Tandems, Polo, Carbon, and a bikes, bikes, bikes!

Tandems, Polo, Carbon, and a bikes, bikes, bikes!

On Sunday I went down to Toronto to the Toronto International Bike Show. I won’t lie, I have no idea what makes this show “International.” Seemed like it was all in Canada to me!

Lots of neat things to see. Well worth the trip, in my opinion. I even had the chance to cross something off my bucket list – running through the Go Station, literally, and stepping onto the train with just seconds before the doors closed. Workout completed.

In all, an extremely positive day. Bike manufacturers seemed notably absent from the show though. I was a bit disappointed by this. The Pinarello booth was stunning, as was the Bianchi lineup. But Cervelo was absent, Trek, Giant, Specialized… none of the names I had thought would be there showed. Could be my poor expectations, but I think more likely it is that the market in this region seems pretty saturated with these brands already. Just a guess.

I don’t care what you ride. Bianchi’s bikes are sexy.

But beyond that, the rest of the show was really Local-to-Toronto Bike Shops, Shimano, and a few wheel dealers including my good friends over at Blade Carbon Wheels (use discount / promo / coupon code ‘GETAERO100’ to save $100 on your order, including the new 2nd Gen wheels!).

This may sound crazy but I was really hoping to see less bikes. Speaking entirely from a selfish perspective, I am not currently in the market for a new ride, as I’m madly in love with my Cervelo P3 Di2. But I am interested in a few key components/tools, and more particularly very interested in finding some great deals. Deals were advertised to be had at the show, but aside from some mediocre-but-still-deals deals on bikes that I was able to eyeball walking around the showroom floor, the few components/tools that were there were… well.. not deals at all. I guess I’ll just head down to my LBS and grab what I am looking for there. I did talk to one sales guy about that and he said at these kinds of shows it is big-ticket items only (bikes, then). I didn’t even see a Garmin heads-up unit, though I was told there was at least one somewhere in the show.

Speaking of what I’m looking for, I need a chain whip tool and a Shimano casette removal tool (which I was able to find at the show… for $50…. Yep. $50 for a $6 part) in particular, and I’d take a gander at a new wetsuit if the price is right. The bike tools though, that’s because I’m taking a leap and getting a sweet set of carbon whDSC_0353eels from the folks at Blade. I’m thinking of getting a 60mm depth front with an 88mm rear. Going to get aero. The Blade booth was seriously impressive, and I’m not just saying that because they’re supporting me. They had all of their wheels, including the new ones that use the CNC winding filament, available to touch, spin, hold, stare at, whatever. Even had several different hub and spoke options and colours on hand to take a look at. I’m thinking white hubs, black spokes, and a white decal. Classy. Can’t wait.

While there I also managed to watch some of the BMX “show” – it was on pretty much all day. I’ll be honest, BMX isn’t for me, but damn those riders have guts. You wouldn’t catch me doing backflips and spins, up and down ramps and quarter-pipes. And when I hit the ground, I stay there. These riders just got back up. Kept going. Amazing to see. Not that I was rooting for crashes, but you know what I mean.

And Bike Polo! That’s a thing! And it’s awesome! As far as I can tell, it is more or less like regular polo except instead of a horse, players ride bikes. Impressively, I might add. I watched a bit and grabbed a few (weak) photos as I’d never seen the sport before. Seeing the players’ handling skills is worth the price of entry, but seeing them handle bikes while playing offense/defense with a rubber mallet and a little orange street-hockey type ball.. I was jaw on floor. Fortunate enough to see a few really impressive goals too.

Like I said, the pictures aren’t great, but I tried. In one shot I was trying to see the bikes they were riding. Disc brakes, flat pedals, single gear but not fixies, and cages built into the wheels seemed to be standard. These are not cheap bikes, and the riders are great. Hat’s off.

One of the last things I had the chance to do was check out a tandem bike booth. For some time now I’ve been trying to get my wife into cycling. She’s just too busy, and doesn’t really want to, but I was pleased to get a chance to view some tandems on display. I sent her a few pics via text and the response was positive…. how many watts per kilo can her and I do together? Only one way to find out….DSC_0357DSC_0359

The tandem in this picture was their “top of the line” model. It boasts an aluminum frame that actually comes apart and puts back together. When apart, it can fit in a few suitcases, meaning you can take it on a plane if you want. The woman minding the booth was telling everyone about her recent trip south where she took this (Cuba, I think). Really neat. A belt drive and an electronic internal hub shifter that can shift up to 5 gears at the push of a button round out the key specs that set this apart. Impressive.

Last thing I’ll say: Fat bikes are cool. I know this for two reasons. 1. They were everywhere at the show – almost all dealers had at least some, and many had the Fat Bikes with huge rims at seriously not-cheap prices. 2. They’re just friggin’ cool. I want one and I don’t even mountain bike. Would be lots of fun on the beach, I think.

Anyhow, I’m sure I’ll be back next year! Thanks for reading.

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