Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on September 23rd, 2009 at 12:12 am
steps from the entrance to America's
premiere bicycle trade show.
(Photos © Elly Blue)
I just finished my first day at North America's biggest bicycle trade show. Interbike has something like a thousand exhibitors and 20,000 attendees from all over the world. Below are photos and thoughts from my first day on the ground at the Outdoor Demo.
But before I get to that... What's with having America's premier bike industry event in Las Vegas? It's a terrible place to ride a bike.
I realized this immediately upon exiting the airport on my trusty Brompton (yes, you warned me -- but I had no idea it was like this). I'll spare you the gorey details, but suffice it to say, these photos of my ride to the Sands Convention Center only start to do it justice.
yet strangely exciting.
The point was further driven home as soon as I arrived at the event's Outdoor Demo, held in a very dusty place called Bootleg Canyon (several miles west of the strip). The Demo is a chance for shop employees, buyers, and the media to take next year's bikes for a test ride. There were paved pathways, gravel roads, and a network of singletrack trails to test mountain bikes.
It was a big, cheerful traffic jam out on the pathways. All in the same, narrow space, people test rode macho-looking full-suspension bikes, walked from booth to booth, stood around and chatted, and stopped suddenly to take photos.
Amidst this cacophony of test-rides there was also an exhibition going on.
A pair of Interbike's fabled "booth girls".
It was great to see Portland company Chris King with a packed booth.
The guys at Civia were working hard to promote their Loring, described to me as a "farmers market bike." It has all the things you need in a bike -- spacious racks and fenders (both made of bamboo), chainguard, a u-lock holster, and even the widget with springs that keeps your steering stable with a heavy load up front.
I liked this one, a lot. The price ($1,395 for the 9-speed version) seemed a bit steep, but I guess it's a value when thinking of it as a car replacement.
Dahon has a new line of commuter folding bikes called the "Midtown Minis". They don't fold up very small (see below) or very easily (you need a tool) but have a top tube that rides and looks more like a conventional road bike.
at the Xtracycle tent.
It was a real breath of fresh air to find the Xtracycle airstream trailer, complete with solar panel, laid back vibe, and the soon to be released (they should be shipping around October 1) new Peapod kids seat that we wrote about last month.
Xtracycles are so ubiquitous around Portland that it was neat to finally meet some of the folks behind the bikes (there are only four of them making it all happen). They had a friend in tow, Mark Kohr, who was debuting his new invention, the Donkeyboxx, his low-cost, light-weight, Xtracycle specific response to the bike bucket -- filled, in this case, with ice, beer, and a watermelon.
Besides being completely overwhelming, the next couple of days should yield a better sense for how the bike industry is (or isn't) wooing customers who ride bikes for transportation. Or more to the point, how the manufacturers are wooing the shop buyers who are here to pick out their stock for next year.
But whether it's bikes for sport or transportation, Interbike is about selling stuff in large quantities -- and Vegas does seem to be an excellent place for that.
Browse more photos and notes from my day at the Outdoor Demo here.