anybody for that matter) has their work cut out for them if they are going to truly compete with Interbike. Can it be done though? Absolutely it can, so this will prove to be interesting. Bikes Belong has been listening to the conversation for a long time so they know what frustrations retailers and manufacturers have with Interbike.

I, for one, will be watching this story very closely and strongly encourage your comments because I know that folks from Bikes Belong will be reading this. Your comments could be influential... so speak up!

Tim Jackson
Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser

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Posted by Tim Jackson at 9:41 PM


  1. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 3:40 AM  
    It would seem that the industry does not need another trade show in the same vain as Interbike, etc. Instead I think the opportunity is to make a true conference focused more on content, thought leadership, and advancing the industry as a whole. Bikes Belong seems well positioned to produce such a conference given it's mission and emphasis on advocacy and political action.
  2. Blogger carltonreid posted at 5:18 AM  
    Or will Bikes Belong be happy to just squeeze a better money deal out of Interbike?

    Much of the trade show history (Interbike v BIO) was dredged up in the Europortland discussions but it's always worthwhile revisiting past events. 'Either way the industry wins'. Hmmmmmm.
  3. Blogger Donna Tocci posted at 2:51 PM  
    Tim - where do you find the time??? I'm so impressed that you posted....I'm such a slacker...thanks for pointing that out..eek!

    Although we know significantly less than we did about EuroPortland (location, time of year), I still have the same feelings I did back in October when I actually found the time to post.

    I think that any event Bikes Belong would put on wouldn't make as much money as they think it might - at least not in the first couple of years - after all, they are going to have to hire someone, or a few someones, to run the show....might not bring in as much as they think. Would it be worth it then?" Don't know...

    I look forward to hearing more from them...maybe they'll jump on here....

  4. Blogger Mark Ritz posted at 10:59 AM  
    I don't believe the industry needs another trade show. The mega-companies (Specialized, Trek, Giant, etc.) have already scaled back or eliminated their participation at Interbike in favor of their own shows, and the little guys, for whom the shows are a major expense, cannot afford to display at two shows. Since dealers will not attend both, it'll be up to the small guys to figure out where to show. If they guess wrong, it could cost them a lot of business. I think Bikes Belong should focus on advocacy and lobbying efforts. And I think that Interbike could share a larger percent of their profits with Bikes Belong. Then the industry will truly win.

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