by Charlie Summers, PCI #512
Illinois State University Police Department
IPMBA Industry Liaison
The month of September is always an exciting one for the Industry Liaison, but also busy. Imagine the excitement of getting ready to attend the world’s largest bike show! As if that wasn’t thrilling enough, this year I was very fortunate to be invited to attend the outdoor demo in Boulder City, Nevada, as a guest of Marin Bikes and Shaums March of Mad March Racing.
Upon arriving in Las Vegas, I received a phone message from Shaums, advising me to call him as soon as I had checked into the hotel. So I did, and shortly thereafter, met with him and some of the crew from Marin. The Marin team was very excited to learn more about IPMBA, and we talked for hours. It was extraordinary to experience their passion for making quality bikes, and I felt very fortunate to be among them. After hours of talking shop, though, it was time to get some shut-eye; I had a big day ahead, discovering the outdoor demo.
The next morning, I caught the shuttle from the Sands Convention Center out to Boulder City. Thirty minutes later, I disembarked at “sand city”, where hundreds of enthusiasts were testing their favorite – or soon to be favorite – rides. I made my way to the Marin booth to test their 2010 line. My first ride was a double first — I had ridden neither a Marin nor a 29er, so they set me up with the new Nail Trail 29er. Shaums saddled up and we were off.
I was very pleased with the ride of the Nail Trail. I’m not a hardtail fan, but this bike climbed well and felt smooth and fast. Shaums took me through some rougher terrain to put me and the bike to the test. I was truly amazed at how well this bike handled the rough stuff as I nose-wheeled through it. It was a great performer. But just so you know, I won’t be switching to a hardtail...my favorite Marin ride was yet to come.
After some heavy-duty pedaling, I needed some fuel, so I broke for lunch and scouted out some of the other goings-on at the outdoor demo. I was very pleased to see one of our other conference exhibitors, Optibike, who had a constant stream of test rides. Their bike sure would have come in handy on some of those long, sandy climbs! I also ran into our ace mechanic, Tim Schurr, checking out new lines for his shop, who introduced me to some of his industry friends.
After walking in the sand for awhile, I returned to Marin in hopes that the CXR carbon hardtail was ready to roll in my size. It had been out most of the day and I was anxious to test it. After a short wait, it came in. I swapped the pedals, the mechanic gave it a “once over”, and I was off to the foothills. This bike is super light and an outstanding climber. It was like pedaling air.
I spend much of day two checking out more of Marin’s line. I tested the Mount Vision 5.8 and realized anew why I am a dual suspension kind of guy. This bike just ripped up the trails of Bootleg Canyon. It was an amazing climber and rolled smoothly over the rocks. It just felt right. The Marin team explained how they changed the design of the bike to make it lighter and stiffer for a better ride. Finally, the two rides I was waiting for.
First, the Quake 7.9 downhill bike, reworked for 2010, which was a ride to reckon with. I took the shuttle to the top of Bootleg Canyon and just let this bike take me to the bottom. It soaked up everything the canyon had to offer.
Second, the reason I’m not about to turn into a hard tail rider: the Marin Attack Trail bike. This bike has 150mm of travel and is the “do all” bike. It pedals like a cross country bike, yet it is a free ride bike that can handle downhill duties as well. I was told to put this bike to the test and that I did. I pushed hard until one of the canyon rocks got a hold of the back tire and caused a flat. I changed out the tube and continued to bomb this thing down Bootleg Canyon. It was a remarkably smooth ride and handled like a dream. I definitely will put this ride on my wish list. I could ride it at work and take it downhilling for fun.
It was a well spent couple of days. My deepest thanks and appreciation to the great people of Marin for allowing me to join them, and especially to Shaums March for making this happen.
The outdoor demo was great but there was more to come. My partners in crime hadn’t even arrived yet to experience their first Interbike.
Because the 2009 Interbike was not my first, I knew what to expect and was prepared for another outstanding event. However, for my counterparts Bernie Hogancamp, IPMBA’s treasurer, and 2009 conference coordinator Pat Hernandez, it was their first experience. All they could say was “wow!” If you are a true bike junkie, this show can overwhelm you in a heartbeat. The displays are awesome, products are everywhere, and the atmosphere is positively electric. Every vendor is excited and can’t wait to pull you into their booths and rave about their products.
I will never forget the look on Bernie’s face when we first entered the show. He just looked at me and said “thanks, brother.” It was like bringing a young child to a candy store for the first time. When we met up with Pat and his wife, he had the same look on his face. I can just remember the look on her face. This trip is going to cost me.
We began by seeking out all the vendors who have been so gracious to IPMBA over the years, coming to the conference, offering discounts and donating products, such as Kenda, Brave Soldier, Cane Creek, Cateye, Cycle Force Group, Fox Racing Shox, GSM Outdoors, MRP, ProGold Lubricants, Ergon Grips, Purple Extreme, Hayes Bicycles, Finish Line, Connex Chains, Topeak, and the other many fine companies who were in attendance. We truly appreciate all your support.
After conveying our sincere thanks and checking out new offerings, we set out to solicit sponsorships for the new video. This was a tough task due to the economic conditions. We are, however, hopeful that some good will come of our efforts.
Towards the end of the day we met with Shaums, who introduced us to some of his sponsors, some of whom donated outstanding items for the 2010 silent auction and PPP. So once again, Shaums, thanks for your gracious support and hospitality!
On day two, Bernie and I started off by splitting up so we could cover more of the enormous showroom and achieve more of our goals for the trip.
We worked hard, walked miles, and came up with some very promising products for the silent auction, PPP, product tests and evaluations, and the conference. I’m certain we will see some new vendors in St. Louis.
On day three, which is also departure day, we followed up on some promising conversations. We also made contact with some vendors we missed on the previous days.
The trip, from our point of view, was tremendously successful.
Stay ahead of the curve; come to St. Louis to see what we accomplished for you in Vegas!
Charlie is the sergeant responsible for bike patrol operations for the Illinois State University Police Department. He was certified as an IPMBA Police Cyclist in 1998 and an IPMBA Instructor in 2001. He is currently serving as industry liaison on the IPMBA Board of Directors. He can be reached at email@example.com.
© 2010 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of IPMBA News.