The Bike Shed at Tobacco Dock
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.
Facilities and facts
Room to grow
One of the key factors in choosing Tobacco Dock as their venue was in the scope it offered them to grow their event over the years.
Rather than being stuck on the outskirts, Tobacco Dock's central location means that it's easy for visitors to arrive on public transport, while the nearby car park is ideal for those arriving by bike.
The heritage and stripped back styling of Tobacco Dock is a perfect fit for the Bike Shed brand, with many of their attendees saying the venue feels as much a part of the event as the bikes.
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.
Year 4 and 5
THE END RESULTS
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 16,000 sqm 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.
We’d been looking for an iconic venue and Tobacco Dock is a perfect fit.
"Our visitors love the spaces. Custom motorcycling is all about the engineering you can see and the structure of the building, with its exposed joists and brick arches, reflects that. We’re creating legacy and a place that you feel you’re coming home to every year and the venue has become as much a part of the show as the bikes."