OK time for the annual Interbike trade show in Las Vegas and for my annual rant about the bike “industry”. Why is every bicycling publication, product and advertisement focused on performance? I logged into my show planner on the Interbike website to search for products and companies in the Navigation/Maps/GPS category since that seemed like a logical place to find gear for bike touring.
Here is a pic from the Bike Computer page on the website of one of the leading GPS makers:
Another maker calls their GPS computer “the perfect companion for any professional athlete in training”. What? Talk about a tiny market segment.
I’m sick of being insulted by every publication and company that tells me I need to climb faster and ride stronger and hammer out of the saddle every time I get on my super light, super stiff road bike and to fly through the air every time I get on my full suspension 29’r mountain bike.
What sort of “industry” is so myopic that they think they need to sell the same stuff, with a few tweaks to make it shinier and/or lighter, to the same people over and over again? How does that grow the market? I still think road racing is a beautiful sport but allowing the racing tail to wag the cycling dog (I didn’t make that up. I stole it from somebody but I can’t remember who) is a disastrous mistake and only serves to intimidate potential bicycle riders and to scare them away from bicycling.
For many years, Interbike- the annual bicycle trade show, was held in Las Vegas at the Sands Convention Center, which is sort of a dump. No food or beverages could be brought in so a person either had to walk to one of the adjacent casinos to eat or buy some junk food at the concession stand in the venue. We always stayed at the Imperial Palace Casino because they had the best rates for show attendees. The Imperial Palace has to be one of the oldest casinos on the strip and it is a little run down- the original main entrance is now basically off an alley and the original lobby is completely abandoned. Now the main entrance is what was probably a side or service entrance into the casino back in the day.
The new venue, as of 2013, is the Mandalay Bay and attendee lodging is at the Excalibur. These are newer casinos at the south end of the strip. It’s a hike from one to the other but one that can be made while remaining indoors. The new venue has an outdoor food court, which actually has good food, and a beer garden which last year featured Sierra Nevada Brewing. Much more better! Bike Touring News will be attending again this year as “Working Media”. It sounds weird to say that, but a blog is media these days. And it is definitely work.
Our focus this year is on bikepacking and everything related. While the Bike Hermit is quick to point out the negatives in any situation, there are some people and companies who are going against the trends and against the big players. The suppliers we will be visiting at the show include:
Euro Asia Imports
Old Man Mountain
Lone Peak Packs
Other suppliers who won’t be in attendance but who distribute quality, sustainable products (which we sell) are:
Peter White Cycles; Peter White is the guru of dynamo lighting systems and battery powered headlights and tail lights from Germany. (My rant about blindingflashingseizureinducing bicycle lights is for another post)
Merry Sales; Merry Sales distribute Sugino, Nitto, Ostrich and Interloc Racing Design (IRD) products among others. This t-shirt sums up this post nicely I think-