It got to the point where I was spending more time walking around taking in all of the ridiculous stuff than actually looking for cool stuff. Mostly because there was weird stuff EVERYWHERE. Case in point: The Motostik. Please bear in mind that this was one of THREE "extreme pogo stick - er, i mean stik" - companies that were displaying their lines at the show. I never knew there was such a market for this stuff. I was amazed to see that for every three people that walked by smirking, one would actually take a serious look at this thing.
I just had to show the flyer. Please check out the videos at the Motostik website. I can only assume they rented out the skatepark locations so as to avoid possible injury to their "riders". Otherwise, I'm sure there would have been some pretty good footage of random skaters walking by and smacking them in the head. I triple-dog-dare anybody to take one of these things out at FDR skatepark.
Back in the land of the sane, Brooks had some nice stuff in their booth. Along with their world-renowned saddles (which I personally don't like due to their "don't get me wet" nature, but otherwise adore), they had these leather grips. I'm sure most people have seen their older grips, which were basically padded grips covered with a stitched-on piece of leather. But these things....wooo boy. They were made of big leather "O-rings", which themselves were basically a bunch of leather circles laminated together. The ends were aluminum, and you could adjust the length of the grip itself by adding/removing rings. I can really dig the craftsmanship of these grips. What I can't dig, however, is the price tag: roughly $100 retail. Doh.
Brooks also had some lovely leather bar tape. This picture does it no justice. What I really wish I had a picture of (or better yet, the actual item) was one of the beautiful Brooks long sleeve wool jerseys that were available at the booth. The booth in general was incredibly understated; Brooks knows all about the simple beauty of their product, and they didn't try and get flashy. When your stuff looks like theirs, it's enough to just put it all in glass cases and let people drool.
.....And then there's the other side of the spectrum. Oakley. They had an absolutely humongous booth, which was pretty much a mock-up of some crazy futuristic space bunker or something. I'm quite sure the booth cost more money than we make annually. Anyway, at any point during the three-day show, there were approximately 100 people up in this booth. It was pretty nuts. I'm not a big fan of their stuff, but I was curiously drawn in by how over-the-top everything was inside. I did manage to slip into a little room (I assume this is where they talk business with big accounts) and snap this photo of the seats inside. They had custom made, padded barstool covers. The patch near the center opening reads "Exhaust vent". You can't make this stuff up.
Surly had a pretty nice, basic type of booth. They also had this crazy snow bike. The tire must be about eight inches wide. While incredibly impractical, I couldn't help but think about how much fun it would be to ride around Philly on this thing after a blizzard.
Hopefully said blizzard would bury THIS silly, silly contraption under a few feet of snow. It was quite a harrowing experience, going to grab a brochure for this beast while trying to avoid eye contact with any of the reps (which would surely have launched them into a fake, pre-programmed sales schpiel). I managed to slip in and slip out while some other dude was looking at the bike closely. Lucky for most attendees, these guys were placed about as deeply as possible in the "ridiculous new crap that won't be around next year" section of the showroom floor.
Does this really need a caption at this point?
Awww yeah. Now you can get your step on, while also bending over uncomfortably to grip bmx bars on a 20" wheel, and looking as silly as possible all at the same time! I love this show. Seriously.
Back at the Accelerade booth, Taliah Lempert was still busy painting. Probably a good thing, given what was going on around her. Some booths had begun to bring out kegs,and fools were having even more animated conversations about carbon fiber than before. I've gotta give props to the guy from Risse Racing (they make aftermarket shocks for pretty much every bike on the market). He was right across from one of the major free beer booths, dealing out shots of Cuervo with salt and limes for $5, including a Risse shot glass. Good stuff.
Ok, so by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn't really do much as far as researching any new, useful products. mostly I walked around taking pictures of people and wacky inventions. And scouting where the next free alcohol giveaways would be. And deciding what to do later during that particular night. Which is, realistically, a hell of a lot more fun than actually taking this mess seriously. Truth be told, we will have a booth next year, and our booth is going to make the show about 25 times more exciting than it is normally. We've got big plans. Trust me on that one.
On one final note: Kryptonite is introducing a whole new line of locks this year. And the amazing thing is, they've actually listened to messenger input for the designs. They've switched out the incredibly annoying, rotating "rain cuff" (the thing that used to cover the key hole) for a nice new sliding "door". So you can leave it open most of the time, and with just a flick of the thumb you can slide it over the key cyclinder to keep your lock from eventually rusting out. Now you no longer have to cut off the cuff! They've also come out with a new model for NYC heads, dubbed the "fuhgettaboutit" lock. It's basically an extremely beefed up evo mini. The thing is HEAVY. Very heavy. As in "might rip off the back pocket of your jeans if you put it there". But it's not nearly as heavy as 3 feet of chain and a padlock. To top it all off, possibly the nicest, best rep I've ever met works there: Donna Tocci. She's amazing. She's responsible for all of the locks that get given away at alleycats and major races all year long. She even gave one, on the spur of the moment, for the Inetrbike alleycat Whitesnake and Dozr threw. More on that in the next installment: Interbike 2006 - The Fun Part.