Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My Top 7 Bike Products At Interbike's Media Preview

Before Interbike's doors swing wide open Wednesday morning, 40 bicycle product exhibitors showed their goods to us wretched media types during Tuesday's media preview event.

Interbike uses free beer, free food and a free backpack to lure bicycle media for this annual event on the eve of the show -- and it usually works rather effectively. As if we actually know anything, we're asked to vote on the night's best product and it's rather obvious that your opinion would have been as good or if not better than mine.

I'll reveal my favorite bicycle product after two honorable mentions and the four runners-up.

Like I said, I'm not especially qualified to rank these items or choose the winner and I say lots of subjectivity rules the day.

But away we go.

2nd Honorable Mention: Athlos bike jersey makers

The guy's from Baltimore but owns a home in Key West and he puts a cool brewery on the jersey. Maybe not honorable. But worthy of a mention.

Seriously folks, he's Dave Manchester and he used to work for Cannondale before the brand got bought out of bankruptcy and he's a super nice guy with great customer service skills. He does a whole lot of hand holding for customers to guide them through the process of making the best possible jersey.

*    *    *    *

1st Honorable Mention: Swiftwick socks

Swiftwick makes the most amazing socks that wick sweat away from your feet and toes.

And when you live in the muggy, suanabath of Florida, Swiftwick socks are a lifesaver.

A very helpful and pleasant PR woman named Katy Holmes told me all about the socks and I can't wait to try them on in Florida to kick some muggy Florida ass.

*    *    *    *

And now our Top 5.

5.  Tern foldable bikes

So, here's Kara Cartin, director of strategic projects, marketing being nice enough to spin the front wheel to show how it powers a front light that's bolted onto the handlebar. This particular bike was also belt driven, which I thought was cool. I don't ride foldable bikes but if I had to, I'd choose the Tern.

They look super sturdy and Tern partnered with Xtracycle to create a foldable Xtracycle that I thought was super cool.

*    *    *    *

4. GoPro

They're the big guns in the bike camera category and video footage from GoPros have been known to track down motorists who crash into bicyclists.

'nuff said.

*    *    *    *

3. Nutcase helmets

I first met the creator of the Nutcase helmet, Michael Morrow, at Sea Otter in 2013, and we reunited tonight at the Nutcase booth. Bike helmets were the most popular item showcased at the media preview as I counted seven helmet exhibitors and I gave a tip of my helmet to Nutcase.

A lot of folks dislike the look of the common bike helmet, so Michael decided to use fun colors and designs to spruce up the look. Here's Michael with his lovely wife Miriam Berman tonight.

If a bike helmet can look fun and stylish like the famed Nutcase watermelon, people will wear them more and ultimately it can save more lives.

*    *    *    *

2. Linus bicycles

I adore the Linus bike as a beautiful urban commuter machine that can also be pedaled out on a suburban or rural paved trail. The Linus bike was inspired by the French bikes of the '60s and is a pure utilitarian bicycle with gorgeous geometric lines.

That's Tom Tolhurst, a former photography teacher and now bicycle designer standing at a bike that retails for $669.

I suggested Tom get his company to invest in safety education programs so that more people are willing to use urban roads for bikes -- which would ultimately lead to people buying Linus bikes.

*    *    *    *

And drumroll please . . . checking in as your top product is the

First Place: Lumos helmet

Two engineers created a helmet with integrated lights and it actually looks much better in person than what I look like with the helmet here.

Lumos raised more than $800,000 on Kickstarter, hitting its goal in the first 12 days.

Even the best light systems can get stolen off a bike, or lose power.

But when the light is built into the helmet and you wear your helmet all the time, the light will shine.

Even though I can be awfully dopey, I wasn't too far off on this one because even before I checked out the Lumos brochure that said the helmet had won numerous awards, I had decided this was my favorite product of the night.

And now folks, it's off to the Big Show -- three days of walking 300,000 square feet to check out other products at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Come back for more reports and posts.

No comments: