Did we meet at the Vancouver Outdoor Show?
Spending nine hours on buses, ferries, and trains to attend an event for three hours might seem crazy but when you’re trying to shed cabin fever amid the endless Canadian cold of winter, it makes sense. At least buses, ferries, trains, and indoor events are warm.
What event, you ask? I made my way over from Victoria to the Vancouver Outdoor Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This year’s event featured the BC Bike Show — or should I say, e-bike show — and I wanted to get out and see what’s new with bikes and what travel destinations in our beautiful province are doing to lure outdoor enthusiasts.
The only thing new with bikes is e-bikes, apparently. It was hard to find a regular townie or dual-suspension that wasn’t battery powered. Nothing against e-bikes, because I think getting more people out on bikes of any kind is a good thing, but they just don’t appeal to me. I prefer the masochism of pedaling until my quads, calves, and shoulders scream, to be relieved by a fun, cooling section of downhill, be it on a mountain bike or road bike. I don’t even have a dropper post yet and I will not be buying a smartwatch any time soon. For me, simple mechanics means more time playing and less time (and money!) trying to fix said play-thing.
One invention that got me really excited is the Magped magnetic pedals, an alternative to SPD and clipless pedals. I ride my road bike with dual-sided pedals, one side having SPD clips. This has worked great for long trips and city trips where you don’t want to spend the entire time clipped in but you also want access to the added power clips provide. These magnetic pedals are single or dual-sided and attach to a strong magnet that replaces the regular cleat in a cycling shoe. Just put your foot down and you’re “clipped in” but it’s also easy to get out. As someone who has avoided going clipless on my mountain bike, this is exciting and I think it can prevent more of those, “oh, shit” moments that happen when you’re about to crash but realize your feet are still attached to your pedals.
It was also fun watching a gaggle of teens do crazy tricks on their bikes. There may have been some adult men in here as well that look like teenagers. Apparently, doing front flips is good for anti-aging.
After only a few hours, I was exhausted. Originally, I showed up to hand out business cards but quickly learned that few owners were manning the booths. I chatted up salespeople and volunteers (Hello! if you’re reading this and remember me) about some of my favourite BC tourist destinations like Nelson and Revelstoke, electric bike shifting, and caught a few minutes of a photography presentation by the amazing Vladimir Kostka. There was a lot going on and a lot of prize draws to enter.
Lastly, I sat down to watch “Reverance,” a full-length mountain biking film directed by Ambrose Weingart and produced by Ryan and Darren Berrecloth, featuring Darren and several other top mountain biking talents, such as Cam McCaul and Rachel Atherton. I’m going to make a point of watching the full thing as soon as possible because there are some really crazy stunts. And the scenery—it made me want to load the car up, mountain bike on the back, and head to Utah.
Exhausted and still carrying a full stack of business cards, I checked the time, gauging whether I could squeeze in a cold beer at Steamworks before boarding the sky train to the last bus to the 7pm ferry home. I managed to finish three-quarters of this delicious peach pomegranate sour before booking it to Waterfront Station. I’d finished my book, “White Mountain: Real and Imagined Journeys in the Himalayas” by Robert Twigger on the way in and thankfully found a free copy of Below Zero˚ magazine at the Show to read on the way home.
As sunset tucked the day in to its twilight blanket, having consumed almost all of Below Zero˚ (please, let’s go snowboarding in Japan soon!), I thought about how I’d almost chickened out of today’s trip. Too much travel, not enough time at the show, plus it feels douchey handing out business cards. It turned out, I really needed to travel for a day. Just being in lineups reading all day felt refreshing. Super plus that I got to be in a room full of bike nerds for a few hours. This nomad is one happy traveler. Now, if only BC Ferries could get some working wifi.