TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN)—Ride On organizer Luca Conte expected 160 people to show up to the event Thursday morning, but turnout was nearly 200, with the line to pick up badges stretching into the Hotel One lobby. (For more coverage from Taichung, click on link to download the PDF newsletter.)
“It was a good decision to come down here,” Conte said, referring to Ride On’s move from the remote Freshfields Resort to downtown Taichung in its 10th year. “This is working very, very well.”
Conte said the event will likely stay at Hotel One in the future. It’s a 20-minute walk or short cab ride from the center of Taichung Bike Week, bringing in more walk-in traffic from product managers who may have been hesitant to make the 45-minute haul out to Freshfields in the past. A free Ride On shuttle connects all the events.
“Traffic is excellent,” Matt VanEnkevort, head of FSA North America, said between meetings on the hotel’s 27th floor. FSA is one of nine Ride On exhibitors. Others are Hayes Bicycle Group, Crankbrothers, Vittoria, Mavic, Gore Ride On cables, Magura, Fizik and Fox Racing Shox.
Not only is Hotel One closer to the Bike Week buzz, but it swanks up the event a bit from a basic conference center to a modern high-rise hotel. Some Ride On exhibitors were looking for a venue that matched the swagger of their brand image, and Hotel One fit that bill, Conte added.
Moving from Freshfields takes away the actual riding portion of Ride On as the outdoor demo no longer exists, but “people here are very busy; there is no time to ride,” noted FSA Europe’s Claudio Marra, a founding member of Ride On. Indeed, in past years testing gear had become less of a focus of Ride On in lieu of formal classroom product presentations.
The hotel also upped exhibitor costs as it required brands to reserve meeting space for presentations as well as hotel suites for closed-door negotiations. At the former location, exhibitors paid less for meeting space. But, the hotel also offers support including catering and nicer accommodations, Conte said. And most would agree, Ride On is a steal compared with the cost of other industry trade shows.
Ride On continues through Saturday.