Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ebikes and Chainsaws - IMBA World Summit Days 3

Trail building made awesome.  This thing even had cupholders.
As I mentioned previously, I am in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for the IMBA World Summit. Part of the fun of the conference is visiting the vendor expo. There, I learned that some of my favorite cycling and outdoors companies are located in Steamboat Springs, including Honey Stinger and Big Agnes.

I'm kinda tired, so you'll have to make up your own clever joke about Honey Stinger dropping Lance as their spokesman. Something like "Honey Stinger Waffles Now With EPO" or how they dropped him like a sprinter on the climbs. 

Oh, so that was his secret.
I love their new Kiwi Strawberry organic gels though.  As for Big Agnes, their Chair One is on my wishlist. 
Place butt here
But my favorite company in Steamboat Springs is Moots, a builder of handmade titanium bikes. This is their "trail maintenance bike." 

My next commuter bike
Forget trailbuilding, Moots should market this as an Armageddon bike.  Are you kidding me?  The 29 x 3 Surly wheel/tire combo will roll over zombies with ease.  And the chainsaw, well, it's a chainsaw.

Me, I'd like to use this as a commuter.  Forget about those jerseys that say "Three Feet Please," this bike says I AM PACKING A FUCKING CHAINSAW.  Bet I'd get my three feet.

Speaking of "Three Feet Please" jerseys, I wish they would go away.  They remind me of those "baby on board" signs that people used to put in their car's rear window.  Were these really effective?  "Well, I was going to t-bone you at the next intersection, but since you've got a baby on board, I'll just sideswipe you and move on."  No, they just proclaimed to the world that "I am special and I am entitled to be treated specially." 

"What's that say?  Let me pull in a little closer so I can read it."
Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of safe passing distance, and making it the law.  In fact, three feet is too close - it should be more in some situations.  As my friend Dean suggested, driver's ed should include the students standing on the side of a two-lane road while a cement truck passes at 45 MPH. Three feet still seem safe?

But the jersey has to stop.  First of all, in order to be effective, the driver has to read the jersey.  Do you really want the cement truck driver to devote his attention to reading the message on your back while he's passing you at 45 MPH on a two-lane road?

Second, cyclists look silly enough already, without attempting to imitate traffic signs.  Why not add an orange cone for a helmet?

But most fundamentally, giving instructions on to strangers (in ALL CAPS, no less) is obnoxious and pointless.  It actually may do more harm than good.  People take an instruction to do one thing as an invitation to do the opposite.  There's an entire internet meme based upon this proposition.

"I do what I want" via the Chive
But I digest.

And among the bike demo fleets, there was a small, forlorn ebike demo truck.  The topic of ebikes caused quite a stir at this conference.  Advocates for ebikes said that it would make mountain biking accessible to the elderly and disabled. That's nice and if it were true, I'd say that it sounds good, but we know the reality.  The elderly and disabled won't be the primary purchaser of ebikes.  Who will buy them?  Those with more money than mountain biking skills or sense and underdeveloped skills and fitness.  Sounds like a recipe to destroy the trails to me.  I say, not on my trails.  If you want to ride a motorcycle, do it on a motocross track.  What do you think?

Except it's a motorcycle
Anyhow, day three of the IMBA World Summit started with a presentation by Ride Oregon.  The presenters explained to us that biking is awesome and Oregon is an awesome place to do it.  Can't argue with that.

My day continued with a seminar on how to use and gather data relative to trail use to help make decisions as an organization.

Bicycle Data

Bicycle Data
Next was a presentation on the importance of branding.  It's important to communicate your organization's brand.  And if you do so successfully, you can get some real commitment from your market.

Because nothing says "I am an individual" like a market-researched corporate logo, appropriately placed.
I should stress that I sat in these seminars despite the presence of awesome mountain bike runs mere minutes away.  Pretty sure I should get an award. Some would say my priorities are out of whack.  But I was learning and despite two days of seminars, I still wanted to hear more.

Bike shoes in a hotel conference room.  Let me out!!!!
 But soon it was time to ride bikes.

So, I rode the gondola up to the top of the downhill run.  I had a friend with me:

Yep, that's a Yeti SB95 Carbon. 

Trail view from the gondola
At the bottom, I met up with Chip from Southwest KyMBA and Ben from Appalachia Outdoor Adventures

Great guys, both in the IMBA Great Lakes region.

Next, it was time to listen to Bike Snob NYC.  Meeting Bike Snob NYC and sitting in on his reflections on cycling was my favorite part of the day.  Well, maybe except for the downhill runs.  He is seriously funny and had our whole group in stitches. 

 He's one of my blogging heroes, so I fanboyed up and asked him to sign copies of his books.  My favorite is "the Enlightened Cyclist."  Buy it, if you don't already own it.  It's a great read.

Jeremy from Clinton River MBA and Brindley from Mid Michigan MBA were entertained

When it got dark, it was time for a night ride.  But when we got there, it was pouring rain.  So, we had a beer in the ski lodge instead.  Not quite the same, but still, not bad.

More soon.  Till then, be brave!