MADRID, Spain — Two bike events with contrasting objectives took place this past weekend in Madrid, which caused some exhibitors to make a decision between the two. Festibike, now in its twelfth year as the go-to festival for the cycling sector, went up against newcomer, EXPOBIKE, which was conceived to become the tradeshow on par with Eurobike and Interbike. Both shows took place September 14-16 and featured a similar format that designated Friday as industry day for professionals in the cycling business to browse new products, schedule meetings, and network in a relaxed atmosphere before the public arrived on Saturday.
Festibike forged its reputation as a dynamic cycling festival that features a variety of cycling-related activities set against a tradeshow backdrop where visitors have a chance to see and try next year's products. EXPOBIKE intends to be the annual tradeshow of record in Spain where the industry and fans alike have the opportunity to convene in a formal atmosphere conducive to transacting business.
"I went to Eurobike in Germany and I saw that there wasn't anything like that in Spain so I saw that there was a business opportunity," said Rocío Aguirre, director of EXPOBIKE. "I know how to do shows and in Spain, the bicycle is now a boom, everybody is talking about bicycles, everybody is going by bicycle, and what I saw was that there was a business opportunity."
Festibike set a new record this year with 48,000 visitors, including 2,500 accredited industry professionals, which was an increase of 8,000 from 2011. Final visitor numbers for EXPOBIKE added up to 15,000 total, with an estimated 1,200 industry professionals.
"Festibike not only met expectations this year, but surpassed them by far," said Raúl Fuentes, one of Festibike's organizers. "Our forecasts for both exhibitors and participants were inferior and were greatly exceeded."
According to EXPOBIKE, exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the event format, its location within Madrid's city limits, and with the setting that helped them meet with customers, and establish new business contacts, which was the main goal for event organizers.
Overall attendance figures for both shows help prove that, despite Spain's famously ruined economy, the bike is gaining recognition as a utility and an asset to household savings. As a result, shop openings are on the rise as entrepreneurs realize the opportunities.
"The significance of this is that Spanish distributors and manufacturers are supporting these shops and selling more products," explained Iván Pérez-Cuadrado, managing secretary of the Asociación de marcas y bicicletas de españa (Association of Spanish Bicycle Brands).
A total of 549 brands, including a handful of North American manufacturers, were on display at both shows, either as independent brands or part of a distributor's booth. The noticeable presence of Ibis bicycles at Festibike suggested strong sales in Spain.
"When we relaunched the company, we started to slowly get our distributor list together," said Scot Nicol, founder of Ibis. "We were with another distributor for a few years then switched to our current guys, KPSPORT. It's interesting, we were with a bike-specific importer before ‹ KPSPORT has its roots in auto parts distribution but recently branched out into the outdoor field, and have Chris King, Moots, Intense and GoPro. Our sales have really jumped since we came onboard with these guys."
According to directors for both shows, event dates were chosen based on industry demands for an event immediately following Eurobike where manufacturers can connect with both members of the trade and consumers alike. Festibike will be back in 2013, as will EXPOBIKE, but whereas Festibike will again take place two weeks after Eurobike, EXPOBIKE's 2013 dates are yet to be determined. Organizers have confirmed that EXPOBIKE will be sometime in September and will return to the Madrid's main exhibition center, IFEMA, Feria de Madrid.
— Wendy Booher