13th May, 2015
Last weekend we hosted a stand at SPIN LDN, the urban cycle show, which was held at The Old Sorting Office in Holborn. Apart from the fact the building was a little chilly (a bit like hanging out in a giant larder!), it was a fantastic venue for the show. Apparently it's also used during London Fashion Week, and it certainly has an 'undone', trendy industrial feel to it. We've been in contact with the lovely SPIN team for a while, and this year we decided to take the plunge and exhibit ourselves. The show had a friendly and fun boutique vibe, with quite a range of exhibitors, from Rapha to Pelago.
There was also a real range of visitors: if you're worried that cycle shows are full of MAMILS (middle-aged men in lycra) and road cycling speed nerds, think again! We were pleasantly surprised at the number of leisure cyclists. Most people there either commuted to work on their bikes and were starting to get more interested in cycling culture (and holidays, we hope!), or enjoyed the occasional recreational cycle ride at the weekend, or were families with a passion for a good old bike ride, however short in distance. Of course all of the above are our kind of people. Our specialities are gentle bike tours and family-friendly cycling holidays, so it was great to meet so many people whose eyes lit up at the prospect of a leisurely cycling holiday in Britain or Europe.
We also very much enjoyed perusing the stands ourselves. Below we've listed our top picks from the show:
1. Bobbin Bicycles
Bobbin customers are our kind of customer. Luckily we were positioned opposite the Bobbin stand, so not only did we get to meet the lovely Sian and Tom, who started and run the business themselves, we also got to ogle at all their gorgeous bikes all day long. Sian and Tom met in Amsterdam, fell in love with bicycles (and each other!) there, and decided to open up a bike boutique back in London. Specialising in distinctive brightly-coloured traditional bikes, panniers, helmets, bells and lights, they now have an amazing range of bikes sold in a variety of stockists around the globe. We love the Blackbird and the Daytripper models.
2. The penny farthing comeback?
It appears the penny farthing is making a comeback. Well, a type of penny farthing. SPIN hosted a brilliantly conceived 'test track' in the basement of the building, where you could try out the lastest bikes on show. This included a remarkable 'tall bike', that looked a little like a penny farthing for 2015. We're not quite sure how you get on and off, but you certainly have your head in the clouds when riding this one! Head over to our Instagram for a mini video of said bike in action here.
3. Peloton & Co coffee
Peloton & Co are based in Shoreditch usually, but they brought a lovely pop-up van to the show from which they sold the most delicious coffee and a variety of snacks (try their gluten-free banana bread). Peloton say they are as passionate about coffee as they are about bikes, and it shows! Their cafe-cum-shop in Shoreditch is a great place to meet a likeminded friend, mingle with the London cycling community and browse their gorgeous range of cycling accessories and apparel.
4. Braasi backpacks
This cool urban brand is run by a Czech duo, in Prague. They use Czech-made materials wherever possible, and their chic urban backpacks, anoraks, hats are inspired by the simple mountaineering equipment of the 80s. Most of the backpacks are rolltop canvas numbers, but they also use leather and suede. The best thing about them though is the shape (nice and boxy) and the colour palette, which is absolutely gorgeous. We wanted to buy them all! Currently not stocked in the UK but head to their website for more info.
5. Cargo bikes
Cargo bikes are just really great. We love how many people are adopting the Copenhagen and Dutch way of life by cycling wherever possible. Cargo bikes take it to the next level: now you can ferry your kids to school in a bike, or make commercial deliveries with a bike, or even pay a specialist London bicycle-only courier to do it for you! This is surely the next step in finding greener, more sustainable transport solutions in urban centres. So not only individuals, but now businesses too, can use bicycles are their primary mode of transport. And you don't have to pay the congestion charge! Check out the London-based, bicycle-delivery-only baker, the Little Bread Pedlar, or this hero, who recently cycled from Amsterdam to London with his cats in his cargo bike to drum up some PR for his new cat products. Hooray for bicycles!
SPIN is held twice a year, so if you're thinking about going to the next one, do! We can't recommend it enough. Over and out.