by Charlie Summers, PCI #512
Illinois State University (IL) Police Department
IPMBA Industry Liaison
As I was preparing for my trip to Las Vegas to attend Interbike, the excitement of getting there was in of itself overwhelming. After arriving in Las Vegas with IPMBA President David Hildebrand and Education Director Mitch “Squeaky” Trujillo, we sat in our hotel room planning for our first Interbike experience. We discussed a game plan designed to boost our vendor turnout for Albuquerque, overwhelm our members with product for the silent auction, and bolster the already hefty Product Purchase Program (PPP).
Our past Industry Liaison, Ron Burkitt, warned us that Interbike could be a little overwhelming. We set out on our first day not knowing what to expect. What the three of us certainly were not prepared for was the biggest show on earth. The show attracted more than 1,000 top vendors in the industry and covered 313,000 sq ft (29,079 sq m) of floor space in the Sands Expo Center. We had to contact as many of these vendors and cover as much territory as possible in just three days, which would leave little time to attend the many different seminars and manufacturer technical clinics that are offered.
We arrived at the Sands Expo Center, collected our name badges, and set out to serve our members well. When we arrived on the floor, we all just stood and looked at each other like we were five-year-old kids experiencing our first candy store. We divided the floor into thirds and each of us set out to accomplish our mission.
As I entered the exhibit hall, one of the largest displays of bike tools I have ever seen was right in front of my eyes – Park Tool. Park brought out everything in their product line, including many new tool designs from their 2009 line. As I was checking it out, I ran into IPMBA’s good friend Mark Eumurian from Patrol Cycle. Mark showed me some of the new designs, leaving me with an urge to purchase more tools. I could have spent hours looking through their selections and speaking with Mark, but I was on a mission and had to keep moving.
Next I discovered an Australian light company called Night Flux. Their booth was set up with a light tester, and their new line of lights is certainly state-of-the-art. They enlightened me (no pun intended) on how lumens and lux are measured. I was so impressed with their system, I made sure Dave and Mitch checked them out, too. Dave and Mitch were just as impressed with their knowledge of the new wave of lights. These guys were so supportive that they provided us with a new light right there and said, “test it for us and let us know what you think.” This T&E is already in the works, so look for the review in 2009. Go Aussies!
After a while, I met back up with Dave and Mitch. We stayed together and visited a wide variety of vendors, including trusted supporters such as Rudy Project, NiteRider, ProGold Lubricants, Maxit Designs, Mountain Racing Products, Third Eye Mirrors, and Elete Electrolyte, to name a few. We were intrigued by new products like Connex Chains, Epic Stealth Cams, Ergon Bike Grips, Allay Seats from Topeak, North Wave Shoes, Princeton Tech Lights, and Genuine Innovations CO2 inflators and pumps. These are some of the items we have to look forward to testing and evaluating in 2009.
Almost ten hours of meeting new and old friends of IPMBA had taken its toll. We were exhausted, so we decided to head back to the hotel for some much needed nutrition and rest. With day one complete, we believed that we had accomplished a portion of our intended mission.
Day two started with a very warm walk to the Sands. We started out by targeting some of the tire industry vendors. As Dave and I scouted the Kenda line, we were astonished to learn that the man explaining the products to us was none other than the legendary John Tomac. He discussed the construction of the Kenda product and shared his experience of using Kenda tires. We next went to the Maxxis booth, where the 26 x 2.3 “Holy Roller” was Mitch’s favorite.
We also investigated front shock manufacturers, such as Fox, Marzochi, Rock Shox, Manitou, and the new DT Swiss. All of these manufacturers offer a stout line of forks and they may be coming to some of you for T&E. So hang in there, it’s in the works!
On the last day, Dave, Mitch and I followed up with some of the contacts we had made and collecting products for the silent auction and T&E. We scored some cool goods for both these objectives and our mission was achieved.
Items donated by our industry supporters will make their way to the Silent Auction in Albuquerque. You’re just going to have to attend the conference to see how well we did for you!
For those who will not be available to attend, many of these products are or will soon be available through the PPP and I can only encourage all of you to use the program. If there is one thing that Dave, Mitch, and I learned from Interbike, it is that these manufacturers and suppliers all support law enforcement, fire, and EMS by giving us these incredible deals. Every time you even contemplate making a purchase, pull out the most recent issue of IPMBA News or visit the PPP page. Not only will you save a bundle, you will show your appreciation of their recognition of the job we do.
Sgt. Charlie Summers has been with Illinois State University Police for 14 years. He is currently assigned as 11-7 shift supervisor. He has been with the bike patrol unit for the past nine years and bike patrol supervisor for the last eight years. He was certified as an IPMBA instructor in 2000 and has served as an IPMBA board member for two years, currently holding the position of Industry Liaison. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2009 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of IPMBA News.