As announced rather abruptly to the retailers who attend the Interbike trade show, next year’s show is to be held in Anaheim, California in early August rather than Las Vegas in late September/early October as it has been for the last several years. Manufacturers and wholesalers put on the show and pay for it, so they get to call the shots. Retailers get in free, but on the other hand, without them there is no show.
This year’s Interbike was marked by the absence of several of the larger bicycle manufacturers, including Cannondale and Trek. These have taken to holding their own shows in the summer, at several places around the country so as to keep the travel expenses down for their dealers.
As I was walking the floor at Interbike, I encountered mountain bike pioneer Gary Fisher. Almost immediately after we greeted each other, a man walked up carrying handwritten, photocopied petition forms protesting the Interbike move. August is in retailers’ high season in much of the USA. Sending personnel to the trade show would be a serious hardship, especially for the smaller shops.
Trek owns the Fisher Mountainbikes brand, so it’s fair to assume that Gary has some inside information. He told the petitioner that he would not sign, explaining that the move is largely about publicity. New York and Los Angeles are the nation’s two major media centers. Media don’t come to Las Vegas to cover the show. Gary understands publicity, and perhaps his background colored his explanation: his grandfather worked for the legendary Hollywood publicist Hal Wallace.
As for myself, I probably won’t be attending next year’s Interbike. I myself am in the media, as a Webmaster of the informational site sheldonbrown.com. That’s a new job for me and it’s why I attended Interbike this year. But I think that I made enough contacts to keep me going for more than a year, and in any case, August is my usual family vacation time!
A broader perspective on the Interbike move may be found on Rick Vosper’s blog, Bike 2.0.