I hate to admit it, but mother left me at home while she went off to Interbike.
It's not that I expect to be able to travel in the airplane cockpit at a moment's notice, or stay in the Imperial Palace on the strip, or even to feast on steak at Denny's.
It's just that I really missed the opportunity to look at all those glossy, shiny, newly painted bikes.
However, what most people don't realize is that many animals can travel vicariously through their owners. The phenomenon has been well documented by many other animals over time. The difficulty is that humans don't know how to communicate with us, thus they have no idea of our special skills.
This being the case, I was able to travel with mother and see through her eyes because we have this special and rather symbiotic relationship (most of the time that means she feeds me and walks me on my command).
Mother with William and Donna Marie modeling Hotvelociti jerseys
Although mother was out there selling her new line of fab, color terrific Hotvelociti jerseys--www.hotvelociti.com (hey, why shouldn't I plug mother's line?), she did get a chance, finally, to talk to Burley.
And GUESS WHAT? Burley has decided to bless us with their NEW dog carrier, and I, I will finally be able to take Sunday rides with mother. http://www.burley.com/products/trailers/default.html
Now my career as bike dog journalist, muckracker and tour guide will be off to a peddling start.
Murphy, the dog who lives with Burley's marketing manager has been sending me secret messages at night from his dad's computer, giving me tips on how to mentally influence your owner. Murphy has been giving his dad explicit road directions meant intentionally to confuse him --go left, go right? --as well as direct him to the nearest ice cream store at a moment's notice.
Given Murphy's advanced experience, I would be a fool not to take notes, and practice same when behind dear mother.
Mother also did get a chance to see some of the hot new bikes at Interbike.
For one, she was duly impressed by the line up of new Bianchi's, 30 or more of which were aligned on blocks like a flock of airplanes ready to take off. In their celeste and carbon colorways, they presented quite an impression. Mother inspected the 928 model with SRAM components, priced at $3,899, and decided that it was best for her aggressive riding style. http://www.bianchiusa.com/07_b4p_928_sramrival.html
She also lusted after the dark blue Giant, TCR® ADVANCED 0, the "T-800 formulaOne Composite frameset," which conformed to her expectations for sleek and fashion-forward style, with the added benefit of performance, but was unable to get an audience with the marketing manager who was MIA every time she came to visit.
Retailing at $5,500, the bike features Shimano Dura-Ace group, Easton composite handlebar and stem, and a Mavic Ksyrium ES wheelset. http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/030.000.000/030.000.006.asp?model=11452
She had an amiable conversation with the marketing pro at Blue Competition bicycles, http://www.rideblue.com/product_photo_rc4a.html who have adjusted their next year's SR-4 model to look more masculine, removing almost all of the beautiful blue color from the 2006 version. The bike is made of carbon with aluminum lugs. The 2006 Blue SR4
Better snap up the 2006 models with Dura-Ace at $4,075 or the Ultegra version for the much more affordable $2,700 before they are all sold--apparently the bikes ride like a dream.
Mother also took at look at the very imaginative and wonderful Vicious Cycles, http://www.viciouscycles.com/index.php3 which are made in our own backyard, in New Paltz, NY. Run by Carl Snarl Schlemowitz and his very cool and laid back team, they highlighted their leopard painted moutain bike. Talk about sense of humor, why ride a mainstream bike when you can support local industry with one of these? Carl even offered to paint a couple of bikes in mother's zany jersey colors the next time she wants to do a photo shoot. Wow!
Plus the company has a abosolutely mouth-watering array of colors (especially for mother who can't resist color) that they offer for you to repaint your bike at very reasonable prices.
Before mother left for Interbike, she had an email conversation with Carine Jannou at Jamis Bikes. They are another local bike manfucturer, and like a knucklehead, you have probably passed by them on Rt. 501 a thousand times without realizing it.
The NEW Jamis Xenith Pro 2007 model
They sported a really beautiful new blue Xenith Pro and a Xenith Comp at Interbike. Local Mengoni team members Eugene Boronow and Pollo Martes both ride the Pro and have said it is a very responsive, quick bike. The new colors make it highly selleable. http://www.jamisbikes.com/jamiscanada/bikes/06_xenith_comp2.html
Last but not least, and a study in contrasts, mother visited DeRosa bicycles.
The green and black King --retailing at $4,100 was heavily lust-worthy, and mother was tempted to whip out her checkbook right then and there until she realized that the check would bounce.
She also had this nagging doubt about the total picture, since the bike does say "king" on it, while she is essentially a princess, and it is so masculine in colors that she thought better of it on contemplation.
Which leads me to this final analysis of the show: with all of it's male-directed frenzy, it was clear that most of the manufacturers were speaking to an audience consisting largely of men. The colors of bikes were masculine, the models were all scantily-clad women, and the talk was testosterone-driven. Even Cycling.TV--though they are my dear friends, and I love what they are doing-- did not have a female talking head or corporate member in its midst, a reflection of this male-centric business. Afterall, it is true that a very minute percentage of women take an interest in male bike racing.
Both mother and myself have one piece of advice to all the cycling product manufacturers (with some notable exceptions): even though 90 percent of your clients are men, you would have far more female clients if you would make products that please their eyes. Afterall, they are paying $1400 for a stupid Marc Jacobs bag--why shouldn't they spend tons of money on your bike products?