Friday, September 12, 2014

Interbike 2014

No, not a composite shot—Las Vegas at its best
How often have I been to Vegas? Fifteen times? Twenty? I honestly don't know. There have been a whole bunch of tradeshows, but there were private trips and races as well. Regardless, I stil love coming out here and seeing un-reality at work.
Back in Paris?
The last time I was here was for one of the Lifetime Fitness Epic triathlons a few springs ago, and I distinctly remember bringing the Ritchey along and riding from Henderson all the way to the northern outskirts of Vegas and then back—it was a great 50-or-so-miler that took me through the part of the city that one usually doesn't see, but I also got a chance to ride through downtown and along the Strip. Well, no such fun this time around as I had only two days to cover Interbike, the bicycle tradeshow that I have been attending almost every year since the late 1980s.
These four guys "invented" the mountain bike just when I came over to the States: Tom Ritchey, Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly, and Gary Fisher (all signing Kelly's book Fat-Tire Flyer).
The show is not the same without Judy or, for that matter, another Tandem Pro "employee." And it is not the same as 20 years ago, when the mountain bike craze was going full-bore and there was a buzz on the show floor that has never been matched again. But it still was fun as I got to see lots of acquaintances, young and old, shop- or race-related. I am always amazed by how many people know me and call me out, from a booth or across the aisle where they're chatting with somebody but happen to glimpse my mustache. It's a good feeling to not be forgotten, let me tell you.
My Ritchey's new cousin: An all-carbon version of the travel bike
That's the weight, in kilograms; in lbs, it's about 15.5
And this is the younger sister: a double-coupled tandem version that will travel easily
Product-wise, the 2014 edition was certainly not a revelation in new-ness: A shitload of "Fat Bikes," and an even bigger shitload of nutritional aids such as bars, drinks, waffles, and I-don't-know-whats, plus a healthy number of eBikes. They're definitely coming. Since with all my traveling Tandem Pro has started to take more and more of a back-seat, I wasn't out to write $10,000 orders.The small number of catalogs and price-sheets that I collected attests to my having become much more selective because I know that today's niche business is easily satisfied through a quick Google search and a few commanding words to Siri. I'm glad I don't have to battle that battle any more, and I hope that our local bike shops in Lubbock can survive this onslaught.
They call them "fat" for a reason
There's not much that will stop one of these beasts—and they are here to stay
The Denny urban transportation bike will go into production next year. Look at these specs:

Does this beauty look like one of those eBikes from three years ago?
It was a solid show, and I made good use of my time attending various tech seminars, reconnecting with old friends, and making new contacts. And it wouldn't have been Vegas if the models—real or not—had not looked good, even if it was simply to showcase a wetsuit.
Just don't touch
Not bad for a mannequin
I used my off time to gamble a little (OK, so I invested a buck and came out with $1.50 and a few free drinks) and sight-see. Vegas never fails to impress me. I know there are some folks who can't stand the place, and there are others who love to flush money by the fistful down the toilet. To each his own, and if she's a she, hers.
My reputation as a high-roller precedes me. Nickel Poker is just a ruse...
Tomorrow morning I may have a look at the aquarium at the Mandalay Bay and then in the afternoon I'll be on the way home so that I can catch a flight on Saturday morning, for another assignment. Really.
Goodnight from the Bellagio

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