Interbike 08 Best in Show

With all the exhausting booths, parties, activities, and same old thing every year, it was refreshing to see Hed Cycling invent a Sunscreen Headset Cap and for me it was the “best in show.” And why’s that? Cause here’s a legendary dude that puts wheels under the top cyclists, constantly innovates in the wind tunnel, and he was totally excited about this plastic cup of sunscreen. It was infectious and cool to not hear someone describe in marketing mumbo jumbo how their carbon layup is better than everyone else. Seattle Cyclist are vitamin D defficient, so I rarely use sunscreen and was thinking that I’d put some Nuun tablets in there and use it like a salt lick on long rides.

This year, Bike Hugger brought more bloggers with the mission to go find cool stuff. I focused on our existing partners, the Mobile Social, and the next one — the mother of all Mobile Socials at SXSW 09 in March (more on that later).

hed_suncreen_cap.jpg

Mentionable

  • Crumpler had the best booth — I wanted to camp out there during Interbike and shield myself from the overwhelming show floor.
  • Cool Civia — thanks for letting a bike designer build his dream bike, you can tell that bike didn’t get distilled much from concept into production.
  • Xtracycle – Props for graduating from a great idea and a movement to expanded product design with industrial designers.
  • Museeuw – talking Flax with Museeuw. As it was told to me, Johan didn’t want to buy another China carbon frame and built his with flax. Works for me.
  • Specialized — as I snapped in Twitter, why are you such assholes? Your profits so good, you don’t need anyone else? Even Apple isn’t that arrogant and I’m an iPhone-toting fan boy. I was going to try and work my way into their top-secret booth, I’ve got some skills at party crashing and then thought, why spend valuable trade-show energy on them? For what, to see a zertz insert in a chainstay? Whatever. I’d rather spend an hour talking to Nuvinci all about CVTs and how they brought their marketing in house to better market their hubs. I guess you’d rather spend an hour not talking to bloggers.
  • Cool fashion show, but the ramp-riding format was difficult to follow. I’ve got some ideas on that and sharing them with Momentum. We’d like them at the Mobile Social SXSW with us.
  • Batavus was noticeably absent and that just sucked. We’ll have to hit Eurobike 09.

Observations

Old Media & New Media — fascinating at times to watch the old and new interact in the Media Center. At any given time someone like Cervelo’s designer, Mark Cavendish, or Lemond can walk into the Media Center and the bloggers are all, “wassup, wassup, be on my podcast,” while old mag people grumble about readily available press passes and point and shoot cameras. It’s like a time has come and gone. The mass amatuerization has occured. While we were are at USPro, I learned that back in the day, reporters used to call races with Satellite phones. We did it with iPhones.

Ironically the best bikes are in the Bike Lock-up — the bikes the industry rides and urban/plain-clothes consumer wants are sitting in there, but not really on the show floor. Why is that? I don’t know.

The Social Media Panels were well received and I wrote a reflections post about them. Going forward, I think attendees would like a seminar series on Web 2.0.

3 Interbikes and counting, we haven’t met Stevil, but as I noted on their blog

… at some point, Bummer Life and Bike Hugger will meet and it’ll be like firing up that that collider thingy in Europe: with subatomic blog particles blowing up all over the place — the world might never be the same, it’ll be the trackback of destiny. That or we’ll just sort of shrug our shoulders and walk away.

Also, I’m either a dumbass or Interbike was especially hard to navigate this year. What can bloggers do to help that? Hire us to write guides to Interbike focused on genres and put them on kiosks. Have greeters placed strategically to help attendees. Something please.

Finally, riding down the strip, in an urban peloton was like a neon-lit episode of “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Next year, I think we’ll step it up with Industry VIPs and police escorts.



Aero Cargo

I’m thinking that this bike was cargo, before cargo was cool and it’s aero cargo for touring across America.

Uploaded by qcom | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.



Off the beaten path at Interbike - Part 3

wheeltags

I had actually seen Wheeltags online prior to the show, and wasn’t all that interested because the stock patterns they offer don’t really fit my style. When I saw the booth, I got a look at a number of their custom offerings - and some were quite impressive. I had just seen the Velocity ELVS reflective rims so I asked if Wheeltags had something similar. I actually like their options better - they can do various depths, with or without logos. I think a Bikehugger branded reflective wheelset is in my future for my new disc commuter wheels!

(Note - this rim appears black under normal light - with my flash or car headlights - it glows bright white)



Velocouture from Sally Scott

Sally Scott, a Japanese fashion brand, features a girl and her bicycle for their 08-09 Autumn & Winter Collection.

sally_scott.jpg



Yet Another Bike Community

In the 3 years that we’ve attended Interbike, the industry has started not only understanding and embracing blogging and Social Media, but also now launching their own communities. Interbike saw

Ok, cool, but do we need yet another bike community and more fragmentation of an already niche audience? At Textura Design (the parent of Bike Hugger) we advise businesses to not start their own social networks or communities, but instead to join one and take part in the conversation about their brand and products. I talked about that with my fellow panelists during the Social Media session at Interbike.

Interbike 08 Day One: Another bike community Business should start a YouTube contest, get themselves onto Flickr, or most importantly just start blogging like SWOBO does with their blog. While Bummer Life, may look like “Fixies, trucker hats, and PBR,” it’s really a sophisticated and crafty approach to brand.

I don’t know when it will happen, but I hope soon that marketers pop their heads out of their cubes and realize the web isn’t about “clicks and banner ads anymore.” It’s a Google economy: page rank v. impressions. Want proof? Google yourself. More proof? Try launching your own community! While I understand the thinking that an affinity club for your product will rule the blogworld, and I’m not dissing anyone that does it, I’m asking, “but why, really?”

Wouldn’t a hub of all-things-commuter written by geeks in that community make for a better spend? Wonder what that Mobile Social thing is all about? It’s more than cyclists harmoniously united by a mutual love of beer, schwag, and music. It’s about connecting the industry to their customers. Ibex owners really dig the product and really dig talking to the Ibex brand manager all about Merino wool.

When you launch your own, brand-specific community, what it says is “our brand doesn’t fit into your life.” That may be a TRUE message, but it’s unlikely that it’s the one you’re going for. Instead try a “ We make bikes and you like bikes; so, let’s talk.”

Readers? Your thoughts? Do you want to join any of these communities? Would you start your own?



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