To say I was excited about my first cycle show would be an understatement. My wife stopped me having my second coffee of the day to try and keep me in line. It didn’t work. A massive hall filled with everything from the world of cycling. Now that’s five hours well spent! Here are my top seven sights from the day.
1. GRN SPORTSWEAR
The first stand that caught my eye was the ethical sportswear brand GRN Sportswear. I was drawn in by their beautiful looking T-shirts, not realising there was a lot more to this company than meets the eye.
GRN produce ‘ethically made sportswear’ made out of everything from bamboo to old plastic bottles. They have a real family feel to them, with the kids T shirts even sporting designs from the owner’s daughter! I picked myself up a t-shirt made of bamboo. Not as painful as you may think, in fact they were so soft I thought they were made of merino. Look them up at GRNsporstwear.com and help support a fantastic company with a great set of values.
2. COLNAGO AREBESQUE
Of all the bikes I passed at the show this was the one getting the most attention. It looked resplendent in white sitting on its stand at the edge of the Colnago display.
The white and gold steels frame glistening in the spotlights of the NEC pulled you in but it was the detail that was most impressive.
The bike has a pretty cool story. The Arabesque used to be a regular production bike 30 years ago but hadn’t been produced for many years. Recently Colnago found a box of the lugs lying around. It must have been a pretty big box because it’s been enough to produce between 400 and 600 bikes’ worth!
3. THE LIGHT BLUE CYCLES
The first thing that hits you when passing this stand is the J A Townsend original bike hanging from the wall with its incredible 100 tooth front chainring!
I’d never come across Light Blue Cycles before but this company’s heritage dates back to 1895. All the models are steel using Reynolds tubing and they make urban and sports bikes in Cambridge. The ‘light blue’ name was inspired by the city’s sporting colours.
The bikes on show were stunning. I was especially drawn in by the Robinson CX bike. I have always been a bit of a sucker for orange bikes anyway but this was a real beauty. Now just to convince my wife…
We left this stand with a DVD and a free cycling cap to go with it! I will be sporting the cap on future rides and hopefully doing my little bit of free advertising for this fantastic brand.
4. Topeak Ninja Series
Now this stuff is cool! With the Ninja series, have created tools you can hide around your bike to free up valuable space in your saddle bag. They have chain tools to go inside your handlebars, bottle cages with built in gas canister holsters and even a pump for inside your seat post.
I’d never seen anything quite like this before and was fascinated! I’m definitely going to be picking up the pump and chain break tools as I currently don’t have these with me when I’m out on a ride.
5. Boardman Bikes
There was a time when Boardman bikes were frowned upon by the cycling snoberatti. No longer. The bikes on show from Boardman could compete with anything I saw on the stands from the other big brands. My favourite was their aerodynamic range, aptly named ‘Air’. With various aero features such as brakes built into the frame, this bike was designed for speed. It’s a great looking bike fitted out with the new Boardman branding.
Forget the snobs, Boardman are a cool brand of bikes which put many of the others to shame on the day.
6. Condor Brooks Leggero 50 Year Celebration Bike
Another bike with serious kerb appeal. Condor selected the new aero-focused Leggero for their anniversary bicycle. Mixing hand-crafted carbon with an ultra-modern design has created a race bike that tips its head to the past, but looks towards the future in anticipation of another 150 years of Brooks England.
“I wanted to achieve something unusual. The idea behind the concept was to create an effect that would inspire people to question what they are looking at – is it actually copper or is it carbon?” explained Condor’s designer, Ben Spurrier. Whether you think it’s copper or carbon doesn’t really matter. What you know is that it is simply beautiful.
7. TrueStart Coffee
Coffee is a favourite subject for cyclists. I’ve always had a big response to caffeine and rarely drink it late in the day for this reason.
TrueStart’s pitch is that their coffee is both natural and controlled giving you exactly the same 95mg hit of coffee with every serving (using the included scoop). It claims to give you a slow release energy boost with no crash at the end. Sounded interesting. I had some of the sample and left it half an hour. Sure enough, a decent kick but with no real come down. I headed back to the stand after 90 minutes or so and bought a couple of packets to try out. The rep also suggested it was easy to dissolve in cold water so is good to add to your water bottle on rides.
I’m going to try it out and see what results I get. I always feel like caffeine gives me a real performance boost but I hate the crashes and headaches that come from the wrong amount. After a few days of trying I am convinced that TrueStart is different to the normal coffee you pick up off the shelf. The hit is more consistent and predictable and it is much easier to manage. And if you don’t believe me, Wiggle reviewers have given it 4 1/2 stars!
Head over to TrueStartCoffee.com to find out more and give it a try. I would say it’s well worth the investment if you are a pre-ride coffee drinker.