As the 2018 NZ Bike Expo gets set to kick off on Saturday morning, the prospects of the second edition of the event are more exciting than ever.  Event coordinator Krissy O’Connor spoke to RoadCycling in the run up to what is set to be one of the biggest weekends of the year for cycling in New Zealand.

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In 2017 Krissy, on behalf of Cycling Action Network (CAN), led a venture into the unknown in launching the first NZ Bike Expo in Christchurch.  The response was fantastic from exhibitors and public alike and from the feedback they received last year they’ve been able to craft an evolving event for 2018.  “After last year’s Expo we asked visitors to tell us not only what they liked/didn’t like, but also what they want out of the event in the future, and they were only too willing to tell us; which was very helpful.  Through these surveys we also found out that our audience was made up of very active cyclists, with a slight skew towards mountain biking over road, and male over female; but I guess that’s reflective of our actual bike community”, Krissy told RoadCycling.

Register for Saturday’s cyclocross event with options for first timers and more experienced CX riders, photo NZ Bike Expo

In a very ‘cycling-sophisticated’ crowd, visitors to the Expo were treated to a wide range of exhibits, speakers, activities and competitions and this year is no different.  Among the brands that will be on display in the 2018 edition will be likes of Black Inc, Factor Bikes, Maxxis, Tineli, DT Swiss, Norco, BBB, Park Tool and Thule.

“One of the big new brands that have come in this year is Specialized; and we’re thrilled to have them on board.  The other one is Evo Cycles, and they of course bring a huge stable of brands along with them including Trek, Cannondale and GIANT.  Between them they have bikes, ebikes, and great accessories and kit.  So I’m interested to see what they bring and what deals they might have on offer,” Krissy told us.

Along with brands from all over the country a number of exhibitors hail from Christchurch and the surrounding area including one brand that have peaked Krissy’s personal interest.  “The other one I’m thrilled about personally is Ground Effect.  They’ve been in the industry for a very long time and it’s pretty hard to get them out at events these days because they do what they do and they do it extremely well.  But being local to Christchurch we’ve managed to get them to come along and I’m thrilled because I can’t wait to try some of their gear and buy some new stuff.”

“Overall one of the best things is that we have a range of new exhibitors alongside some of the exhibitors from last year.  That’s got me excited because the event’s going to feel different, it’s going to be different and that’s always brilliant; you want the event to evolve and you want it to grow.  So I’m curious to see how it all pans out just like everybody else!”

This year the NZ Bike Expo is looking forward to welcoming several new vendors and exhibits along with returning brands from 2017, photo NZ Bike Expo

Over the weekend not only will there be a number of exhibits to enjoy including demos to try out, but a number of speakers will also be taking the stage to share their expertise.  From Anton Cooper sharing his experience of the 2018 MTB season to Duncan Randall talking E-Bikes, safety and sharing the road with Cycling Action Network to CJM Events’ John Moore talking about their vast range of events they conduct in the South Island.  

On top of these there will also be a special cyclocross event run by SouthernCross CX on the Sunday.  

“Southern Cross CX are a local cyclocross group who are doing an amazing job down here and have just run a series which has been really well attended and they’re pitching for a national championships for net year.  These guys are awesome and they’re going to come and help us run an event not just an open for those experienced cyclocross riders but also an entry level cyclocross event.  We do hope people will sign up just to give us an idea of the kind of numbers we’ll be looking at with that,” Krissy explained.

Looking ahead, CAN and Krissy are thinking about what’s next.  “As the NZ Bike Expo we want our event to be seen as an important marker for cycling within the national calendar. This is our second year in Christchurch and it’s likely that we will do a third next year. We’ve got some conversations happening that are really exciting with people who are interested in what we’re doing and want to support us.  But we are also exploring options in the North Island and working out whether we duplicate the event and run it twice in one year in two different locations or alternate one year in the north, one in the south.”

The Air Force Museum of New Zealand will afford an opportunity for riders to check out the demos of new bikes and equipment that will be on display over the weekend, photo NZ Bike Expo

“There’s interest from people based in the North Island to have this event up there, and there’s really keen interest from North Island based vendors as well; so that’s the goal.  To grow it, both in Christchurch and beyond.”  

“We are in an era and industry that’s having a resurgence right now and we want to support and celebrate that. As a not-for-profit organisation, CAN’s sole motivation is to see more people on bikes more often.  This event gives us an opportunity to get the whole community into the one room and talk about cycling as being an everyday activity that’s normal.  So onward and up!

Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or considering getting on a bike for the first time, this year’s NZ Bike Expo is committed to providing an experience that will interest and entertain all-comers.

The 2018 NZ Bike Expo will be running this weekend from the 13th-14th October at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand.  For more information about the event, including how to sign up for the Southern Cross CX Cyclocross event click here. 

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