Browse Tag by Interbike
Bicycle, Bike Porn, Events, Gear, Travel

And so Interbike begins…

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Fresh off the plane in Las Vegas for this year of Interbike, I’m sitting in my hotel typing this- enjoying a cold Budweiser in my underwear. I’m doing things a little different this year, blogging solely from an iphone 6 and a bluetooth keyboard. I’m not certain it will work well, but I spent all my money on bike parts this year, so thats what you get.

I spent a little better than a week in California- the Golden State, visiting family and friends with my better half. Bringing our bikes was clutch- I love riding in the bay, and the wife didn’t ride much when she lived in the area. She also got a new saddle- so riding her skinny tire bike has been a pleasure lately.

A few of the fun things I did include the tasting of so many great beers. And whiskeys. And coffee. So. Many.  Mikkeller Bar, Fieldwork Brewing, Beer Revolution, Trappist Provisions, Øl…. The list goes on. We rode the Iron Horse Trail in 104 degree heat. I drank coffee for a couple hours with the homey Stevil as we spoke of the changing social and economic landscape of Oakland. I bought a sweet 49ers Starter x Levi’s collaboration jacket that will becoome something else very soon. I met my new nephew, now 9 months old, that my sister named after me (the poor bastard.) I was busy.

I also stopped by Montano Velo, which is now in half the space that it was last time I visited. I met with Daniel, owner of Tumbleweed Bicycle Co. Not only is he a nice guy, passionate about cycling and riding bikes in exotic locales- he wrapped his head around a different way (than I’ve seen) to build a 4″ tire fat bike. He and some buddies recently returned from a trip to Mongolia- all riding working prototypes of this bike of his. It uses a Rohloff hub- which may make some people scream “Nerd!” right out of the gate- but it works. It works well. The idea is to keep a low q-factor, use a standard mtb bb, and parts that are (at the very least slightly more) accessible in obsure places than many fatbike parts.  

    
  
 The bikes were loaded heavily for the trip and ridden over 1000 miles, few if any paved. All worked well. Though the final frames will have minor aesthetic changes, along with cleaner welds- you can expect a pretty neat bike that will accommodate a number of wheel sizes (it also uses an adjustable bb,) front suspension, a Rohloff and feel good on the trail. I hope to hear more about Daniel and Tumbleweed Bicycle Co soon. I mean-the website is a .cc like Rapha is, so it must be good, right?

But now I’m in Vegas and the real work starts. Desert heat, an overwhelming number of brands and people trying to get their goods to the masses. The beer drinking. The shitty food and 1 mile long blocks. Underbike. Even a goddamn cargo bike syposium. I’m going to need a vacation after the next 5 days.

But yeah- if you like to make party and you happen to be in Downtown Las Vegas on Thursday, the bad decision makers will be attending Stevil’s annual shit show that is Underbike. 

  
  There will be music and hopefully the bar doesn’t run out of beer (which has happened just about yearly.)

So that’s about all that’s fit to print. I’ll try and do a daily thing with some stuff that appeals to me but then again, I’m nothing- if not unreliable.

Bicycle, Bike Porn, Events, Travel

Interbike 2013

Interbike 2013.  2 days in the desert at Bootleg Canyon, 3 days at the Mandalay Bay.  In that time I consumed 10 supplement bars chopped into bite sized pieces, 14 energy gels, 9 Dixie cups with some sort of recovery drink, 147 beers, 18 shots of whiskey, 1 shot of Ass Juice, 8 gin and tonics, 19 whiskeys on the rocks, 6 32oz margaritas, and 4 Bloody Susans.  Even with all the liver training I do, my body hurt by the end of it.

Interbike has become something of a pilgrimage for me.  My fifth year attending, it’s a time to see friends that I don’t see often, if ever, outside of this annual trip to Las Vegas.  Interbike is 750+ exhibitors, representing 1200+ brands, selling their goods and services to wholesalers, retailers, and manufactures.  Working Media (the reason GMG is allowed in) is present to cover the new and sometimes exciting products that are available, to help build the buzz about the coming year.  This year was a little different, with the final day being an “invite-only” consumer day- where retailers could invite their top customers to check out the floor.

Along with having a different events company put on the show, Interbike changed location from The Sands Convention Center to Mandalay Bay.  The new location seemed smaller, but also ran smoother on the registration end and I for some reason found it easier to find the venue.  The small venue made the inside feel a bit cramped, like exhibitors were stacked on top of one another. Mandalay is also in a less convenient location on the strip- reducing the number of cheap hotels and bars within a close walk.

Outdoor Dirt Demo:

I had some much appreciated company at Dirt Demo this year, as Felix and Kerry flew in from Seattle to hang out.  We walked in the dust and drank beers in the desert while we looked at bikes.  My focus on a personal level this year, was looking for my next bike which- with my move back to Alaska, is a fat bike (spoiler alert: Gon’ get myself a Fatback.)  Fatbikes have seen a lot of growth recently, with carbon becoming a very popular frame material.  Fatback has the Corvus9:Zero:7 has the Whiteout and Borealis has the Yampa.  Along with new materials- there is a shift in rear spacing- with 190mm becoming pretty standard, allowing for the fattest tires currently available (4.8″ wide on a 100mm rim.) The carbon frames are using through-axles, so the actual spacing is 197mm (3.5mm extra is needed per side)  Felt even had an electric (albeit aluminum) concept bike there, called the FatE.

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Broke out the calipers to measure tire width and it made a couple manufacturers nervous.  When I checked the Surly 4.8 Bud and Lou tires on a 100mm Clownshoe rim, they came out to 4.55, for whatever it’s worth.
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The Fatback Corvus is available for pre-order HERE.  They didn’t have one available to ride, but this 3-D printed version was built for mock-up, and I’m feeling confident that it will be at least on par with the offerings from 9:Zero:7 and Borealis.  You may wonder why I’ve got such a boner for Fatback.  For one- they are in Alaska.  By in Alaska I mean- go to Speedway Cycles in Anchorage and talk to Greg, the owner.  They ride here, they tour here and they race here.  The changes these bikes see in them are due to the terrain and environment in Alaska.  Other fatbike builders have an “Alaska Connection.”  Maybe they started here, maybe they went to school here, they likely come back to visit.  Also- Fatback has their aluminum frames made in Oregon.  So there.

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Felix found a bike he liked- the Santa Cruz Heckler.

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Dirt Demo is much mellower than the inside show- fewer people and a much more relaxed feel- but it’s only two days.  So come Wednesday morning- it was off to the show.

I had bold plans to Strava my travels during the day to make some sort of “Blogger Battle” but the GPS signal didn’t work too hot in the basement of a massive hotel/casino.  Oh well.  On top of that- I wasn’t armed with a fancy camera like Felix had (he was the cameraman for the above shots)- I may have forgotten it in Seattle after an extremely late night of pizza and beer drinking with the rest of the GMG posse.  But I did have my phone- and since hey- I’m not a product photographer, I’m a blogger.  I’ll just tell you what I saw, show you some mediocre photos taken with an old iphone and you can look it up later.

Sometimes there are new products at the show that really impress me.  This year seemed to be the year of the fatbike- or the E-bike.  I don’t really know much about the E-bikes and though they are really getting better, I think they have a way to go to really gain a foothold in the younger US market.  Fatbikes, however- are the new fixed gear, it seems.  Bikes become less of a “niche” when companies like Kona, Salsa, Trek, Specialized, and even Motobecane have them.  They are popular for people that live near sand or snow, or just want a big ol’ whip to throw around and play on.  They are getting lighter, and for $1600 you can get some 85mm carbon rims that weigh 590grams (Currently in production/available for pre-order, and yes- that is $800 per RIM) from Borealis.  Also stay on the look out for some lightweight rims from Stan’s NoTubes in the spring.  It will be an aluminum 80mm rim weighing in at 487grams.  It should be available as a complete wheelset as well as the rim only.

For your fatbike rack- look no further than Old Man Mountain.  Handmade in Santa Barbara, CA.

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Revelate Designs, based in Anchorage, AK can hook you up with outfitting your bike (fatbike or otherwise) with frame bags, pogies (handwarmers) and other bike luggage.

And there was some other, non-fatbike related stuff that was cool too.  Some of the stuff that really stuck out:

  • Feedback Sports has their Rakk Stand, the Velo Hinge (my favorite of their new stuff), the Velo Column and their Pro Truing Stand (which also has a disc brake rotor gauge.
  • Fyxation is gearing up fixed gears, by selling their SixFix.  It adds a derailleur and six speeds to your track end bike.  Now people are converting fixed gears!  It will come as a $300 kit including rear wheel, 6sp cassette, shifter and derailleur.
  • Blackburn is doing some cool things with a redesign on their racks, making some new lights (like the variable power, self adjusting Central Front Light), and is working with pannier security with their Interlock rack and bag combo.
  • Velo Orange has a new frame in the 29×2.1″ Camargue (named for an ancient French horse, known for it’s ruggedness.)  They’ve also got what their calling “Crazy Bars”  a 22.2 handlebar with 23.8 horns.  They’re making a Grand Cru front bar bag– $200 and made in Baltimore.  Also digging the Pass Hunter– basically a rando with cantis.
  • Smith is doing good things in the helmet department with the Forefront.  Available in 11 colors (Wow.) it should be available in March and retail for $220.  It uses Aerocore® design, made with Koroyd™.  Lightweight, “30% more impact resistant than EPS, it’s lightweight- has an optional light/camera mount, is goggle compatible, washable, antimicrobial, their “performance glasses fit nicely in a groove above the visor (which is removeable.) The material is pretty cool, it looks like a bunch of straws glued together, allow for good ventilation.
  • Gripstuds makes screw in studs for the DIY’er.  Not a bad (or cheap) option for those that want to customize their tires, shoes, whatever.  They’re about $1 per stud, but really, you don’t need a whole lot, and they are carbide, and much lighter than making your own studded tires with screws.
  • Swrve makes awesome stuff.  They’ve been making lots of things in the US, but it seems like some production is moving elsewhere…  Check out the new Durable Cotton Trousers, and a beautiful Selvage Denim Work Apron.
  • Slip Not Chains seem a good idea if you don’t want to commit to studs and would be better in snow (but probably not as effective as studs on ice)
  • Brooks had some cool stuff like their Cambridge Rain Cape ($160,) Their VEGAN Cambium Saddles and the Brooks MT21 ($70)
  • Lezyne had a couple new things- notably, the new Digital Floor Drive pumps.  What I like about Lezyne is that their tools are designed to be rebuilt when broken, not thrown away.  Even the new digital display will be backwards compatible with their Floor Drives- if you’d rather look at a digital display- swap it out.  Also cool is their Porta Shop tool kit.
  • King Cage.  Titanium and Stainless bits for carrying liquids and things on your bike.  They had a really cool handlebar flask that has two shot glasses onboard.  It’s in production.  They’ve also got the bar bell- a bell that’s a shot glass.  Ron at King Cage might even drink more than I do…

image[4]I think that about wraps it up.  I made it through another Interbike.  Next year I really hope to get Greg and Bryan down to help cover it.  I also need to bring a stunt liver.

Whether you love it or hate it, Interbike does something for the bike world.  It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.  I see people I like and people I don’t- because after all “Just because we both ride bikes, doesn’t mean we’re friends.”

Bicycle, Travel

Interbike recap.

Just returned from Interbike and once again I made it out alive. Barely. This was the fourth year that Go Means Go has attended, and thankfully we had a little help this year. Byron and Brad were able to make it down with Go Means Go so we had some different eyes, with different ideas on the floor.

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If by now you don’t know what Interbike is, it’s the largest cycling industry tradeshow in the US. Over 750 companies representing 1200+ brands come together in Las Vegas for a week of product releases, order placements and liver destruction. Being an “industry show” means that it isn’t open to the public. It’s open to shops, exhibitors and media. It’s unlike the Seattle Bike Expo in many ways, most obvious is that it’s not a discount sale for overstock and blowouts. It’s new stuff- much of which is lined up to be released the following year. It’s a great place to see what you can’t in shops. Years ago, Interbike took place in Anaheim, CA. There was talk of moving it back there earlier this year, but a couple months ago Interbike announced that a 3-year contract to stay in Vegas was signed (the contract was signed with Mandalay Bay Convention Center- which means bye-bye to the Sands Expo Center and to Treasure Island being known as the “industry hotel.”) I for one am happy that Interbike has extended it’s stay in Las Vegas- as it is a cheap place to stay, to fly into and has the necessary parts needed to make for debaucheries industry parties. Anaheim… not so much.

I arrived Monday morning, picked up my pass, checked my bag in at the convention center and headed on the shuttle to the Outdoor Dirt Demo. Dirt Demo is pretty great if you don’t mind the heat. Myself- I spend my time either in Seattle or Alaska, so it isn’t very comfortable at all. Don’t get me wrong- I love the heat when I can go swimming. But walking around in the desert gets pretty damn warm.

Attendees can jump on one of the many bikes that companies bring to show- tool around either on the pavement, the dirt, or even hop on a shuttle that takes you up the hill so you can get a little trail time. There are often show specials, and I have taken home some gems in the past. Last year I picked up some Chris King hubs and Crank Brothers pedals. This year I got fitted with some Fizik R1 road shoes. I also picked up a GoPro camera during the Interbike days at The Sands to replace the Contour that I wasn’t very impressed with.

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Bicycle, Events, Travel

What a whirl. And the week ahead.

Those of you that follow the blog may have noticed a lack of posts recently.

I just got back to Seattle after 4 months of commercial fishing in Alaska. The season went well, fish were caught, a couple boats sank, other than a few exciting days with weather and mechanical issues it was just another season in Alaska.  There will likely be a few posts in the coming days recapping the fishing season if you have any interest in bikes, boats and beers- the “three B’s” that make up life as I know it.  About 6 weeks ago my computer had a little run in with a cocktail. Apparently computers don’t like mixed drinks, and it was shipped to Seattle- out of commission until I picked it up again from the shop yesterday.

So here we are. Tomorrow is the first day of Interbike, and Go Means Go will be there, bringing you all the things that catch our eye. Drinking beer and hob nobbing with other bike geeks and industry folks from around the world.  This will be our 3rd year in Vegas, and we are really looking forward to it.

Ryan unfortunately will be making the trip alone as circumstances beyond their control will prevent the rest of the GMG crew from attending. Boo.

Give us a holler if there is anything in particular that you’d like us to look for- Interbike can be a bit of a labyrinth and focus is key.  One of the things that I just heard about and look forward to fondling in person is:

We are also looking forward to seeing what Gates Carbon Drive is up to, as well as our friends at Chrome, Dodici, Raleigh, Traitor, Mission Workshop, and many others.

Follow us on the Twitter, Facebook, and watch the blogs for updates and snapshots of the week to come!

Clothing, Events, Film/video, Travel

Interbike Urban Legend Fashion Show

One of the highlights of Interbike was the Urban Legend Fashion Show. It was put together by Momentum magazine, with the help of Giant Bicycles. The goal is to show clothing and accessories that transition from the bike to the street, performing well on the bike, but not requiring a change of clothes to look good off the bike. I love to see what designers have brought to the table.

I’m not a big fan of the guy in all black that looks like he could be on the SWAT team, but I’m sure some people are into it.

Videography by David Niddrie and Gwendal Castellan

Events, Travel

Interbike: Poppin’ (Re)caps

I needed a day of rest after Interbike. Though I am already excited about next year, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attendees. I was told that 18,000 people were there to buy, sell, and meet each other. That’s a lot of people.

Here goes my recap, with some photos to help jog my memory.

I flew in on the Tuesday the 22nd. Vegas being a fairly short flight from Seattle, around 2 hours, it wasn’t bad at all. I flew US Airways, which had the cheapest flights, but did not have the most reasonable baggage policies. I didn’t bring a bike. I was going back and forth as to what to do about that. The thought of being in Vegas for Interbike without a bike was crappy to think about. After doing a little research, the size requirements for bringing a bike, or any luggage for that matter turned out to be crap. If the luggage was over 62″ large (that number is found by adding L+W+H) then it’s $100 each way. That means $200 round trip, for those not really good with that new math. What?!? My frame alone is larger than that. When proposed with the $200 fee, I decided that a bus ticket would be a much better way to go. I kick my self a little for not making it work, but the reality is, I wouldn’t have ridden it too much there anyway. Maybe next year I can borrow a bike from a company that wants to have one of their bikes out riding around, or ship it down early, or, as one attendee did- go to Walmart and buy a beach cruiser, then return it before you go. Brilliant!

I arrived early, about 8am, and caught the shuttle to my hotel. I forgot that you can’t check in till afternoon at hotels, so I checked my bag at the front desk, and hopped on the ol’ Duece to go to the Sands. The Duece is the double decker bus line that runs up and down the strip 24/7. I got to the Sands, and registered, picking up my Exhibitor guest pass that Brian over at Raleigh so graciously hooked me up with (Thanks again Sally!) Nothing to see inside, except the construction of displays and exhibits for the Indoor show, which opened Wednesday. Free shuttles were being provided out to Bootleg Canyon and the Outdoor Demo. So off I went.

Bootleg Canyon and the Interbike Outdoor Demo is something that all mountain bikers would get a little hot for. All the players are there. You go up, put your name on the list next to what bike you want to ride, the mechanics put pedals on (yours if you brought them), you can ride around the lot, or get on the truck that brings you to the top of the hill and you descend. Pretty awesome. I rode a Ventana Single Speed Mountain bike. What I was really testing was this Gates Carbon Belt Drive that has been so interesting to me. I must say that from the fairly short test I took it on, I’m excited to see more builders use this technology. It doesn’t stretch, lasts longer than chains, is lighter, and feels really tight. At the Gates booth, they had various builders with their designs, all tackling the issue of the break away rear triangle differently. I really think that these have so much potential when it comes to urban bikes. One is of course limited to internal gearing, but as a single speed or fixed gear, the weight advantage is huge. The Trek (carbon) single speed that was on display at the Gates booth weighed 11.5 pounds!

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Lots of energy drinks from suppliers kept the people hydrated, and at about 4pm, the beer started flowing. My most memorable beer was handed to me by a pair of women that were fairly well endowed, wearing shirts that read: “Check out our racks”. OK. Maybe sex does sell, because their booth, which actually was a car rack company, had many people circling, checking out their racks. Oddly enough, I don’t recall the name of the company, but I will never forget their shirts. About 6pm I hopped on the shuttle back to the Sands, and went back to my hotel to wash off the dust.

Wednesday morning brought the opening of the Indoor exhibition. Three words: Total mad house. It was so full of people just wandering around, myself included. Since the booths were not all the same size, and also because I didn’t sit down and make a plan of attack, my pattern was that of a hurricane, just walking around in circles, in predominately one direction. By the end of the day, my Chevrolegs were running a little slow. The highlight of the show was definitely getting Eddie Merckx’s autograph.

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I also got George Hincapie’s autograph, as well as a beer while waiting in line. He thought it funny that I had a beer in hand. But it was handed to me by the guy at PowerBar, so I just told him it was a PowerBeer.

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I went back to my hotel to shower and put my feet up. My collection of autographs, posters, catalogs, business cards, and schwag was growing. In my room, one bed was devoted to schwag collection, the other for sleeping. I felt like a kid coming back after Halloween, spreading my candy out over the bed to see what my winnings were.

After a shower and some fine reality television, I hopped on the Duece back to the strip, and met up with Nora and her pals at the Pepper Mill. Nora is the super fantastic lady at the NY office of the Bicycle Film Fest. Through her guidance and support (as well as the other team members) Seattle hosted it’s first BFF in the festival’s 9 years. It was great to meet her, and even better that she is as awesome as she is. She introduced me to her pals, the San Diego producers of the BFF. Great people all around, and though I have forgotten their names, they were fantastic to meet and hang out with. I hope to run into them again soon!

We took a cab to the Artisian Hotel, which was home to the Rapha Roller Races, as well as the final stage of the Drag Vegas Race. By the end of it, people were in the pool with their clothes on, and we had picked up some of the lights that Knog had placed around the hotel as decoration. We went back to the Peppermill for some much needed food, and of course, more drinks. Nothing like a big greasy burger and a bloody mary at 3:30 in the morning. That of course, after a gin and tonic. One might come to think that in Vegas, the only choice is a poor life choice. The fact that there was another 2 days of Interbike didn’t seem to stop anybody from pulling out the stops.

Thursday morning came too soon. Back to the Sands, snapping photos like these:

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Thursday night was an alleycat, Noah, the winner of last year’s race put on this years poker race. I worked a checkpoint. The checkpoint in front of the Bellagio. Racers rode up, got a snapshot in front of the fountain, and then pulled a card from the deck.

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After the race, it was down to the Mandalay Bay for the NORA (not Nora)bmx awards and the premiere of the the Fit Bike Co. movie: STAY FIT

The awards were mayhem, thanks in part to the open bar serving whisky for two hours. Nora and I met up with Chris Fonseca, who smartly set aside approximately 15 whisky cokes, and Tony Fast. It was nice to meet them both.
The awards given can be seen HERE

We finished up Thursday night, which was at this point, Friday (and my birthday) at the Double Down Saloon. We did a shot of “Ass Juice” for my birthday, thanks to Noah, Chris, Ritchie Ditta, Nora, Eric, and Mareesha for supplying me with drinks, as my ATM card was lost that day. Awesome timing.

Yes, Friday was another day in the madhouse. Holy smokes. The final day of Interbike. The rounds were made, as those that were in the booths were exhausted, and done with the whole affair. Those that had extra dough were purchasing floor models, and giveaways were everywhere. I shot the breeze with Traitor’s Joe and Kevin, and saw their prototypes for the 650bmx, their Luggernaut, as well as their SS cross bike. Impressive all around. I hung out a bit with Jacopo and Katie over at Dodici. You should go over and check out Jacopo’s offerings. They are producing beautiful frames, and now rims are available. Handmade in Italy. Super nice.

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Friday night was spent at the Sahara Casino. To be more accurate, at the bar. The bar adjacent to the NASCAR cafe. What brought me there by chance? Well- $1 shots (and you could keep the shotglass), $1 High Life beer, $1 hotdogs to soak it up, and $1 BJ. Oh, though advertised as $1 BJ- they were saving space by not writing Black Jack. I continued my birthday celebration, and hung out with Nora the Explorer, Noah, Lucas Brunelle, Dan Leeb, and Austin Horse. People were more friendly at this bar than anywhere else I’d come across in Vegas, and drinks were bought for me throughout the night. Whether I needed them or not.

I made it through. Many great people were met, and many GO MEANS GO stickers were passed out.  Got some people in some of the GMG shirts available too.  People were stoked on the stickers, which is totally awesome.

Saturday morning, after a late checkout, I had a great lunch date with Elta (my ladie’s mom), and got to see some of the southern end of the strip. The flight home was uneventful, though the bastards at TSA took my toothpaste, and had to run my shoes a few times, as the shoe goo that held them together made them nervous. My good pal Karlito picked me up from the airport, and brought my ragged ass home. It was great to be in my own bed, after enjoying the meatloaf and mashed potatoes that were waiting for me in the fridge.

What a lucky guy I am. My lady flew me to Vegas so I could geek out on bikes, then I come home to the best meal I’d had all week, and a home grown, home cooked pumpkin pie that said happy birthday on it. Now if that isn’t a recap, I don’t know what is. Now to plan for next year. GO MEANS GO will be there with bells on.