The bicycle has been around for what… 200 years or so, plus or minus a few depending on what you read? Basically the only thing that has
changed since its original conception is the addition of a propulsion system. It’s so simple; a couple wheels attached to a frame in a way that allows one wheel to steer the bike left or right and one that is connected to a drive train and makes the bike move. Such a simple concept that even a child can make it work and even after years of neglect, a long forgotten owner can throw a leg over it and make it come to life without a second thought. Yet every year, around this time, hundreds of retailers, builders, and inventors come together at INTERBIKE in Las Vegas to show the world they have a better mouse trap. Lance was not there this year but Eddy was there… do you remember Eddy Merckx? Lance Armstrong may have beaten Merckx’s five Tour de France wins but in no way could he claim to dominate the sport like “The Cannibal” did in the 1970’s. Few riders today race more than 100 days a year, Merckx averaged 140 races per year between 1969 and 1973.
The theme of the show is always the same — make bicycling more fun, more safe and more affordable……Ok, the affordable part could be argued – what can’t be argued, is the fact that the bicycle is here to stay and despite a shaky economy, it is rolling straight and true.
Simplicity seems to be the trend for the coming year with a big showing of single speeds and fixed gear bicycles at the show. Put one tick in the plus column for affordable. Tired of the chain marks on your leg or clothes? Belt drives look to be gaining ground and look very promising and worry free. My wife thinks I have enough bikes….But Retrotec showed off their three speed fixie (is that legal??) and if it came in a belt drive model, I might have some ‘splaining to do, as Ricky would say.
Clothing. I’m not talking kits, I’m talking ‘clothing to commute to work in’ or ‘ride to town in with shoes to match and actually walk around in instead of skate through the office on’ are also due to be a hit next year. But please keep some quarters around for a shower, just in case. If you are a bike commuter, you’ll also be happy to know there are plenty of racks, paniers and bags to carry anything from a surf board to a laptop to the office, maybe even for the same job.
And how can any bike expo be complete without a showing of the latest space age material molded into something that looks to hover over two wheels and doesn’t need pedals it looks so fast? Yes, there were plenty of those and they certainly deserve their just attention but they are not the only wonders of the expo.
The gadgets and gizmos like Pedros’ multi-tool skewer or King Cages’ top cap mounted bottle cage or even Camelbak’s water bladder in a jersey, are always fun to see. Shoot, I can never find my Allen wrenches on the work bench, I’d hate to lose my skewer too! Catching my eye and attention the most had to be the Bontrager rim clothes hanger. What a great way to recycle those worn out rims! Use them to hang up your worn out clothes/kits!
Don’t worry if you didn’t get to see the Expo in person, all these products will soon be at a local shop near you….OK, maybe not the clothes hanger!