Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Show Time!

by Bob Roll



I love Interbike! Interbike is the annual bicycle convention in Las Vegas that has become a ritual gathering of the tribe. Nearly every manufacturer from all over the world, who make every component you could imagine and quite a few you can’t even believe, all congregate each fall in Las Vegas to show the world their products.

I love all the new shiny gizmos displayed under the shiny lights. Even after so many years seeing all the new bikes, wheels, components, clothing and, of course Kryptonite locks, it never ceases to get me excited about riding all over again.

Whenever I see something that I fancy I can’t wait to try it out on the road or trail. What amazes me is that this has been going on for over 20 years. If you added up all the extra tradeshows that I’ve been to, I’ve probably been to more than all, if that’s possible.

Try to imagine, if you will, the best products from Asia, North and South America, Europe and even Africa that relate to cycling even in the remotest sense and put all of those products and people in the same building for three days and nights. Then throw in a variety of personalities and you have an absolutely spectacular display of innovation and wackiness. Now, factor in the inevitable one-upsmanship and you start to get an idea of the pandemonium and joy on display at Interbike.

I am trying to love Vegas also. I have been less than successful in the past and so I’ve decided that there are certain aspects of Vegas that I love more than others. One thing I don’t love is the transportation system. It might be worst in the world. Waiting for an hour in a taxi stand every single time you need to go somewhere gets old after about the first hour. That is exacerbated by the fact that it is illegal to walk anywhere, apparently, and the distances are staggering even if you had the inclination to walk.

I also am not crazy about gambling. I find it hard to believe it’s legal for people to lose all their money, sometimes in a matter of minutes. The chances of anybody winning more money than they started with when you factor in the heartache of bankruptcy must be less than zero.

I’m sure there are many things to love about Vegas and I’m still trying desperately to find any. Mostly, though, I love Interbike because of the people who attend. It is the only chance I get during the year to see many of the people with whom I’ve spent my entire adult life. I also love to see the famous bike racers, riders like George Hincapie, Greg LeMond, Ron Kiefel, Davis Phinney and Levi Leipheimer, among many other luminaries, are perennial attractions that make the show a tremendous amount of fun.

It’s also, for me personally, a chance to reconnect with some of my ex-team mates from my racing days. There have been, over the years, some celebrities that provide really delicious surprises. I’m speaking, of course, of Phil Liggett - although we have yet to experience a confirmed sighting of Paul Sherwen.

The schedule this year tentatively includes, but is not limited to, the World Criterium Championships, a 7-Eleven team reunion, a cyclocross race, the mountain bike hall of fame induction ceremony, the Wounded Warrior Ride coming into Vegas, the Shimano/YouTube video competition judging and an outdoor demo where anybody can ride the latest equipment. As well as lunch at the Italian pavilion, which is not to be missed.

All in all, with so much fun, excitement, innovation, late nights and early mornings, the town of Las Vegas itself and all the personalities, it’s probably good that Interbike only happens once a year.

1 comment:

Fritz said...

We'll see you there, Bob!