By James Englert, PCI #1081
Arapahoe County (CO) Sheriffs Office
IPMBA Membership Coordinator
As a new member of the IPMBA Board, I was excited to be offered the opportunity to accompany veteran board member Mitch Trujillo to Las Vegas for Interbike. I jumped at the chance to go, both for the learning experience and to see some awesome bike products.
Our mission was two-fold: (1) contact vendors who are current supporters of IPMBA, for instance, as participants in our Product Purchase Program (PPP), advertisers, conference exhibitors, and product donors, to thank them for their support and find out how we can enhance our relationships; and (2) make contacts with companies which we think have potential to partner with us, again, as conference vendors, PPP participants, advertisers, sponsors, etc. Our goal is to create value for both the vendors and IPMBA members through different types of partnerships.
A couple days before we left for the show, Mitch sent me a detailed spreadsheet listing about 55 companies we needed to contact. I thought it would be an easy task going from one vendor to another saying “thank you.” Little did I know that it isn’t a simple matter of saying a few words and moving on to the next vendor. I would learn later that it is about developing relationships between IPMBA and the companies, and that no two relationships are exactly alike. After two days of networking and checking out new products, I was beat!
My first impression at Interbike was how receptive many vendors are toward IPMBA. For example, we had a meeting with Dennis Leedom, the owner of Bern Helmets (http://www.bernunlimited.com). We probably spent 30 minutes telling him more about IPMBA and discussing possible ways we can support each other.
I was very impressed by so much of the products on display, especially the helmets. The advancing technology is remarkable. For example, both Bern and POC Helmets (http://www.pocsports.com) offer well-designed helmets with innovative designs and construction. All the helmet companies seem to be introducing great products with different concepts for head protection that are far from the traditional bicycle helmet.
My attention was captured by many other hot products in Vegas; here are just a few.
Shimano Click’R Pedals and CT Shoes This seemed to be a “hot” item with a lot of buzz. The Click’R pedals feature an easy-to-engage pedal/cleat interface for riders new to clipless pedals. The cleat spring is designed to make it easy to engage and disengage, thereby encouraging more riders to try clipless. According to a review published at http://www.bikerumor.com, it requires about 60% less force to clip in and out, and the release angle is 8.5 degrees versus their standard 13. The CT shoe is designed with a solid platform and recessed cleat for cycling and walking. I haven’t tried the Click’R SPD pedals or the CT shoe, but I am looking forward to hearing some reviews. From a public safety point of view, I like the idea of the recessed cleat not getting in the way when walking as well as the reputed comfort both on and off the bike.
Power Grips by Mountain Racing Products (MRP) This product is an alternative method of pedal retention. They were displaying their standard Power Grips, described as “super-comfortable pedal straps that tighten and loosen with your natural foot motion.” They also have a Power Grip with a wider design and Velcro closure for easy adjustments, known as the “Fixie”. Power Grips from Mountain Racing Products are listed on our Product Purchase Program. Please check them out: we currently get 20% off MSRP for Power Grips.
Swiftwick Compression Socks Another product we liked is Swiftwick compression socks. The idea behind a compression product is to improve circulation and blood flow. I have used compression sock personally for both mountain biking and running; I am a big fan. Compression socks are a little more expensive than regular socks, but I really think they are advantageous for both recreation and work.
“Fat Bikes” Bikes that I think caught everyone’s eye were “fat bikes” or “snow bikes”. It seemed like a lot of bike companies are either making fat bikes or at least displaying them. Surly, for instance, had both the Pugsley and the Moonlander on display (those who attended the IPMBA conference in Saint Paul may have seen the Pugsley used by presenter Hans Erdman). They even had rollers set up so you could test one of their fat bikes, and the rollers were tree logs (sorry, no picture)! While I’ve never tried one on duty, I have ridden a friend’s Pugsley; it was awesome. I’m excited to see what products come out for fat bikes and how wheel sizes change to make for a more exciting and softer ride. Pictured is a Santa Cruz V10 downhill bike converted to a fat bike with some Phil Wood parts.
Vee Rubber Police Tire Another intriguing product – albeit just a concept right now – is the Vee Rubber Police Tire. We talked to representatives from Vee Rubber, who said they are interested in making a specific tire for police use. They still have to do some market research, so there is no word on if or when it might become available.
These are just a few of the many vendors with whom we spoke and a couple of the vast array of products we investigated. Attending Interbike, seeing so many cool, new bike products, and meeting so many people who are interested in biking as we are was an experience I won’t soon forget...and hope to repeat!
Check out the PPP to find out about all the great deals offered to IPMBA members. When shopping these vendors, be sure to identify yourself as an IPMBA member so they will know they are getting exposure from us, which will encourage them to continue to participating, and maybe get even more involved. Please also share your feedback on product performance. Visit the list often because new products are added frequently and sometimes the discounts change. You don’t want to miss any super deals!
James has been a deputy with Arapahoe County Sheriffs Office for 14 years and a school resource officer for the past five. He was certified as an IPMBA Police Cyclist in 2006 and as an IPMBA Instructor in 2008. He is currently serving as Membership Coordinator on the IPMBA Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2013 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of IPMBA News.