I’ve been an engineer for 18 years, I’ve been riding mountain bikes for 13 years, but I’ve only been an engineer in the bike industry for 8 months. Over that time I’ve been to more than a few trade shows in my career – mostly of the machine tool and material processing variety. Boring. Before last week my only bike show experience was as an attendee at Sea Otter when I lived in nearby Santa Cruz.
So what was it like to be a vendor at the biggest bike show in the world? In one word – energizing. Four days at a trade show is usually a hellish undertaking and by day two your feet and back are screaming for mercy, but not here. The pure energy of being surrounded by the latest in bikes and bike tech and people excited about bikes made every minute of every day exciting. As each day passed I was consistently left with the feeling that there wasn’t enough time and had a never-ending list of things to see the next day. There were so many amazing people that I met from other companies who were just as excited to show off their new products. Then there were the fans of our products that came up to our booth to talk about how much they loved their cane creek “insert product here”. Couple that with the excitement around our new bottom bracket product release and the media coverage it got and it felt like I was in the middle of the bike universe.
One thing that was like all of the other shows I’ve been to in the past – you have to have to be really looking to find the cool stuff, often times the neatest ideas are the easiest to walk past so one must be on their toes and on the lookout at all times. And there was PLENTY of cool stuff to see, almost overwhelmingly so.
Now that I’m back, I’m going through my notes, compiling ideas from all of the things that I saw and with the sheer magnitude of the show this is going to take a while. One thing I can say is that at the end of the week I didn’t want to leave and see this all go away, it’s actually sad to think of all those halls empty and I’m already looking forward to next year!