Sunday, March 13, 2011

Seattle Bike Expo 2011

The bike expo rolled into town this weekend. I don't remember how long this event has been taking place, but except for a few skipped years, I've attended most of 'em. Attendance and number of vendor booths seemed a little down from previous years, but still a decent crowd and plenty to gawk at. The Seattle area is a bike mecca hotspot, so plenty of pedal powered two wheeled types arrive to check out the show - me included. This year, the full family elected to participate; wife Lori and daughter Amy, as well my two wheel sidekick, son Ian.

Checking out new bikes and related tomfoolery is always fun, as is bike related pals you run into at the show. We talked to a few people from Ian's race team; Northwest Velo, and my old neighbor Kurt - who used to be the Northwest Trek rep. He's now the owner of Bicycles West, a three shop chain here in the Seattle area. Working with him is an old pal, Jim, who I know from our Mackie Designs days. Very cool and I wish 'em well on the new business venture. Lastly of note, I met Maurice Tierney of Dirt Rag magazine - one of my favorite bike mags of all time. I was sporting my Dirt Rag hooded sweatshirt and he noticed. Fun stuff.

I also stopped by the Washington High School Cycling League booth and chatted with some folks I met at the summit a few weeks ago. This program is already taking off with several teams now formed and the first race scheduled for April 3rd. I knew this deal would ramp right up - a great program for kids.

I managed to click off a few pics during the afternoon. For your amusement.....

Trick looking single speed 'cross bike from the Redline booth. I dig the flat black finish and old school Redline logos.

Raleigh International sporting a steel frame and Dura Ace. The pairing of the old school lugged frame and modern components looks fantastic. Yeah, newer carbon bikes are super nice, but something like this is a little more interesting to look at. During my bike shop days of the early '80s, I assembled many bikes with similar looking frames. Maybe that's why this look still clicks with me.

I've always admired Co-Motion bikes and have chatted with their folks at a few shows. Known for their tandems, they also make some sweet single bikes as well - by hand in Oregon. This Nor'Wester model makes sense for most riders, even if most don't realize it. Quick road bike manners, with room for slightly fatter tires and fenders, constructed from steel with love. Even so, the model I've had the jones over for years, is their aluminum Ristretto model - not at the show today however.

Co-Motion also makes this interesting model, the Pangea, a loaded touring rig. Even if designed to carry bags off the beaten path, I see a little old school John Tomac lurking in the background. Mountain bikes with drop 'bars will do that.

As part of Ian's race team duty, he volunteered to man the Redline booth for two hours, along with other teammates. Redline being one of the team sponsors. Duties included stuffing and handing out bags full of catalogs and info, stamping kids hands for a contest, and keep the raffle boxes in order. The Redline bags are durable and reusable - pretty cool. When a fresh box of bags appeared, the booth would get really crowded. Once the bags were gone, so were the crowds - until another box arrived. Good marketing lesson for Ian, as well the experience itself. I think he learned a few things and did well today.

Other junior racers on Ian's team manned the booth for the main sponsor, JL Velo, riding trainers for an hour at a time. Who can resist kids riding bikes and looking pro? Nice set up and the only booth doing so. Good way to promote bike racing and a great experience for the kids.

Eben Weiss, otherwise known as Bike Snob NYC, was in the house for a few talks. I caught part of one demo, and it was interesting to see the person behind the super popular blog and recent book. If you dig his humor and take on things - and I do - can't help but to be impressed with his writing style.

Witness the Artistic Cycling Show in action. At first I kind of laughed, what is this? Synchronized swimming on bikes? Then was impressed after watching 'em. Yeah, kind of circus like, but what they do on these fixed gear bikes is pretty amazing. Incredible balance and strength. Lots of applause after every show - people enjoyed it.

My favorite bike of the show, not crazy about the color, but still wins. A Steelman, a bike I've lusted after quite some time. I have no idea why it was here, I don't think the builder attended this expo. In any case, was cool to see and wins my vote.

Totally useless photo of a fully faired bicycle "car", as too many people swarming to capture all of it. This would be the ass end of the contraption. I admire people who build this crazy stuff, but highly doubt anything like this ever taking off. Although I did spot something very similar commuting on the Burke Gilman Trail once. I couldn't help but cruise along side and pepper the guy with questions. How could you not? To each his own. Also please note the much coveted Redline bag, bottom left of photo, dude is wearing while checking out the transportation of the future.

With that, I now conclude the official Bike Expo report. Family had a good time at the event. We arrived home with a pile of catalogs, a few free water bottles and hats, a pile of freebie Clif Bars, and I scored a nice pair of Specialized mountain bike shoes for Ian. Let the clipless pedal adventure begin. See you at the expo next year.

1 comment:

  1. I love the bike shows. Good review. Go Ian with the clipless, I remember my first pair, after a few tip overs, the new transfer of power was great .