Thursday, February 23, 2012

Montreal Bike Show; 2012 wrap up

Salon du Velo de Montreal 2012 / photos: Pasquale Stalteri

Montreal Bike Show; 2012 wrap up
by John Symon

February 23, 2012 (Montreal, QC) – The Tenth annual Montreal Bike Show (MBS) / Salon du Vélo wrapped up last Sunday at Place Bonaventure in downtown Montreal. Enthusiastic comments were heard from many exhibitors and visitors. Some 16,942 visitors came to the MBS in 2012, down slightly from  18,612 in 2011.

“It was too beautiful outdoors over the past few days and there were two other competing exhibitions on the same weekend,” noted organizer Jan P. Dubé in explaining the drop in numbers. “And while I had slightly fewer visitors, it was a better quality show this year. Many people were leaving the Show to go directly to the exhibitors’ stores to buy merchandise.”

“The 2012 MBS is better than the 2011 edition,” David Magnan, the owner of GTH, a chain of Quebec bike shops selling Cannondale told MwB. “The show this year looks better than it did last year and visitors seem more serious. we had a lot of people come by our booth, but there is no cash register here. We were only responding to questions. And most of the people who visited our booth were individuals, but there were also some dealers. Yes, we will certainly be here again at the 2013 show; this is a terrific opportunity to meet people and shake hands.”

Françoise Boutin, the owner of bike-friendly Auberge Harris in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu is among the first exhibitors to start coming to the MBS, now in its tenth edition. “I have been really into cycling for 25 years,” she told MwB Boutin not only promotes her 48-room hotel–which is very popular among the cycling crowd—but also works with nearby New York State’s Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau. “And this year marks the two hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812 with many activities planned, especially along the shores of Lake Champlain.” Boutin is a history buff, but she is also embracing new technology and spoke about a smart phone application available this year that acts as an electronic tour guide for cyclists touring her region.

Meanwhile, the Magdalen Islands / Îles-de-la-Madeleine tourist region shared a booth with the CTMA travel cooperative which operates ferry service to the archipelago in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “It’s a perfect destination for cyclists,” maintains Matthieu Miousse of CTMA who enthusiastically described the scenery of the 205 sq km islands renowned for their beaches and warm swimming waters. “The hills are not too big and the scenery is fantastic. The area is popular with road cyclists and mountain bikers as there is something for everyone here.” The itinerary of bike tours there is also adapted to prevailing winds and can change from day to day. Local spots of interest include a brewery and cheese factory. CTMA offers seven-day packages departing from Montreal from June 8—Sept. 14 where almost everything is included starting from $1164 per person. And a contest at MBS for a free trip to the Magdalens was won by Louise Couture from Trois-Rivières, QC.

A little farther south, the state of Virginia is also beckoning cyclists. “The cycling season starts early in Virginia; many Canadians come down in early April or even March to start riding,” Barbara Simon, Virginia Tourism’s Quebec rep, told MwB. “And there are so many possibilities down there both for road and mountain biking, including the popular 755 km Blue Ridge Parkway that leads down to North Carolina. We have a vineyards route and we have biking around Virginia Beach.”

“We had perhaps 200 people visit our booth here,” Jean Party a manager at Montreal-based Boutique Courier told MwB. “A lot of the visitors here are triathletes. We are not a discounter and our philosophy is to offer quality counselling to customers. Boutique Courir offers a number of brands in exclusivity in Montreal, or Quebec or sometimes in eastern Canada. These include Felt, Obean, Seven Cycles, and Trek. And for triathletes, we offer sales, rentals, and repairs of wetsuits. Our St. Denis Street store now has a third floor dedicated to cycling, triathlon, and cross-country skiing.” Patry said his store would do a follow-up after the 2012 show before deciding if they would return in 2013.

Charity groups at the show included Cyclo Nord-Sud (CNS) which collects used bicycles in Canada before shipping them to a dozen countries in the Third World. “As of our next shipment in May, we should reach the 40,000th bicycle shipped to the Developing World,” Lucie Poulin of Cyclo Nord Sud told MwB. “It’s very good for us to be at the MBS because we still need to increase public awareness of what CNS does.” The CNS booth also sold knick knacks and a terrific calendar showing how bicycles are used in the Third World.

A worldwide launch of City-Locker showed off a four-in-one product. “This product works as a combination mud guard, a baggage rack, a bike lock, and a kick stand,” Frenchman Marc Kuntz told MwB. “We expect to have a model for mountain bikes available in stores early this summer and are pleased with the reaction from independent bike dealers (IBDs) so far. Next year we expect to have a model available for road bikes. We are looking at a retail price of perhaps $85 for City-Locker.” His associate, Louis Luneau explained that one advantage of the City-Locker is that it can easily be mounted on a carbon frame bike which otherwise cannot take a kickstand.

Saturday, as part of the Montreal Bike show, the team EKOÏ.com / Gaspesien was presented to the public. Many people from the cycling world came to meet the riders and see the presentation of team jersey for the 2012 season. They had the chance to meet the key sponsors and the team management and learn about EKOÏ’s spring schedule.

Meanwhile, the unmistakeable figure of Jean-Yves Labonté could often be seen around the 2012 MBS show. Labonté has been operating the province’s other main bike show, Salon Info-Vélo in Quebec City for 27 years. “Maybe I will sell the show on its 30th anniversary,” he told MwB. The 2012 show takes place March 09–11, at the Terminal des croisières, on Dalhousie Street and admission is free. Click on the link below to see the list of exhibitors:

And the 26th Annual Toronto International Bicycle Show takes place March 2—4 at the Better Living Centre in Exhibition Place, Toronto


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