MONACO, JUNE 1-3, 2017
From the growing enthusiasm for Sunday club rides to the fact that London’s clogged city streets are now flowing with colorful two-wheel commuters, cycling has undergone the most dramatic transformation over the past decade. And where passion and popularity lies, so artisanship and collectability soon follow. The bicycle is now poised on the brink of another tipping point. Today’s bikes are not only useful, environmentally friendly and super-efficient modes of transport, they are also highly fetishised objects. In the studios of visionary designers, they are being reinvented, redesigned and re-imagined in a fantastic number of ways.
LikeBike welcomes you to discover the world of hyper-cycling.
These frames are usually bespoke dream machines, meticulously built to order at eye-watering cost. They are head-turning pieces of engineered art and many of them, literally, have the aesthetics (and price tags) you would usually associate with art that you hang on the wall. In fact, many of these bikes would look very striking displayed on a white wall under a spotlight or two. But the true beauty of this art is that it is also functional.
It’s often said that when men hit their 40s, they join a golf club, but now they get into cycling. Along with sports cars, yachts, skiing holidays and obsessively sourced music centers, bikes have become yet another way for the rich to spoil themselves. Once you accept that bikes are now a luxury item as opposed to being simply an everyday piece of equipment, the sky is the limit. And there are many bike builders happy to cater to this growing and highly knowledgeable market.
Those searching for truly exquisite bicycles would do well to head to the LikeBike show in Monaco. The fact that the exhibition takes place in the breathtaking Grimaldi Forum, with its view over the Mediterranean, gives you some idea of the caliber of the bikes on display. Monaco boasts the highest concentration of high net worth individuals in the world, as well as the globe’s greatest density of car ownership, and it clearly takes something very special to persuade people out of four wheels and on to two.
Prince Albert II of Monaco is an enthusiastic cyclist himself, and for years his tiny principality has also been home to some of the sport’s greatest names, including Eddy Merckx, Philippe Gilbert and Christopher Froome. It’s no wonder then, that an area with such wealth and outstanding natural beauty is also now home to what is surely the most glamorous bike show on the planet.
The LikeBike show takes place over the first weekend in June. It was founded by Wladimir Singer and Mark Hillsdon, two men who share a love of cycling and a deep commitment to great design. The show is held directly after the Giro d’Italia and before the Tour de France starts, and the event’s centerpiece, the gala dinner, attracts many of the biggest names in the sport, from pro riders to team owners.
Aside from the many red-carpet moments of the weekend, there are almost 300 stands exhibiting custom made, technically futuristic bikes. Many of the biggest brands in cycling have huge budgets and churn out thousands of well-crafted frames for a global market. These names spearhead research and development in cycling technology and their breakthroughs trickle down to amateur riders, in the same way that Formula One pushes the envelope in engine technology for everyday motorists. However, Wladimir and Mark realized that many of today’s most talented and inventive manufacturers are small-scale artisans building exquisite frames for discerning customers.
For this reason they made sure that both these groups, the mature and well-established, as well as the young and cutting-edge, appear at LikeBike. It’s a unique platform for them.
The cycling community cuts across all levels of society. Anyone who pedals a bike joins a self-selecting group who appreciate fresh air, freedom of movement and the thrill of the ride. LikeBike is engaged with its community. Both Wladimir and Mark have lived in Monaco for many years, their children were raised there and still go to school in the city. As such, LikeBike supports several local charities, including Fondation Albert II de Monaco; Monaco Aide et Présence; Peace and Sport; and the Monaco Cycling Federation.
This year LikeBike is also focusing on many other elements of the cycling lifestyle, from accessories to sports nutrition and performance. They will also be working with the international design platform BORN, to name the first International Cycling Lifestyle Award.
For anyone who has yet to appreciate the fine art of the bike builder’s craft, a visit to LikeBike is truly eye-opening. Frames are offered which wouldn’t look out of place in the pit lane of a Grand Prix. Using space age materials to achieve remarkable savings in weight and the use of wind tunnels to create flowing aerodynamic shapes, some of these bikes are absolutely breathtaking.
More information on this event go to http://likebikemc.com/.