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Bike Week Organizers Ponder Earlier Dates

Published December 8, 2010

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN)—Now that Taichung Bike Week is over, organizers are starting to think about next year’s event. And, as before, timing is at the top of the list of decisions they’ll need to make. “The million dollar question: Is it before or after Thanksgiving?” said Steve Fenton of Pro-Lite, one of the volunteer organizers of Bike Week. (Click on story title then PDF link next to title to view Taichung Bike Week PDF newsletter Day 4).

Bike Week ended yesterday, after a four-day run that brought suppliers together with product managers from Europe, North America and other countries to discuss spec for 2012 product lines. Because it’s an informal event, organizers don’t track attendance. But Fenton said the bike industry filled an estimated 1,500 hotel rooms in Taichung during Bike Week.

North American product managers, who are dealing with earlier production schedules, are pushing for dates in November, while Europeans are happy with the current timeframe in early December. This year’s Bike Week ran from Dec. 5-8.

Another consideration concerns the days of the week. Fenton said a Monday through Thursday event would work well with the host Taichung hotels, because many do a booming wedding business on the weekends.

Because Taichung Bike Week is part of a loosely organized confederation of events, Fenton said he and other Bike Week officials plan to talk to officials from Ride On and SRAM, which also hold mini-shows for product managers in early December, before settling on 2011 dates.

Fenton is also seeking feedback from current and potential exhibitors and visitors to Taichung Bike Week. They can email him at info@taichung-bike-week.com.

He’s soliciting comments on preferred dates, days of the week, and any other aspects of the show. “What can we do to make it better?” he said. “Are we missing anything blatantly obvious?”

Erik Kimble of Colmax, a Taiwan agent and distributor for several U.S. and European brands, said the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States—traditionally the fourth Thursday in November—creates a logistical problem for show dates.

“If you move [Bike Week] before Thanksgiving, it’s not like you can have it on the 23rd. You have to move it way before,” he said. “The Americans would love this. Early November, first week in November, that would be their dates,” he said.

But if the show is too early, some Taiwan suppliers might have trouble getting new product ready to show, and European product managers may not bother coming. “If the product’s not cooked and ready, this is not a good time for them,” he added. “This is not crucial for them at all, to have it so early.”

Kore’s Lance Bohlen said the North American and European needs are so different they could almost use different shows. The best time for North Americans would be October, he said. His sales agents now visit product managers at that time, but it’s difficult to see everyone. “Nothing is as nice and easy as sitting in a room and having them visit you,” he said.

A growing Bike Week risks ruining the very things that make it special, said Richard Todd, Ergon’s international sales manager. “It's pure bike people, and what worries me is that that might get diluted somewhat,” he said. “Other shows like Eurobike and Interbike, there’s so much other stuff going on, it’s just not that intimate.”

Chrissie Huang of First Components, who helped market Bike Week to local Taiwan companies, said organizers would resist pressure to grow too big. “Some people want us to change, because they want us to be big. But we don’t want to be big. We want to be a quality show,” Huang said. “We don’t want to compete with Taipei or be as big as Taipei,” she added, referring to the Taipei Cycle Show.

Click on story title then PDF link next to title to view Taichung Bike Week PDF newsletter Day 4.

—Doug McClellan and Nicole Formosa
dmcclellan@bicycleretailer.com, nformosa@bicycleretailer.com

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