The Angry Singlespeeder: Is Las Vegas the Best Interbike Can Do?


I am no events promotion expert and will never claim to be. But there’s got to be some options here. I won’t say that everyone in the bike industry is unhappy about Las Vegas, but it seems that everyone I talk to at least releases a sigh of despair every time the word “Interbike” is uttered – only because of where its held.

Interbike used to be in Anaheim, and three years ago, it almost returned to Anaheim. Although Anaheim seems more agreeable to me than Las Vegas, it’s like opting for being shot by a firing squad versus having your head chopped off in a guillotine.

How about a place where trees actually grow naturally? Where fresh air is abundant? Where you can pedal a bike a couple miles without fear of being run over by a disgruntled cab driver or dying of severe dehydration?

Salt Lake City has been suggested many a time, as has Denver. Although it’s practically become a bicycling cliché, Portland might be interesting. Plenty of opportunity in the Bay Area. Seattle? What about Reno/Lake Tahoe? Maybe someplace on the East Coast? Christ, I’d even opt for a cornfield in Iowa for crying out loud. Anyplace but Las Vegas.

Just so nobody can criticize me for complaining without offering any solutions, here’s an idea – there are several retired military bases in the country with massive buildings, airplane hangars and warehouses with hundreds of acres of open, empty land in relatively close vicinity to hotels and airports. I bet you could rent that real estate for pretty cheap and put on one hell of a great event.

Besides, everybody knows that riding bikes sells bikes. So then why is Interbike so indoor oriented? Sure there’s the Dirt Demo, but come on. Have you ever been to Boulder City, Nevada in September? It’s like poking your eyeballs out with branding irons. I’ve been to Outdoor Demo in Park City, Utah. Although it has struggled to gain traction, it’s a terrific event in an amazing location. Imagine having a hybrid of Interbike and Outdoor Demo in a desirable location. Now that would be an unforgettable experience.

Maybe Interbike needs to take a lesson from the indoor/outdoor pool made famous by hotels. Have a venue where exhibitors are inside, yet dealers can take bikes outside and actually ride them around. Do it all in one big semi-outdoor event.

I have a hard time believing there is no place in the United States other than Las Vegas that can accommodate such a great event like Interbike. As the collective sigh grows bigger, the attendance will grow smaller. And nobody wants to see that. Let’s think creatively and come up with alternative solutions that pay proper respect to one of mankind’s greatest inventions – an invention that we all hold near and dear to our hearts.

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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Ross Shafer says:

    Amen! Vegas sucks!

  • SteveVarnum says:

    Interesting comments. It has been nearly 15 years since I last visited Las Vegas for the purposes of attending a convention. You actually covered the reasons my organization, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), used Vegas…cost and convenience. Back then I didn’t find it nearly as offensive as painted in your article. Has it changed that much? However, my last visit was more interesting and productive: I was in Las Vegas to ride my bike more than 100 miles as part of my “Grand Adventure” to ride 100 miles in all 50 states. Las Vegas was where I chose to ride in Nevada. I was there November 2010 with just a few of the 48 states left which I finished by the end of the month. (Hawaii and Alaska in 2011.) So Vegas carries a certain charm for me now. My blog:

  • marty says:

    I agree, also, with Kurt. Being propositioned as you walk down a street or getting out of a cab reflects on the city’s trade and value system. Change the venue location and I’ll be back.

  • 2thlesswithta2s says:

    I share the opinion that Vegas is a garish scar on an otherwise very nice piece of desert landscape, but it takes more to put on an event than space & hotel rooms. Along with all the nasty crap that Vegas has, it also has the best event services & infrastructure in the country & perhaps the world. They get the kind of event participation they do because they make it relatively simple & cheap for the organizers as well as the participants. No other venue even comes close. Look at it this way: your cheap hotel room & event registration are being underwritten by all the ass-hats loosing their shirts at the gambling tables & strip clubs.

  • baggy1970 says:

    4 bucks for a cup of coffee? Really? That’s a pretty standard price for a “fancy-ccino” anywhere you go. I’ve lived in Las Vegas for almost 10 years and I rarely go to the strip. It’s for most of the reasons listed in the article. Vegas is a cheesy, ridiculous city. Everyone knows that. Away from the strip it’s just like most cities in the southwestern US: bad drivers, Wal-Mart, good places, bad places, etc. I agree with Mr. Snavely, the snobby Interbike people fit perfectly in Las Vegas.

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