35. The Bike Show!

Team Colin Goes to the Toronto Bike Show

Yay, the Bike Show!

Team Colin went to the Toronto Bike Show yesterday.

Awesome.

Some people go to the Bike Show to score a sweet deal on last year’s bike.

Some people go to the Bike Show to buy cheap tubes, lube, pedals, and other bike stuff.

Some people go to the Bike Show for the free energy bar samples.

Some people go to the bike show to watch the people, the BMX Jam, and the bike polo. Hey, how do they teach the horses to ride bikes?

Some people go to the Bike Show for the food court. I’m kidding. Nobody goes to the Bike Show for the food court.

Team Colin goes to the Bike Show because it’s a show…about bikes. Yay bikes.

By the way, I also go to the bike show to renew my cycling magazine subscriptions and DMBA membership, pick up a few t-shirts, maybe find a sweet deal on a jersey for my kids, look at bikes, buy some cheap sunglasses (because I always need more cheap sunglasses), gorge myself on energy bar samples, look at bikes, and just bathe in the Toronto cycling scene. It’s great to just be there. On a side note, thanks to Mark Summers and Joyride 150 for the pair of free passes. Boom.

I love the Bike Show. Yeah, it’s a show…about bikes…I already said that. But it’s so much more. It’s familiar, so fun, and every year it’s always just a bit different from the last. From the moment you line up outside at the CASH ONLY kiosks, to the immediate smell of the washrooms and general noise of the show, going to the Bike Show is like going home (well it would be if your home had too many bikes, lots of bike parts and accessories, and people who love bikes). Wait a sec, my home DOES have too many bikes, and too many bike parts and…

In a word, the bike show is EXCITEMENT. And the Team Colin contingent made it even more EXCITEMENT-ER this year. We were a giant group: me; my wife and kids; my neighbour; my riding buddy; and his buddy. On the drive down, I thought the suspension in my 11 year old minivan was going to bottom-out a few times. Boom. That was the sound we made when we hit a bump.  Actually, six BOOMS–one for each of the six other heads that hit the roof of the van

We stood at the entrance. “Should we go right and then down through the exhibitors, or should we go left to the Marketplace? Or should we just stand here and breathe it all in? Okay, bad idea, the washrooms are here.”

“Hey, let’s grab a sample of an energy bar first…hey, is that an Airstream trailer?”

“Look, the Thule booth has bike racks (um, what else would they have).”

“Better renew my Pedal subscription before I forget.”

“Look at the bike that dude just bought.”

“Okay, left, or right?” Hint, it’s always right.

Bike Show Report: Toronto Bike Show. March 4, 2017 (Better Living Centre, CNE)

First stop was the washroom. What?  The DVP had traffic, I have two kids, and I drank a giant smoothie before we left. After the washrooms, we sampled some energy bars, and then booked it to the right. We went to the cop booth first, and I got a few safety pamphlets and stickers for my kids.

Then we hit some double track for the next section.

Wait a sec, this isn’t a Race Report. Sorry, habit.  Next, we hit the miscellaneous vendors and tourism booths, and then talked to the guy at the Forest City Velodrome Booth. This guy just oozed cycling cool.

We stopped to look at the Velofix truck. Sweet.

Then we zipped back up the aisle through a few other booths, to the Marketplace. I was looking for, you know, bike stuff.

The Marketplace was jammed this year. But there was nothing that really stood out. Long lines, not-so-great prices, lots of bikes.

Team Colin muses about buying stuff from the Bike Show:

It’s always awesome to buy some new bike stuff, but there are a few caveats. First, you’re often buying last year’s second-best models or stuff that didn’t sell. Second, you’re not supporting your local bike shop. Third, if you’re going to buy something, it should be really really cheap (when pedals are 30% off, but you paid admission, you’re not really getting a deal). Finally, if you’re going to buy a bike, don’t. Any good bike shop that you’re loyal to will match a Bike Show price throughout the year, and you won’t have to pay fifteen bucks to park, and fifteen bucks admission. Also, when you go to your LBS, you’re going to get service, a bike that’s right for you (not the bike that’s right for them to sell because it’s at the show), and you can do it on your own time, without battling the Bike Show crowds, and riding the Bike Show “test track”. I’m not slagging any shops that sell bikes at the show, and I’m not slagging people who buy a bike at the show, but I like to support MY local bike shops.

However, if you’re going to buy a bike at the show, I’d keep it to bikes that cost less than a thousand bucks. There are always smoking deals on those bikes.

Whatever you think about buying a bike at the show, DO NOT BUY A HELMET without looking at the production date. A cheap helmet that’s four years old is not a cheap helmet.

Honestly, I saw a lot of outdated, used, overpriced stuff at the show this year. Not cool.

But I saw a lot of awesome stuff too: Some fair deals on carbon wheel sets; lots of wickedly cool bikes; more wickedly cool bikes; and a bunch of like minded cyclists who were just there to check out a show about bikes. Sweet.

Also, lots of e-bikes this year. Not my thing, but still pretty cool.  You know, because an e-bike is a bike–with an extra e.

My top 9 highlights:

  1. There is a company called Trailblazers. They organize tandem bike rides for riders with vision impairment. Team Colin is totally looking into that.
  2. Watching my son do the plank contest with an 8 pound backpack on his back. Then, watching my wife do it with a 50 pound backpack.  So cool.
  3. The people from the Riding Le Bike Dans La Quebec booth. They were just fun to talk to. Energetic and enthusiastic. Totally not sure what they said, but the blueberry juice was awesome. List of Ingredients: blueberries. End of ingredient list.
  4. The riders at the Jakroo custom apparel booth. Man, oh man, I would love a Team Colin kit.
  5. The velodrome guy. This dude just oozed cycling cool.
  6. The IMBA guy gave us reusable IMBA bags! Sweet.
  7. The DMBA booth! Dan Little rocks.
  8. Everybody else. Riders are just so chill.

The BIKE SHOW. It’s a show. About bikes. ‘Nuff said.

There was lowlight this year at the Bike Show. The language in the music at the BMX Jam was absolute trash. I get it. Counter culture, “the man can’t hold me down”, tattoos, and such, but seriously, does every song have to be so corrupt?

Teaching my kids to ignore the N-word, the P-word, the F-word, and every other word that shouldn’t violate kid’s minds at the Jam was seriously uncool.  Not awesome.  Rant over.

No it’s not. If you’re playing music in a public space, don’t play trash.

Cussing aside, what a great day. After a few magazine renewals, my DMBA renewal, some cheap sunglasses, too damn many energy bar samples, a whole whack of processed meat samples, buying a shirt or two, and a vacuum-packed bag of 25 hot turkey pepperettes (that almost made it home), it was time for Team Colin to call it a day.

Any way that you slice it, the Bike Show is a show about BIKES.

And it’s awesome.

The 2017 Spring Bike Show. Boom

PS

For the uninitiated, here’s what you can expect from the Bike Show:

  • Cycling Tourism: the different regions in Ontario and Le Quebec, and international cycling tours.
  • The Marketplace: last year’s bikes at okay prices, and LOTS of accessories.
  • Manufacturers and new Bike Stuff: feather light frames and carbon wheels (Mmmm, carbon wheels).
  • Cycling Advocacy booths: DMBA, IMBA, Wild Betty’s, Toronto Bicycle Network, cops and lawyers, share the road, CMHA, Trailblazers, and more.
  • The AWESOME booths: Forest City Velodrome, Superfly racing.
  • BMX Jam: Flying bikes!
  • Other vendors: Those bike t-shirt people, health stuff, cycling magazine subscriptions (Mmmm, cycling magazine subscriptions), energy bars, and so on.
  • Competitions: A mini-velodrome race, BMX flatland comp, Bike Polo, D’ornellas Roller Ride, and a plank competition at the TPL booth.
  • Kid’s stuff: The Kids’Action Zone, Trillium Trailblazers Youth Area.

 

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