Squinterbike

I know Outdoor Demo has to be around here somewhere. …

Anybody missing that long trek to Sin City for Interbike this year?

Yeah, me neither.

I could do with a good road trip — I think I’ve left town about twice this year, and then only for the day — but the notion of driving a 15-year-old rice grinder from hotter-than-hell Albuquerque to actual-hell Las Vegas strikes me as the sort of flagellatory exercise in self-abuse that would have the sternest penitente going all like, “Isn’t that a bit over the top?”

And yeah, I know, I know: Interbike’s last known address was in Reno, not Vegas. That’s like running away from ’Burque so you can croak in Las Cruces.

Anyway, trade shows are for people who don’t have high-speed internet. Just ask Emerald Expositions, which tried to graft Interbike Lite onto its Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Denver only to wind up deep-sixing the entire show. In these days of modern times, Squinterbike is all we need. Peer deeply into the phone and all will be revealed.

This year the buzz (ho ho ho) is all about e-bikes, cargo bikes, and e-cargo bikes, with a side of indoor cycling.

Eurobike doubled the size of its cargo-bike area, according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, which plans a three-day e-tailer tour of SoCal next month aboard Yamaha Power Assist Bicycles.

Now you know me Al. I am deeply ignorant and a Luddite to boot. Thus I remain skeptical that making the simple act of cycling more complex and expensive will somehow save its supporting industry.

To my jaded snoot these items continue to smell like luxury goods that appeal to (a) faddists, who will quickly move on to the next shiny object, and (2) hardcores, the old white guys with too many bicycles who are frantically trying to stave off the Grim Reaper by any means necessary.

As an old white guy with too many bicycles myself, I seem to get along just fine with nine-speed, human-powered drivetrains, friction bar-cons, rim brakes, and tubes in my tires. My bikes often sport racks for carrying cargo, and I store the electronics in a jersey pocket in case I fall down and can’t get up.

The bike biz is forever hunting The Next Big Thing®. But this time we have the powersports crowd along on the safari. It’s a big desert out there, with plenty of room for dead batteries and sun-bleached bones.

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23 Responses to “Squinterbike”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Cargo bike? Um, you mean a traditional touring or mountainbike with a Burley, Thule, or similar trailer hung out the back (or just plain rack and pannier) ain’t good enough? Actually, I would cheer for these if they actually take a car off the road. But you know what Larry’s wife says. The Big 3 are taking cars off the road since they would prefer to sell pickup trucks and SUVs.

    I know a couple people with cargo bikes (both are Surly Big Dummys–the bikes, not the people). They are nice bikes. And I do see a rare one at the co-op but that’s one cargo bike vs. about a bazillion SUVs. Even in The City Indifferent.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      And Fanta Se is a town where you could make human-powered transportion a reality … if you built a Wall barring access from the Cerrillos/St. Francis clustercorner. Yuuuuuuge parking lot also. “You want in? Park the Escalade and rent this ’ere Brompton, Tex. Them alligator boots take SPD cleats?”

      • khal spencer Says:

        I had a good friend, Gail Ryba, who fought NMDoT tooth and nail on the St. Francis Widening Clusterbleep. Then we got the Cerrillos clusterbleep and the Cerrillos/St.Francis/RailRunner Clusterbleep.

        Big money talks and the rest of us walk. Would be a five minute bike ride to Whole Paycheck from my house if I took St. Francis, but it might be the last ride of my life and while my category of cyclist has always been “strong and fearless” its not “dumb and stupid”.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        How do you make the trip, then? By auto? With the Railyard standing between you and the grub, shopping by bike would be quite the odyssey.

        • khal spencer Says:

          We usually do a Tour de Fanta Se in the car and do all our shopping at once (Trader Joe’s, Vitamin Cottage, WF, Total Wine). If I go to Woof or BikeNSport by bike, I usually jog one street east to Guadalupe and take that to Cordova. Its almost as busy but only one lane in each direction and lower speed limit. One of these days I have to shop by bike on St. Francis just to get over The Fear.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I cycled up to the Smith’s to fetch Herself a bottle of wine Monday afternoon. One mile up, one mile back, mostly on the Tramway bike path.

          I was sweating like the proverbial hoor in church when I got back. I gotta do my wine-shopping a little earlier, when it’s cooler. Like maybe 6 a.m.

    • SAO’ Says:

      Fort Collins ain’t mainstream America, and the Tour de Fat ain’t mainstream Fort Collins, but if you were in Old Town last weekend and you weren’t on an e-bike or a multi-person cargo hauler, you were the odd-ball.

      “Look at you on that two wheeler with no USN ports … isn’t that precious. I guess you shop at Whole Foods one bag at a time?”

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    These f–king things have invaded our island. Drunk (or on their way) groups rent them locally and zoom around terrorizing tourists while beeping an obnoxious electric “horn.”

    These are the same lazy blobs that used to rent those electric podiums (Segway) to avoid expending any physical effort, but these are easier to operate I guess? C’mon, the island is just 1000 X 700 f–king meters, you can’t walk from bar to bar?

    Oh well, by October they’ll all be put away as the tourist season ends and as the locals say, “We get our island back.”

    Meanwhile we found another good place for pizza.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We used to get Fanta Se back too, but now the tourist season runs 365 days per annum.

      Albuquerque apparently enjoyed something of a tourism boom this year. No stats on how many rental cars were stolen, but I expect we’re still the champeen in that category.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Squinterbike! Chapeau again Patrick.

    Oh well, marketing types, and their social media provided data bases, will target the ignorant and selfish dupes who buy trendy shit, mostly on line. That strategy gets the short term profit up so you have good stock prices. That’s why Bezos and Zuck have all the money. Now, Musk, on the other hand, targets greedy and wealthy investors for his money. He does this to insure that all classes get cheated evenly, and so he can go to Mars.

    Me, tomorrow I will go to an actual brick and mortar guitar shop, look at in stock merchandise, then actual try out my Mexican made amplifier before I buy it. I like playing a Canadian built guitar through a Mexican made amp. Vote with your wallet when you are able.

    By the way, can we talk Counselor Pelkey into running for the US senate? We need him there badly.

  4. JD Dallager Says:

    Just out of curiosity and to stir the proverbial overindulgence pot un peu:

    I have two bikes: a 12-year old Cannondale Synapse road bike and a 2 year old Santa Cruz 29’er MTB (both bought used).

    How about the rest of you Mad Doggers?

    Then we can move on to computers, guitars, pets, etc.

    Methinks some of us doth protest too much. 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hoo-lawd. I have too many bikes. Too, too many. As in double-digits. Road bikes, mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes, touring bikes, even a time-trial bike. No cargo bikes, e-bikes, or gravel bikes, the other Flavor of the Moment. Yet.

    • psobrien Says:

      A 2 year old Soma Double Cross, built up with used and new components, for pavement and a nine year old Niner MCR with a new SLX drivetrain. Oh, yea, 3 guitars, 2 USA made an one from Canadia.

    • SAO' Says:

      When we moved from Denver to Fort Collins, I streamlined to my two originals: a litespeed ultimate and litespeed obed. Both are 25+ years old. Two years later, haven’t bought myself another. But my wife added a traditional mountain to her collection, plus her NBB-badged cruiser (so, four total). And the 9 year old has a cruiser plus a mountain, and the 7 year old has three. So 11 in the garage.

  5. FOCO Devs Says:

    We are wired to like riding things. Go carts, lawn mowers, wooden boards on water, wooden boards with roller skate wheels screwed to the bottom. Bicycle, tricycle, automobile, (deleted for political correctness) and a Ferris wheel.

    Can’t stop that feeling.

    And the funniest part is, we can look totally ridiculous to everyone else, and five seconds later, we’re laughing at the next guy who’s basically doing the same thing.

    Now, the economics are a different kettle. You want to ride an e-bike? That’s cool. You want me to invest in your e-bike company? How about shitting in one hand and wishing in the other, and see which one fills up faster.

    But maybe we’re not thinking big enough? How about an e-bike that also let’s you vape through the handlebars? Put a burr grinder in the back hub and you can have your pour-over when you get where you’re going? Definitely need to include a personal WiFi hotspot, 24-7 dash camera, and AI integration with your social media so it lets everyone know what you’re doing before you do it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      If an e-biker rides on the Infobahn and there isn’t a gif on Instagram, did anybody see it?

      And leave us not forget the e-scooters. I had no idea the lifespan of these things was so short. Three to 10 months? I’ve had hangovers with more staying power.

      My retired road-racing bike is 25 years old. If it were my son it would be living in our guest bedroom instead of the garage, two credit hours short of a B.A. in medieval poetry from the University of Barnum-This Way to the Egress, and probably wrecking e-scooters with his drunken hoodlum buddies on Friday nights.

      • SAO' Says:

        Was just noticing today how well a 25 year old Deore XT still shifts. Like buttah. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I listen to the grinding of my neighbors brand new battery powered gizmo.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ayuh. That’s what I have on the DBR Axis TT. Nothing sexier than Ultegra or XT in the garage, and plenty of Shimano 600, 105 and plain-vanilla Deore to keep ’em company.

        • SAO’ Says:

          We probably have 50 parents who ride with their kids at morning drop off — or, at least, ride Aug thru Oct, maybe April and May. So I usually do the last couple of blocks surrounded by tykes on REI bikes, moms and dads on their new Trek or Specialized cruisers, from Dick’s or Scheels. And I don’t want to do one thing to discourage anyone from riding. But sometimes, listening to the spoons-in-the-disposal sound coming from their drive-train, I just want to scream. But I keep it to myself … even if I die a little inside each time.

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            “Spoons in the disposal”? Great one! I’m that way with chains that cry out for lube – I can hear ’em on the other side of the road from 50 meters away sometimes.
            Bike count? 2 road bikes + 2 shopping bikes here in Sicily.
            3 road bikes, 2 vintage road bikes + 2 ancient MTB’s up at Piedmont Cycling Resort..
            4 road bikes in storage in SoCal. That’s it for the Prof’s and yours truly’s personal bikes, the rental fleet’s a whole ‘nuther thang.

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