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Interbike Demo East Reflections, Part 2
By Christopher Fauske
Date: 10/11/2009
Interbike Demo East Reflections, Part 2

Demo East Reflections, Part 2
Some sideline highlights from Providence, RI.

One advantage of the small venue that is Demo East is the opportunity to stop and browse without having to worry about whether there’ll be time to see everything.

One other virtue is that some smaller vendors, even ones perhaps only tangentially related to cycling, can afford to take part.

So it was that we came across what John Vogel, our photographer and resident techie, described as the “innovation of the show.” High praise, indeed, for something that doesn’t come with wheels, drop outs, or derailleurs. It is, in fact, a tent. But a tent that finally allows the committed weight-obsessed cyclist to contemplate a journey that might, until now, have boggled the mind. The Nemo GoGo tent packs in at 1.9lbs (860g) and folds into a stuff sack that could fit into the back pocket of a wind jacket. The secret is in the single “pole” which supports the tent, a pole which is not a pole at all but an inflatable tube.

The Nemo tent. Inflate and sleep. Deflate and go.

Photo © 2009 John Vogel

The tent is designed so that it can be inflated by a pump either while outside or, in case of inclement weather, while inside. There are one- and two-person versions of the tent (the Morpho [4.8 lbs (2.2 kg)] is the two-person version) and the company claims a set-up time of less than 45 seconds for each.

By now reasonably well-established in cycling circles, Swedish clothing manufacturer CRAFT began life catering to that nation’s Nordic skiers, and it continues to focus on clothing that makes winter a time to appreciate rather than one to try to hibernate through. In neighboring Norway, they say Det finnes ikke noe slikt som dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” and CRAFT has taken this message to heart. The U.S. dollar has been weakening against world currencies recently, but David Vietze, who handles distribution for much of the northeast along with Natalie Darmohraj, points out that CRAFT prices have been coming down recently “as scalability kicks in. Our sales are up 12 percent in dollar terms, even as prices have come down.” He stresses, though, that CRAFT sees itself as “still an emerging brand in the U.S. We’ve put a new marketing team in place in house,” Vietze says, and one task of that marketing will be to address what Darmohraj says is a misconception: “CRAFT has been viewed as exclusive and elite, but it’s not that expensive compared with other brands.

For cyclists, CRAFT offers its jerseys in three cuts, Elite [perhaps part of the image problem?], which offers a closer fit, Performance, and Acive, the most relaxed fit. Spread out on a table, it’s easy to see the quite significant differences in cut of three jerseys of the same size.

The Elite cut (top) offers a closer cut than the Performance (middle) or the Active (bottom) jersey of the same size.

Photo © 2009 John Vogel

Of course, you can’t ride far without sustenance, and in the ever expanding list of offerings for on-the-go bars, New York City-based Raw Revolution promises nutrition that is gluten free; vegan; and wheat-, corn-, soy-, trans-fat-, cholesterol-, and refined sugar-Free.

Chocolate and Coconut, always a good combination.

With food, clothing, and camping supplies that can fit in a pocket, it all adds up to the opportunity for a ride that goes long into the night, which would require lights, and Sigma of Germany was in attendance to demonstrate both its computers and its range of lights, including the remarkably nifty, and almost implausibly small Micro (available in either white or red LED lights that can flash or offer a solid beam). These micro lights offer the opportunity to illuminate both arms and legs and any other body part you wish, so that, while your main bright lights let you see where you are going, drivers will have no excuse for not seeing you.

Small but effective, Sigma’s micro light.

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