Why must such an incredible event representing one of mankind's greatest creations be contained in one of mankind's worst creations?



Editor's Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at [email protected]. And make sure to check out Kurt's previous columns.

Before I start sending certain people into an uproar, let me start by saying this is not a rant to criticize and call out all the hardworking, tireless people who make Interbike happen. I am amazed by Interbike. It fascinates me. The size and scope of it are absolutely awe-inspiring. The fact that an organization can pull off an event of Interbike's magnitude blows my mind. I have a ton of respect and admiration for everyone who helps put it all together.



Having said that, please consider what I'm about to say just a question. An inquiry. An opportunity for open discussion where good ideas can be shared and solutions can be offered. I care about the bike industry and everyone in it, which is why I ask:

Is Las Vegas really the best Interbike can do?



I know it's a question that's been asked ad nauseam, yet it continues to be asked for good reason. I'm not the only one in the bike industry who thinks Las Vegas represents everything that is so horrifically wrong about humanity. I feel filthy, pissed off, annoyed and depressed every time I set foot within city limits.

It's a non-stop barrage of neon lights, obnoxious advertising, fake body parts, sleazy, dirty sex, half-rate Elvis impersonators and moronic, drunken tourists. The bicycle is one of mankind's greatest creations, so why must we showcase it in the heart of one of mankind's worst creations?

The contradiction couldn't be greater. Having a trade show that promotes efficiency, simplicity, health, outdoor recreation and family in a city that exemplifies waste, excess, sickness, spending your life indoors and the exploitation of women doesn't compute to me. It would be like holding the North American Auto Show in the country's biggest wildlife sanctuary.

While I understand why Interbike is in Las Vegas - cheap, affordable flights from all over the country, affordable hotel rooms out the fart pipe and gargantuan exhibit spaces that can accommodate ONE MILLION square feet - there has to be a better answer. There has to. I understand Interbike exists to make a profit. But Interbike also exists to sell cycling products, celebrate the bicycle and the amazing people who make the industry tick. So which is the priority here?

There are other cities in the United States with far more orientation to outdoor recreation just foaming at the mouth to get an opportunity to host one of the largest bicycle trade shows in the world. I'm sure they would bend over backwards. But it seems many of these cities get pooh-poohed because flights aren't cheap or accessible enough and hotel rooms are too expensive.



So flights are cheap in Vegas and so are hotel rooms. Great. But nobody seems to consider the fact that a cup of coffee runs four bucks, a crappy sandwich ten bucks and a beer worth drinking is priced competitively with your local pro sports stadium. Nevermind the constant barrage of "resort fees", advertisements, promotions, shady taxi cab drivers and jerks on the strip pushing postcards in your face about some night club sure to rape your wallet and leave you with an unpronounceable disease. And last time I checked, unpronounceable diseases are pretty expensive to cure. So add that to your Vegas bill.

All said and done, that hundred bucks you saved on a flight to Vegas is chump change compared to the money wasted just being in Vegas.





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.