Hopping off the bus after leaving the Sands Convention Center at Bootleg Canyon, one is immediately struck by the crystal clear blue skies which provide a pleasing contrast to the crimson -orange hued rock formations that loom in the distance. Taking place at Nevada's Boulder Canyon, the first day of Interbike's Outdoor Demo does not disappoint when it comes to spectacular riding conditions. The canyon presents the whole package, azure blue skies replete with clouds, beneath which the ample rich red sandstone trails entice a cycling industry's "Who's Who" of riders, to cut and shred, sampling 2007's hottest new bikes and gear.
The first two days of Interbike always roll out the most sought after trinkets for riders to sample and drool over. But this year, we see some of the hottest new designs that have ever been unveiled. Some bikes impress with simple, classy new color choices. Others will blow your mind with radical tubing shapes. Still others present fresh, unique and in some cases wild new ideas.
Mountain Bikes, Roadies, Recumbants, Triathlon/TT Bikes, Step Bikes, every variety and/or style of bike you can possibly dream up is available for a test ride. Bikes aren't all there is to demo, scads of companies are present to showcase their latest designs in the form of Helmets, Tires, Sunglasses, Saddles, Wheels, and other accessories. Grab a saddle from Selle Italia, a helmet from Giro, some sunglasses from Addidas Eyewear, a set of pedals from Crank Brothers and an Orbea Orca and peel off toward the sun bathed horizon. Then comeback and switch it all out for a new combination to test every piece of gear that you desire. One of the unique things about this type of show is that it allows you to do side by side comparisons of the nearly every piece of the latest gear.
Cyclists come from all over the country and the world to take part in the pilgrimage of the faithful to Nevada's Bootleg Canyon. We ran into shop owners from the East Coast, the West Coast and everywhere in between while vendors arrived from around the globe. This industry-only event draws a bustling crowd of shop owners, dealers, manufacturer's representatives, and manufacturers for a numner of reasons. Some are here to see the latest ideas to add to their inventories. Some are here to extol the virtues of their newest creations. Others are here to see what their competition has been up to. It's this kind of convention that spurs on healthy competition, becoming the catalyst that ensures a wealth of innovative ideas for cyclists.
As a spectator at Interbike, one gets the sense of developing industry trends and what is going to blow up as the next "Big Thing" in cycling. One such development is the current "29'er" craze. Last year at the convention you might have seen a hand full of companies producing 29'ers. This year nearly every manufacturer of Mountain Bikes has their foray into the 29'er genre. Joseph Martin from Salsa bikes had this to say about it, "While smaller riders can ride them, they (29'ers) are a perfect platform for larger riders... Who's going to be riding them? Riders that have been mountain biking for a long time. They are going to like this as a fresh idea. Something new for them to try. The 29 inch is great for cross country style riding, it takes a little to get them going but, once they rollin', smooth...."
One of the other highlights of the Outdoor Demo is the Hangover ride. Riders from SCOTT bike lead a road tour from Bootleg Canyon down to Lake Mead.
SCOTT sponsors the event and provides access to its entire line of high end carbon fiber bikes. Anyone interested can take an extended test ride. Co-sponsor Mavic provides the use of of its team support car to give you the feeling of what it is like to be a pro cyclist.
Cruise out on a race bred carbon fiber bike, down along the simply stunning scenery including views of Lake Mead and the surrounding valley. Perfectly clean, smooth asphalt welcomes cyclists that are used to riding in less then pristine conditions.
If you happened to get a flat or have some other technical issue, the Mavic car was right there to swap in a fresh Ksyrium SSL and send you back on your way. Empty water bottles? The team car was there... Once you arrive at Lake Mead, you had the opportunity to gather with all the other riders and compare notes on the bikes and the scenery. After taking a moment to ogle the breathtaking views you had the opportunity to see how the your SCOTT CR1 handled on the vigorous climb back up to Bootleg Canyon.
Jump off your bike after the early morning jaunt on the Hangover Ride and jump back on any other bike available. Then spend the rest of the day experiencing bikes, the local trails and soaking up some of that ambrosial western sunshine. Once you are satisfied or just too exhausted to ride anymore, shuttle yourself back to The Strip and walk through the Venetian in your salt ringed jerseys with your less-than-pleasant smelling gloves and helmet drawing some attention from confused looking gamblers. Rest up, the indoor section of the expo is almost here...