The Bike Shed

As far from a standard motor show as you can imagine, The Bike Shed has been at Tobacco Dock for 7 years and over that time has grown from 4,000 - 17,000 attendees.

The Bike Shed

The Event

Centred around hospitality, experience and community with the intimate atmosphere of a pop-up members club, The Bike Shed was created by Dutch and Vikki Van Someren as a destination event for the discerning motorcycle community: the antithesis of a soulless trade fair.

The Bike Shed celebrates the design, creativity and passion of motorcycle culture and showcases professional custom builders as well as manufacturers. It’s also as fun to visit for non-motorcycle riders with live music, great coffee and food, brilliant bars, film screenings and inspirational art as well as tattoo parlour and barbers.

Running at Tobacco Dock every year since 2014 (with a Covid hiatus in 2020), its footfall has grown from 4,000 to 17,000 over the weekend event and we have loved being a part of their growth.

Why Tobacco Dock?

The very first Bike Shed event was held in 2013 in the railway arches at Shoreditch Studios. They were overwhelmed by the popularity of the event and knew they needed somewhere with greater capacity to accommodate all their visitors. They wanted an iconic venue with scope for them to grow over time and Tobacco Dock was a perfect fit.

As visual storytellers, Dutch and Vikki were seeking a space that emphasised their brand and served as more than a blank canvas to display the bikes. The exposed brickwork and steel columns in the venue echo the way in which the engineering of the custom motorcycles is revealed and the visitors responded positively that the venue is as much a part of the show as the bikes. The photogenic qualities of our spaces was a draw: ‘Any photography or filming at Tobacco Dock looks amazing. We knew we needed an iconic venue, and this is it,’ said Dutch in a recent interview.

Another tick in the box was the Dockside location of Tobacco Dock, just a short walk from Tower Bridge. Dutch and Vikki wanted a venue that was easily accessible on public transport so that visitors could enjoy a few beers.

The popularity of The Bike Shed has increased dramatically year on year, and the arrangement of our spaces means that we can create bespoke layouts so that the event will always feel bustling without being crowded. Despite us having 16,000sqm event space, there was no danger of the event feeling under-attended in the early days as we could build the ideal fit for them.

Spaces used

The first year saw the event using the Quayside Breakouts to welcome the 4,000 visitors who attended. Over the years, as the event has steadily grown in popularity, they have used more and more space. The last event in 2019 saw The Bike Shed take out the whole ground floor as well as the Quayside walkway to accommodate a footfall of 17,000 visitors!

*Photography by Amy Shore