On Wednesday we packed a hired transit van with 4 bikes, 9 frames and assorted pictures, clothing and goodies to head off to Bespoked Bristol for set up on Thursday.
Thursday we (Grant & myself - Jane) set off for the show, arriving to see the venue Old Brunel train station, a really nice old building in Bristol. We've not exhibited for ... oooh 8 years or so when we went to the York rally, so it was a bit of a leap into the unknown! There didn't seem to be much action on the Thursday but we got ourselves set up anyway, lets say - plenty of elbow room So we hit Bristol with avengence.. found a really nice little cafe / bar boat - Under The Stars bar I think, and they had a live music open mike night.
stand almost done
On Friday Phil and Thomas from the workshop travelled to Bristol to supervise the stand set up and to check out the competition, but at 11am there still wasn't that much to see. The show opened to the press at 3.00pm Friday and there were still people setting up, 5pm invitation launch event 8pm finish. A pint of Look Mum No Hands 'Lovely Lugs' sorted us out. Friday night we found out that the waterfront that our hotel room looked out on was erm... pretty loud at the weekend.
One of the bikes we took was my bike (I'll post details of 'her' after this), and we won an award - Best Utility of the show! amazing stuff, we were really chuffed and surprised, but it made all the stress of getting everything ready for the show worthwhile, brilliant.
Saturday 9.30am start and there was a queue at the door! From opening time until 6pm it was packed. We met really nice people all day, who a) told us they had a Mercian in the past, b) have a Mercian now and c) that they want one. We had people say that they didn't know that Mercian was still around and people who had never heard of the company before, a great mix of people but all really interested in 'hand built'. Some brilliant dogs as well, I took a particular liking to Elvis the French Bulldog, but that's not relevant Had lots of offers to buy my bike, but really not for sale.
Sunday wasn't quite as busy but it was a good steady flow of folks, I think the clocks going forward and the gorgeous weather meant that they had other things to do but it was an opportunity for us to go and meet some of the other builder at the show. It was great to meet with people like Brian and Jason Rourke, Ricky Feather, Tom from Demon frameworks, Robin Mather and the new builders, including the guys from Schultz who arrived at the same time as us - having driven 2000km from Hungary! Nice guys - they shared a Hungarian herbal liqueur with us when we won the prize, rocket fuel! It could probably have got them home.
5pm finish then pack up and drive home. Exhausted.
It was a great show, if you missed it please try to go next year there was some gorgeous stuff to see, no big brands, just small bike makers and related companies, people were spending the whole day looking around and talking to people with an interest in good quality hand built stuff. Phil and Tessa organised the show and deserve a medal, they did a great job to create a show with real character and lots of interesting people for visitors to see.
Oh and we won the Best Utility, did I say that?