Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bike-Expo at EventCity Manchester

I was very fortunate to be invited along as a guest and ambassador on behalf of Bike Swanky to the Bike-Expo which took place at Eventcity in Manchester. Andy from Bike Swanky had contacted me a good few weeks a go to see if I would be interested in attending, however at the time I wasn't sure if I could make it as I hadn't been feeling very well, having some sort of a freaky virus. I found it hard to get out of bed never mind drive down to Manchester and then try to make myself useful. Anyhoo as luck would have it upon Andy's second phone call I was feeling a lot brighter and really wanted to join the lads to offer my support in return for all of their support and sponsorship upon my Pyga and getting me sorted with a couple of demo bikes, one of which was the De- Rosa I did my first Triathlon on last year and the other was for a Mountain Bike Rider Magazine feature that I also did last year.

Checkout all those rides on the Bike swanky stand

 I had already had the great pleasure of meeting Andy late last year when he drove all the way up  from Swanky HQ in the South East to hand deliver my shiny new De-Rosa Idol, however I hadn't had the chance to meet the other member of the team and that was Paul, so I was excited to finally get the opportunity.

 It was originally Paul who listened intently to my background story and really came across as being genuinely interested when I first contacted him with regards to obtaining a road bike for my upcoming Arctic One Triathlon which took place last August. Upon hearing my tales of adversity and triumph Paul suggested I may be a good ambassador for the Bike Swanky brand and we struck up a deal for me to get my hands on a Pyga One Ten 29'er on a sponsorship deal, while I would buy my De-Rosa outright.

So moving on to the couple of days down in Manchester, firstly I had to get there, no mean feat for a man of my inept map reading skills. Never mind the trusty, or not so trusty sat nav would help me out. When I awoke on Fiday morning bright and early I was shocked to discover my sat nav couldn't find the post code of the place. Eventually as I messed with my mobile and a few mapping apps I managed to find a route. My dad had been a star as usual and already popped my De Rosa Idol in the back of our car, so I just gathered my overnight gear, jumped in the car and was off. I was feeling a little stressed because of the whole sat nav business, but once on the road calmed down. Now I'm terrible for forgetting stuff and so as I drive along I tend to go through everything I need mentally. So as I get down on to the motorway and I'm driving along I'm thinking did I pack my toothbrush. It then occurred to me "hold on did I put my leg in the car", "errrrr NO, what a plonker". It's not the first time I have set off bike in tow to do some riding, however discovered I have forgot to bring along my Bartlett Tendon. Wow I never had this problem when both my legs were attached, they just use to follow me. Luckily I hadn't gone past the Durham turn off so I took the slip road and had to come all the way back. The rest of the journey was uneventful, well until I got down to Manchester.

I was met outside Eventcity by Andy after phoning him saying "Err I think I'm lost". Funnily enough I could see the Led sign post advertising Eventcity in big letters saying EVENTCITY, BIKE EXPO, however for some reason the 26,000 square feet  building which was huge, that I had drove past at least twice I was somehow oblivious too...D'oh!

I blame the fact I was stressed after my sat nav directed me  the wrong way on approach to the round about just outside the Trafford Centre. I actually went around 3 times before discovering the correct exit. Well I was  so relieved to finally see a friendly and familiar face. As usual Andy gave me one of his warm welcomes, we grabbed my gear out the back of my car and  headed in doors to the event.

Paul loves stickers, especially Bike Swanky ones

Paul was on setting up and as soon as he saw me came over to greet me, we hit it off straight away. We had a quick chat then got down to continuing to set-up the area, ready so people could have a go on the bike/bikes of their choice. Bike Swanky do loads of different bikes from lots of different manufactures, ranging from reasonably priced road bikes and Tri specific bikes,right up to top end models and a wide range of mountain bikes too. There were bikes there from De-Rosa, Argon, Orro, Pyga, Roux and Massi, ranging from small up to X-large. This allowed for a wide range of people to demo a machine and get a feel for the bikes on show.
Shoretrax had also kindly loaned Bike Swanky a few of their berms, whoops and a drop off so those people wanting to have a go on a mountain bike had something to have a play on and test their skills.

Very clever portable Track

After setting up all the bikes, the demo course and the Shoretrax track Paul and I managed to grab a little time to have a quick gander around the show stalls. I really enjoyed chatting to Martin on the Sock Mine stand, what a nice gentleman and he looked the part in his Shiny suit. Martin had some great ideas for socks and I wish him every success in his business.

Martin from Sock Mine looking very daper

 Next we had a chat to  the people on the Selle Italia saddle stand. There we met a cracking lad named Tony. Tony is a top class bike fitter and went on to explain all about the design of the new Selle saddles. It may be a good investment for in the future iwhen I can manage to get a routine going come the finer weather on my road bike. I haven't been using my roadie because of the horrible weather as I want to look after her .

Melissa demonstrating the Henty Wingman Bag
Melissa getting ready for the off, Andy checking the tyres

 Finally we met a lovely lady named Melissa on the Henty stand. Not sure how many people will of heard of Henty bags I have to admit I hadn't myself, however upon checking out the design and concept I thought the range offered some very interesting, unique and functional qualities. Both Paul and I spent a good while chatting to Melissa and I'm quite excited about the prospect of trying out maybe one or two of the Henty products. That's all I'm going to say, but watch this space.

Following on from meeting Melissa over at Henty as we went back over to our own stand I got to meet a few of Andy and Paul's friends and come the end of the event on Friday, even managed to get lost yet again in the centre of Manchester as I tried to follow Matt and Victoria and  Andy and Paul to this Burger joint that apparently according to Matt "was the best burgers in the whole of Manchester". They were pretty darn good to be honest the place was called Solita Bar and Grill and I can highly recommend it if you are in the Manchester area, the food being awesome as well as the great customer service.

After the meal it was a ride into Rochdale to find our hotel for the night. Here the Sat Nav did very well getting us around 4 minutes away from where we wanted to be, then a quick Google search by Andy got us the right postcode and we were there in no time. The hotel was beautiful, so full of character and the owners were very pleasant. They had a very friendly Rottweiler named Harvey who enjoyed a good fussing over. ( This brought back memories of my dog we lost just last year Mr Hink's. On my return home it was a weird feeling driving back and knowing he wouldn't be there to greet me at the door in his usual manic, bouncy fashion )

Saturday morning we were up for 8am and a lovely full English breakfast. There was also a very nice fruit salad to be had which was very refreshing.  Craig who carries out bike fits for Andy and Paul and who also did my superb bike fit joined us for breakfast, he had come along to help out as it was expected to be a canny busy day, Saturday being the opening of the public event.

Today was non stop from the get go. I was introduced to another couple of Bike Swanky's mobile Mechanics, Andy and Paul (Yes I know confusing another Andy and Paul) and as the public came along to start demoing the bikes we all got into a routine of what we had to do. Craig manned the table at the entrance taking personal details, Andy and Paul the mechanics sorted out adjusting the various bikes to fit each individual and I completed what Identification they had brought along and  wrote down what bike they would be riding. As we got more and more busy we just tried to keep everyone happy showing them various bikes as the other ones came back and trying not to have too many people waiting around impatiently. We went over safety precautions for the use of the bikes and what to watch out for when riding the demo course upon each rider taking to the courses, then just told the people to go out and have fun.

We were so busy that the only thing I was disappointed about on the day was that I didn't have time to grab more pictures. oh and also that our good friend Si from Cylce Solutions and Bike Swanky's mechanic in my area (North East) couldn't make it as his car had bust a spring. Poor Si was so disappointed.

In ending have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was great to be involved and be able to help out. It was a real pleasure seeing Andy again and of course Paul who was awesome. As Paul helped me over to my car with my bike he even offered me some petrol money for coming down. I mean that after they had fed and watered me, got me a lovely hotel room, paid for lozenges for a sore throat I had and given me 3 cycling jerseys. To me it says a lot about the kind of people  both Paul and Andy are. So a huge thank you guys. I turned down the money of course as I didn't come along to be paid I did it as I wanted to support not only their company but also my friends.

Cheers for the Bike Swanky cycling jerseys my mates John,Al and Lee...will wear them with pride and I'll get a photo of us all next time we are together.

Now looking forward to getting back on form and blogging a bit more, time permitting. For a bloke who only works part time at the minute I never seem to have a minute and yet I never quite feel I'm doing quite enough, weird huh?

I aim on my next blog to write less and image more lol, well unless it's an epic adventure as I do know how you like my tales...

take care


  1. Great blog as always Glenn looked a great event.x

  2. Yeah it was a really enjoyable and interesting couple of days. I had the pleasure of meeting some lovely people, both friends of Andy and Paul and of course other people at the show, stand holders and the general public :)