I am no events promotion expert and will never claim to be. But there’s got to be some options here. I won’t say that everyone in the bike industry is unhappy about Las Vegas, but it seems that everyone I talk to at least releases a sigh of despair every time the word “Interbike” is uttered – only because of where its held.
Interbike used to be in Anaheim, and three years ago, it almost returned to Anaheim. Although Anaheim seems more agreeable to me than Las Vegas, it’s like opting for being shot by a firing squad versus having your head chopped off in a guillotine.
How about a place where trees actually grow naturally? Where fresh air is abundant? Where you can pedal a bike a couple miles without fear of being run over by a disgruntled cab driver or dying of severe dehydration?
Salt Lake City has been suggested many a time, as has Denver. Although it’s practically become a bicycling cliché, Portland might be interesting. Plenty of opportunity in the Bay Area. Seattle? What about Reno/Lake Tahoe? Maybe someplace on the East Coast? Christ, I’d even opt for a cornfield in Iowa for crying out loud. Anyplace but Las Vegas.
Just so nobody can criticize me for complaining without offering any solutions, here’s an idea – there are several retired military bases in the country with massive buildings, airplane hangars and warehouses with hundreds of acres of open, empty land in relatively close vicinity to hotels and airports. I bet you could rent that real estate for pretty cheap and put on one hell of a great event.
Besides, everybody knows that riding bikes sells bikes. So then why is Interbike so indoor oriented? Sure there’s the Dirt Demo, but come on. Have you ever been to Boulder City, Nevada in September? It’s like poking your eyeballs out with branding irons. I’ve been to Outdoor Demo in Park City, Utah. Although it has struggled to gain traction, it’s a terrific event in an amazing location. Imagine having a hybrid of Interbike and Outdoor Demo in a desirable location. Now that would be an unforgettable experience.
Maybe Interbike needs to take a lesson from the indoor/outdoor pool made famous by hotels. Have a venue where exhibitors are inside, yet dealers can take bikes outside and actually ride them around. Do it all in one big semi-outdoor event.
I have a hard time believing there is no place in the United States other than Las Vegas that can accommodate such a great event like Interbike. As the collective sigh grows bigger, the attendance will grow smaller. And nobody wants to see that. Let’s think creatively and come up with alternative solutions that pay proper respect to one of mankind’s greatest inventions – an invention that we all hold near and dear to our hearts.