NEWS: TAIPEI INTERNATIONAL CYCLE SHOW 2016
Bikezilla writer MaoMao embarked on her first bike expo at Taipei Cycle 2016. Like a wide-eyed intern, she went about the expo with energy and enthusiasm that the rest of the editorial team paled in comparison to. While the rest of the team were secretly watching her as she went about her journalistic work, we'd say she came off with fresh new insights and inferences of Taipei Cycle 2016 and Taipei itself. Read on for her fresh impressions of the biggest, most important bicycle expo in Asia!
I'd like to start by saying that this trip to Taipei was an eye-opener in a few ways. On a personal level, it was highly enjoyable, with good company and lots of laughs. On the work front, I was educated by experiences encountered. On top of that, I have also been immensely enriched by the Taiwanese culture of hospitality, which has made my stay, albeit short, a most memorable one.
MAOMAO GOES PLACES
The Taipei 101, Shih Lin Night Market, Xi Men Ding etc… are not distant names (compliments to Taiwanese drama serials and variety programmes). This being my maiden trip to Taiwan though, and finally having the opportunity to finally visit them is quite monumental. Everything people tell you about the friendly folks is true. All the vibrant street scenes you see on television really do exist! You can check out some personal snapshots right here if you’re interested.
A LEARNING JOURNEY
I was privileged enough to receive an invitation to the Taipei International Cycle Show 2016, organised by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), at the Nangang Exhibition Centre. It was held in conjunction with the Taipei International Sporting Goods Show. An added bonus too, was witnessing the prestigious Design & Innovation Awards ceremony as a member of the press.
Prior to the trip, I had been rather inspired by the YouBike, the eco-friendly public bike-sharing system. It was difficult to imagine the high degree of civic-consciousness it takes to maintain the sharing of 6000 bikes on a city-wide scale. The series of events at the Taipei Cycle then gave me greater insight on the advocacy's line of sight – how Taipei has successfully made cycling such a pervasive part of life, so much so that a system like this is possible.
It is interesting to note that ‘cycling’ is promoted not just as a sport (whether leisure or competitive) but also in all its goodness – a convenient and sustainable mode of commuting. The culture of cycling is ingrained as a part of a healthy lifestyle, with a convincing persuasion – that sports give rise to a better society. Exercise, when done in groups, gives rise to better social relationships. With an active lifestyle comes better emotional health i.e. people are happier and get along harmoniously with others. And as we all know, exercise gives one good physical health, so cost of public healthcare can be reduced or more effectively apportioned.
In essence, cycling is not just beneficial to personal health, but practical in building a stronger society. With such a well-pronounced plus point, it is no wonder that the cycling community in Taipei has grown. Consequently, the industry has also progressed steadily to make this interest sustainable.
SIMPLER, LIGHTER AND MORE USER-FRIENDLY
This seems to be the trend which bicycle and component design is moving toward, as seen from the winning entries of the d&i Awards. A whopping 48 awards were presented during the Award Ceremony to honour innovations in these areas. Taking centre stage this year were the functional and user-friendly designs, which promote a comfortable cycling experience. Awardees included local as well as international entries from 19 countries. Among the winners was Singapore’s very own Coast Cycles, bagging two prizes with their Quinn (commuting bike), as well as Ruckus (fun bike).
Ruckus by Coast Cycles
The gravity and prestige placed on each of the award categories reflect Taiwan’s genuine interest in promoting cycling, not just within the nation, but worldwide as well. This is well-aligned with their sentiment of inculcating a healthier lifestyle, but on a more global scale.
The Avow Advanced Pro, Women's Triathlon Bike by Giant
One thing that stood out to me was that many of the award recipients were fairly young – which hopefully spells limitless potential and a bright future for the bicycle industry.
Congratulations, Jensen (from Coast Cycles Singapore)!
NO EXCUSE TO NOT CYCLE
Taipei International Cycle Show 2016 hosted over 3,000 exhibits in a span of 3 days. Its massive scale overwhelmed me slightly as a first-time attendee to this annual event. Even with a rather comprehensive event guide, it took a while to get oriented. I made multiple rounds of each level of the exhibition hall before moving on to the next just to ensure that I covered as much ground as possible. Yet on each patrol, I spotted something different, that I had missed on a previous round.
Many of the exhibitors were enthusiastic in answering questions. A few of them even took the initiative to introduce themselves and explain the nature of their product. One particular booth which made an impression was Pacific, with a wide display of lifestyle and commuting bikes, each a spectacle on its own.
Pacific's Handy – a 7-speed recumbent handcycle. It aids building of upper body strength and allows wheel-enthusiasts with disabilities to cycle alongside their family and friends.
The biggest cycle show in Asia wouldn't be complete without the attendance of the biggest names in bicycling, would it?
Besides the usual big names that we are familiar with, was a plethora of other brands. Though lesser-known (or simply waiting to be renamed by potential brand creators), they boasted an equally impressive variety of functional and attractive products. There seemed to be a bike to suit every need – performance, leisure, commuting, even catering to different age groups and skill levels. With cycling made so fun and easy, people who are new to the sport or lifestyle would very likely be enticed into committing to their first set of wheels.
For a fleeting moment there, I wanted to have a kid so that I can put him/her on one of these.
On top of that, the lifestyle and sporting goods also catered to the vanity in us all. Apparel, protective gear, accessories and bike peripherals – a never-ending range of products which you never knew existed but now wonder how you did without. The manufacturers did their magic in making these products look so aesthetically appealing to everyone, cyclist or not.
Look at the colours on these forks!
You got to admit that sometimes fun-looking gear does make doing a sport more fun.
Being this spoilt for choice in so many dimensions, there is practically no excuse to not get one’s ass on a saddle and start cycling.
Besides the novice and recreational cyclists, performance cyclists looking for ways to improve their fitness would appreciate the innovative technology available.
This system allows you to do spin classes right from home!
TECH GEEK HAVEN
Besides bicycles and components, there was an endless display of products that aid a convenient integration of cycling into everyday life. There were many solutions introduced for storage, transportation and safety. One example is Cool Bike Storage (yes, that is in fact its name).
Not to mention, it was every bicycle enthusiast’s paradise. With the availability of all manners of nifty tools for bike maintenance and innovations, I’m sure many left the exhibition venue with lots of business ideas.
Many seasoned cyclists are well-equipped with the mechanical skills of assembling or fixing a bicycle. However, in-depth understanding of what goes behind building a bicycle is often taken for granted. And by that I do literally mean ‘building’ – at the level of manufacturing carbon or alloys. At least for me, it was rather educational to learn that there are a number of options available for raw material as well. This breeds a greater appreciation for what goes into making my bike lighter, stronger and work better. And for the potential brand owners, this expo would surely give them the assurance of Taiwan's manufacturing prowess.
The Gouge Guard by Bitex, with 3 hardened stainless steel splines on a patented 6-pawl freehub body. This absorbs the pressure from the steel cassettes, so they don't gouge, leaving ugly notches and making the hub difficult to remove.
THE HEART OF TAIPEI INTERNATIONAL CYCLE SHOW
Taipei International Cycle Show is more a trade expo for businesses than it is for consumers. We presented this article from a mix of seller's and consumer's point of view because whatever new innovations, new manufacturing know-hows will eventually benefit the end-users (our readers) – the cyclists! And with these new innovations and technological know-hows, we can be assured that cycling on all fronts – be it leisure, commuting and sports would benefit greatly.
While Bikezilla is constantly on the lookout for news on innovations and advances, what we really look forward to seeing is the possibility of more people embracing the cycle nation ideology, more enthusiasts taking up cycling as a sport and the overall increase in the world of people owning at least one bicycle and adopting cycling as an integral part of their life.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR, TAIPEI!
Bikezilla would like to extend our sincerest thanks to TAITRA for their generous support and to be a part of this year's Taipei International Cycle Show. It has been an exciting journey with wonderful insights. I have been truly humbled and inspired by my new understanding of how the cycling culture in Taiwan has evolved. A photo gallery of our experience at the exhibition can be found here.
Maomao is a relatively new cyclist, being acquainted with her first real bike about 4 years back and having developed a slight crush on trail cycling only in the last year. In her free time, she enjoys running, swimming and zen-ing it out with yoga. Aspirations include becoming a decent photographer and exotic poledancer.