lunes, febrero 17, 2014

London Bike Show 2014 tendencias / Se roban bicicletas de alta gama por encargo

gel energètico, autosellante

Brilliantly simple (Squeezy’s self-sealing energy gel – a possible solution to the littering that blights the reputation of some sportives?), there was much to celebrate at the ExCeL Centre.

But what else can we learn from the show? Bike fitting services took centre stage – almost literally, with a cluster of stands displaying the latest systems in the centre of the hall – and the choice of brands as large as Specialized and Shimano to make this their only presence at the show might tell us much about the importance they place upon it.

The presence of specialist cycling holiday companies at the show continued to grow, and with the weather in this blighted island going from bad to worse, business among those who provide a convenient escape to sunnier climes (not to mention climbs) is likely to continue to boom. We caught up with two at the LBS.

The biggest bike races in the world are heading the UK and Ireland this summer, and so the absence of stands to promote the Grand Partenza of the Giro d’Italia from Belfast, or of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France from Yorkshire, not to mention the Commonwealth Games was disappointing. Marketing budgets for such costly events will undoubtedly be tight, but was this not a missed opportunity to spread the good news to a receptive audience?

And if you’ll excuse us a moment of self-congratulation, the RCUK test track, voted the most popular attraction by visitors to last year’s show, continued to serve a seemingly insatiable demand, while the inaugural awards of our sister site, Total Women’s Cycling, seemed to attract almost the entire industry – and Laura Trott’s mum and dad.

Here then, without further ado, are five observations on this year’s London Bike Show.

Fit for purpose
This year’s London Bike Show might be described as one at which bike fitting came to town.

Not only did some of the leading thinkers in the field address the International Cyclefit Symposium, staged by Phil Cavell and Jules Wall of Covent Garden’s Cyclefit (men handpicked by Trek Factory Racing to fit the likes of Fabian Cancellara and Jens Voigt to their new machines), but some of the biggest players in the industry exhibited nothing more than their fitting services.

Retul jig, Specialized BG stand, London Bike Show 2014, pic: Timothy John, ©Factory Media
Bike fitting services took centre stage at the 2014 London Bike Show
When companies as large as Specialized and Shimano decide to use a consumer event on the scale of the London Bike Show to display nothing other than their Body Geometry and fit services respectively, is it a sign that the bike fitting has come of age? And is the emphasis of such industry giants on service rather than product a reflection of the changing nature in which bicycles are purchased? Shimano’s intended customer for the system it has purchased from and developed with is the independent bike dealer – a tool that one Shimano insider told us at Eurobike was intended to help the local bike shop “remain relevant”. Similarly, Specialized’s Body Geometry fit system is not limited to its network of concept stores, or even to Specialized bikes.

The greatest interest at the RCUK Test Track was created by the opportunity to ride Canyon bikes – a rare experience for would-be customers of a brand that operates a direct sales model and a step missing from the purchasing process that we know Canyon UK has plans to address. Unable to compete on price with mail order brands and internet retailers, could the increasing recognition of the importance of fit among cyclists be the salvation of the bricks and mortar bike shops that are often the lifeblood of their local cycling community? Specialized, Shimano, and Cannondale, which exhibited its Guru service at the show – three of the biggest players in the industry – seem to believe so.

Carbon remains king, but steel is real and aluminium affordable
The evidence of the London Bike Show is that carbon remains king in the eyes of the cycling industry. Rack upon rack of composite-framed steeds commanded the attention of the thousands of cyclists who visited the show, with scarcely a metal machine in sight.

Singular’s chromoly steel all-rounder, with eccentric bottom bracket, hydraulic disc brakes, and ‘cross tyres, was one of the more interesting machines at the 2014 London Bike Show
Kinesis UK put the collection of aluminium and titanium steeds that we reported from the trade-only Core Bike Show before the public, Cyclefit granted pride of place to Matthew Souter’s achingly beautiful Reynolds 953-chassised Saffron, while designer Sam Alison displayed a range of steel and aluminium-framed machines from his Singular brand, including a disc-equipped, chromoly all-rounder with eccentric bottom bracket, configured as a single-speed. Genuinely interesting.

Many of the hundreds of visitors to the RCUK Test Track had come for the opportunity to ride a carbon bike for the first time. A bad thing? Not necessarily: carbon is, of course, light, stiff, and increasingly affordable. But the persistent belief among new cyclists that all carbon lay-ups are equal, that aluminium is yesterday’s material, and that only by postmen ride steel bikes in the 21st century shows that the cycle industry has much to do in providing its customers with the information necessary to make an informed purchasing decision. The number of test track visitors genuinely surprised by the performance of the aluminium Canyon Ultimate AL and Rose Bikes Xeon RS-3000 was instructive.

Have bike, will travel
The rise and rise of cycling-specific holidays continues unabated, if the number of dedicated tour operators who exhibited at the London Bike Show can be taken as a guide.

Nick Miles, from East Sussex-based tour operator Rpm90, now in its third year of organising cycle tours, said what while trips to sample the iconic climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees were likely to remain popular, increasing numbers of his customers were riding the hills of Tuscany – l’Eroica country.

Road bike holidays flyer, Girona Cycle Centre, London Bike Show 2014, pic: Timothy John, ©Factory Media
Cycle-specific holiday companies were in abundance at the London Bike Show. A growing market of ‘high-level’ cyclists and appalling weather in the UK has expanded the market
“High-level cyclists”, with the necessary fitness levels to make the most of the iconic roads of France and Italy when they arrive, continue to fuel the interest in cycling-specific holidays, he believes. “It’s nice to see that there’s an investment in the sport at the higher level, but it’s not just people who want the nice bike, but they are fit enough to ride it and doing well in the sport.” The characterisation of cycling’s newest cohort as having “all the gear and no idea” is inaccurate, he says.

Saskia Welch from the Girona Cycle Centre said that climate – the terrible weather in Britain and the almost year-round dry roads of destinations like Girona – provides a powerful incentive for UK cyclists to seek more encouraging conditions than those of home in which to train. “Training in the weather in the UK is challenging,” she says. “You have to wear your whole wardrobe to go out. It’s a bigger step to go out and train. In Girona, it’s sunny and you just want to go out and ride your bike.”

Countries like France, Spain, and Italy – cycling’s heartlands – have not been slow to recognise the enormous growth in the popularity of the sport in the UK. This June, Girona will close the roads of its medieval town centre for a ‘nocturne’ ride in which cyclists will ride in safety at night on traffic-free roads before a gran fondo event the following day. Neither have companies in the UK been slow to tailor foreign breaks to meet the needs of cyclists from our own blighted shores. The continued harsh winters suffered by the UK are unlikely to slow demand any time soon.

No show for the biggest races bound for Britain
The biggest bike races in the world will be held in Britain this year, but visitors to the ExCeL Centre unaware that the Grand Partenza of the Giro d’Italia will roll out of Belfast on Friday May 9, that Yorkshire has pledged to host “the grandest of Grand Départs” from Leeds on July 5, or that Glasgow will host the Commonwealth Games from July 23 would have left none the wiser.

Evidence that the UK is a force in world cycling powerful enough to draw the sport’s biggest events to its shores was in short supply at the ExCeL Centre, with the brilliant exception of Summit Finish, and their miniature kilometre markers.

Summit Finish kilometre marker, London Bike Show, pic: Timothy John, ©Factory Media
The world’s biggest bike race is coming to Yorkshire in July, but the only evidence we could find at the London Bike Show were Summit Finish’s wonderful Plaster of Paris kilometre markers
The meteoric rise in popularity enjoyed by cycling since the Beijing Games owes much to the success of the nation’s elite riders. The success of Wiggins, Froome, Cavendish, Trott et al, all still in their prime, cannot be celebrated enough, and Sir Chris Hoy’s presence at the show, in person and on the giant hoardings of the brands for whom he is an ambassador, provided a tangible demonstration of the esteem in which the public holds its cycling heroes.

It is that willingness to support our cycling heroes at the roadside that has brought the ASO and RCS to Britain and Ireland this year, and which in part has helped Glasgow to win the Commonwealth Games. The presence of Mark Cavendish at two of the three events and the likelihood of him providing a home victory is unlikely to have escaped the attention of those who assessed the bids to host the events. The races may well escape the attention of visitors to the London Bike Show, however. The absence of the various commercial organisations and tourist boards promoting the races from the ExCeL Centre represents a significant missed opportunity, both for the events and for the sport.


Se roban bicicletas de alta gama por encargo
Bandas organizadas protagonizan sustracciones por todo el territorio valenciano, conocedores del alto precio del producto y la facilidad con la que después se puede vender

17.02.2014 | 14:42
CARLES SENSO | VALENCIA Difícilmente existe deportista vinculado al ciclismo que no conozca algún caso de robo de bicicletas en los últimos meses. Sea del deporte profesional o el amateur. En el primer caso, el problema se agrava por los robos de bicicletas de alta gama, para los que se han organizado bandas, especializadas en la sustracción única y exclusivamente de estos productos. Su objetivo no es otro que satisfacer la demanda de compradores que no tienen reparos en adquirir una bicicleta conseguida ilegalmente, a menudo frustrando los sueños de ciclistas que han depositado enormes ilusiones en caras bicis para mejorar sus tiempos.

Las fuerzas de seguridad han podido investigar la existencia de estos grupos, que conocen a la perfección a sus víctimas y saben dónde pueden conseguir los productos reclamados. Son versados delincuentes que estudian las mejores circunstancias o directamente aprovechan, con toda la brusquedad que sea necesaria, las ocasiones «irrechazables». Levante-EMV ha podido conocer afectados en municipios como Chiva, Godelleta, Canals, Moixent, Turís, Valencia, Xàtiva, Alzira, Benidorm o Càrcer. Evidentemente existen decenas de casos más a lo largo del panorama valenciano. «Se han dado cuenta de lo que puede llegar a valer una bicicleta de alta gama y la verdad es que han entrado a saco y están haciendo mucho daño. Por ejemplo, van a los bares donde se concentran los ciclistas y mientras se distraen un poco, roban sus bicis. Hay que estar muy al loro. Se han dado incluso casos de ir por la carretera entrenando un ciclista solo, situarse un coche a su lado y obligarlo a detenerse para después robarle la bicicleta», expone José Ignacio Tapias, del centro deportivo Fitness31, situado en Alcàntera de Xúquer, en la Ribera.

Algunos bares y restaurantes, conocedores de la problemática, han acondicionado salas interiores (a modo de aparcamiento) para que los ciclistas pueden dejar allí sus instrumentos de trabajo u ocio y almorzar tranquilos. Es el caso del bar Ricardo de Sumacàrcer, uno de los lugares de encuentro más conocidos de la parte interior de la provincia de Valencia. El robo se ha intensificados en los últimos años por la existencia de una tendencia que ha llevado a los aficionados a competir o entrenar en el mundo de las carreras combinadas o BTT.

Uno de los casos más sonados en las últimas semanas ha sido el del triatleta de Almansa Edu Pito. Durante la transición de un entrenamiento de prueba combinada en Benidorm (ciudad en la que reside en la actualidad), entró a ducharse en un polideportivo bastante poblado de gente. No fue óbice para que los ladrones le reventaran las lunas del coche y le robaran una cara bicicleta que ocultaba en el maletero. La pasada semana desaparecieron dos bicicletas en Canals, siendo rescatadas horas después por la Guardia Civil en la misma localidad. También tuvo una desagradable experiencia el duatleta de Valencia Mariano Fernández, quien sufrió un robo prácticamente ante sus narices. «Fue en Benimàmet, frente al Lluís Puig. Estuve más de media hora hablando con una persona a la puerta de un bar y yo creo que ahí ya estaban esperando a que me distrajese. Entré un minuto al bar y rápidamente vi como se llevaban mi "mountain bike", valorada en unos 1.500 euros. Salí corriendo detrás pero al ir vestido de ciclista no pude hacer nada».

El colmo de los despropósitos lo sufrió el triatleta de Antella Jordi Pascual durante su participación en el triatlón olímpico de la Casa de Campo de Madrid. El ribereño se introdujo junto a sus rivales en el agua para completar el sector a nado y cuando salió (entre los primeros clasificados dado que el antellense es uno de los deportistas más importantes a nivel español en pruebas combinadas) se quedó de piedra al ver que le habían sustraído la bicicleta, además de material deportivo variado como unas gafas o el casco. En total, más de diez mil euros de robo.

«Saben quién tiene buenas monturas»
16.02.2014 | 23:54
En el mundo de las dos ruedas existe cierta angustia, pues los ciclistas siempre conocen a alguien que ha sufrido algún robo o, directamente, ellos han sido víctimas directas. Según explicó a este periódico la conocida ciclista de Xàtiva Anna Sanchis (una de las responsables de Bicicletas Sanchis): «En el último año está más parado por Xàtiva pero siguen viniendo clientes para que les saquemos las facturas y poder denunciar el robo. La Policía Nacional estuvo por aquí preguntando sobre estos hechos y nos dijeron que habían encontrado bicis de esta zona por Valencia. Son una banda organizada y van buscando por los trasteros porque conocen quienes tienen bicicletas de alta gama, de 1.500 a más de 6.000 o 7.000 euros». El ciclista de Moixent Javier García López relata su caso: «Me fui a entrenar y, al volver, entré en casa, cerré la puerta y dejé la bici en el hueco de la escalera, al lado de los contadores, mientras me duchaba. Cinco minutos después de que yo entrara en casa, bajaron mis padres y se la acababan de llevar forzando la puerta. Una vecina de la calle se chocó con el ladrón y dijo que llevaban toda la mañana controlando la calle. Al día siguiente me enteré que robaron otra en Albaida y a los cuatro o cinco días también se la robaron a otro chico de Moixent, entrándole a la cochera». Recientemente se supo que la policía de Albacete imputó a más de viente personas por el robo y hurto durante el año pasado de casi cincuenta bicicletas.

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