Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bike Shop Tales: Going To The Show

The recently completed Sea Otter expo and cycling races reminded me of the Big Show and the first time I went......

Being in the cycling industry, or working at a shop back in the 90's meant that the biggest, most sought after "ticket" was the chance to go to Interbike. I had heard about Interbike, read the stories, and knew about the "schwag" to be had by simply walking into the showroom floor. So it was with great excitement and intrepidation that I learned that I was going to my first Interbike at Anaheim, California in 1995.

Intrepidation was a big feeling for me then not only because I hadn't been to a show before, but also because I had never flown anywhere in an airplane before. I wasn't to keen on that aspect of the trip at all! Tom made all the arrangements, and then all I had to do was show up, which was weird, but nice. Heck, I wouldn't have known what to do anyway! One thing is for sure, flying was a whole lot less of a hassle back then!

So, we had to fly out of Cedar Rapids to Minneapolis and then on a straight shot to Anaheim and John Wayne International Airport. Well, we were detained on the runway in the Twin Cities for awhile. The pilot was worried they would close JWI before we got there, as we would be pressing up against their 11pm shutdown time. Well, we made it, barely! I was petrified the whole way, not able to take my grip off my arm rests for the entire 3.5 hour flight. When we finally got to our little hotel room, Tom ran up to a nearby liquor store and got me a 12 pack, which I drained in record time. I was so nervous, I still wasn't drunk, and I couldn't get to sleep until 4am in the morning!

Well, the show was fantastic. I got to see all the latest and greatest stuff, which was amazing. Back then there was no internet coverage, no "instant" access to images or stories. Everything I was seeing and hearing would be "insider info" for at least the next two months, as that was about how long it took for the magazines to get their coverage to print. I felt really priveledged to have been there. It really made the trip special for me, and I am sure for others. Interbike has certainly lost that aspect!

The Anaheim Convention Center was a sprawling complex of several buildings that seemed to go on forever. The big booths and set ups were cool, but my favorite part was the basement where all the weird, marginal, and up and comers were relegated to show their wares. The vendors down there were creative and the weirdness was fun and off the charts. Really nothing that made much of a dent in reality, with a few exceptions, but it was like cycling's version of a circus side show. You knew it was a trainwreck of an idea that was being shown, but you couldn't help but look.

Next Week: I'll be taking the week off next week to use Tuesday for T.I.V6 wrap up. Come back in a couple weeks for some more stories on the Anaheim Interbike of 1995.


Charly Tri said...

I think that was the year of the American made der's and everything else in a cnc'd anodized color. I've been there several times, but nothing is as fun as the first time. Like a kid in a candy store.

Their test ride area was a joke though.

mw said...

i was there in 95!