When I’m not pulling witty copy out of thin air, I run a bike shop. We sell Trek bikes and accessories. It’s a nice gig. Bikes are cool, and getting to spend my days surrounded by them is even cooler.
But no matter how sunshiny your personality, everything becomes a drag at some point. Even though I can count on one hand the number of days I’ve dreaded coming to work in the last 2.5 years – it’s two – it’s nice to get away and recharge.
Traditionally, a trade show is not the place to find relaxation and renewed sense of purpose. The typical progression is as follows: Yay, bikes! Hey, more bikes. Didn’t we have this for dinner yesterday? Please stop talking to me. No more bikes.
This year at Trek World, the company’s annual dealer show in Madison, Wisc., the guests of honor were not the bikes themselves, but the core of the Leopard Trek team: Andy and Frank Schleck, Fabian Cancellara and Jens Voigt.
Or, basically, instant crowd approval.
We got our first glimpse at the Monday-afternoon demo at Trek HQ, which is down the road from Madison in Waterloo, Wisc. Having just finished their factory tour, the boys were enjoying lunch and having what appeared to be a pretty good time.
Later, as I was checking out some of the new women’s bike options, I overheard Voigt discussing the merits (or drawbacks) of 650b wheels for smaller road bikes with one of the demo attendants. He was just like the rest of us – talking bikes and snacking on an ice cream bar. (Mmmmm, ice cream.)
Cancellara rode the Sandcrawler, which is a beach cruiser with gigantic tires. Frank Schleck was delivering ice cream with a fan via a tandem trike, complete with a cooler on the back.
In short, they were having fun. Bikes are fun.
That kind of enthusiasm is infectious. The vibe carried through to the evening, when long, long lines queued up for autographs. The slowest-moving line: Voigt’s, because he talked to EVERYBODY.
Sure, the drudgery of creeping through the show floor, taking notes and reworking inventory and floor plans can wear on a guy. But that’s what the bikes are for. Get up, slug down some coffee, kit up and get out there. Riding on new roads with like-minded people can buoy the spirits for the rest of the day.
Though we spent all day Wednesday traveling and today will be a long haul full of catching up, I cannot wait to get out on the bike tomorrow morning. If I get my way, I might even sneak out tonight.
What did I learn about 2012 products? They’re going to be cool. There’s good stuff coming.
What was I reminded of while I was away? Bikes are fun. They’ll always be fun. And that’s why I’m here.
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