WORDS BY STEPHEN HAYNES
ILLUSTRATION BY STEPHEN HAYNES
for the uninitiated, is the bicycle industry’s largest trade show, drawing tens of thousands of people from all over the world who come to peruse the latest and greatest from just about every company that makes something bike-related.
This meeting of like-minded companies, bike shop owners, industry insiders, reporters, bloggers, and assorted others takes place every September in that den of iniquity called Las Vegas.
Being that this was my first official voyage to Interbike, I was trying to keep an open mind about the event and its unfortunate location.
BELLY OF THE BEAST
Autumn in Pennsylvania is one of the few short times during the year that I really enjoy where I live. It’s pleasant all around. We were into our first week of autumnal weather when we boarded a plane bound for the desert.
Stepping out of McCarran International Airport and into the Las Vegas heat on the evening of our arrival was to know what it’s like to be a French bread pizza being shoved into the broiler. I missed my mid-Atlantic autumn almost immediately.
This is a hotly debated subject. Does fashion have a place in the world of bicycles? I’m the wrong person to answer that question, as anything that’s without some semblance of utility seems wasteful in my eyes, but I begrudgingly enjoyed the spectacle all the same.
Amazing feats of endurance played out in front of inebriated spectators sharing pizza with the athletes as they passed by in a blur of machinery, muscle, and suffering.
I’ve been told that the industry (and this event) has been heavily male-oriented for as long as anyone can remember, earning the unfortunate moniker of “Sausage Fest.” The gender imbalance may not remain in the coming years though, as women take a more active and pivotal role in our industry.
I’m not a salesperson. Nor do I like to be sold to. And though I never encountered a person wearing a trench coat trying to sell me ill-gotten goods, the feeling of the high-pressure sale was ever-present and inescapable.
“A poster party for bike people” is Artcrank’s slogan and that about sums it up. These hand-crafted gems of two-dimensional joy graced the Sands Expo Center for the second year in a row and hopefully left an impression on anyone who happened upon them.
What does an environmentally conscious, self-propelled product like the bicycle have in common with an overindulgent, overpriced waste of resources like the city of Las Vegas? You figure that out, and you’re going places, my friend.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
By week’s end, I was looking for the exit.
Besides our art director’s somewhat cynical take on the show, we also have coverage of the actual products we saw on our website at www.bicycletimesmag.com/interbike.