Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at firstname.lastname@example.org. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.
Before I start sending certain people into an uproar, let me start by saying this is not a rant to criticize and call out all the hardworking, tireless people who make Interbike happen. I am amazed by Interbike. It fascinates me. The size and scope of it are absolutely awe-inspiring. The fact that an organization can pull off an event of Interbike’s magnitude blows my mind. I have a ton of respect and admiration for everyone who helps put it all together.
Having said that, please consider what I’m about to say just a question. An inquiry. An opportunity for open discussion where good ideas can be shared and solutions can be offered. I care about the bike industry and everyone in it, which is why I ask:
Is Las Vegas really the best Interbike can do?
I know it’s a question that’s been asked ad nauseam, yet it continues to be asked for good reason. I’m not the only one in the bike industry who thinks Las Vegas represents everything that is so horrifically wrong about humanity. I feel filthy, pissed off, annoyed and depressed every time I set foot within city limits.
It’s a non-stop barrage of neon lights, obnoxious advertising, fake body parts, sleazy, dirty sex, half-rate Elvis impersonators and moronic, drunken tourists. The bicycle is one of mankind’s greatest creations, so why must we showcase it in the heart of one of mankind’s worst creations?
The contradiction couldn’t be greater. Having a trade show that promotes efficiency, simplicity, health, outdoor recreation and family in a city that exemplifies waste, excess, sickness, spending your life indoors and the exploitation of women doesn’t compute to me. It would be like holding the North American Auto Show in the country’s biggest wildlife sanctuary.
While I understand why Interbike is in Las Vegas – cheap, affordable flights from all over the country, affordable hotel rooms out the fart pipe and gargantuan exhibit spaces that can accommodate ONE MILLION square feet – there has to be a better answer. There has to. I understand Interbike exists to make a profit. But Interbike also exists to sell cycling products, celebrate the bicycle and the amazing people who make the industry tick. So which is the priority here?
There are other cities in the United States with far more orientation to outdoor recreation just foaming at the mouth to get an opportunity to host one of the largest bicycle trade shows in the world. I’m sure they would bend over backwards. But it seems many of these cities get pooh-poohed because flights aren’t cheap or accessible enough and hotel rooms are too expensive.
So flights are cheap in Vegas and so are hotel rooms. Great. But nobody seems to consider the fact that a cup of coffee runs four bucks, a crappy sandwich ten bucks and a beer worth drinking is priced competitively with your local pro sports stadium. Nevermind the constant barrage of “resort fees”, advertisements, promotions, shady taxi cab drivers and jerks on the strip pushing postcards in your face about some night club sure to rape your wallet and leave you with an unpronounceable disease. And last time I checked, unpronounceable diseases are pretty expensive to cure. So add that to your Vegas bill.
All said and done, that hundred bucks you saved on a flight to Vegas is chump change compared to the money wasted just being in Vegas.