Billed as "The Bike Show, a show for everyone who rides." The Jersey bike show at the Raritan Convention Center was a treat. Small enough to be finished before lunch and yet still large enough to be interesting. Because it was a retail show (in other words it was geared toward consumers, not the industry like Interbike) there was plenty of stuff to tempt the early spring rider. The rows of vendors displayed their wares in the hopes of coaxing attending riders into parting with their closely held nickels and dimes from change which had been stored up all winter in anticipation of the spring biking rush. From the incessant ringing of the cash registers I would have to conclude that they were being successful!
Bike for Scores
charity rides. They seemed to be doing a great trade in free Clif Bars, and brochures.
There were wheel sets, new and used, bikes of every description and price point, clothing, tools pumps, and virtually every possible product, offered up for sale. All the principal manufacturers were represented, BURLEY, TREK, SPECIALIZED, VAN DESSEL COLNAGO, CIOCC, COPPI, and ROBERTO MASSI, to name a few. The bike styles ranged from recumbents with fairings to tandems, roadies, and competitive racers, even mountain bikes based upon 29" wheel technology.
Since this show was oriented to the individual bicyclist, rather than to the trade, the booths were held for the most part by retail bike shops. All of whom were eager to meet and greet cyclists, and to sell them product. You could find virtually every doodad and geggio known to bikedom - Co2 cartridges, and combo tools, bike racks and bandannas, pumps and pedals. You could probably find it all if you just spent enough time. Clothing was everywhere, priced at 50% off and better there were deals to be had. Dan couldn't resist some new socks and a few threaded Co2 Cartridges. The trading was brisk and the crowd was pleasant.
In search of interview material Dan and I sought out the trade oriented exhibitors which, although fewer in number, were still present. We talked for a while with Doctor Zheng Duan who was there touting his titanium tubing factory Aero-Titantech Inc. He was looking to find a convenient bicycle manufacturer for whom he could build carbon - titanimum frames. I have to admit that the sample frames and forks we saw in his table were impressive.
Greg Hon a Schwalbe distributor was extremely interesting to talk to and full of information regarding the Schwalbe puncture resistant philosophy. Also interesting was the fact that they have premiered a new concept in front - rear tire specificity. One tire specifically designed for the front and another strictly for the rear. This to address the fact that the driving wheel (the rear) tends to wear faster that the front wheel. So they have created a tire design which improves wear performance without sacrificing roadability and efficiency.
Blake and Eric from Global Impact Productions were there to promote the Braking the Cycle
Our most interesting conversation was with Guisellaine of Car-Free.org, in addition to running a bicycle recycling shop in Philadelphia, These folks are clearly about making the road safer and more accomodating for cyclists. Their advocacy and bike safety programs are models of positive impact for cyclists.
This was definitely a show worth heading out for. Not easy to find, the Raritan convention center is squirreled away in the back of an industrial park, and our Mapquest directions were really sketchy at the treminus of our journey. But hey, we made it. There were some great buys to be had and some fun folks to meet!