Cycling has become one of the fastest-growing trends in Thai society. These days, although the numbers here are still low compared to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Bogota or other bicycle-friendly cities, bikes are now a pretty common sight on Bangkok streets, in sois, parks and other places including office buildings, condominiums and exhibition centres.
Yes, you read it right, exhibition centres. As a matter of fact, not counting second-hand markets which take place at different venues every other week, this year so far there have been three major non-race bike events already. First was the Thailand Bike and Vehicle 2013 show in February, followed by the Life Cycling Expo in March and the Bangkok Bike 2013 event last week. While the second was held at The Emporium department store, the other two took place at Impact, Muang Thong Thani.
It has to be said that, unlike last November's A Day Bike Fest at Makkasan Station of the Airport Rail Link, the Thailand Bike and Vehicle event was a disappointment. Some people drove from their homes in other provinces all the way to Muang Thong Thani to attend the fair only to find that there were just a few bike-related exhibitors sharing the hall with booths selling food and other consumer products. And word quickly spread on the internet warning cyclists who were planning to drop by to think again. At the same time, there were also those who posted words of encouragement to the organisers, hoping that next time they would learn from their mistakes and manage to do better in future. The Life Cycling Expo was more like a bike exhibition than a shopping opportunity. Different types of bike _ many of them very expensive _ were put on display. There were also stage discussions featuring experienced cyclists as well as successful businessmen and celebrities who have become hooked on cycling. In all, the event was a success.