Interbike: surely I’ve got the hang of it now?

One of the many swanky Vegas hotels that I've never stayed in... Dan Barham does though!

So… this is my 17th Interbike… I’ve been to every one (save one I had to miss due to pesky jury duty) since 1994. Back then, Rockshox was launching its Judy XC and DH forks and Mountain Goat was still in business. It’s been a long and crazy trip since then. Even when I was pretty penniless and mostly out of work as a struggling freelancer, I’d fly myself over here to see what was new and to meet friends, some of whom I’d only meet once a year. I’d surf floors and sofas, and Vegas friends’ houses out of town (thanks Kenn!), all to take part in the yearly circus that is Interbike.

Interbike Outdoor Demo - a chance to ride, chat and fry under the sun

While the naysayers (and US industry people) wonder why we would want to come to Interbike when we’ve already been to Eurobike, I always counter that Eurobike is earlier and full of lots of new stuff, but there’s always bikes and gadgets and mad inventors that I’d never see in Germany. Plus, it gives me a chance to mop up stuff I missed last week over there.

The advances in technology in the intervening years have mostly helped my job – I no longer have to shoot slide film with flashgun and only find out if the shot’s come out a week after I get home. Now I can shoot product photos and know that I have the shot. Unfortunately, the internet then immediately wants to see that shot, so the clock starts ticking on when I can post the first look at a product you’re not going to be able to buy for six months.

The new Singletrack hopes... (er...) Mark (three Interbikes) and Jon (first Interbike)

Our schedule here can be pretty mad – we were on the first shuttle out to Dirt Demo at 8am this morning and I didn’t leave until about 5.30pm, having made sure I’d seen nearly every booth at least once. Then it’s back to the room to edit some photos (and finish some work that needs to be done for the paper magazine – just because we’re out here, doesn’t mean that the magazine stops…) and then I’m just about to go for something to eat at 9.40pm… We’ll be back on the first shuttle again tomorrow at 8am.

It's the same but different every year. Or just different enough?

There’s an odd balance to play here between trying to see everything, and trying to report on everything. Even the most simple story can take 30-40 minutes to put together with photo resizing, formatting and writing up my notes. So there are only so many I can post in the day. In the meantime the ever-hungry maw of the internet craves more news, more stories – but in the real world, there are still real stories to seek out. Do I stay and dig around, or do I head back to the hotel, edit and post? I usually end up trying to do both, resulting in tired 2am postings of new things, complete with typos and errors, that I immediately get held up on by more awake people.

Everyone loves an orange coloured bike still...

This year I’m being helped by Jon and Mark. Jon is taking photos, riding bikes and doing some video, while Mark is here to help out the Premier users by shooting some exclusive stuff for them. Meanwhile, I’m doing my usual job of words and pictures for the web stories.

One day I reckon it would be nice to come out to Interbike as a busman’s holiday and just walk the aisle with no particular agenda. That way I could seek out stuff that I thought was cool, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks and, if I see one of my friends here, I can reply ‘Why yes, I do have time for a coffee’

In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to balance digging with posting, work with sleep with late night eating and the occasional midnight beer…

Chipps

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