Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A BikeChik Goes to Interbike

This is the BIG HONKIN' Post-INTERBIKE blog POST. Bikes, bike clothes, bike food, bike art, bike peeps, parties, races, bike dot.orgs 'n' bike stuff. So pull up a very fancy beer, maybe a bowl of pasta, and have a read - this could take awhile...

View from the Voodoo Lounge atop the Rio Hotel

The last time I had been to Las Vegas I was not yet old enough to drink in a bar. My memories of the place are dominated mostly by being gently scooted off the casino floor and back across the invisible line into cafe or restaurant territory. It seemed a cacophonous environment even then and even as a child I knew all those colors did not belong together in the same place at the same time. I remembered that spine melting heat too, standing on the sidewalk thinking any passing breeze could blow me into a pile of dust. I felt then that Las Vegas had an eerie quality of not seeming to be connected to the rest of the world, as if once you got past the mountains you would simply step off into the void. Back then the place was decidedly adult and looked like a place adults went to disappear and forget what day it was. Now it looks like a mutant, make believe play city abandoned by a gi-normous 1500 ft kindergartner under the tree on Christmas morning. Only on this particular week the tree also had a hustling, bustling, very real, mutant dream bike shop under it chock full of shiny new toys!

(nice curls too, kid)

Found this little guy cavorting amongst the bikes and around his dad, absolutely giddy with bike joy. I think I can safely speak for everyone I know, we all felt pretty much like him walking onto that show floor.

Damn Straight!

We set off across the desert, Martha Van Inwegen of Action Wipes fame, and I, to secure our respective niches in the cycling world. Best of all we looked forward to connecting with a universe of bike friends most of whom we only knew from social media, especially Twitter, and others we only get to see at race events.

Journos and photogs and podcasters, oh my!

We got down to that immediately the first night at a dinner with mostly media people. It was already fun putting faces and voices to the Twitter names. Among them, Carlton Reid of Bikebiz, David Bernstein of The Fredcast, Jeff Helfand and Gene Hansel from VeloReviews, Brian Hodes of VeloImages, and Markus Neuert of Cyclefilm who we already knew from the Tour of California this past February. Donna Tocci, you were sorely missed!

Martha on a Kona Bandwagon that matches her shirt and toenail polish

The Interbike experience began at the Outdoor Dirt Demo held in Bootleg Canyon. It had wonderful trails both paved and dirt to test bikes of all persuasions so test I did. I decided to focus on the less conventional bikes for blogging purposes. I cannot pretend to be an expert on technical aspects of bikes so I thought it would be more useful if I introduced the casual rider to some of the neato stuff you may not know is out there and available for your riding convenience and pleasure. Of course I brought a decidedly female perspective with me to the desert and allowed the flirty, pretty stuff to catch my eye. There were plenty of charmers.

Dahon Boost electric folding bike

There has been a lot of debate about the why and how of the new electric bikes. Is it almost a motorcycle? Too dangerous for the trail? I'll sum up: No. It's fun. This one folds and is a very pretty burgundy red. Remember I'm an artist. Color is ALWAYS key.

No waiting for you alone in the street, it can come in with you!

Dahon electric folding bike. I was intrigued. I like to ride for fitness, to challenge myself as fast, as far and as high as I can go. I don't need no stinking electric bike! But I'm also very pro bike commute and getting as car free as possible. I have been known to try and haul more groceries than I can safely balance on a regular cruiser. Enter the electric folding bike. If you know your work is not all that far from home and you really could ride the distance easily but think you don't really want to ride back after an eight, nine, ten hour day, this is for you! Say you want a good wake up ride and go on your own steam to the office but want to take it easy and use the motor for the trip home. Maybe it's downhill there and uphill back. If you're like me you want to ease into your day, let the coffee kick in and have a brisk ride back in the evening to shake off the sedentary hours. It's also good for riding to the store sans assist and come back laden using the extra power. The fun thing about this bike is that it can be set to sense your effort and suddenly it'll give you a little 'ziiiiIIP!' just like a giant hand giving you a push. I swear it made me giggle every time. Riding the Dahon folding electric bike actually improved my mood - and who couldn't use that after a long day!

120 lb me lifting bike, back not hurting, bicep barely flexing

Jill Homer

Ever wanted a bike you could ride in the snow? Yep, you read that right. Jill Homer is an amazing cyclist with a rather fantastic lifestyle. She rides the Iditabike. Yes, like the Iditarod, in Alaska through the snow on a BIG FAT TIRE bike called a Pugsley made by Surly. It's also just fun in the sand and dirt. It's very "bouncy trouncy" and surprisingly comfortable. I swear you'll feel invincible on this thing and the best part - you'll feel a little like a cartoon character and totally like a BIG KID! Read Jill's blog. It's a treat and makes you dream of doing something awesome in a faraway place.


Just a little more of "Did you know..." The wind was blowing the sand up hard in the afternoon and I needed a sheltered place to eat my hot dog without a side of dirt. The guys at X Fusion offered me a chair so I queried them about their products. Anthony Trujillo explained that not all mtb forks are born equal. Ever wanted to try out hardcore mountain biking but found the bikes unresponsive to a lighter weight and touch? Well gals can get custom forks and shocks to suit our size and weight and go play in the rocks and mud to our heart's delight and not have to pay for our fun with a tweaked back and neck! Who knew? There is a trail I know in Colorado where this info would come in handy...Link
Big Tim in his element

When I needed to go out for a nice, long, real ride I went to my friend Tim Jackson at the Masi tent. Now big disclaimer here: Tim is a personal friend so... I asked him for something not too light, not too heavy, tires not too skinny, had to be pretty... He put me on a perfectly lovely steel frame Masi Speciale CX and it gave me a great ride. The day was perfect and the Bootleg Canyon trails were freshly paved. As I got farther away from the demo area I was peacefully by myself and the views of unspoiled desert were breathtaking. Not too hot, enough breeze to keep me cool and I just kept riding over the rolling hills until I poked through a pass and saw the city in the distance.. and turned back. Could've happily stayed out there all day. Thanks Tim.

The Bike Tweetup

Tuesday night saw roughly 200 bike nerds make their mark on the Strip at the Bike Tweetup held at the very posh Lavo restaurant. In case you were hiding under a rock at Interbike and missed it we had big, serious fun and raised over $1500 for Bike MS and Aids/LifeCycle by raffling off some super sweet schwag.

Back to the dirt...

KidzTandem puts the child in front of you where you can see him/her...duh!
I loved seeing this child friendly tandem bike because it always made me nervous seeing small children in seats of any kind on the back of a bike. Thank you KidzTandem!

Bike candy: VP Components pedals, headsets, bottom brackets...and plastic stuff.

Castelli Aero Race bib short...

...and jersey for women - hello!
Had a wonderful chat with Patrick Tess about this outfit and it is yummy. Rumor has it some Bike Scribbles will be showing up on this kit shortly!

How long do you think it took me to home in on this baby?
Prologo Italy, Pucci inspired pattern, Choice DEA Women saddle

Finally it was time to move inside the Sands Convention Center where I made it a point to sample ALL the sports drinks and ALL the nutritional food bars in order to give you all a helpful assessment/my humble opinion of who hit the mark on taste and who did not. Let's face it life is too short to put something that tastes like cardboard in your mouth just because it's supposed to be good for you! And you don't have to.

So here are the best of the best: Luna Bars White Chocolate Macadamia and Cliff Bar Builder's in Lemon the best bar, IMHO, at Interbike. Shout out to Team Luna Chix women's pro team because they rock. Odwalla's bars were Ok but not yummy. Larabar was a little better than Odwalla.

The drink: H2O Overdrive hydration drink. Smells like Flintstones vitamins but tastes...YUMMY! All the other sport drinks I tried had me reaching for a glass of water to wash out the taste. Not even worth a mention. Sorry everybody. maybe it's just me.

Lots of celebs and autograph signing going on
Some guy named Levi Leipheimer signing autographs - very big line for him.

Definitely a girl who kicks ass! Rebecca Much
at the booth supporting World Bicycle Relief "The Power of Bicycles" (Sram cycling fund). Excellent organization! Please check them out.

Liz Hatch at the Lazer helmet booth listens to the cycling version of a fish story.

And then it was time for Cross Vegas!

Men's CycloCross race.
Somewhere out there are friends Carlton Reid and Brian Hodes

Carlton Reid before the race flanked by Martha and Jennifer Sage

Women's CycloCross race.
I don't know how my camera did the ghost thing but all the shots of the women's race were like this. Because all cycling women are simply freaking SUPERNATURAL!

And then...
Sinclair party at the Voodoo Bar on the roof of the Rio Hotel 50 stories above the city.
(see top photo of post for the view)

Now this has historically been a fun event at Interbike but particularly special for me because I got to meet Nelson Vails. If you don't know who this Olympic Silver Medalist is follow the link and get on it.

The photo of me, Nelson, Martha and David Cabanban of Sanyo Eneloop electric bikes taken with Martha's phone in the club

Nelson graciously appointed himself my Sinclair party guide for the night. We danced and drank - a little, Rahsaan Bahati swooped by to say "Hi". We saw George Hincapie holding court. Even ran into Dave Lettieri of Fasttrack Cycles in Santa Barbara! Then Mr. Vails took me past the velvet rope to the table where Oakley was putting together custom pairs of Jawbone shades...

LinkOakley High Definition Optics - Jawbones - Thank you Nelson
Please also note the lovely earrings made of BIKE CHAIN LINKS! by Kristin Browne of
Missing Link Design

Back to the show floor...
Juicy Woven - I LOVE these panniers!
Detour Sports of Hood River Oregon. These products are so cool in so many ways. Money from Trash is a grassroots effort of several women-owned and operated cooperatives in the Philippines who make products like these seriously beautiful and expertly crafted bike bags from recycled materials. Your purchase of a recycled bag empowers the women who run these cooperatives and their communities. Please follow this link to learn more about the B. Luz Cooperative .

My initial purpose for being at Interbike 2009 was to participate in the Urban Legend Fashion and Art show sponsored by Momentum Magazine, invited by the illustrious Thomas Prehn - who worked his butt off to put the Art part of it together. Thank you Thomas and thank you Rich Kelly - honestly I don't know HOW you do it.

Here we see cycling photographer Carson Blume on the other side of the lense for a change in a dashing urban ensemble, riding a bike that accomodates a massive bucket. Photo courtesy of

My contribution to the art show

This is what the prep room looked like before the fashion show

Elsewhere in Vegas...
What would Vegas be without hookers?...

...Like Interbike without a rhinestone encrusted bike!
And that, as they say in the Biz, is the "Martini shot"

I found this kid just before the official closing bell of Interbike 2009 - after five long days of tightly organized mayhem - sitting at the bottom of the stairs that lead up from the registration area to the show floor. He looks exactly like we all felt at that point. I took down his name but can't find the card so if he's one of your peeps please leave a note in the comment section and I will credit him properly. I love this industry because it's full of people who love to ride bikes and to all my dear friends with whom I shared the week: Thank You from the bottom of my heart for making it memorable.

See ya all next year!