Interbike 2018: The Biggest Little Show

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

Interbike Marketweek Reno-Tahoe Powered by Northstar California Resort doesn’t seem to be getting much traction in the mainstream media.

A cursory search of The New York Times finds a story from the 2008 show (“LeMond Critical of Armstrong”). The Washington Post mentions Interbike in a 2017 piece discussing Outdoor Retailer’s contentious exit from Utah. And The Los Angeles Times gives it a nod in a 2013 story on BikeSpike, a Chicago startup hoping to deter bike thieves.

Gosh, if only we could make the bicycle more expansive, expensive, and indispensible, we might draw a few more hungry eyeballs. (A Google search for “new iPhones” yields about 2,670,000,000 results.)

Alas, the humble bicycle — so far as I know, anyway — will not download porn for you from the palm of one hand, leaving the other free for, well, you know, whatever. You can ride one to an adult bookstore, but it will get stolen by some other jagoff, because BikeSpike seems to have gone tits up.

What’s that in the obligatory rear-view-mirror shot? The garage door. I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

But we were talking about Interbike Marketweek Reno-Tahoe Powered by Northstar California Resort here, not porn, adult bookstores, and well, you know, whatever.

The Northstar Free-Ride Festival kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday. OutDoor Demo will be Sunday and Monday, also at the Northstar Resort. The Interbike Expo will run Tuesday through Thursday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

The local business community is all atwitter at hosting the show, with attendance rumored to be in the low five digits.

“It’s very similar in size to Safari Club International … and close to the qualifying events for the Northern California Volleyball Association,” said Phil DeLone, CEO of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, in a chat with the Reno Gazette-Journal. “It’s certainly in the top three largest events that come to Reno.”

Elite company, to be sure, and proud we are of all of them. But among Those in the Know, the expectation is that Le Shew Bigge in the Year of Our Lord 2018 will be greatly diminished from the glory days.

“Gonna be a sleepy little show,” observed one observer.

As a consequence I will not be notching my 21st Interbike this year. Adventure Cyclist did a quick cost-benefits analysis and decided the office sofa infrastructure would yield just enough change to get staff from Missoula to Reno-Tahoe and back again, with nothing left over for bail. And Bicycle Retailer and Industry News quit underwriting my travels a dozen years ago because I kept writing columns about how the show had become a sad exercise in, well, you know, whatever. This had grown tiresome, even for me, and I was the one being paid to write it.

Since Interbike fled north from Las Vegas to Reno-Tahoe I have talked to some industry types who are going and not happy about it, and to some others who are not going and are delighted. Me? I’m mildly disappointed to miss a chance to catch up with the friends, colleagues and industry types I only get to see once a year.

But when I read a weather forecast like this one, I cheer up pretty quickly. Shucks, I have enough bikes in the garage to put on my own damn OutDoor Demo.

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17 Responses to “Interbike 2018: The Biggest Little Show”

  1. Stephen Newhall Says:

    I will be going to my 26th interbike, probably from being too dumb to stop. I go just to give a middle finger to the big three, who think we should all go to their own show, and buy everything from them.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Twenny-six? Hoo-lawd, son. That’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.

      Right you are on the big three, though. You ever do any business with Marin? I like some of their bikes quite a bit, and have something of a light lust for their low-end Pine Mountain. Their whole line is made in Indonesia these days.

      • Hurben Says:

        I had a Pine Mountain for a while & it was a dog.

        Thing came with mismatched brake levers, was labeled a medium but was in fact a large & shocking welds.

        In the TA this year, two riders had to go get their Pine Mountains re-welded in Wellington as they’d started breaking up

        I now run a geared Kona Unit & it’s great

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ooo, that ain’t good. You must’ve gotten a Marin that was built on a Monday or a Friday. I got an F-150 like that once.

        Kona’s good. I haven’t found a dog in their pound yet.

      • Hurben Says:

        I forgot to mention the fork recall, as apparently they were breaking.

    • khal spencer Says:

      So Stephen, will you be back for the Fanta Se BTAC meeting or do I get to throw all the hand grenades by myself?

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Warm and dry here as well. Above normal temps however; it’s 97 here and 104 in the Old Pueblo.

    You don’t sound bummed about missing the Interbike this year. Will you attend the 2019 NAHBS in Sacramento?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ninety on the nosey here at 4:30 in the peeyem. Warmish for September, but man, the mornings are stellar. If I’m running by 8 a.m. I don’t melt into a little puddle of old Falstaff and bacon grease, and if I’m cycling by 9, well, likewise.

      I haven’t thought about NAHBS Sacto yet. I have beaucoup pals out that way, and they might like to see the show. I’ve been to the ones in Denver and Charlotte, N.C.

  3. khal spencer Says:


  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    “I’m mildly disappointed to miss a chance to catch up with the friends, colleagues and industry types I only get to see once a year.”

    My sentiments exactly, PO’G. This includes you. With all the doom and gloom it won’t take much for the Reno shindig to exceed most expectations. One of my industry pals (after complaining about what a pain it is for some of his colleagues to even get to Reno) pointed out that those who do make the trip out there might be inclined to do biz rather than just guzzling free beer and ogling bike porn?
    I’ll don my SOPWAMTOS t-shirt this weekend in honor of the Golden Toiddy winners…I can think of a few who should be awarded one these days, but I’ll keep that to myself.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Larry, looks like we’ll just have to keep exchanging compliments from a distance until you find a nice mansion for all of us in Italy.

      I talked to one industry type the other day who said he and his people busted their humps at the show last year to come up dry. Bupkis, nada, zip, zero. Not a single order written. They’ll be in Reno and are definitely hoping for better things, but not expecting them.

      As you note, exceeding expections sounds like a mighty low curb to hop.

  5. Joby Dynneson Says:

    I do miss Interbike, but for me it has not just been the big 3 but all companies. All our clothing and accessorie preseason work is over before the big Nevada party even starts to be a vision in the windshield. Even the small bike companies needed confirmation in August. It has been 5 years since I went to Interbike to work and justify the cost.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Le Shew Bigge has been less and less about doing business for years, for sure. I remember when we BRAINiacs were dashing around from hall to hall doing a job of work, trying to chart all the various courses the industry was taking, or at least considering.

      If there’s a true Gathering of the Tribes in the modern era, it’s probably Sea Otter. I need to get back there one of these days.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        I think the Gathering of the Tribes is now the big show in Germany that was way back in July(?) One of my industry friends in the USA went there to meet with his customers/buyers…..from the USA. Yep, you read that right.
        Once we’re in Italy full-time he might persuade me to fly up there if I don’t have anything better or more profitable to do…but then again….it’s Germany. He might talk me into NAHBS one year if I’m missing the land of the Big Gulp and Baconator…but then again…

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