Post Interbike Thoughts

I’ve been going to Interbike for ten years now. I’ve seen a lot of different stuff, and met many cool people over the years. Yet, a few years ago I started to become kind of cynical and sick of it all…I had no desire to fly to Las Vegas, see all the “cool bikes,” deal with all the people asking for free stuff, standing all day while talking to hundreds of people, going out at night and drinking too much and then dealing with the results the next day. Sure bikes are cool, but this is a job, people.

I had the same kind of anxiety of it this year, but I got over it quick and it turned out to be a good show for me. So I decided to talk a little bit about why this year was different. Of course, I didn’t bother to take even one photo, but you can go look at the Dirt Rag Gallery set of Interbike photos.

FBM
Big Dave Harrison used to work with Spooky Bikes back in the day. These days he works with FBM. They’re a BMX company, but Dave was showing off their new fixed gear city bike he made. It’s a very cool piece of machinery, and people were falling all over themselves to come see it. It’s hand-made here in the States, has a very real working-class chic to it, looks cool as hell and will likely be priced to compete with all the cheapo imported fixed gear bikes that all the kids like these days. You can’t beat that.

Rickshaw Bagworks
Timbuk2 messenger bags are everywhere. They’re still decent bags, but they’ve come a long way from their bicycle courier roots. When the SUV-driving dork in the cubicle next to you bought one, you know they’ve reached the masses. That’s fine, but you want something cooler, and more useable.

Thankfully the fellas who started Timbuk2 cashed out on the company a while ago. And now their one-year no-compete contract is over, and they’ve gotten together and started Rickshaw Bagworks. Free from the constraints imposed by a mass-consumer driven, investor-led set of rules, Mark and Rob have some very cool bags. They’ve got a very good guy sewing the bags, they’re using some cool technologies, they’re taking a more grass-roots approach to the company and the styles and ideas rolling out of San Francisco are most excellent. The bags will be in production later this year, and I can’t wait to order one.

Outdoor Demo
It’s been a few years since I chose to attend the demo out at Bootleg Canyon. In years past, I was either too busy setting up booths or sitting by the pool drinking beer. I just didn’t feel like going out there, burning in the sun and riding a few bikes on some short trails.

This year was different, and since I didn’t need to set-up any booths this year, I decided to head out for some riding after all.

I rode a Felt Nine Solo, a Santa Cruz Nomad and a Niner Air9. It was super-dusty out there, but I really enjoyed riding in the desert. I haven’t ridden out there in many years, and the challenge and newness of it all was exciting. So it was a good experience, and after Karl and I got back, I still had a chance to sit by the pool and drink some beers for a few hours.

Double Down Saloon
Vegas is one of the most fake places in the world, and I can’t stand that. But the Double Down is one of my favorite bars. It’s a real shithole, but it’s nowhere near The Strip…literally and figuratively. It’s a very welcome oasis in the desert of fake known as Las Vegas. The fact that it’s a rather punk rock bar makes it even better, and ensures the square suits of the bike industry steer clear. That also means every freak in the bike industry descends on the Double Down like flies on…well, you know. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the bar this year, but just the fact that it’s there warms my heart.

Friends
I’ve got a lot of friends in the bike industry. It’s tough to explain how cool so many people in the industry are, and I wish I could work and hang out with them all the time. I see a lot of them throughout the year at various events. But there are still some that I only see once each year, here at Interbike.

The “social scene” after show hours is usually rather hectic, meaning that it’s pretty much impossible to make reliable plans with people. There is always too much going on after show hours (between dinners, parties and other events) to be able to meet someone at a pre-determined place and time.

Luckily, I was still able to meet up, and hang out, with many of my peeps. It was very cool that I got to talk to and see just about everyone I wanted to see. Sure, there is never enough time to spend with all of them, but even a little bit is better than nothing. I was still able to share beers, spend time and have some very good conversations with a bunch of people.

So until next year…time to crack a beer!

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