LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)-A cooling breeze and moderate temperatures made for balmy biking during Outdoor Demo this year, and the new venue’s additional paved surfaces and landscaping diminished the dust.
“It was a phenomenal start,” said Lance Camisasca, show director, whose team had quickly pulled together a completely new show layout after learning in May that the former venue—now the demo parking lot—had changed radically.
“We set a record for the total square footage, with about 65,000 square feet this year, compared with 61,000 in 2006, which was also a record,” he said. Total number of exhibitors grew slightly, from about 130 last year to about 140.
Show staff counted waiver forms and wrist bands to calculate that about 3,300 retailers had landed in demo on Monday, a typical opening-day count. Two-day tallies will likely hit 5,500 to 6,000.
One sign of a good crowd: Park Tool handed out 7,000 bottles of water. The count isn’t in on the beers poured, but the opening-day party was very well received, and about 300 cyclists rode the Tour of Lake Mead on Tuesday morning.
The good weather and inviting venue seemed to buoy attendees’ spirits.
“This is really a mellow crowd,” said Justin Brown, field marketing coordinator for Power Bar, at his first Outdoor Demo, while handing out cold drinks.
“I’m used to Ironman races; those guys are wound up and nervous. This is much more leisurely and really pleasant,” Brown said.
Chris Brown of Brown Cycles in Grand Junction, Colorado, got to see demo from two perspectives: retailer and exhibitor.
He was exhibiting his adult-and-kid tandems on the second day, but riding as a retailer on Monday.
“This gets rid of all the hype. You take the bike for a spin and see if it does what the supplier says it does,” he said. He already has his own brands’ new models in stock, so mostly rides competitors’ bikes to see what he’s up against.
From his exhibitor’s perspective, Interbike’s a bargain. “This is where your market is. This is the most cost-efficient way to see all of my dealers at one time,” Brown said.
Knolly Bikes, in its second year as an exhibitor, has grown from an idea and a few prototypes.
“We’re having a great time; all our bikes are out and we’ve been busy,” said company founder Noel Buckley. He was meeting with his current retailers and hunting more, while introducing the brand’s first cross-country bike, the Endorphin.
Demo also held its charm for Wayne Parra, of Wayne’s Mobile Bike Repair in Guadalupe, California, who showed up to check out new parts in spite of a recent hip replacement.
“I’ve got more titanium than Litespeed,” he said. “But I want to see where biking’s going to go, and this is where you find that out.” -John Crenshaw