Prudential Ride London 100 Expo

British Cycling recently asked me to represent them at the Prudential Ride London 100 Expo, talking to the riders about staying safe while riding in a bunch. I agreed not knowing a lot about the Expo and as a result was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at London’s Excel centre for the first day.

The Expo organisers had done a great job setting up what was effectively a mini bike show with big exhibitors such as Continental, Mavic, Wiggle, Madison and Rapha alongside numerous smaller stands offering everything from cycling holidays to training camps and niche products-the Box Hill café had a replica “building” serving food and drinks just as they normally do at the top of the climb. In amongst all of this was the stage that I was due to give 4 talks a day on, set up in front of an array of picnic benches and between the amazing Animal WD40 Action Sports Tour on one side and the Extreme Mountain Bike show on the other-at least I wasn’t going to be bored between talks!

Mavic had a big presence at the show and this might be the coolest trailer I've ever seen!

Mavic had a big presence at the show and this might be the coolest trailer I’ve ever seen!

The talks all went well and I had some really good questions from members of the audience. It was the biggest audience that I have spoken in front of but I really enjoyed the experience-talking to big audiences is really easy compared to a small group where you can see everyone! As time went on the weather forecast confirmed that it was definitely going to be wet on Sunday for the ride so I tweaked the talks a bit to include more information on riding in wet weather – hopefully everyone found them useful and I made a small contribution to keeping everyone safe on the day.

Celebrities!

Martyn being interviewed on stage-here talking about Chris Akrigg riding along a tree on a road bike!

Martyn being interviewed on stage-here talking about Chris Akrigg riding along a tree on a road bike!

I’m not normally one to pay much attention to “celebrities” but I was pretty excited when I saw the list of Sportspeople who were due to be talking. There were a few cyclists of course and it was nice to catch up with Joanna Rowsell and see her Commonwealth Games Medal.

Fresh from Glasgow, Joanna Rowsell bought her Gold medal to the event with her.

Fresh from Glasgow, Joanna Rowsell bought her Gold medal to the event with her.

It was also pretty cool to see the man-mountain Martin Johnson in person and great to hear that he’s now pretty hooked on cycling! However, the undoubted highlight of the weekend for me was MTB legend Martyn Ashton who was due to be speaking about the Road Bike Party and Road Bike Party 2 films during the expo. I’ve been watching Martyn do almost unbelievable things on a bike for about 25years now and my admiration for him has only grown since his recent accident. There are times when you meet people that you admire and are disappointed but this definitely wasn’t one of them! I chatted to Martyn not long after he arrived and he was totally down to earth and seemed to be loving watching the show that he created. I was also sat near him as one of the films played before one of his interviews on stage and he chatted about filming it – most of all it was great to hear that he was human after all when he said “that bit scared the s**t out of me”

Meeting a hero was the highlight of the weekend!

Meeting a hero was the highlight of the weekend!

Overall, the event was really impressive – it felt like a big professional event rather than a traditional cycling event and maybe that’s just what this sort of ride needs?

Martin Johnson is huge when you meet him in person!

Martin Johnson is huge when you meet him in person!