Is It Time for INTERBIKE Already?

In the spirit of getting back to business

It’s that time of year again. Just like in the fashion world, September is January for those in the bike industry. All year long, companies that work for and with all things bike, have been battling it out for what will be the next coolest thing. Every year,the next coolest thing is revealed to a captive audience of bike geeks at Interbike. In a few weeks, the amazement and wonder of Interbike(1) begins.

Yep, I am a Bike Geek, and I impatiently await the marvels that will be set before me. What wonders will they reveal this year? Will the trend of recognizing women riders continue? It would be wonderful if it did. Only a few short years ago, the business of Interbike was, well, a bit sleazy IMHO. Set in Las Vegas, it was easy to ignore the call for “real” women riders products, in lieu of the easy out for most of the bike industry, which was that, if you want to call something a women’s product, just “shrink it, and pink it”. Gone is that ABHORRENT practice! These days, the bike industry is finally realizing that if you want to make money, you NEED to cater to the other (nearly) half of the cycling population(2). NO ONE has recognized this better than Rich Kelly, marketing manager for Interbike. In the couple of years since he took over Interbike, he has helped change, not just the mood of the convention, but indeed the biking world itself, from an “old man business” community, to a fresh young hip, and girl-friendly place to be. It’s amazing and wonderful how much the industry has grown (up), and Interbike (via Rich Kelly) has been a wonderful contributor. Nearly gone are the “booth babes” of the convention (those are girls who are usually Vegas showgirls, and have NOTHING to do with bikes the rest of the year). In their place, is a far more palatable type of pulchritude: actual women riders, and venders, buying and selling things to and for women. There’s even a little sorority of sorts that has form by way of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition luncheon. I always seem to get grounded and have clearer, more set goals after meeting with these dynamic women.

Plus, once again this year, we will have an amazing “urban cycling” fashion show put on by Momentum Magazine. Here’s what it looked like last year:

Grafton 3/4 Sleeve Jersey- You had me at Wool/ Silk Blend

Grafton 3/4 Sleeve Jersey- You had me at Wool/ Silk Blend

Luna's Merino Wool Pro Sweater

Luna's Merino Wool Pro Sweater

So what am I looking forward to seeing? Well, the first thing that to comes to mind is LUNA cycling clothing; yes, the yummy Luna Bar company has now launched their own clothing line for women. And who better, really. They’ve been paying good attention to women’s physiology for a long time, and have built up a great reputation, by way of their awesome, some years unbeatable racing team, the LUNACHIX. These women know how to ride, and I have no doubt that the LUNA gets plenty of chamois/cycling clothing opinions from their often winning roster. No doubt, they’ve come up with something interesting. (HINT- I got a glimpse of the wool/silk blend gear at Sporteve early this year, so I KNOW it’s gonna be good).

Road tires, and Wheels: There have been leaps and bounds in the technology of them round things. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for lightweight riders (those under 150lbs). And when I say “they” I mean that I want to see everyone’s gear. I have no loyalty to any brand right now, save my Michelin tires. So Wheelbuilders and tire companies better bring it ’cause I wanna see, and I’m listening.

More to come as Interbike nears…

(1) Interbike is the annual international conference for the bike industry.

(2) Women now make up ~47% of all cyclists. That’s up from ~44% two years ago. From Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) June 1, 2009 issue, P 26.

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