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Interbike Roundup: Day One
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 10/7/2004
Interbike Roundup: Day One

Road Trip (skip down if you are a sworn bike commuter or only want to read about Interbike itself)

Road Trip! I must say it - the trip to the Interbike bike convention in Las Vegas Wednesday brought back fond memories of setting out for parts known or unknown back in the 70's, when adventure was spelled ROAD TRIP. I got an early start (06:30) which is pretty much key to getting out of Southern California in less than three hours. I had my little XM satellite radio gizmo with me - hundreds of commercial-free radio channels, as long as its little antenna thingy has an unobstructed "view" of the southern sky where the XM satellite is perched. I found out today that the big rig trucks and highway overpasses (and mountains) tend to obstruct that southern view.

Still, it was road trip music - commercial-free "classic" rock, such as Midnight Special by Creedence Clearwater Survival, the inimitable Do You Feel Like We Do by Frampton, Steve Miller's The Joker ("some people call me Maurice"), Roundabout by Yes, Dream On by Aerosmith and In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins. Those of you too young to recognize any of these will have to trust me that these are actual songs.

In a bit over an hour I was "out"- beyond the furthest reaches of Southern California proper. Dense fog had made way to bright, if hazy sunshine, and my spirits were high - I had a 1pm appointment at Interbike and everything was on schedule. Things shattered shortly later due to ill-placed highway construction, that cost 7 or dozen motorists and myself to pretty much park on a short stretch of road for nearly an hour. However, not easily dissuaded, I simply rolled down the windows and turned the tunes up, while I pondered the impoliteness of my fellow drivers and watched dragon flies dodge in and out of the stopped vehicles.

You see, many orange signs announced that four highway lanes were being reduced to the two right lanes, so we obedient drivers moved over to the two right lanes. However, we were joined by dozens of more impatient drivers, who figured their best shot was to shoot up to the front of the two left lanes that were disappearing not far ahead of them - the logic being that they would have a jump on merging into our lanes. This was not the case, however: everything stopped dead.

I was hoping for a big rig rolling road block - when a truck pulls part way out into the lane that is ending to block others from doing what these "lane usurpers" were doing, but alas, the many truck drivers on this stretch of road were forgiving and mellow. Well, I thought - when it comes time for these people to want to merge, they will have another thing coming - I won't let them into MY lane - the ultimate Los Angelean non-road rage solution.

So about 20 minutes later, we are all smoothly merged from four lanes into two, but things are still stopped dead. Why? Well, the far right lane is suddenly now an exit lane, so now all the formerly patient right lane drivers needed into our one remaining lane. That took another 25 minutes or so, and then, finally moving, the road was narrow and sketchy, so the speed limit was very low. This safety precautions did not stop the now impatient among the drivers, but an all white, souped up Camaro Highway Patrol vehicle did.

Interbike at Last!

There were lots of autograph sessions around the convention hall Wednesday: Bobby Julich at Camelbak, Tyler at BMC, Eddy and Axel at the Gita Bikes pavilion, Paola Pezzo at Specialized, Nicole Freedman at Giant, the Luna Chix at Santa Cruz Bicycles, Mr. Liggett at Cyclesport, Frankie at Cambiatta. However, the first order of business was in fact to be a Simoni-Cunego-Bobke interview session at 1pm. Sadly, Simoni had apparently missed his flight, so this has been tentatively rescheduled for Thursday. In the meantime though, Master Cunego was signing autographs at the fi'z:ik booth.

Mr. Giuseppe Martinelli was also there.

The line for Damiano - you can just barely see his face at the pink table, directly beneath the saddle display.

Next I popped over to Gita Bike where Eddy and Axel Merckx were signing autographs. Gita Bike, by the way, is the exclusive US wholesaler for Giordana, Diadora, Pinarello, Eddy Merckx, Pegoretti, Opera and Gommitalia. There was a very long line of fans for the Merckx boys, and many more onlookers wishing to just behold the two. Eddy is looking mighty slim and sleek.

Click for larger image.

A fan in a Faema shirt came up to Eddy with a Molteni jersey, and insisted that he model it, which he did (I believe she wanted him to autograph it whilst he was wearing it, but I don't think he did...

Eddy getting into the shirt

Click for larger image.

I will have some more photos of Merckx's bike line later on, but in the meantime he has one of his old, trusted steeds on display:

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

I also paid a visit to our friend Bill McGann (Captain Bill) of Torelli Imports. I have mentioned this before, but if you have not visited the Torelli website and had a look at the great cycling stories there, it is very worth your while. Bill has a new story up, about the 1970 and 1971 Tours - 1971 was the Ocana-Merckx epic duel - click here.

Bill introduced me to his old friend and new associate Paolo Guerciotti, whom some of you old, old timers might remember was a cyclocross champ. Paolo has been manufacturing bikes since 1972, and his bikes are ridden not only by the LPR team, but have carried countless cyclocross rainbow jerseys. Paolo is a charming Italian (is there any other kind???) and you can visit his website, Guerciotti Cycles, here.

Bill McGann - Torelli.

Guerciotti frames.

Paolo Guerciotti.

I also dropped by Sinclair Imports, which distributes Hincapie Sportswear, Carnak and their newest line - Ridley Bikes, which they are very excited about. Here's a few shots of their booth this year.



Lance Donnell of Sinclair.

Carnak shoes.

George Hincapie posing with a fan.

Girlie Hincapie.

Bianchi Hincapie.

Spied downstairs: Incognito Freddy...

Gonna take more than dark glasses to hide this guy...

Over at Cyclesport, Big Magnus and Phil Liggett were signing autographs, and they each signed a copy of Cyclesport for us - now we need to have a reason to give them to you....

Magnus is a very sweet guy, and speaks excellent English as well.

I also happened to chat with two nice young men who run a downhill site in the UK called Descent-World, and you need to go check it out. Justin Hardman (great name) and Simon Paton get reports on every downhill contest they can, and have their readers choose who should be interviewed and what questions to ask. These two do this for love, not money, so if downhill is your thing, please visit their site. The two would like your feedback - if you like, log on and give them your comments, so they can make the site even more responsive. (On top of this, Justin and I have an idea to market the next hot beverage in the UK - watch out!)

Thanks again this year to Interbike for their improved Press Room facilities - an endless supply of coffee and other beverages, and HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTIONS. And plenty of them, too. It makes things very, very easy for us media types, so thank you!

Only in Las Vegas...

All right, off I go to find more things to tell you about. But it's worth pointing out how "innovative" casino designers are in this city. The Sands Convention Center, where the Interbike convention is held, is connected to the Venetian Hotel, which is like...Venice, except newer (much newer...).

The canals are inside the hotel, of course...

This is a real person who poses motionlessly for long periods of time.
This is also inside the Venetian, though it very much looks like an outdoor setting...

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