by Scott Elliott, PCI #915
Niagara Regional Police Service (Ont., Canada)
I am always amazed at what Maureen can get me to do for free stuff. I must say, though, that this was not exactly a chore. I have been going to the Toronto International Bicycle Show for about ten years, and I look forward to it each year.
There are a number of reasons I enjoy my annual spring pilgrimage. First, there is something about taking my first steps into the building that remind me of Christmas morning as a child. Second, there is no better place to get great deals on everything cycling. Third, it has become a tradition for the last few years which my older son and I have shared.
This year, like a parent watching their children’s eyes as they come down the stairs on Christmas morning, I eagerly anticipated the look on my friend’s face as we entered the show. (I’ll call him “Dave”, because that’s actually his name). Dave was a Bicycle Show “virgin” and the utter awe on his face brought me back to my first show. Dave is a recent convert to the cycling world through triathlons. He had recently purchased a bike, but needed all the other gear to go along with his ride, so he asked me to take him with us this year. Like a tour guide at Disney, I led him through the 200,000 square foot show. He confessed that he was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of vendors in the Marketplace area, so I managed to sort through the 105’s, Ultegra’s, XT’s, Presta and European-sized shoes to get him what he needed.
He readily admitted that he could not have done it without me. I got a warm and fuzzy feeling all over, and it was great to help spend someone else’s money for a change. On that note, my son actually did not outgrow last year’s cycling shoes for the first time that I can remember, so I managed to get away with only buying him a pair of shorts. I spent less than usual on myself as well.
The show is divided into two main areas with some other activity areas in the wings. The Marketplace area is the section for Toronto-area bike shops to come and unload excess stock. This year, the deals were particularly sweet. The other main area is for manufacturers, tour operators, clubs and interest groups. New parts lines, the latest bikes, charity events and a large assortment of races and tours are all displayed in booths on this side. Large manufacturers such as Trek, KHS and Shimano, as well as the lesser known Canadian road and time-trial bike maker, Argon 18, were represented. I am a fan of Argon 18; my son and I both have Argon road bikes and we love them.
Something new this year was a 24-hour spin charity event for local cancer treatment centres. It is actually the 10th year of the event but the first time at the bike show. Bands and speakers entertained the riders as they pedaled to raise money for these worthwhile charities.
There were also the usual side events such as the BMX jam, the Pro BMX and mountain bike indoor race course, the Meta Bikes Trials Competition and a carpeted Kid’s Cycling Zone to entertain the little ones. Sadly, the indoor dirt course was absent. I must say I did miss the smell of the soil. In past years, you smelled it as soon as you walked through the front doors, which definitely helped put you in the outdoor cycling mood.
No, it’s not on the scale of Interbike and I did not attend in an official IPMBA capacity, but the Toronto International Bicycle Show is a great place to get motivated for the upcoming cycling season and pick up some great deals as well. Those of you who live within driving distance of Toronto might want to think about attending next year, or checking out the smaller scale fall show. For more details, check out www.bicycleshowtoronto.com.
Scott has been a police officer for 23 years and on bicycle patrol for eight years. In addition to being his department’s IPMBA Instructor, he is a member of the St. Catharines Cycling Club and has been racing triathlons, mountain bikes and road bikes for over ten years. He is also active in mountain bike instructional camps and bike rodeos. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2010 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of IPMBA News.