London’s Cycle Show has come under fire from Times columnist Ben Laurance, who has the cheek to complain there was not enough “humdrum” kit on offer.
Not enough “reliable lights, locks which repel thieves, tyres that resist punctures, gears that don’t need adjusting every few days” he moaned about the major trade show.
But that’s like complaining there are too many Ferraris on Top Gear.
Trade shows aren’t about the humdrum. They’re about going all out to impress with cutting edge technology and imaginative innovation.
And they may not be particularly geared to your average commuter but they’re where you’ll find the new ideas which will become industry standards in years to come.
Just as airbags in their modern form were first introduced on top end Mercedes, Porsche and Audis, so the best bike designs start at the top and trickle down.
That’s why you’ll now find Kevlar tyres, hydraulic disc brakes, and lock-out forks on bikes for under £500.
Laurance also complained that most of the bikes at the show would require “considerable time and money” to fit out with the extras necessary for commuting.
Just what is he talking about? A set of lights? A bottle cage? A back carrier? Unless you don’t know which end of a screwdriver is the pointy bit, or think an Allen key can only be used by a bloke called, er, Alan, then you can fit all this stuff in minutes.
And, as for the extra cost, it’s often better to choose accessories separately. That way you don’t end up with lights that just look pretty, or a pannier rack that weighs as much as your bike.
His claim that retailers are only offering cycles suitable for weekend blasts, ultimately makes me wonder where he’s shopping.
Every major brand offers commuter hybrids these days, and even if your local bike shop doesn’t have a large range in stock they’ll go out of their way to find what you want.
This year’s London Cycle Show was the biggest yet. Yes, there was a lot of carbon. Yes, it wasn’t humdrum and boring. But who goes to a motor show to look at Ford Escorts?