Updated: Thursday, 6th August 2020 @ 1:45am

'Cycling is a way of life': Spin Festival laud Manchester after 'fantastic' city debut

'Cycling is a way of life': Spin Festival laud Manchester after 'fantastic' city debut

| By Eddie Bisknell

One of the UK’s top cycling festivals has made its northern debut at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse.

Through the sheer range of people in attendance and number of brands showcasing their goods, there was something for everyone.

There was plenty to marvel at, art from The Fluffy Tractor and talks from established cyclists such as Olympic time-trialist, Graeme Obree, who praised Manchester’s enthusiasm and the sheer audacity and flair of the BMX flatland riders.

“Manchester has been fantastic for us and we’ve enjoyed every second of it,” Henry Nixon, Spin’s communications manager, told MM.

“The venue isn’t right in the city so I’ve been really impressed by the turnout we’ve had, and the people we’ve had through the door who are willing to take a chance and see if there’s something for them.

“I think the vast majority have found something that they can identify with and enjoy, and it’s been really good to be part of.”

The whole festival was constant hive of activity, with plenty of attendees excitably chatting with stall-holders and fellow cycling-lovers enjoying a constant flow of coffee and indulging in glorious food.

And it’s fair to say that the BMX flatland riders astounded all onlookers.

Spin, which started in London in 2013, decided to kick it up a gear this year to broaden its reach and Henry has his sights fixed on a return next year based on this year’s successes.

“I think outside of London it just fitted the show, it’s got the same personality that London has, it’s got the same attitude towards cycling, towards urban cycling and cycling not just as a sport but as a way of life – as a part of people’s lives,” Henry told MM.

Spin may expand to include Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield, but first is a return to Manchester.

Emma Evans, who had a stall at the show as the owner of South London Saddles, creates bespoke leather accessories for cycling enthusiasts.

 “I’m getting a really nice rapport from everyone, even more so than when I’ve done shows in London. It’s a really different vibe,” Emma told MM.

“I think people in London are too uptight really.

“They’re not so open to other ideas, they’ve got their own idea and that’s what it’s all about.

“Everyone’s lovely, it’s much better than down south.”

Another brand at the show was the Brighton-based House of Astbury.

The brand aims to draw attention to the issues such as cat-calling towards female cyclists with images and slogans on their gear.

Another company called Elephant Bike showcased recycled Royal Mail bikes, which had been refurbished by young offenders to teach them practical skills.

For every bike sold, one is shipped out to Malawi to be used as transport for game wardens.

The people who receive the bike are then taught how to repair and service the bikes and all profits go towards children’s centres in the region.

The project initially shipped Royal Mail bikes in their classic red paint, but this incurred the rage of an elephant, prompting it to charge at a warden, so now they’re strictly shades of green and have been dubbed ‘elephant bikes’.

Heading up sales for the event, Terry Richards told MM that Elephant Bikes were doing surprisingly well in Manchester, but largely due to their aesthetic appeal, as opposed to in London where customers tend to focus more on ‘techy’ aspects.

Spin now pedals back downhill to London for May 20-22.