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The Outdoor Adventure Show Olympia London 21st February 2005

Article by Mike Barrett

 

The exhibition season is well and truly underway in the UK now. A few weeks ago we had the London Boat Show at Excel, this coming week is the Boat, Caravan and Outdoor show at the NEC in Birmingham, then the International Dive Show back at Excel the first weekend of March, then CeBIT in Hannover from the 11th of March and finally the Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show again at Birmingham NEC from the 18th of March.

 

This weekend it was the turn of the Outdoor Adventure Show held at Olympia in London.

Memory-Map

There was actually very little in the way of GPS gear or interest at the show. The only stand with GPS on was Memory-Map where they were showing the latest version of Memory-Map (4.40) (check out our Memory-Map update thread). With about 5 or 6 staff manning the stand there was rarely a long wait to talk to the guys.

 

One of the things that I do like to see is the Memory-Map application running on those big wide-screen plasma displays.They really show of the Ordnance Survey map detail well.

 

Memory-Map also had the new Otter Box Armor 1900 on display a smaller version of the 3600 more suitable for protecting smaller PDAs from the elements.

 

They also had the "Bike in a Bag" on show. These are pedal bikes that fold up and are stored in (surprise) carry bags. These are easy to store and transport from place to place. Ideally these would be suited to people camping or caravanning. Personally I still prefer my normal mountain bike, but as a means of popping down the road to the shops, or to get to the trailhead then this could be a viable option.

Rally Raid

For me the most interesting part of the show was the Rally Raid stand. The guys had brought one of the 4x4 vehicles used in the Barcelona-Dakar rally.

 

Rally Raid provide support and technical services for the "privateers" in the rally. This means that they are the unsung heroes that keep the rally drivers on the road. It is quite amazing what goes on behind the scenes, a little like a swan gliding gracefully over the water whilst its legs are going like the clappers.

 

When I first saw the car I stuck my head in the window and said "Where is the GPS then?". They pointed to an empty holder and said it goes there. Now the holder was about the size of my hand so I was expecting some kind of super piece of kit with all sort of map displays etc. I asked them what mapping data they used and was told that they don't use maps at all. In fact the only navigational assistance used is a route card. This literally tells them to turn left at the third rock on the right. Scary stuff! The GPS only gives them a position read-out for emergencies. No spoken instructions like we get over here.

 

In the afternoon Martin gave a presentation in the main theatre. He described how the support teams work at the rally.

 

The support team consist of chase drivers and mechanics. The support vehicle is on the road for 10 hours a day following the racers. When they reach the end of the day's stage then the mechanics start to work. Again for about 10 hours through the night to prepare the racing equipment for the next day.

 

One story that caught my attention was that of Pedro. Pedro is a biker who had a coming together with a donkey. Unfortunately the donkey came off worse, but the front of the bike was wrecked. The RallyRaid team worked overnight and fitted a new front end to the bike. The next day he crashed and once again totaled the front of the bike. The guys rebuilt it overnight again to allow him to continue in the race.

 

These guys are heroes that provide the support and assistance to allow independent racers the opportunity to pit their talent against the big factory funded teams and compete with good results. Well done guys keep up the good work!!

 

You can keep up to date with RallyRaid on their website http://www.rallyraid.co.uk

 



Ford Ranger

Ford were also there in force with the new Ford Ranger.

 

The Ranger is a new Crew Cab pickup truck designed with the recreational user in mind. The interior of the car can fit a driver and up to four passengers. Whilst the truck bed is large enough to take all their bikes or other sporting gear.

 

There have been cars like this in the USA for decades now. Mitsubishi started selling the L200 over here a few years ago, now Ford are starting to sell them the Sports Pickup may really take off.

 

Activities to try-out

The Outdoor Adventure show has it's basis very much on the actual experience of trying out the various activities. In the picture above you can see the central attraction a Zorbing run. This is where you effectively get in the middle of a see-through ball and hurl yourself down a hill.

 

The animated image to the right shows zorbing in action. What you are actually seeing is a very brave (or stupid) video cameraman filming the zorbing ball as it comes down and rolls over him. The picture below is just as his body is being "crushed". The lengths the media go to get a story. Well it got reported here.

 

The show had all sorts of try-outs from the Royal Marine Commandos moving climbing wall to a big tank where you could try scuba diving.

 

If you were crazy enough (and lots of people were) you could jump off the balcony onto a big air bag. If you didn't fancy jumping then you could absail down. Alternately you could climb up on a climbing wall. The final option was to be catapulted up! Not for me thanks!!

 

All in all it was a good day out. The show is somewhat smaller than the OS Outdoor Show, but is far more focused on activity sports.

 

Next up is the Boat Caravan and Outdoor show at the NEC.

 

 

Resources

Pocket GPS Contributor

Mike Barrett

Pocket GPS Contributor Website

http://www.1st-ventures.com

   
Upcoming shows  
 

Boat, Caravan and Outdoor show

International Dive Show,

CeBIT

Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show

 

 

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