Most conventions and trade shows like to brag that the latest event is bigger and better than ever. Not so for the folks at Interbike, North America’s largest bicycle industry trade show. The welcome message by Pat Hus, Vice President, Interbike, states: “Because we are a reflection of the overall global bike industry, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the show floor is a bit smaller with fewer exhibitors due in large part to the challenging times we now live in.” (Bike shops are disappearing as are some of the cyclists. From the 2015 Industry Overview of the National Bicycle Dealers Association: “36 million Americans age seven and older were estimated to have ridden a bicycle six times or more in 2015, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. This number was up slightly compared to the previous year. The peak participation year was 1995, with 56.3 million participants.”
Even with that introduction, however, my own experience at Interbike was full of interesting exhibits and excited exhibitors. It was also full of so many electric bikes one might feel that purchasing an electric bike is as trendy as purchasing the new Apple watch. (The Review-Journal reported Friday that sales of electric bikes are doubling each year.)
Attendees at interbike have opportunities not only to see new offerings for bike enthusiasts, they can ride new bikes during a two-day outdoor demo period in Boulder City and for electric bikes, they can also ride electric bikes in an indoor circuit where riders glide past at dynamic speeds.
Educationally, seminars cover every aspect of owning a bike business such as “The 10 Commandments of Management” and “How National Bicycle Dealers Association Research Will Help Bike Shops and Suppliers Survive and Thrive”. Servicing bikes is covered in tech offerings such as “The Do’s and Donts of the Massively Successful Service Department” and “Campagnolo Model Year 2018 Technical Info”.
I walked the Interbike show floor for two hours Thursday and had such a good time, I was sorry that the show is moving to Reno/Tahoe next year. I was surprised to find the high prices of the high end bikes, the range of vehicles shown (kids’ bikes to cargo bikes) and the practicality of many of the bikes, able to be folded and transported. I loved the French ultralight electric assisted bike. I was touched by the story of the “Buddy Bike” for families with special needs children, and I marveled at the scooter/bike from the Czech Republic.