The outfit that has been bringing the Five Boro Bike Tour to New Yorkers for years now will now be hosting a major bicycle show in 2012 aimed at consumers.
In the three days preceding the organization’s big ride, from May 3 through May 5, the New York City Bike Expo will feature bicycle equipment, sportswear, food, and other bike related companies in 70,000 indoor square feet, and 40,000 outdoor square feet of space.
The show, which is being presented by Eastern Mountain Sports will be followed by the sponsor-named, TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour on May 6 that takes cyclists on a ride through all five boros of New York City, Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
When registration for the ride opened this year, it sold out in 24 hours. All of the 32,000 registered riders will have to come pick up their passes at the bike expo being held at Pier 39, the site of Basketball City on Montgomery and South Streets, said Ken Podziba, Bike NY President and CEO.
“We want people to feel like it is their show too, the community’s bike expo,” said Podziba who is soliciting input from “anyone in the city who wants to help.”
The event is sure to draw huge demand from bicycle stores, and bicycle, clothing and accessory companies because even if one half of the registrants for the Five Boro Tour, or 16,000 people step inside the Expo, it will rival attendance at the number one commercial show of the year, Interbike.
That show, held in Las Vegas each year for retailers and other industry professionals had 1200 exhibitors, 12,200 retail buyers, and overall almost 26,000 attendees. Indeed, if more than 50 percent of the registrants step inside the New York Bike Expo, the event could be the biggest in the country in terms of visitors.
Another outfit, the Gran Fondo NY will be hosting their own NYC Expo (the similarity in names is a bit of an issue at the moment, according to a source who declined to be identified for this article,) but there is no mistaking the difference in size between the two events: the Gran Fondo last year for it’s first year in operation had over 2,000 riders complete its course from Manhattan to points North, while the New York City Bike Expo hopes to attract tens of thousands of visitors.
Another crucial difference, the Gran Fondo is a mass start race, with winners taking prizes, and it leaves the five boroughs of the city behind for greener pastures in New Jersey and New York states. Its format is based in the Italian Gran Fondo tradition, and the venue, Roseland Ballroom, where the two day expo May 18 and 19, will be held, is smaller. Any profits from the event will go to the organizers.
Conversely, the Bike NY event is slated for break-even only, meaning, it’s not profit-driven said Podziba, who was previously Commissioner of Sports under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But with Podziba at the helm, it’s likely to take off in spectacular fashion, with over-subscribers scrambling for position rather than the reverse–in much the same way that the bike tour was over-subscribed.
But there is sure to be enough bike interest to go around, since Alta Bike Share will be launching 10,000 bikes in the city next year for the city’s bicycle sharing program. May is also Bicycle Month in New York, and the enthusiasm for all things cycling is sure to make both events work with one other rather than cannibalize attendees.
Podziba’s energetic take on the cycling scene has infiltrated just about every aspect of Bike New York’s agenda in 2011, and for 2012, the expo is one of many events the group is planning.
With a strong emphasis on bicycle education, Podziba expects that they will have a booth and events set up at the expo demonstrating how to ride a bicycle properly.
A fashion show or two are also planned, as well as official photographers to document the event, and take bicycle poseur shots. Hotvelociti, a local bicycle clothing company, is in talks with Podziba to host one of the fashion shows.
Booth spaces will range from 10 feet by 10 feet, to 20 by 20 foot spaces. Prices are still being determined and can be obtained from Event Fuel, the space sales and management company.
So far Cannondale Bicycles has signed up as a sponsor for the event. “it would be great if we could tell people the best airline to take to transport their bicycles, and the best bike-friendly hotels to go to,” said Podziba.
Other companies in talks with Bike New York are their current sponsors, including Muscle Milk and Energy Kitchen. Podziba, who is a bit picky about sponsors says they tend towards healthy and
green companies that fit well with the image and intent that to ride a bike entails healthy eating and a responsible attitude towards the environment.