Montreal Bike Show 2012 Wrap Up

by John Symon

February 28, 2012 (Montreal, QC) – The 10th annual Montreal Bike Show (MBS) wrapped up on Feb. 19 at Place Bonaventure in downtown Montreal. Enthusiastic comments were heard from many exhibitors and visitors as some 16,942 attendees 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 held on the same weekend,” noted organizer Jan P. Dubé. “And while we had slightly fewer visitors, it was a better quality show this year and exhibitors were very happy as many attendees were ready to buy merchandise.”

“The 2012 MBS was better than the 2011 edition,” David Magnan, the owner of GTH, a big Cannondale dealer in Quebec, told Pedal. “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. Yes, we will certainly be here again at the 2013 show; this is a terrific opportunity to meet people and shake hands.” For more on GTH visit www.gthsports.com

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 10th year. “I have been really into cycling for 25 years,” she told Pedal. 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 200th 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. More info: www.goadirondack.com and www.aubergeharris.com

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 $1,164 per person. And a contest at MBS for a free trip to the Magdalens was won by Louise Couture from Trois-Rivières, QC. More info HERE and HERE.

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 Pedal. “And there are so many possibilities down there both for road and mountain biking, including the popular 755km Blue Ridge Parkway that leads down to North Carolina. We have a vineyards route and biking around Virginia Beach. More info: www.virginia.org

“We had a lot of visitors this year,” Jean Party a manager at Montreal-based Boutique Courier told Pedal. “And many are triathletes. We are not a discounter and our philosophy is to offer quality advice to customers. Boutique Courir offers a number of brands including Felt, Obea, 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.” For more info visit  www.boutiquecourir.com

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. “For our next shipment in May, we should reach 40,000th bicycle shipped to the Developing World,” Lucie Poulin of Cyclo Nord Sud told Pedal. “It’s very good for us to be at the MBS because we still need to increase public awareness at to what CNS does.” The CNS booth also sold a variety of knick knacks and a terrific calendar showing how bicycles are used in the Third World – more info HERE.

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 kickstand,” Marc Kuntz from France told Pedal. “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 – for more info louis.luneau@luno.ca

On Saturday, as part of the Montreal Bike show, the new 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 the new team kit for the 2012 season and a chance to meet the key sponsors and the team management and learn about EKOÏ’s spring schedule. More info: www.ekoi-gaspesien.com

Meanwhile, the unmistakeable figure of Jean-Yves Labonté could often be seen on the show floor. Labonté has been operating the province’s other main bike show, Salon Info-Vélo held in Quebec City for 27 years. “Maybe I will sell the show on its 30th anniversary,” he told Pedal. The 2012 show takes place March 9-11, at the Terminal des croisières, on Dalhousie Street and admission is free. Click HERE to see the list of exhibitors.

In Toronto this coming weekend the 26th Annual Toronto International Bicycle Show takes place March 2-4 at the Better Living Centre in Exhibition Place, Toronto – more info HERE – while the Vancouver Bike Show runs this coming weekend as well from March 3-4 – click HERE.

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