by Gary Strang, PCI #1457
London (ON) Police Service
IPMBA Membership Coordinator
The Annual Toronto International Bicycle Show was held March 4-6, 2016, at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Ontario. I attended the show on Friday, March 4. I had been waiting all winter for the show and with plenty of the built-up anticipation and eagerness that flows from wishing the winter season away. Our Canadian region was spared a harsh winter this year and spring arrived pleasantly early. For bike riders, the magic of that first spring ride paired with the warmth of the sun is unbeatable.
This year’s show was awesome! It showcased new products, some old faithful brands and plenty of show and vendors to boot. Of course, the Toronto Police Service Bike Unit set up a table as well. Every bike show should have a table set aside for their local police agency.
We left London early to make sure we were first in line for the grand opening at noon. London to Toronto is a two-hour drive and traffic gets heavy. It would have been nice if they opened the doors at 10am as they did on Saturday and Sunday but I guess they needed the extra time to make sure everything was set up and ready to go.
I asked my “boss” to come along for the ride. Despite his “raised eyebrows”, he agreed to participate. I know he enjoyed himself because he made some purchases and was relaxed (for a change). One of his purchases will be in a future article on equipment. He even agreed to write it – sweet!
I spent considerable time in the tourism section of the show. I was amazed at the proliferation of tables dedicated to providing maps, tours, and anything and everything related to travel and vacation on a bicycle. I was particularly interested in the GranFondo rides that are popping up all over Canada. Sorry, just a little of my roadie coming through. There were plenty of maps and material for trail riding and vacationing with a mountain bike as well. I found tables representing most of Canada in one bike-related way or another. Folks: taking a vacation that includes plenty of biking is a fantastic way to experience the sights, sounds and smells of any destination. The added fitness benefit just lets you enjoy more of the local cuisine.
The show also included areas dedicated to emerging bike sports. They set up a “Bike Polo” rink, a mini-velodrome and a Pro/Am BMX Flatland and Freestyle area. There was something to do for everyone, even a “Frog Bikes Kids’ Action Zone”.
The show featured a super rider named Trevor Bodogh, who dazzled the crowd with his extreme trials demos. He’s one of those guys who can do things on a bike that defy logic and gravity. He has the potential to share his considerable skills with IPMBA Conference attendees someday.
The Bike Polo was very interesting to watch. I think I’d give it a go. It’s literally polo on a bike vs. a horse. You need to use all your mad bicycle control skills in a competitive environment. What’s not to like?
The usual brands — Pinarello, Bianchi, Trek, Giant, and Shimano, etc. — were all in attendance. More interesting and unique were some of the unusual brands that showcased. How about Danso Bamboo Bicycles (yes, a fully bamboo frame), or Allo Vello, a Dutch company who makes some really interesting cruisers and daily riders? They had frames with built-in locking systems. Doesn’t that make sense?
What I particularly noticed, and it was hard to avoid, was the absolute explosion of electric assist bicycles out there. Even the “fat bikes” have electrics motors now. There’s no doubt in my mind that at some point we in the policing community will be using some form of the electric bicycle. Take note because there is interesting stuff on the horizon that will be coming our way.
As if the foregoing wasn’t enough to fill your day, this show had an excellent attendance by a variety of bike shops all selling their wares at discounted prices! Fantastic savings could be had on any bike imaginable. If you needed to test ride a potential purchase, no problem. The show provided an electric bike test area and a 2000 ft. test track.
In short, the annual Toronto International Bicycle Show was excellent. It always seems to re-energize those riding juices and remind us again why we like biking so much.
Gary is a 32-year veteran of the London Police Service in London, Ontario, and is currently in charge of the bike unit. He rides to work and has done so for the past 19 years, including during the winter months. On weekends he races on a road bike. His favorite quote is, “cycling never gets easier; you just go faster.” He was certified as an IPMBA Instructor in 2014 and is currently serving as membership coordinator on the IPMBA Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2016 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of IPMBA News.