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Philly Bike Expo attracts record exhibitor and attendance count

Published November 6, 2017
About 150 registered industry members attended the pre-show trade hours.

PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — The Philly Bike Expo attracted a record number of exhibitors and attendees, organizers said, and the show's first attempt at trade-only hours attracted about 150 registered industry members, including retailers and suppliers.

The show counted 4,677 attendees and featured 177 booths, including many custom framebuilders, along with cycling organizations. 

Show director Bina Bilenky said, "Everybody seemed really happy with the way the show went, and this year the cycling media have realized it's an event worth attending. Attendee interest is amazing. On the East Coast attendees ranged from Maine to Florida, but also they came from the Midwest: Ohio and Illinois, and some came from as far as California." The farthest-traveling exhibitor is thought to be Rookey Cycles, from Seoul, South Korea.

Moots attended its first Philly show.

This year for the first time the show held trade-only hours each day, when only registered industry members were allowed in. 

"Lots of industry came that hadn't heard about the industry pre-reg," Bilenky told BRAIN on Monday. "Hopefully the second year is bigger with industry pre-reg."

Massachusetts-based 1854 Cycling Co. attended primarily to reach retailers as the brand transitions from internet sales to IBD sales. Owner Brandale Randolph said he signed up at least 20 new retailers at the show.

"It went great," he told BRAIN. "I am still working out deals with several other (retailers)."

Titanium frame builder No. 22 Bicycle Company used the show to introduce its new stock bike program. Company co-founder Mike Smith said the show was a success. 

"(It) seems like the show has seen a lot of growth this year, and yesterday was very well attended," he told BRAIN on Monday. "I think it will have a place on our calendar for some time if it keeps up."

Fellow titanium brand Moots, from Colorado, attended its first Philly show. The company's Jon Cariveau said Moots was able to reach retailers, consumers and media at the show.

"The show exceeded our expectations and we will go back next year for sure," he said. "We definitely were able to touch base with a few customers interested in or already in process of buying and I think that interaction we had will definitely pay off in a few immediate bike sales ... We had a solid dealer outreach and were able to connect with existing and potential new dealers directly in Philly and one in Manhattan.  It was great place to get the inside scoop on shops and customer feedback on the shops they prefer to work with."

Bilenky said she was gratified to see the number of families with young children who attended. The show included a kids' bike track sponsored by Pello and an ArtBike! Expo where kids could create bike-themed art. 

"What's so exciting to me about this is that the kids here are having fun with cycling. They're enjoying their time riding on the kids' course and painting in the ArtBike area. It's not like they're being dragged here by their parents. It's like me as a child: Cycling was part of my life and I loved it. So these kids are the next generation of cyclists," Bilenky said.

The People's Choice Award went to Bishop's ornately-painted road bike.

The show has its roots as a handmade frame expo, and nearly 30 framebuilders exhibited. The People's Choice winner, announced Sunday afternoon, was a disc-brake road bike built by Chris Bishop. The No Bull Fat Trike with twist grip steering by Cycles Ed was first runner-up and an off-road bike from Julie Ann Pedalino as second runner-up.

"When Philly Bike Expo started out, I think a lot of people thought it was a framebuilder-only show, a smaller version of NAHBS, because it was started by Bilenky," Bina Bilenky said. "But that was never the vision for this show. Framebuilders are an important part of it, but there are other important parts too, and I think in recent years companies have been to the expo or read about it and understood how much broader it is, that it's for everybody who's into cycling, and now we're getting some traction in the cycling industry."

She said next year's show will be held in the same hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 27-28. 

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