BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (BRAIN) — The city center of Argentina’s capital city hosted its first ShimanoFest this past weekend, a two-day expo and race designed to expose everyday folks in Latin America to elite cycling.
The event, which also has a Brazilian edition, was set up in Buenos Aires’ most important public park, and attracted some 25,000 people over the weekend to visit booths from 15 bike brands, test bikes, watch the Latin American short track finals or check out the mechanic competition and vintage bike exhibition. BMX gold medalist Mariana Pajón, a native of Medellin, was on-hand to meet fans and the press.
ShimanoFest started in Brazil three years ago.
“We try to be the largest consumer-oriented event in the region,” said Nicolás Muszkat of Shimano Latin America subsidiary in Argentina. “It is free for everybody, including the brands that show their products.”
Cycling has become an increasingly common mode of transportation in Latin American countries, as cities invest in bike lanes and bike share programs to help ease congestion in traffic-choked urban centers.
As bike use rises, brands have targeted Central and South American countries as potential areas for future sales expansion, but growth is hampered by high import duties, restrictive trade rules and low pricing on gray market products.