The world’s biggest bike show
Posted 30 August 2012
Words by Richard Hallett
Eurobike 2012 is now in full swing. Today, Thursday, is the middle of the three trade days, with the public not due to turn up until Saturday. The show, the cycling world’s biggest, takes place at Friedrichshafen in southern Germany and is probably viewed by most trade visitors with as much dread as anticipation.
That’s partly because it is huge and takes a commensurate amount of time to cover. The showground is probably visible from space and the show itself has some 1250 exhibitors packing the Zeppelin hangar, the 12 halls and the various open-air areas, each and every one of them hoping to receive the attentions of as many as possible of the 750-plus journalists who descend on the two press rooms and press-only eating areas.
It’s also because it is near-impossible to find ‘reasonably-priced’ accommodation in the show’s vicinity without booking it a year in advance. It is possible to camp in a suitably clean and pleasant campsite hard by the showground, but it usually rains steadily for most of the show’s duration.
There’s something called Hymer City for those unwilling to sleep under canvas but equally unwilling to shell out hundreds of euros for a proper bed in a proper building. It comprises 100 or so clean-but-basic mobile homes and is for the optimistic or experienced only. Rumour has it that the staff of another UK road cycling site travelled together to and are staying at the show in a Winnebago, which somehow seems to make Hymer City seem attractive.
Or there’s the solution many visitors adopt, which is to stay somewhere a long way away and commute each day. This gets in the way of attending any of the numerous parties that take place and adds to the length of what is always a long, tiring day, but at least it keeps the whole business affordable.
Anyway, having failed to secure a Hymer or suitable hotel room and being unwilling either to commute or sleep in a tent, I reluctantly decided to pass on this year’s edition.
And if I had gone, what might I even now be ogling? Having been for five years in a row, I can state with confidence that there will be a new, even lighter all-carbon stem or rear mech from AX-Lightness; that NuVinci’s infinitely variable geared hub will have shed another 100g; that somebody will have assembled a cycle that showcases to a fault Brooks leather cycling goods; that at least one major manufacturer will have decided not to attend; that electric bikes are set to make a major breakthrough; and that someone will have cooked up a new way to sit on a bike and pedal it.
All that, Rapha ‘evening rides’ and German beer, too!